Major league baseball teams are beginning to become younger and younger. This season especially, teams are looking to their younger players to help guide them to wins. Here is an in-depth look at every teams' young players on the rise in the American League.
The New York Yankees recently have signed a ton of veterans to help them regain dominance over baseball. One player, however, is changing that. Center fielder Brett Gardner earned the starting job over Melky Cabrera after hitting over .300 in spring training. He has gotten off to a slow start, only hitting .235 with no RBI and no home runs.
The Boston Red Sox have a ton of veterans this season, but have a young speedster in Jacoby Ellsbury. After a great World Series run for Ellsbury, he received a lot of attention last year as a starting center fielder. He stole 50 bases last year and hit .280.
The Tampa Bay Rays are a young team that has shown plenty of promise after a World Series run last year. David Price is primed to be the next great thing, and Evan Longoria has shown the Rays what he is capable of becoming by winning rookie of the year last year. Price was a late call-up last season, but was sent to the minors to start the season this year. Meanwhile, Longoria is the starting third baseman, and is coming off a stellar rookie season.
The Baltimore Orioles are a young team that plays in a tough division. That doesn't mean they don't have the talent, though. Nick Markakis and Adam Jones are two players that are carrying the Orioles right now. Markakis hit 20 home runs, and had a .306 batting average last season. Meanwhile, Jones is proving to be a valuable pickup from the Bedard trade. Both players also have tremendous speed and are excellent outfielders.
The Toronto Blue Jays have a young star in the making in rookie Travis Snider. In his stint last season with the Jays, he hit two home runs and recorded a .301 batting average.
In the A.L. Central, where the division race is always close and tough to win, teams are getting younger, and even better. Scary, right?
The Minnesota Twins have always been a team that has a rich farm system, and now their players are ready for the majors. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are still young players, but now they are leaders for even younger players.
Denard Span, Carlos Gomez, and Alexi Casilla lead the Twins youth movement now. Span and Gomez are possibly the best outfielders in the game, and Casilla plays great defense at second base. Span, Gomez, and Casilla are all speedy and know how to come up in the clutch. Look for this team to be carried by their young players, and to be a scary team down the stretch.
The Cleveland Indians' young players include Grady Sizemore, Ben Fransisco, Ryan Garko, and Asdrubal Cabrera. Don't leave Matt LaPorta out of the discussion, though. The Indians are team that has a load of talent, but play in a tough division.
The Chicago White Sox are a feisty team led by Ozzie Guillen, and are actually getting younger. At shortstop, second base, and at third base they are getting younger. Rookie Chris Getz, Alexi Ramirez, and Josh Fields are all ready to prove why the White Sox have made them starters. Alexi Ramirez has to be the best out the three, though. In the 2008 season, he hit 21 home runs, and batted .290. He started off slowly this season, and didn't get his first hit until April 11th against the Twins.
The Detroit Tigers had an off-year last year and were bothered by injuries. Curtis Granderson is their top center fielder and has shown he can hit for power and average. The pitching staff is young, too. Justin Verlander leads a talented rotation and bullpen that has had its moments.
The Kansas City Royals are ready to challenge the rest of the division again. After picking up a few free agents, and now having their young players ready to play in the majors, this club is primed to win. Alex Gordan leads their youngsters, as he is primed to have a career year. Zack Greinke is one of their top pitchers and is ready to lead this team.
In the AL West, the Angels have dominated the last few years, but the rest of the division is ready to make a run at them.
The Angels have quite a few veterans, but Santana, Saunders, and Weaver are primed to lead this team. Santana and Saunders had breakout seasons last season by winning 16 and 17 games, respectively.
The Oakland A's finally have some star power to rely on. Matt Holliday, a former Rockie, brings just that. Brett Anderson recently made his major league debut in the starting rotation, but got roughed up and took the loss. He is the lone rookie that is starting for the club this season.
The Texas Rangers have some studs in Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, and Michael Young, not to mention the team has two rookies this season that are primed to make a big splash. Rookie shortstop Elvis Andrus has played in every game this season except two. He is hitting .286, with a home run, and two RBI. Meanwhile, rookie catcher Taylor Teagarden is the backup to Jarrod Saltalamacchia right now. Teagarden has appeared in two games this season, hitting .200.
The Seattle Mariners got Ken Griffey, Jr. back, but young closer Brandon Morrow is ready to make an impact. He has struggled a bit this season, but has picked up two saves and a hold.
Here's a look at the American League's young players that could make a difference this season or in seasons to come. Be sure to watch these youngsters in the 2009 season.