What does the future of Major League Baseball look like?
Many players have started to make names for themselves this year, and some have been around for a year or two and are already stars. So I compiled a team that best represents what the future holds for the league.
I looked for youngsters who have only a couple of years of experience—three, at most—in MLB but have cemented themselves as top-of-the-line players. They have shown they can hit and pitch with the best of them.
Of course, there were some tough cuts, as not everyone could make the squad.
Here’s a 14-man roster of the top young talent at each position in the league right now, who are all bound to continue to get better as time goes on. If they aren’t household names already, they definitely will be very soon. They are the future.
MLB Debut: April 3, 2013
Career WAR: 1.8
Evan Gattis isn’t even the starting catcher on his own team, but here is he in the starting lineup for the All-Future Team. The Braves are just too log-jammed to find him a spot in the lineup on a consistent basis, but the 26-year-old has still made a massive difference coming off the bench for the NL East leaders.
This is Gattis’ first season in the big leagues, and he’s making the most of the opportunity. Through 53 games, he’s hitting .252/.317/.577 with 14 home runs and 37 RBI. If he were seeing regular playing time, his slash line would definitely be better and he could have around 20 home runs. He’ll be the starter soon enough.
MLB Debut: August 1, 2011
Career WAR: 8.2
Paul Goldschmidt hasn’t even been in the majors for two full seasons and he’s already one of the best first basemen in the league. Last year, he hit .286/.359/.490 with 20 home runs and 82 RBI. This season, Goldschmidt has been even better.
The 25-year-old is hitting .310/.388/.560 and has already has 21 homers. He’s close to hitting his RBI total from 2012 as well, as he needs eight more to tie it. He’s going to be a reserve in the All-Star Game this season, and will definitely be in the starting lineup at the Midsummer Classic in future years.
MLB Debut: April 1, 2013
Career WAR: 1.5
There isn’t a ton of great, young second basemen making a major impact in the league right now, but Jedd Gyorko has what it takes to be the leader of this position going forward. He’s only played in 60 games in his career—all during 2013—but he’s showed signs that he can be solid in the field and in the batter’s box.
Gyorko is hitting .284/.341/.461 on the year with eight home runs, 25 RBI and 36 runs. He could easily finish 2013 hitting close to .300 with around 20 home runs. That’s very good for a second baseman in this day and age.
MLB Debut: July 24, 2012
Career WAR: 3.4
The Angels looked like winners of the Zack Greinke deal last season when Jean Segura only hit .258/.315/.325 in 45 games for the Brewers. Now, there’s no question that Los Angeles lost that trade. The franchise couldn’t keep Greinke and Segura has emerged into an All-Star shortstop.
Through 87 games this year, the 23-year-old is hitting .320/.356/.487 with 11 home runs, 36 RBI, 50 runs and 27 stolen bases. While he isn’t that sharp with his glove, he makes up for it with his bat. Segura could definitely go 20-20 by the end of this season if his power carries over into the second half.
MLB Debut: August 9, 2012
Career WAR: 6.5
If Miguel Cabrera still played first base, one could make the case that Manny Machado is the best third baseman in the game. Sure, there are other big names such as Evan Longoria and David Wright, among others, but Machado continues to get better each game. He was a big reason why Baltimore made the postseason in 2012.
This year, Machado deserves to be in the MVP conversation. The 21-year-old is hitting .315/.343/.478 with seven home runs, 44 RBI and 54 runs. He leads the league in doubles with 39 and could potentially break the single-season record of 67. This kid absolutely deserved his All-Star selection this year.
MLB Debut: July 26, 2012
Career WAR: 5.0
The Pirates could soon have one of the best outfields in baseball. We already knew that Andrew McCutchen was a star, but now Pittsburgh has Starling Marte as well. And this kid can do anything on a baseball field. First off, he’s as quick as can be; he already has 28 steals and uses his speed to track down sure hits in the outfield.
Marte is strong on both sides of the field, but his offensive game is definitely the more impressive. Through 84 games, Marte is hitting .288/.388/.456 with nine home runs, 27 RBI and 58 runs. His biggest issue right now is drawing walks (3.4 percent), but that’s something that isn’t too big of a concern at the moment.
MLB Debut: July 8, 2011
Career WAR: 15.5
Mike Trout is already a superstar and he’s still just 21. While Trout sported a .220/.281/.390 slash line in 40 games in 2011, he still showed a lot of potential and versatility. We saw exactly what he was capable in 2012, when he finished second in the AL MVP voting after hitting .326 with 30 homers and 83 RBI.
This season, Trout has been just as good. He’s hitting .315/.394/.552 with 15 home runs, 57 RBI, 61 runs and 20 steals in just 88 games. He’s an All-Star for the second straight year, and don’t be shocked when you see his name toward the top of the AL MVP voting results once again.
MLB Debut: June 3, 2013
Career WAR: 2.6
I don’t care how many games Yasiel Puig has played in, he is already getting more talk than most players get throughout their entire careers. Of course, he isn’t going to hit over .400 the whole year, but he could certainly hit well into the .300s. Puig is definitely on this futures team.
The young Cuban has done it all for the Dodgers. He’s quick, he has a gun for an arm, and he plays as hard as anyone in baseball. Through the early stages of his young career, he’s hitting .407/.441/.659 with eight home runs, 19 RBI and 26 runs. He should be on the All-Star team this year despite just his 34-game resume.
MLB Debut: April 28, 2012
Career WAR: 6.7
So, Bryce Harper did deserve the massive amount of hype he got just as a teenager. The phenom is already a star in The Show, as he was as impressive as can be during his rookie season. In 139 games, he hit .270/.340/.477 with 22 home runs and 59 RBI to win NL Rookie of the Year last year.
Harper has been even better this season, even though he was banged up for a little bit. The outfielder is hitting .276/.380/.541 with 13 homers and 29 RBI.
MLB Debut: April 9, 2012
Career WAR: 7.0
Yu Darvish stepped onto the scene last season and immediately turned heads. He has a large arsenal of pitches and he can get any batter out in any count in any situation. Last year, Darvish went 16-9 in 29 starts with a 3.90 ERA while averaging 10.4 strikeouts every nine innings.
The right-hander has been much better this year. He’s 8-4 through 18 starts and his ERA is down considerably, at 3.02. He’s striking out more batters (11.84 per nine innings) and only walking around three per nine as well. Darvish’s biggest improvement has been stranding runners (a 10.2 percent improvement over 2012).
MLB Debut: July 26, 2012
Career WAR: 6.0
Matt Harvey is already the ace of the Mets pitching staff and he’s only 29 starts into his career. The right-hander was 3-5 in 10 starts a year ago, but showed signs that he’s going to be the real deal one day. Harvey didn’t need much time to acclimate himself to the big leagues, as he's had an outstanding 2013.
Through 19 starts, Harvey is 7-2 with a 2.35 ERA. He’s walked just 28 batters in 130 innings of work while striking out 147. He’s already been selected to his first All-Star Game and there’s a strong chance that he’s the guy who gets the nod from manager Bruce Bochy for the NL.
MLB Debut: April 30, 2012
Career WAR: 3.9
Patrick Corbin wasn’t very impressive for the Diamondbacks last year, but he’s quickly turned things around as one of the top young pitchers in the game. In 2012, he went 6-8 in 22 appearances (17 starts) with a 4.54 ERA in 107 innings.
This year has been a completely different story. In 18 starts, Corbin is 10-1 with a 2.40 ERA. His strikeout and walk rates are about the same as they were a year ago, but he’s stranding more batters (81.1 percent) and is inducing more ground balls (46.6 percent). The 23-year-old lefty could be the eventual ace of Arizona’s squad.
MLB Debut: September 5, 2012
Career WAR: 3.0
Cardinals fans got a little glimpse of what the future held last season when Shelby Miller made six appearances for St. Louis. He was great in those 13.2 innings of work, allowing just two earned runs, walking four and striking out 16. This season, he should be in contention for the NL Rookie of the Year award.
Miller has made 17 starts and is currently 9-6 with a 2.80 ERA. His WHIP is just over 1.00, and the young right-hander has shown excellent command in his limited time, as he’s only walked 28 batters in 113.1 career innings.
MLB Debut: April 7, 2013
Career WAR: 2.2
It's no fun being a Marlins fan these days, but at least they have Jose Fernandez. Fernandez is the top arm in the organization, and through 17 starts in 2013, he’s shown why. While he’s only 5-5, that’s obviously due to the low run support, as he has an astounding 2.83 ERA through 98.2 innings pitched.
He hasn’t given up many home runs (seven) and has shown good command. He’s averaging a strikeout per inning and has only walked 37 batters.
MLB Debut: July 18, 2012
Career WAR: 1.4
While Trevor Rosenthal isn’t the closer for St. Louis and has actually never registered a save in the bigs, there’s no question he’s the crème de la crème of young relief pitchers. For the second straight season, the young righty is dominating nearly every opponent that steps into the box.
In 2012, Rosenthal appeared in 19 games for the Cardinals, going 0-2 with a 2.78 ERA in 22.2 innings. This season, the 23-year-old has been even sharper on the mound. He’s only allowed nine earned runs in 42 innings and 40 appearances. His 96 MPH fastball has helped him strikeout 13.3 batters per nine innings.