Ranking MLB Newcomers by the Best Fit
The future of baseball lies with the next generation.
For players like Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Paul Konerko, Father Time is catching up to them, and it's time to hand the game off to the younger generation.
That generation includes Craig Kimbrel, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, among others.
Each year, the list of up-and-comers grows, and 2013 is no different. But those players also have to be a good fit in their cities.
Here's a look at 10 newcomers who fit best in their surroundings.
Note: Only players who have rookie status in 2013 were considered for this article.
10. Juan Lagares, New York Mets
Little has gone right for the New York Mets, especially in the outfield.
But Juan Lagares has come on and looked like he can be the Mets' center fielder for many years to come.
Lagares is batting .264 with four home runs and 30 RBI. More than anything else, he's showing he has a good glove in the outfield, giving the Mets someone who can do both at the position for the first time in a few years.
While he has made four errors this year, Lagares also has 11 outfield assists to his credit.
Look for the Mets to hang onto the 24-year-old for a long time.
The last consistent outfielder the Mets had was Carlos Beltran in 2008. After that, it's been injuries and poor play that has plagued the outfield. From Beltran himself to Jason Bay, Jeff Francoeur and Fernando Tatis, the outfield has been a major weakness in New York.
The Mets needed a good outfielder they could depend on, and that's what Lagares is for them.
9. Didi Gregorius, Arizona Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks have never had a shortstop with such high expectations that Didi Gregorius does.
Gregorius was acquired in a three-team trade with the Reds and Indians, giving the Diamondbacks help at shortstop after Stephen Drew was traded in August of last year.
Although they likely won't be in the playoffs this year, Arizona filled its roster with good, young talent that should allow it to succeed in the future.
With Gregorius, the Diamondbacks didn't have to search for a shortstop in free agency, and they know they have a guy that will handle the position for many years to come.
This year, he's batting .260 with seven home runs and 26 RBI. Don't worry—the bat will eventually come around more consistently. For now, his stellar defense should suffice.
8. Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
Nolan Arenado has shown himself to be one of the better hitting rookies this year for the Colorado Rockies.
He's batting .271 with 10 home runs and 49 RBI. Some people would say his numbers should be higher playing in Colorado, but they're exactly where they should be for a rookie.
Arenado is the future of the Rockies at third base, which was evident when Chris Nelson was traded to the Yankees in May.
He's struggled a little bit in the field with 11 errors, but with time that will change as he learns to play the hot corner.
Arenado isn't going to show a lot of power through his big-league career, but will be a good No. 2 or 6 hitter. My money is on him being in the two-hole as the Rockies need someone that can constantly set the table for guys like Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki.
7. Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds
Shin-Soo Choo likely won't stay with the Cincinnati Reds after the years since he's a free agent.
Enter Billy Hamilton, who is the most prolific base stealer in minor league history.
As long as Hamilton can continue to improve at the plate, he's going to slide in nicely in center field and the leadoff spot for the Reds.
For a team that is on the brink of a World Series berth every year, having a legitimate 50-plus-steal player will do nothing but enhance those chances.
Hamilton is getting a chance to show what he can do through September, giving Reds fans a taste of the future.
6. Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves
What more can you say about the Atlanta Braves' ability to find good pitching?
In a rotation that is full of No. 2 and 3 guys, Teheran could eventually move into that ace role with the Braves.
He depends a lot on his fastball, according to BrooksBaseball.net, throwing it 49.53 percent of the time. But his velocity averages at 93.02 mph, which keeps him in line with other aces in baseball.
As Tim Hudson nears retirement or moving to another team, and with Paul Maholm almost certainly gone after this year, the Braves have continued to solidify their system with young power pitchers.
They knew they had it in Mike Minor in the second half of last year, and they have found they have the same in Teheran.
Teheran fits in with the Braves because they've always depended on good starting pitching. That's exactly what the 22-year-old righty brings to the table.
5. Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays
Getting traded from the Kansas City Royals to the Tampa Bay Rays was a blessing in disguise for Wil Myers.
He moved from a team that is normally at or near the bottom of the division to a team that continues to find ways to win despite a low payroll.
Once B.J. Upton left via free agency, the Rays knew they needed someone to replace him in the outfield. With Desmond Jennings moving to center and Kelly Johnson taking over in left, Myers had a good spot waiting for him in right.
What I like about it even more is that if Matt Joyce can improve even more next year, then the Rays will have a good core of young outfielders who could do some damage.
4. Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
It may not seem that Yasiel Puig is a perfect fit in Los Angeles, especially considering Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are already there.
However, what Puig brings is great defense and energy that is unlike any other.
Now, I've had my own criticisms about Puig in the past, but the fact remains this guy plays hard every night. Sure he makes mistakes, but who doesn't?
When the Dodgers were down and out early this year, Puig was one of the guys who brought energy into the lineup when he was called up.
For that reason alone, he's a perfect fit for the Dodgers.
3. Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals
I like how things turned out for the St. Louis Cardinals this year: Chris Carpenter goes down with a career-threatening injury and Shelby Miller takes the league by storm.
This year, Miller is 13-9 with a 3.05 ERA and 161 strikeouts.
Miller gives the Cardinals three guys who are legitimate No. 1 starters, including Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn. The latter may not get the credit he deserves, but he's pitched like a No. 1 starter for the Cardinals.
For Miller, the expectations are high and he's met them. And that's exactly what the Cardinals needed once they found out about Carpenter.
2. Jose Iglesias, Detroit Tigers
Jhonny Peralta was suspended as part of the Biogenesis scandal, so the Detroit Tigers went ahead and made a trade for Jose Iglesias to fill the hole.
What the Tigers got in Iglesias was a good, young shortstop who has great range at the position.
He's batting .317 with three home runs and 29 RBI, and with that defense, he could conceivably beat out Wil Myers for AL Rookie of the Year.
It was all about perfect timing for the Tigers. They lost a good player in Peralta at a key position and were immediately ready to fill in that spot with a better player when they lost him.
1. Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins
Talk all you want about the Marlins' fire sale (again), but Jose Fernandez is the real deal.
For a team that is chock-full of youngsters, Fernandez can sure bring the heat every night.
The Marlins have lost Ricky Nolasco, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Anibal Sanchez within the last year. While many thought the Marlins' pitching would be total garbage after that, Fernandez has proven them wrong.
Thus far, Fernandez is 12-6 with 2.19 ERA and 187 strikeouts. He's been simply phenomenal on a horrible team.
With Giancarlo Stanton leading the offense and Fernandez leading the pitching staff, the Marlins could do some damage in years to come as long as the other pieces around them continue to develop.