Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez—Cincinnati Reds: Cincinnati Reds fans across the world have more than just their young sluggers to be excited about. There is a buzz around this pitching staff that hasn't been felt around this city for many years!
Johnny Cueto's first major league start set the bar pretty high for this youngster (five perfect innings; 7 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 10 Ks) but he has the stuff to reach everyone expectations for years to come. Cueto has absolutely electric stuff that just explodes out of his hand almost effortlessly.
Pair this 22-year old with the newcomer Edinson Volquez (24-years old), and these two create a potentially dominating one-two punch for the Reds. Volquez was acquired in a trade this spring from the Texas Rangers for Josh Hamilton, and has been nothing short of amazing since joining Cincinnati.
Leading the majors with a mind-blowing 1.46 ERA, Edinson has proven (at least for now) that good pitching beats good hitting...even at Great American Ballpark!
Justin Verlander—Detroit Tigers: People forget that Justin is only 25-years old, as it seems this kid has been around forever! Verlander emerged on the scene in 2006 showing off his 100 MPH fastball, and almost unhittable curve. Quite possibly owning the best "stuff" in the majors, Verlander (barring injury) will certainly be something special and exciting for fans to watch for many years.
Joba Chamberlain—New York Yankees: The "Joba Era" begins now. The Yankees are finally moving this young man into their starting rotation, and it has created quite a buzz around Yankee Stadium. This kid is beyond exciting on the mound, and has the kind of swagger that will go over big in New York. I, like many others, am very excited about seeing his first start this week!
Tim Lincecum—San Francisco Giants: "He'll never make it long term", "poor mechanics-I'd pass on him". Reportedly, this was part of the scouting report during before the 2004 MLB Draft, convincing the Cincinnati Reds to pass on the young fireballer.
Now, it's a little early to determine how he will be "long-term", but right now, this kid is flat out nasty. With a motion that is oozing with deceptiveness, Lincecum is certainly living up to the nickname given to him by his teammates..."The Franchise".
Scott Kazmir—Tampa Bay Rays: Part of one of the most lopsided trades in the history of baseball, Scott Kazmir is now showing why he was "untouchable" while coming up through the New York Mets' minor-league system. Untouchable...so everyone thought!
In a move that can only be explained as "desperation", the Mets traded Kazmir to the Rays for a 'veteran' arm (Victor Zambrano) to help in their playoff run of 2004. This move was, and still is, widely criticized by Mets fans and the New York media and rightfully so.
Anyone that saw Scott pitch during his "up-and-coming" years knew what kind of pitcher he would turn out to be, and no one could believe that he could possibly be traded for any Zambrano not named Carlos. The Rays have a very bright future, and it all begins with the ace they stole from New York.