After watching Stephen Strasburg carve through the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup in his major league debut to the tune of 14 strikeouts in 7 dominant innings, I couldn't help but think how monumental 2010 could be in the history of baseball.
First, we had Jason Heyward make his much anticipated debut on Opening Day, April 5th. He hit a homerun on his first swing as a major league hitter and hasn't looked back. His .266/.396/.511 stat line in 54 games this season is staggering for a 20-year old who is playing every day. Heyward seems well on his way to a fantastic career.
Today, we had the debuts of two huge prospects in the NL, Stephen Strasburg and Mike Stanton.
We were all awed by Stephen Strasburg's 99 MPH fastball, knee-buckling curveball, un-hittable changeup and pinpoint control in his dominating first start. Everyone who watched any part of that game will be telling their grandchildren years from now that they saw Strasburg break into the major leagues. That's the kind of performance it was and that's the kind of career Strasburg is likely to have.
Mike Stanton was lost in all the hype of the Stephen Strasburg start, but he wasn't so bad himself in his major league debut, going 3-5 and playing right field in the Marlins 10-8 loss to the Phillies. Stanton had insane power numbers in the minor leagues and is only 20 years old! I can't wait to see what he can do as he continues to mature physically.
These three guys are going to be dominant for a long time, but they aren't alone in their rookie stardom. Here are some more dominating rookies who should be the face of the MLB for years to come:
- Neftali Feliz (2.73 ERA and AL-leading 15 saves)
- Drew Storen (1.93 ERA in 10 relief appearances)
- Justin Smoak (15% walk rate, 25% line drive rate and 6 homeruns)
- Buster Posey (.455 avg in 35 PA this season)
- Starlin Castro (19-year old defensive whiz hitting .272)
- Madison Bumgarner (1.80 ERA in 10 innings with 10 strikeouts)
- Jaime Garcia (1.47 ERA in 67.1 innings)
- Ike Davis (.261/.360/.451 in 41 games)
- Mike Leake (5-0 with a 2.22 ERA in 73 innings)
- Austin Jackson (hitting .318 with speed on the bases and in the outfield)
Even with all of these impressive rookies that have made their debuts already, there are even more top-notch talent players on the way for later in this season. Players like Aroldis Chapman, Pedro Alvarez, Carlos Santana, Tanner Scheppers, Desmond Jennings and Kyle Drabek could also make their debuts during this season.
We haven't seen a wave of young talent like since 2001 when Ichiro, Albert Pujols, CC Sabathia, Alfonso Soriano, Roy Oswalt, Brian Roberts, Adam Dunn, Ben Sheets, Carlos Zambrano, Josh Beckett and Carlos Pena all made their debuts.
Be sure to enjoy the 2010 MLB season, because it will probably be remembered as the year with one of the best rookie classes ever and the year that two of the best players ever (Strasburg and Heyward) made their debuts.