The 2018 MLB Season hosted a plethora of breakthrough seasons and rookies blowing up early. Both the American and National Leagues boast no shortage of young talent that not only showed great promise, but also bright futures for their respective organizations. As the 2019 season approaches, the baseball world will be waiting to see these players replicate those same numbers.
Here are some of the brightest young looking to rise even higher in 2019.
MLB Future Superstars: American League
Blake Snell: Tampa Bay Rays
The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner has positioned himself as a cornerstone for Tampa Bay’s future. Blake Snell led the league in both wins (21) and ERA (1.89). With Snell in tow, the Rays ended the 2018 season as one the American League’s best pitching teams. Now with Charlie Morton in tow, Snell ought to soak in any knowledge from his fellow 2018 All-star and 2017 World Series Champion. If he could learn from Morton, along with further improving his arm, Snell should have no trouble defending his Cy Young next season.
Shohei Ohtani: Los Angeles Angels
The legend of Shohei Ohtani has become a reality. What he accomplished in his native Japan, Ohtani, without a doubt, replicated in the MLB and took the league by storm. A threat from both the mound and the batter’s box, he finished his rookie season with a 4-2 pitching record and a 3.31 ERA. He also tallied 22 home runs, 61 RBI and a .285 batting average. With numbers like these, it shocked no one when he was announced the AL Rookie of the Year. The Angels, meanwhile, should look into how they can better utilize Ohtani’s skill set, and emphasize long-term goals over short-term with the young gun.
Alex Bregman: Houston Astros
Houston Astros fans should not worry too much about what the future may hold. Several household names, as well as colossal postseason success, are entering the fray for 2019. Alex Bregman, their young third baseman, had a 2018 season to remember. Bregman burst onto the scene with his bat, cashing in career highs in batting average, home runs, and RBI’s. This breakthrough would land the 24-year old onto the American League roster in the 2018 All-Star game. Bregman can no doubt rise to the occasion, even when none of the starters are injured. If he can continue to improve his game, Bregman could take home quite a few batting awards in the near future.
MLB Future Superstars: National League
Ronald Acuna Jr.: Atlanta Braves
The 2018 NL Rookie of the Year is an All-Star in the making. Ronald Acuna Jr. has showcased potential on defense and offense. In his inaugural season, he recorded 26 home runs and 64 RBIs. With young players like Acuna on board, the Braves took home the NL East pennant and back in the October fray. Although their run got cut short, they have taken a huge step in the right direction. Acuna Jr. and company should reflect on what went right and what went wrong in 2018. If Acuna can sharpen up his approach even further, Acuna could help Atlanta return to the playoffs and then a lot more.
Javier Baez: Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs had a surprisingly short postseason, getting eliminated in the NLDS. Though concerns rise, the emergence of Javier Baez could provide a jump-start to Chicago’s 2019. Baez recorded career highs from the batter’s box, including 34 home runs and an NL leading 111 RBI’s. The young infielder would also take his first Silver-Slugger as a result of the outing. Baez’s future looks bright with the Cubs. But the rest of the team, meanwhile, will have to adjust and expand their approach to exceed the results of the previous season.
Kyle Freeland & Trevor Story: Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies have shown to be a force to be reckoned with, not just because they have the league’s best third baseman in Nolan Arenado. Young players have made their presences felt last season, mainly Trevor Story and Kyle Freeland. Trevor Story ended 2018 with 37 home runs, 108 RBI’s and a .291 batting average. Story also took home his first Silver-Slugger award. Meanwhile, Kyle Freeland has a stellar sophomore season. He boasted a 17-7 pitching record and a 2.85 ERA. With these future stars on board, it seems that Colorado has nowhere to go but up. But preparation and willing to learn more will be key ftocontinuing this kind of success.
Featured image courtesy of USA Today FTW
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