Friday, March 28, 2008

The Future Stars of Kinsella

These players project to be the best player at their respective position out of all players currently in the league who are 25 or under. I’ve picked one person for every position with at least one runner-up, a five man rotation, and a trio of relievers.

CJolbert Saenz, Minnesota Twins, Age 22: His combination of durability, hitting skills, game calling ability, and catching defense are unmatched by any current or future major leaguer. Coming off of the AAA AL MVP season, he looks like a perennial all-star and the envy of all of the leagues GMs.
Runner-up- Magglio Molina, Philadelphia Philles, Age 22: Almost as good as Saenz and looks to dominate NL catchers in similar fashion.

1BDee Dee Hutton, Atlanta Braves, Age 21: For the key offensive position on the field, this was the closest race of any position as there are many worthy players here: Brandon Sutton, NY Yankees, Age 21; Kevin Marte, Montreal Expos, Age 23; Pedro Garrido, Philadelphia Phillies, Age 24; Travis Murphy, Anaheim Angels, Age 20; and Valerio Guillen, Boston Red Sox, Age 24. In a case of splitting hairs, Hutton’s combination of power and batting eye is what gave him the nod.

2BClyde Redmond, Pittsburgh Pirates, Age 22: With excellent plate discipline, he is going to be an OBP machine for years to come, while being a decent fielding second sacker with good base running skills and playing nearly every day.
Runner-up- Sam Kubinski, Minnesota Twins, Age 22: Although he has been playing CF in the minors, he seems better suited to play 2B at the major league level. No matter where he plays, that big bat is going to make him a rich man as he may go yard 40+ times a season.

3B - Francisco Guillen, New York Yankees, Age 21: At a position that lacks any true marquee offensive talents, Guillen gets the nod over Willie Jose of the San Diego Padres (Age 22) with better contact and his switch-hitting ability which allows him to hit equally well against lefties or righties.

SS - Doug Stewart, Florida Marlins, Age 18: This season’s #2 pick looks to be the closest thing this league has to the second coming of Jake Clapp. While able to competently field the shortstop position, he will be swinging one of the biggest bats in the league while also possessing outstanding plate discipline.
Runner-up- Cliff Rivers, Baltimore Orioles, Age 22: Despite a rough rookie season, Rivers has the talent to become the best overall AL shortstop.

LFHarry Reid, Cleveland Indians, Age 25: After making the All-Star team as a rookie last season and following that up with an even better season this time around, Reid looks like he is well on his way to a very successful career.
Runner-up - Douglas Carpenter, Cincinnati Reds, Age 19: Carpenter is a fearsome slugger, currently playing CF in the minors, but lacks the skills for ML CF.

CF - Damian Chen, Detroit Tigers, Age 21: With a combination of great fielding, speed, power, excellent hitting ability, and the durability to play every day, Chen looks like the best of the crop of young centerfielders.
Runner-up- Enrique Pena, Philadelphia Phillies, Age 19: If Pena could actually play at full strength for more than 110 games in a season, he would not only hold the top spot at CF, he would be one of the best all-around players in the game.

RF - Guy Cunningham, New York Yankees, Age 21: When Cunningham fully matures, he will be a very tough out and will most certainly get on base more than 40% of the time every season while also providing excellent power.
Runner-up: Eric Roosevelt, Atlanta Braves, Age 22: Roosevelt is a bigtime slugger with excellent plate discipline. Between Roosevelt, Hutton, and Dan Guerrero, the balls will be flying out of Turner Field at a rapid pace.

DH - Bernard Springer, Montreal Expos, Age 23: Yes, I know. Springer plays in the NL and is a catcher. Springer is a catcher just like Mike Piazza was a catcher, a guy with a huge bat who doesn’t completely embarrass himself back there.
Runner-up- Tripp Devereaux, Cleveland Indians, Age 23: Tripp brings a huge power bat to the plate and the discipline to wait for his pitches and earn plenty of walks. Although he does spend some time behind the plate, his true calling is as a DH.
Also deserving of mention is Darryl Whitaker, Anaheim Angels, Age 24, who actually plays all of his games at DH and just finished a spectacular 50 HR season en route to his second consecutive AL silver slugger award.

If Only They Could Play More Games-
Jolbert Romero, San Francisco Giants, Age 22: This catcher, who belongs at DH, could be one of the greatest hitters in the game. Unfortunately, he only has the durability to play about 100 games a season and he will be lucky to ever do that since his body appears to be as brittle as glass.
Louie Mercedes, Portland Beavers, Age 19: When he plays, this kid has the potential to be superior to Saenz as the best backstop in the game. However, his body is just as brittle as Romero and his pathetic durability would only allow him to play in about 70 games at the most.

Ozzie Percival, Washington DC Nationals, Age 23: After his Cy Young runner-up performance this season, Percival has started his run in which he looks to be the most dominant starting pitcher for the next 10+ seasons.
Branch Vitiello, Minnesota Twins, Age 22: Likely to make his ML debut next season, Vitiello looks like he will become the AL version of Percival.
Esteban Marquez, New York Yankees, Age 21: Signed this season as an international free agent, Marquez is a tricky southpaw with 2 devastating pitches, a 4-seam fastball and a slurve.
Walt Hernandez, New York Mets, Age 22: This season’s #1 pick is a fireballing lefty with an intimidating fastball and looks to become the primary rival to Percival’s Cy Young candidacy.
Tony Stankiewicz, New York Mets, Age 23: There will be two aces in Shea as Stankiewicz is another hard throwing lefty. Walt and Tony will be quite a 1-2 punch at the top of the Mets rotation.
Runner-up: Scot Pickford, Cincinnati Reds, Age 24: Just missed the list by the slimmest of margins and is a big reason that the Reds are where they are now.

Daniel Kennedy, Arizona Diamondbacks, Age 25: Had the most dominant performance of any closer in the game this season.
Karim Wallace, Boston Red Sox, Age 24: Had an outstanding season as one of the top closers in the AL.
Miguel Tatis, Boston Red Sox, Age 24: Seemingly underutilized this season in a right-hand specialist role, Tatis has the skills to be an excellent reliever.
Runner-up: John McCall, New York Yankees, Age 23: What started as an outstanding season went south when elbow tendonitis put McCall on the shelf for a big chunk of the season. Time will tell if he can completely recover and reach his full potential.

If Only They Could Pitch More-
Merv Christopher, Philadelphia Phillies, Age 21; Weldon Roberts, Montreal Expos, Age 23; Wascar Santana, Detroit Tigers, Age 20: If this trio had the necessary stamina and/or durability to spend more time on the mound and less time watching games from the bullpen, then their pitching skills would make them some of the best closers in the game.

1 comment:

  1. Looking back, I really enjoy this article...

    But you REALLY dropped the ball not mentioning J.J. Perez, a catcher in my Blue Jays orginization.

    He's 24 just like Jolbert Saenz is, but has better defensive numbers and a higher ceiling. Plus he's been over 1.000 in OPS in all 3 of his minor-league seasons. He's got to be preseason ROY favorite in the AL this season.