Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
In baseball, there is always the promise of young talents breaking out and becoming stars. Especially now as we have more young sensational talent around the MLB, there is always a young superstar around the corner.
Baseball has something special when it comes to young talent. No other sport has the hype built around minor league teams like baseball does. Young football stars come from the draft, and either sink or swim. The NBA has implemented the D-League in attempts to develop young talent into superstars. Despite this, the MLB still holds an allure with its farm system that can’t be matched anywhere else in America. This allure causes us fans to always be on the lookout for the next big break out stars. With so much youth talent, it is almost impossible for the game of baseball to run out of superstars.
Whether it be rookies that are finally getting a chance to test their worth in the big leagues, or a young player already in the MLB that is finding their footing, there always seems to be breakout superstars. That is why we have our Kris Bryant‘s, Mike Trout‘s, and Bryce Harper‘s. These guys now seem like veterans, but are all under 25 and are welcoming a new age of young talent. Every year we will see this trend in the game of baseball, and every year baseball’s talent pool will get deeper and more diverse.
With the new sensation of signing international free agents, there are so many outlets for MLB teams to bolster their teams. No longer do they need to settle with what they have, as they are quickly developing home-grown talent and scouting the world for the next superstar. The MLB has become worldwide, and that is causing the waves of youth talent to take over baseball. So, let’s take a look at the players ready to break out in 2017.
Julio Urias got a premature call up to the big leagues last season, and he didn’t do as bad as everyone thought. After the Dodgers pitching staff got bombarded with injuries, the Dodgers had to pull the trigger on the then nineteen year old. Many expected Urias to make it to the MLB as early as 2017, but just two months ago we watched him pitch in the postseason. Urias, who is quickly developing, will break out in 2017 and be the true number 2 behind Clayton Kershaw.
The start to Urias’ career wasn’t the best. Urias’ first two games saw him let up eight runs in only 7.2 innings pitched. It was obvious the young leftie was nervous, and honestly likely wasn’t anticipated such a jump in talent. However, Urias ended the season with a 5-2 record and a 3.39 ERA. As the season went on Urias only got better and better. In the months of August and September Urias went 4-0, with a 1.99 ERA. Sure, Urias only threw just under 40 innings in that time frame, but he started showing more comfort and better production at the big league level.
This improvement with time is all the more reason Urias will break out next season. The Dodgers will have a longer leash on Urias, and allow him to pitch more than previous years. With so much pitching depth, Los Angeles hopefully won’t need to start Urias if they don’t have to. If soreness occurs, there are many other options to fill in on slot in the rotation. Urias will only get better with time, and 2017 will see him break out as a sensational talent.
Yoan Moncada is the most hyped prospect in baseball, and that is what caused the Red Sox to acquire Chris Sale. In case you haven’t heard by now, Moncada was part of a package deal sent to the White Sox in exchange for Chris Sale. Already having some MLB experience, the twenty-one year old Moncada will likely see himself alongside fellow Cuban Jose Abreu next season. Moncada is perhaps the most hyped up prospect since Bryce Harper, and undoubtedly will break out in 2017, likely winning the AL Rookie of the Year.
Moncada hasn’t seen much MLB time in his life, last season the Red Sox called him up to play in 8 games. Moancada has 20 plate appearances, one walk, three hits, and twelve strike outs. That may not seem promising, but at twenty-one years old with insane athletic ability Moncada will turn that ship around next season. With above power numbers, and an insane amount of steals, Moncada looks destined to be a five tool player. If he could get the strike outs down, he would be well above a .300 hitter. The good thing is, once again, he is only twenty-one years old.
While Moncada may not find himself in Chicago on opening day, there is no doubt he will spend most of his time at the big league level. The White Sox have no real talent blocking him, with perhaps the only player able to block him being Todd Frazier. Moncada though can play third, second and left field. With his athletic ability and flexibility to play where the Sox need him, it is undeniable that we will see Moncada in 2017.
If Yoan Moncada is destined to win the AL Rookie of the Year, Dansby Swanson is destined to win the NL Rookie of the Year. Swanson will follow directly in the footsteps of fellow shortstop Corey Seager. Both Seager and Swanson played their first MLB games at the end of the season, not exceeding the Rookie limits. Seager played 27, Swanson played 38. They had similar numbers, within one home run, same runs batted in, and similar batting averages. They’re even within three months old of each other! Just like Seager, Swanson will break out and become one of baseball’s best shortstops.
Swanson, who will be 23 in February, has excelled at the minor league level. Swanson has raised through the ranks this year, being as low as advanced A ball all the way to the MLB. In the minors Swanson has posted a .277/.367/.435 slash line with 64 walks in 127 games. He has good fielding, and seems to have that “it” factor to excel in the big leagues. In an already crowded talent pool Swanson will undoubtedly stand out. The former Vanderbilt stud seems made out to be the future of the Atlanta Braves, and that future starts now.
Urias, Moncada, and Swanson will be a young three-headed dragon in 2017. Much like Trout, Harper, and Frazier were in 2012 the trio will battle to be the next big thing. Urias is ineligible to win the Rookie of the Year since he exceeded his limits in 2016, however he will still battle to be the best. With Swanson and Moncada winning Rookie of the Year, and Urias becoming one of baseball’s best pitchers, 2017 will be an exciting year.