Now on to the Senior Circuit! In 2015, NL Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant led an impressive crop of players that included Maikel Franco, Randal Grichuk, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Duffy, Jung-ho Kang, Kyle Schwarber and Joc Pederson. Which 2016 NL rookies will break out this year? Let’s take a look…
Corey Seager, Dodgers: Currently the #1 prospect in all of baseball, Seager made his professional debut in 2015 and batted at the top of the order in the postseason. He was one of the most consistent hitters while in the majors, and his brief tenure provides a glimpse of his expected stardom that’s soon to follow. He can hit for solid power and for average. Currently a shortstop, Corey figures to eventually transition over to the hot corner like his older brother, All-Star Kyle Seager.
Kenta Maeda, Dodgers: Maeda was one of the best players in the Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball League before signing an eight-year pact with Los Angeles. While across the Pacific, Kenta has gathered 5 All-Star selections and 5 Golden Glove awards (equivalent of the Gold Glove in the MLB). Maeda has also won the Eiji Samawura award that’s given to the best pitcher of the year (equivalent of the MLB’s Cy Young). In 2010 when he won the Samawura, he also led the league in ERA, wins, and strikeouts to become the youngest pitcher in NPB history to get the Triple Crown.
Lucas Giolito, Nationals: Currently the #3 prospect in the majors, Giolito has lightning stuff in his pitches and is a hard-thrower. He has all the right pieces to be an ace in the always talented Nationals rotation. At only 21 years of age, Giolito has time to mature, but the Nationals, who have lost Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister this year and Strasburg next year, figure to use him heavily later in 2016.
Trea Turner, Nationals: The #11 prospect in the MLB, Turner became famous when he was the player-to-be-named in last year’s Steven Souza three-team swap. With the loss of Ian Desmond this year, Danny Espinosa figures to be a stopgap until the Nationals deem Turner ready to become their everyday starting shortstop.
Steven Matz, Mets: Matz, #15 prospect in MLB, made his highly anticipated debut in 2015 and figures to be an important piece of the Mets’ rotation for years to come. Beside the other Mets’ young hurlers, Matz should continue to post solid numbers and elevate himself onto baseball’s spotlight in 2016.
Tyler Glasnow, Pirates: Glasnow, another top-10 prospect, might take some time to reach the big leagues this year. He has proven that he can handle Double-A pitching, and while it’s not a rarity to see pitchers jump from AA to the MLB, the Pirates will likely opt to give him some conditioning in AAA before they call up their best prospect. Once he does arrive, expect Glasnow to put up stellar numbers like he did in the minors.
EARLY FAVORITE: Corey Seager
What do you guys think? Are there any other rookies that we should all look out for in 2016? Will someone other Seager win the NL ROY? Maeda? Turner? Sound off below!