Baseball season is finally upon us! Here are some young, up and coming bats that could do some damage in 2016.
10. Byron Buxton
OF – Minnesota Twins
Buxton was called up to the bigs last season as one of the top prospects in baseball. Unfortunately he was a pretty big disappointment in the 46 games he played. His .209 batting average, 10 extra base hits and six RBI in 2015 were underwhelming to say the least. Buxton was able to lift his average up to .239 in spring training though, and Minnesota still believes in him. Buxton is expected to take a big step forward in 2016, but we’ll see if it happens.
9. Eddie Rosario
OF – Minnesota Twins
Rosario played 122 games for the Twins last season. He hit .276, blasting 13 home runs and 50 RBI. Rosario has great speed and shows it with his ability to get extra base hits — 18 doubles and 15 triples in 2015. Rosario showed improvement in spring training, batting .288 in 52 plate appearances.
8. Jonathan Schoop
2B – Baltimore Orioles
Schoop has played about a year and a half up with the O’s, more in 2014 than 2015. Although he’s struggled at the plate at times, he improved his average last season and has 32 career homers. Schoop smacked three more dingers in spring training, but more importantly hit .339 over 59 at bats. If he can keep hitting for average with his power as a middle infielder, Schoop is going to be a valuable commodity in 2016, especially in this dangerous Baltimore order.
7. Addison Russell
2B/SS – Chicago Cubs
At just 22-years old, the Cubs infielder is ahead of the curve with 142 big league games under his belt. Russell hit .242 in those games last season, combining speed and power for 13 long balls and 29 doubles. He’s raised his average in spring training to .260 and shown even more power with 5 homers in 50 plate appearances. Russell’s prime years may be even further in the future, but he’s going to grow along the way in 2016. Just wait until that average and power rises to its peak.
6. Matt Duffy
3B – San Fransisco Giants
Duffy had a very good season for the Giants last year, but he hasn’t yet reached his ceiling if you ask most MLB people. 169 hits including 28 doubles, 12 homers, 77 RBI and 77 runs scored in 2015 all while hitting nearly .300 was great. Duffy is still projected to make the jump to an elite 3B in 2016.
5. Kevin Pillar
OF – Toronto Blue Jays
This will be Pillar’s second full season in The Show. He broke in during the 2013 season playing 36 games, working his way into the full-time job in centerfield for 2015 — playing 159 games. Pillar was fantastic, hitting .278 with 12 homers and 25 steals. There’s speculation he can improve on those numbers and have a monster 2016. He definitely flies under the radar in such a stacked Toronto lineup.
4. Corey Seager
SS – Los Angeles Dodgers
The highly touted prospect only got 13 at bats in spring training, but it appears he’ll be the Dodgers opening day shortstop. After being called up last season, Seager was an impressive 33-for-98 at the dish (.337), and drew an additional 14 walks. Seager has home run power and will be in the middle of Magic Johnson’s All-Star order. He should thrive in his first full season with the job.
3. Tyler Naquin
OF – Cleveland Indians
The 24-year old throws righty but bats lefty. Naquin is coming off back-to-back seasons in the minors hitting at least .300, and although he’s not a HR hitter, the speedster gets on base. This kid is Cleveland’s centerfielder of the future, having arguably the best spring training of ANYONE this season — going 22-for-49 at the dish (.449 average) with four homers and seven RBI.
2. Trevor Story
SS – Colorado Rockies
Jose Reyes has some off the field issues, but Story was going to be the guy at short regardless. Story had an elite 2015 season in the minor leagues — .279 average, 20 homers (50 more XB hits), 80 RBI, scored 83 runs and swiped 22 bags. Story was even better in spring training, hitting .354 with six homers and 13 RBI in 48 plate appearances. This kid is going to have himself a hell of a rookie season.
1. Maikel Franco
3B – Philadelphia Phillies
Franco played about half the season with the Phillies last season and some would argue he already “broke out” during that time. His talent was obvious — 14 HR/50 RBI while batting .280. He’s been even better this spring training — .292 average, eight homers, 21 RBI. If he’s healthy for all of 2016, many believe Franco has the ability to hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 runs. That’s taking things to the next level.
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