Top five rookies heading into the 2014 MLB season that are bound to have future success in the league.
Xander Bogaerts – SS – Boston Red Sox
Bogaerts saw time with the big club at the end of last season and contributed to Boston’s championship run. Bogaerts has decent pop for a shortstop and has demonstrated an ability to get on base in the minor leagues. His minor league defensive numbers looked a bit iffy, but he went errorless in his 2013 big-league regular season action, so we’ll have to see how he does in the field this year. A left side of the infield with Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks might not be a bad thing, if Middlebrooks reverts to his 2012 form.
Nick Castellanos – 3B – Detroit Tigers
This is why Detroit felt comfortable trading Prince Fielder to Texas. Castellanos should step in as the everyday third sacker for the Tigers in 2014, moving Miggy Cabrera to first. Castellanos will be able hit reasonably well, though there may be questions about his power production from a corner infield spot. His minor league fielding suggests that he could be a mixed bag defensively, with a switch to the outfield an eventual possibility.
Masahiro Tanaka – RHP – New York Yankees
The track record for Japanese pitchers coming over here is spotty, ranging from Yu Darvish’s performance in two years here to Hideki Irabu’s yuckiness. Evaluators tend to indicate that Tanaka will be closer to Darvish and Mariners righty Hisashi Iwakuma. The Yankees are certainly hoping so. The v video of his save he picked up in game seven of the Japanese World Series, and his stuff sure looks nasty enough.
Taijuan Walker – RHP – Seattle Mariners
The Mariners announced that Walker will open the season in the major league rotation, so he will be given a chance to build on a good three start trial at the end of last season. Seattle will be pleased if he pitches well enough to slot in as a third guy behind King Felix and Iwakuma this year. Expect more in future seasons.
Oscar Taveras – OF – St. Louis Cardinals
Taveras' contribution may depend on his health, as he had ankle surgery in August. If healthy, he may be in the lineup to start the season. His numbers suggest that he could be dangerous at the plate and possibly on the bases. The speed also indicates capable outfield defense.
Miguel Sano - 3B – Minnesota Twins
I'm listing Sano here because I am actually hoping the Twins don't bring him up this year. His power potential is lights out, and evaluators have been drooling over him since Minnesota signed him. I don't think he'll be ready for the Show this year, but he could surprise me. He's predicting that he could hit 45-55 bombs this year, and he could be right. I just don't think he'll do it in a Twins uniform, at any point. I have some concerns about Target Field's power suppression, as I vaguely recall hearing that homer numbers are down there.
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