As the NFL comes to a close, it is time to start preparing for the baseball season. Last years, the San Francisco Giants won it all, led by a rookie, Buster Posey. Other rookie stars included Steven Strasburg and Jason Heyward. It’s time to begin speculating what rookies will make an immediate splash in the big leagues this year. Below are the top three prospects expected to make big impacts during the 2011 MLB season.
No.1: Bryce Harper: Washington Nationals: Many will criticize me for saying that Harper is major league ready but in my opinion he is. If you have watched his interviews you know he is mature and has no problems facing the media or answering questions. He doesn’t hesitate when asked a difficult question and that is what you look for in a rookie. His demeanor reminds me of Jason Heyward’s last year. Harper is one of the most promising bats in the minor leagues right now. He demolished the first bit of minor league pitching he saw last year, although he didn’t play in many games. Harper has been gunned at 90 MPH throwing from home plate to second base and 96 MPH from the pitching mound to home plate. The Nationals have an opening in left field right now and they need a way to bring fans in. Strasburg will reportedly be out for the entire season and Harper could certainly fill his shoes.
No.2: Mike Moustakas: Kansas City Royals: Moustakas is just one of the many promising young players in the Royals system. Kansas City has the number one farm system in all of baseball right now and could be a contender in several years. It is all about timing from here on out. The Royals must make sure their young players are “MLB ready” before bringing them up or they may have bad careers, much like Alex Gordon has had so far. I think Moustakas may be one of the few of their prospects that is ready. He had a great season in the minors last year. The Royals have also invited their number one pick from last year, pitcher Aaron Crow from Missouri, to spring training. Kansas City’s pitching rotation looks very weak right now and bringing Crow up too early could hurt him later in his career.
No.3: Jesus Montero: New York Yankees: There are rumors starting to swirl about Jorge Posada not wanting to catch anymore. He is saying he would be fine playing a daily DH role. If this turns out to be in the Yankees plans, Montero may be called up to perform catching duties. Montero has the tools to be an all star caliber catcher but there is speculation about his ability to hit. I don’t get too concerned with a players ability to hit, especially in the Yankees organization, because they have so many other all stars, plus an array of great coaches who will get this kid on the right track. Don’t expect Montero to have a Buster Posey type rookie season, but I would expect him to do well if he gets the chance.