1: BRYCE HARPER –
Bryce Aron Max Harper (born October 16, 1992) is an American professional baseball outfielder for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball. Harper was selected by the Nationals with the first overall pick in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft. He stands at 6 feet 3 inches and weighs 225 lbs.
Harper won the 2010 Golden Spikes Award, awarded annually to the best amateur baseball player. Going into the 2012 season, baseball prospect-watchers, including Baseball America, MLB.com, and Baseball Prospectus routinely ranked Harper as a top-3 prospect. He made his MLB debut with the Nationals on April 28, 2012. Harper was selected for the 2012 All-Star Game, becoming the youngest position player to ever be selected. He has been touted as a “five-tool player“. He has been chosen as the No. 2 corner outfielder in the MLB by professional baseball analytics.
2: GIANCARLO STANTON –
Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton (born November 8, 1989) is an American professional baseball outfielder for the Miami Marlins of Major League Baseball(MLB). Prior to the 2012 season, he was known as “Mike” Stanton. He graduated from Notre Dame High School, before he was drafted by the Marlins in the2007 MLB Draft. He first appeared for the Marlins in the middle of the 2010 season. Stanton was selected to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2012 and 2014.
In November 2014, the Marlins signed Stanton to the richest contract in sports history, worth $325 million over as many as thirteen years.
3: MIKE TROUT –
Michael Nelson “Mike” Trout (born August 7, 1991) is an American professional baseball center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Major League Baseball (MLB). Trout is an American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award winner and three-time All-Star since becoming a regular player in 2012.
Trout was a first round pick by the Angels in the 2009 MLB draft, and made a brief major league appearance in 2011. He became a regular player for the Angels the subsequent season, and unanimously won the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year Award. Trout finished second in AL MVP voting in 2012 and 2013, before winning the award in 2014, along with the 2014 AL Hank Aaron Award. Trout is under contract with the Angels until the end of the 2020 season.
Trout’s MLB performances have received praise from both the mainstream media and sabermetricians, and he is regarded as one of the most outstanding young players in the history of baseball. Trout has led the major leagues in wins above replacement (WAR) during his three full seasons in MLB (according to Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.com).
4: BUSTER POSEY –
Gerald Dempsey “Buster” Posey III (born March 27, 1987) is an American professional baseball catcher and first baseman for the San Francisco Giants ofMajor League Baseball. He stands 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and weighs 215 pounds (98 kg). He bats and throws right-handed.
Posey grew up in Leesburg, Georgia. He played four sports in high school; when playing baseball, he excelled at hitting and pitching. He attended Florida State University, where he began playing the catcher position. He won the Golden Spikes Award in 2008 and was selected by the Giants with the fifth overall pick in the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft. Posey made his major league debut on September 11, 2009. After beginning the 2010 season in the minor leagues, he was called back up to the major leagues in May. He played first base when he came up, but became the Giants’ regular catcher at the end of June.
As a rookie, he finished with a .305 batting average, 18 home runs, and 67 runs batted in. He was named the National League (NL) Rookie of the Year. He caught every inning of the playoffs as the Giants won the 2010 World Series. In 2011, Posey missed most of the year after he was severely injured in a collision with Scott Cousins at home plate.
Posey returned from his injury in 2012 and posted a .336 batting average to win the 2012 NL batting title. He became the second San Francisco Giant to win the batting title and was named the NL Most Valuable Player for 2012. He won his second World Series that year as the Giants swept the Detroit Tigers in four games. On March 29, 2013, Posey signed a 9-year contract extension worth $167 million, a record in sum and in length for a player with his level of experience. He won his third World Series the following year as the Giants defeated the Kansas City Royals.
5: MICHAEL BRANTLEY –
Michael Charles Brantley, Jr. (born May 15, 1987) is an American professional baseball outfielder with the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball(MLB). He is the son of former MLB player and coach Mickey Brantley.
After starring for the Fort Pierce Central High School baseball team, the Milwaukee Brewers selected Brantley in the 2005 MLB Draft. After the 2008 season, Brantley was traded to the Indians along with other prospects for C.C. Sabathia. He made his MLB debut with the Indians in 2009. In 2014, Brantley was named an MLB All-Star and he won the Silver Slugger Award.
6: MIGUEL CABRERA –
José Miguel Cabrera Torres (born April 18, 1983), commonly known as Miguel Cabrera and nicknamed “Miggy”, is a Venezuelan professional baseball first baseman who plays for the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball (MLB). Since his debut in 2003 he is a two-time American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) award winner, and a nine-time MLB All-Star. He has played at first and third base for most of his major league career, but primarily played left andright field before 2006.
Cabrera was signed in 1999 as an amateur free agent by the Florida Marlins, and progressed through their minor league system. He made his MLB debut in mid-2003 at the age of 20, and contributed to the Marlins’ World Series success later that year. Cabrera was a regular player for the Marlins over the next four seasons before being traded to the Detroit Tigers in late 2007. In 2012, Cabrera became the first player since 1967 to win the batting Triple Crown, leading the AL with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs, and 139 RBI, earning him the AL MVP award that year. In 2013 Cabrera improved on the previous year’s batting performance, and received another AL MVP award.
Cabrera is widely regarded to be one of the best pure hitters in baseball, combining great power with a high batting average and walk rate, along with a lowstrikeout percentage. He has hit 30 or more home runs during nine separate seasons, has driven in over 100 runs in eleven consecutive seasons, and has a career .320 batting average. Cabrera has been praised for hitting many line drives and fly balls whilst maintaining a low pop-up rate, hitting the ball to all fields, and for his notable ability to drive inside pitches for home runs.
7: TROY TULOWITZKI –
Tulowitzki’s arm, range and instincts at shortstop are highly regarded. Furthermore, his size, ability and leadership skills have garnered him comparisons to Cal Ripken, Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. Nevertheless, he is often prone to injuries as he has averaged just 117 games played per season since his rookie campaign in 2007.
8: CLAYTON KERSHAW –
Clayton Edward Kershaw (born March 19, 1988) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball(MLB). A left-handed starting pitcher, Kershaw has played in the major leagues since 2008, and his career earned run average (ERA) is the lowest among starters in the live-ball era with a minimum of 1,000 innings pitched. He is also a three-time Cy Young Award winner and the 2014 National League Most Valuable Player.
Kershaw was drafted seventh overall in the 2006 MLB Draft. He worked his way through the Dodgers’ farm system in just one full season, and reached the majors at 20 years old. When he debuted in 2008, he was the youngest player in MLB, a title he held for one full year. In 2011, he won the pitching Triple Crown and the National League Cy Young Award, becoming the youngest pitcher to accomplish either of these feats since Dwight Gooden in 1985. Kershaw pitched a no-hitter on June 18, 2014, becoming the 22nd Dodger to do so. Being a left-handed strikeout pitcher and playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kershaw has often been compared to Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax. He became the first pitcher in history to lead MLB in ERA for four consecutive years when he did so in the 2011 through 2014 seasons.
Off the field, Kershaw is an active participant in volunteer work. He and his wife, Ellen, launched “Kershaw’s Challenge” and wrote the book Arise to raise money to build an orphanage in Zambia. He has been honored with the Roberto Clemente Award and the Branch Rickey Award for his humanitarian work.
9: MATT HARVEY –
Matthew Edward “Matt” Harvey (born March 27, 1989), nicknamed Dark Knight, is an American professional baseball pitcher for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball. The Mets drafted him with the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft. In his major league debut on July 26, 2012against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Harvey set a new club record with 11 strikeouts while earning his first career victory. Harvey previously played at Fitch Senior High School in Groton, Connecticut and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
10: JOSH DONALDSON –
Joshua Adam Donaldson (born December 8, 1985) is an American professional baseball third baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball. He previously played for the Oakland Athletics where he was an All-Star in 2014.
11: JOSE ALTUVE –
José Carlos Altuve (born May 6, 1990) is a Venezuelan professional baseball second baseman for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). Altuve made his major league debut in July 2011. As of 2014, he is the shortest active MLB player at 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 m). Altuve’s short stature has inspired an unofficial unit of measure, with baseball broadcasters asking “how many Altuve’s” a home run has traveled.
Altuve has been selected to two All-Star Games. In 2014, he became the first player in over 80 years to reach 130 hits and 40 stolen bases before the All-Star Game. That same season he became the first Astro to win the batting title after hitting .341.
12: ANDREW MCCUTCHEN –
McCutchen was drafted by the Pirates in the first round (11th overall) of the 2005 MLB Draft. He made his MLB debut in 2009. In 2012, he led the National League (NL) in hits (194), was the NL runner-up in batting average (.327), and was a NL Gold Glove winner. He was an All-Star for four seasons, and was the NL Most Valuable Player in 2013. McCutchen has also been signed a 6 year contract at a salary of $51.50 million.
13: MATT CARPENTER –
Matthew Martin Carpenter (born November 26, 1985) is an American professional baseball third baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Cardinals selected him in the 13th round of the 2009 MLB Draft from Texas Christian University (TCU). The team called him up to the majors for the first time on June 3, 2011, and he made his MLB debut the following night at Busch Stadium. He was their leadoff hitter from early in the 2013 season to early in the 2015 season.
Carpenter has also appeared at first base, second base, right field, and left field. A three-time second-team All Mountain West Conference selectee, he broke TCU’s school record for games played and at bats and is second in hits, doubles and walks. He was the Cardinals’ organization Player of the Year in 2010. A two-time MLB All-Star Game selection, he became the first Silver Slugger Award winner at second base in Cardinals franchise history after leading the major leagues in hits, runs scored and doubles in 2013. He is signed through 2019 with an option for 2020.
14: MASAHIRO TANAKA –
Masahiro Tanaka (田中 将大 Tanaka Masahiro?, born November 1, 1988) is a Japanese professional baseball starting pitcher for the New York Yankees ofMajor League Baseball (MLB). From 2007 through 2013, he played for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Nippon Professional Baseball‘s (NPB) Pacific League.
Tanaka led his high school team to a championship in the National High School Baseball tournament as a junior for Komazawa University Tomakomai High School in 2005 and a runner-up berth in the same tournament as a senior in 2006. Tanaka was the Eagles’ first-round pick in the 2006 NPB high school draftand was the team’s ace until the end of the 2013 season. From 2012 to 2013, he won 26 consecutive decisions, which broke an NPB record.
15: PRINCE FIELDER –
Prince Semien Fielder (born May 9, 1984) is an American professional baseball player for the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has also played for the Milwaukee Brewers and Detroit Tigers.
Fielder, a first baseman, was selected in the first round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft by the Brewers out of Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Florida. He spent the first seven years of his MLB career with the Brewers before signing with the Detroit Tigers in January 2012.
Fielder is a five-time All-Star and was previously the iron man leader for consecutive games played with 547 consecutive games. The streak ended in May 2014 when Fielder underwent season-ending neck surgery. He holds the Brewers’ team record for home runs in a season, and is the league’s youngest player to hit 50 home runs in a season. He became the first Brewer to win the Home Run Derby, defeating Nelson Cruz in the final round of the 2009 derby. He also won the 2012 derby, joining Ken Griffey, Jr. and Yoenis Cespedes as the only players to win more than one derby and becoming the first player to win the Derby as both an American League and a National League All-Star.