MLB 2016: Dodgers' Corey Seager among rookies to watch
When it comes to the next generation of baseball stars, another wave of shortstops is forming on the horizon. A couple of tough lefties are coming, too.
Check out these major league rookies in 2016, beginning with a pair of prospects with postseason experience:
- SS Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers: The sweet-swinging North Carolina native is one of the favorites for NL Rookie of the Year after an impressive debut in the final month of last season. Seager hit .337 with four homers and 17 RBIs in 27 games with Los Angeles, and then went 3 for 16 in the Dodgers' division series loss to the New York Mets.
- LHP Steven Matz, New York Mets: The second-round pick in the 2009 draft brought his electric stuff to the majors last year and went 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA in six starts, returning from a partially torn muscle in his upper back to help New York win the NL East for the first time since 2006. Matz, who turns 25 in May, also had a 3.68 ERA in three playoff starts.
- LHP Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays: The Seattle native rocketed through the minors last year, going 15-4 with a sparkling 1.41 ERA in 25 games over three levels. He appears ticketed for Triple-A Durham at the start of the season, but it likely won't be long before he makes his debut in the rough-and-tumble AL East.
- SS Trea Turner, Washington Nationals: The 22-year-old Turner came over from San Diego last June, completing a three-team deal from December 2014 that moved Wil Myers from the Rays to the Padres. The Nationals think he needs some work on his defense and leadership skills, but he hit .322 with 29 steals over three minor league stops last year.
- OF Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins: The second overall pick in the 2012 draft has been one of baseball's top prospects for years but is still searching for success in the majors. He batted .209 with two homers and six RBIs in his first stint with Minnesota last season. A breakout year for the speedy center fielder could go a long way toward helping the Twins contend in the AL Central.
- SS Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies: With Jose Reyes on paid leave while facing domestic violence charges, the 23-year-old Story made a strong bid for the starting shortstop job in spring training. He had 20 homers and 80 RBIs over two minor league stops last year.
- OF Aaron Judge, New York Yankees: The 6-foot-7 Judge was selected by New York in the first round of the 2013 draft out of Fresno State. He hit 20 homers in the minors last season and could be one of the first options for the Yankees if they have any injuries in the outfield this summer.
- SS Orlando Arcia, Milwaukee Brewers: The top minor league prospect for rebuilding Milwaukee is expected to begin the season at Triple-A Colorado Springs. With the offseason trade of Jean Segura to Arizona, the Brewers could hand over the shortstop job to the 21-year-old Arcia at some point this year. The slick fielder also hit .307 with eight homers and 69 RBIs with Double-A Biloxi last season.
- LHP Sean Manaea, Oakland Athletics: The 6-5 Manaea was a key component of the July 28 trade that sent Ben Zobrist to Kansas City. After going 7-1 with a 2.66 ERA in the minors last year, the big lefty could join Oakland's rotation in 2016.
- SS J.P. Crawford, Philadelphia Phillies: The 6-2 Crawford hit .288 in 107 games last year with Class A Clearwater and Double-A Reading. The first-round pick from the 2013 draft just turned 21 in January and could be a key part of Philadelphia's infield for a long time.
- 1B A.J. Reed, Houston Astros: The lefty power bat could join Houston's lineup at some point this year after clubbing 34 homers and driving in 127 runs over two minor league stops last season. Reed was a second-round pick in 2014 out of Kentucky, where he also was a successful pitcher for the Wildcats.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap