LOCKDOWN MODE

Eric Hosmer isn't the only exciting young player whom teams should try to keep under control for as long as possible. These coming stars are next in line for a long-term contract
May 21, 2012

STARLIN CASTRO

CUBS

Now in his third season, the 22-year-old shortstop is a career .307 hitter (.331 this year) on raw talent alone. He's erratic in the field and on the bases and can be too aggressive at the plate (four walks in his first 147 plate appearances in 2012). But his age and tools point to superstar upside.

BRYCE HARPER

NATIONALS

Too soon? Not when you consider that Harper, 19, hasn't been overwhelmed in the majors when most of his peers are in A ball. It may be too hard to buy out his free-agent years. Harper could be the first $300 million player if he hits the market on schedule, after the 2017 season, at age 26.

BRETT LAWRIE

BLUE JAYS

The 22-year-old's bat has never been questioned. (Over his first 316 big league plate appearances Lawrie hit .291 with 12 homers.) The shock is that the former catcher and second baseman is so good at third. Teams want to bet on complete players. Lawrie appears to be one.

GIANCARLO STANTON

MARLINS

Among the game's young hitters, only Harper might have more power than the 22-year-old slugger. It may be hard for the team that drafted him in 2007 to persuade him to sign however, given what little fun he's going to have trying to pull balls out of Miami's pitcher-friendly new park.

STEPHEN STRASBURG

NATIONALS

Pitchers come with many more risks than position players—and the 23-year-old righthander already has one Tommy John surgery under his belt. But he also has a career 2.25 ERA in 24 starts with an insane 167--29 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He looks as good as he did before his injury.

MIKE TROUT

ANGELS

The model here is Evan Longoria, who signed a six-years-plus-three-team-options extension with the Rays within days of reaching the majors in 2008. Trout, a 20-year-old outfielder, is the Angels' Longoria—a five-tool building block who will contribute in every category.

PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH PHOTOAL TIELEMANS PHOTOSIMON BRUTY PHOTOTOM DIPACE PHOTOSIMON BRUTY PHOTOBRAD MANGIN
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)