Spring training games have started, and no matter how awkward it is to watch the innings with fewer than three outings, or the games close in the sixth or seventh innings, there is still no getting excited about the upcoming regular season. Its difficult.
Here are five players that we are very excited to see in 2021.
Dylan Carlson, Cardinals
Sometimes, all you need is a breather. Carlson probably didn't want a breather last summer – he was sent back to the Cardinals' alternate site after posting a .458 ops with five RBIs in his first 23 big league games – but breath was still necessary. Carlson was recalled to the big club at the beginning of September, and at the end of his 11 short season starts, the switch-hitting rookie posted a .962 OPS with 11 RBIs. In three playoff games against the Padres, Carlson reached base seven times via hit or walk, stole a base and scored one run while batting in the cleanup spot.
And, of course, 14 games is a super-small sample size. But after their first 23 matches clash, any positive sample was welcomed.
“Coming back a second time really opened my eyes to the way the game was done,” Carlson said last week with St. Louis Media in a zoom.
He did not exceed the rookie-classification maximum in 2020, meaning he is still an interest-of-the-year eligible, and Baseball America ranked him as the No. 9 prospect in all of baseball. With that knowledge and success from the end of the 2020 season under his belt, player Joe has been hypnotized as the club's best prospect since Albert Pujols – who is not that daunting – given his physical and mental approach to the game Spent winter in building. His work in the weight room was accented by books recommended by Paul Goldsmidt on mental approaches to sports. “I'm ready to roll, in a real good location,” he said.
MORE: Seven things we're excited to see during the spring training games
Jesus Luzardo, A
A mainstay in the top 15 MLB prospect lists in the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Lefty has a 3.68 ERA in 71 big league innings. He has 6 – 3 shutout innings against the Diamondbacks in August 2020 and six century innings against the Giants in September – (seven times strike out) – but also starts the under-starter. In the September outing against the Padres, the Mariners and the Dodgers, Luzardo gave up 16 hits and 11 runs in 12 1/3 combined innings.
This spring has started well for the 23-year-old, who is set to live up to expectations.
“I feel like that breaking ball was the best I've ever had,” Luzardo told reporters this week. As reported by Athletic. “It was Double A, Triple A and really nice when I was called in 2019; Last year it took me away. I could not get a good experience for it throughout the year and now it is back to where it was. ”
Well, it can be fun. In his three minor league seasons, Luzardo struck out a 2.53 ERA and 10.8 batters over those nine innings, despite being far fewer than the average players in those leagues.
Jared Kellnick, Mariners
In his first game of the 2021 spring training season, Kalinic scored and drove in a walk-off winning run on a single by Julio Rodriguez. Not a bad debut for a man who was inadvertently in the spring spotlight following comments by a former team executive. And this game was just a continuation Kalinik had already shown up at the camp.
It's a youngster who hasn't yet officially played a big league game – and is only famous as a one-off, one-ball ball, Jerry Dipoto – but Mets fans are already wasting their days, when they are in NYC. Was traded to Seattle. Kalinic was the signature piece in the package that went to the Mariners in exchange for All-Star Robinson Cano and came close to Edwin Diaz in December 2018. Well, the Mets did not make the playoffs in 2019 or 2020 and Cano is currently serving his second PED-related suspension, and Diaz was a disaster ahead of the rebound in 2019 with a solid 2020 season.
Kelnick is ranked as the No. 4 prospect in baseball by Baseball America and MLB.com, and the baseball prospectus is ranked sixth. You can bet that Meriners fans will like his “I'm going to bet on myself”.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jas
It seems like Vlad Jr. that “the next big thing” is the subject of such a long conversation that it is impossible to believe that he is only 22 months later this month (16 March, to be exact). Not really. That's it. Twenty. two. He did not rip through majors at a tender age like Juan Soto, but he is still an extremely talented youngster with 24 homers under his belt at the MLB level.
And this year is different. He is not the only bright and shining hope. He is a piece in the Blue Jas puzzle, a puzzle involving many, many talented players. Veterans like George Springer and Marcus Semin were brought in, among others, to take the “franchise defender” pressure from Gerrero and his former prospect partner, Bo Bechet. It could be – the Hall of Famer's son of the year shows us why he might one day join his father in Cooperstown.
Joe Musgrove, Padres
Yes, he is slightly different from the other players on this list. For starters, he is 28 years old and is entering his sixth big league season, and all others are younger and have very little experience. So why is he here? Number one of their 2020 season is like a shiny, shiny beacon – 12.5 K / 9. Yes. In his first four seasons at Biggs, Musgrove's K / 9 was a solid 8.1, and this jump to 12.5 is really impressive.
So, why increase? His fastball did not achieve MPHs. In fact, according to Brooke Baseball in 2020, his average four-seam velocity was 93.08 in 2020, down from 94.06 in 2018. He relied heavily on his Karball, which was 19.9 percent of all his pitches. His previous career high was 9.0 percent; He barely threw a pitch on 2018 (2.6 percent).