The Rise of a New Generation

We're all sick of hearing all the hype. We keep hearing, wait just a little bit, they'll be stars. We hear the comparisons "He's like a young Roger Clemens," "He's Jeter with more power," "He could be the next A-Rod." We've heard the scouts rave "He's got the face," "Good makeup," "Great stuff," we've heard the statisticians rave "His OPS is Bonds-esque," "He'd put up the same park-adjusted stats as A-Rod at a billionth the price and without Madonna." And finally, these young players, these athletes who we've been assured will one day be household names, are making their way into the league. The likes of Tampa Bay's David Price, Baltimore's Matt Wieters, Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen, Chicago's (AL) Gordon Beckham, Atlanta's Tommy Hanson, Detroit's Rick Porcello, St.Louis's Colby Rasmus, Colorado's Dexter Fowler, and Tampa's Matt Joyce have started the infusion of hyped young players this year.

Price (who starts against CC and the Yanks tomorrow) dominated in his late season call-up last year. As a reliever he thre 14 innings only allowing one run on 9 hits and 4 walks while he struck out 12. Then he went into the playoffs and maintained a 1.59 ERA over 5.2 innings in his 5 appearances. Needless to say, everyone wanted to see what he could do as a starter (hmmm reminds me of a prophet of sorts, one who I've heard may be from Nebraska...). The Rays kept Price at triple A to start the season to limit his service time, thus hopefully saving them money in future arbitration trials. Price was called up for his first start on May 25th in Cleveland, but only lasted 3.1 innings as allowed two earned runs. He made his next start on the 30th against Minnesota and threw 5.2 innings of 1 run ball. Not a great sample size, I know, but we'll see him in the Bronz tomorrow when he faces another talented lefty.

Wieters, a 23 year old switch-hitting catcher from South Carolina who was drafted out of Georgia Tech in the '07 draft, has played in just 6 games so far this year. His .143/.182/.286 line through 21 at bats isn't particularly impressive, but it's 6 games, not sixty. There was a span of 6 games this season where Emilio Bonifacio was the best player in baseball....so don't read too much into it. What is impressive is Orioles fans' expectations of Matt. Check out mattwietersfact.blogspot.com . Their slogan? "Facts so good they make Chuck Norris cry like a little girl" That's a pretty big challenge, because Chuck Norris doesn't cry, he scares water out of the air, and it clings to his eyes so it won't fall (best Chuck Norris joke I can do on short notice). Matt Wieters facts has already produced a replica Hall of Fame Plaque for Wieters, and in their poll about how many MVP awards he'll win 81% of the vote say "All of them, in both leagues."
A few of my favorites facts...."Matt Wieters doesn't always drive, but when he does he prefers to drive the Batmobile." "Matt Wieters can touch MC Hammer, usually for a grand slam." "At age 11 Matt Wieters was recruited by the Molina family. He turned them down cold." And y'all thought we praised Joba excessively...Anyways Wieters will end up being a phenomenal force for Baltimore whenever he's near the plate, left side, right side, or behind it. Teammate Brian Roberts says "He's been great, everyone loves him." (quotes via Jeff Zrebiec). His mother claims he doesn't like to be the center, so we'll see how that goes for this future all-star. Wieters is a "gamechanger on both sides of the field." "Plus defender...quick release...plus-plus arm....ability to drive the ball out of the park to all fields" Mlb.com says he "does everything well but run...calling games with a quiet leadership...remarkably agile behind the plate...tremendous plate discipline and bat speed." He's going to be good, Joe Mauer type perhaps, but with more power?

McCutchen is a 22 year old, right-handed, 5 tool centerfielder.(First off, this is Andrew McCutchen, NOT pitcher Dan McCutchen who the Yanks sent to the Pirates in the Marte/Nady deal, just making sure you know that...) Mlb.com says he's got "plus bat speed...good pitch recognition." In his debut tonight he went 2-4 with a walk, a ribbie, a stolen base, and 3 runs. Helluva a debut. McCutchen is praised for his athleticism, drawing comparisons similar to those that Austin Jackson gets, although McCutchen's ceiling is supposedly much much higher than AJax's. He seems like a future member fo the 20-20 club. Right now he's a wiry 5'11 at 175 pounds. When he fillls out he might end up in the 30-30 club at some point.

I'll look at some of the others tomorrow after the the Yanks take on the Rays in the Bronx.

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