As the remnants of the 2017 earthlings who walked out onto the baseball diamond as youngsters return, there is another wave of young talent churning toward Mets Memorial Stadium, about to arrive as a gift from the Toronto Blue Jays: Mike Trout. The data indicates that he’s going to be great.
Over the next six to eight weeks, he’s going to be having to stay healthy, too. Most importantly, he’s going to start to find out how good he can be at a hitter’s-eye level.
The Tigers, with the highest record in the American League, currently sit on top of the batting title among all division foes, while the Mets are still tied with the Angels for second. Both teams have several players back from injuries, meaning multiple new faces will have to start doing things the right way.
Expect much of that new, young talent to emerge as soon as this season is over, too.
Best Sellers in Baseball and Baseball Prospectus, led by Trout’s bat
1. Royals: Royals are the worst team in baseball with 108 games left, but they’re in the thick of their division in the AL Central, which is worth its weight in a trophy case. How will Michael Fulmer move up the first-base totem pole? The Mets made a mistake asking Zack Wheeler to start. The young reliever will be at his best when he learns how to play first base more like this; a healthy Michael Conforto and an offensive outfield make life more comfortable for the muddled Mets.
2. Giants: Something on the Giants went off way too early — nearly 17 weeks ago to be exact — but there are some guys just as good, if not better, as those who are starting to taste success in the NL West. Tim Lincecum is a huge reason for that, and Brandon Crawford looks like a pretty good first baseman now that Heyward and Crawford are not starting; Madison Bumgarner is having one of his best seasons with Lincecum not on the staff; and Freddy Galvis and Brandon Belt, who started to show the ability to drive the ball in last season, are two dominant hitters capable of playing any infield position.
Best Rookies in Baseball, except for Sam Dyson, top-10.com
3. Tigers: Coming out of nowhere, via trades, the Tigers have not only successfully taken the first-place lead in the AL Central, but also the division race. Aided by a three-run homer from Miguel Cabrera, Detroit has been coming at the Blue Jays almost every day during this league-best seven-game homestand, and may very well steal some of Blue Jays. But the easy-to-define Tigers have aces Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander, along with Matt Boyd, who appears to be playing at a higher level than his peers. This offensive line, led by Avisail Garcia, is a tough, strong, and confident group.
4. Phillies: Speaking of pitchers, the Phils came off the best winning streak in baseball and are tied for first in their division. They were a true juggernaut a year ago, after all, but the success of their bullpen and catchers, with two freshmen on the staff and the improving Jeremy Hellickson, shows that the club will get better as the young rookie pitchers make progress.
5. Astros: Have you seen Houston look good on the bases? How could you not have seen the way the outfield performed for some of the biggest offensive nights the Astros have had this season?
6. Angels: As good as the Angels are defensively, they have been also pretty good at getting runs. 2016 was a productive year for Albert Pujols, who had seven home runs in September, and the offense in the AL West, against a pitching staff that has continued to pay dividends.
Best Rookies in Baseball and Baseball Prospectus, leaderboard.com