The most imperfect science in sports is the fan, more so, the opinion of the fan. That’s not to say that all fans are dumb homers who have no sense of judgment outside their own favorite team, but, well, I am saying most fans are dumb homers I guess?
Fans are smart, they just choose to throw on the loyalty blinders more times than not. The most obvious scenario for this is the MLB All-Star Game, which is always filled with pissed off fans.
The best question isn’t who today’s All Stars are, but it’s more of one that asks who are baseball’s under-24 All Stars? You know, the young guys — some are already All Stars, some are on their way.
Either way, they’re ones you should be paying attention to because, as of now, they’re the future.
Catcher – Wilin Rosario, Colorado Rockies
Prior to an injury to Ramon Hernandez, the general baseball fan had no idea who the hell Rosario was. Even after 14 of his 47 hits have gone yard, people still don’t know much about him.
Colorado has gone completely down the drain since their mini-streak of reaching the playoffs, but guys like Rosario, Tyler Colvin and Carlos Gonzalez give fans some hope.
Honorable mention: Jesus Montero, Mariners, Salvador Perez, Royals.
First Base – Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
Call it jumping the gun, but when a rookie comes in to a last-place team — like, a really bad last place team — and somehow energizes them into winning 7-of-10, I’ll buy some stock. Rizzo was an absolute mess in San Diego last season, and before that he was nothing more than a cult favorite in Boston’s minor leagues.
With Chicago, he’s already hailed as the savior and he’s had the go-ahead or game-winning hit in four of five games.
Honorable mention: Paul Goldschmidt, D’backs, Brandon Belt, Giants, Freddie Freeman, Braves.
Second Base: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
Houston’s another team that had its run atop the league before crashing hard. There are some young pieces mixed with some veterans, but the big keeper here is Altuve. The guy isn’t spectacular, but he’s solid in every capacity — part of the reason he’s the Astro’s All Star this season.
No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa is a 6-foot-4 short stop, and for fan’s sake, can hopefully step in down the road and solidify the middle infield with Altuve.
Honorable mention: Dustin Ackley, Mariners, Alexi Amarista,Padres.
Short Stop — Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs
Sure, he did basically get accused of rape this year and maybe he isn’t the most focused individual in the league, but at 22, he leads all short stops in hits with 100. He’s so, so talented, but he’s also borderline kooky. Just the other day, he sat out the game and watched with his coaches, talking about situations.
That’s something that shouldn’t be happening with your best player, let alone your short stop. Then again, HE’S SO TALENTED.
Honorable mention: Elvis Andrus, Rangers, Dee Gordon, Dodgers.
Third Base — Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals
If there’s one position that is absolutely stacked with young talent, it’s third base. Really, Moustakas has the best body of work thus far, but you’d be right on target if you picked Toronto’s Brett Lawrie or Boston’s Will Middlebrooks. Moustakas has the bat, but unlike the other two, he’s got the glove to go with it.
As you can tell from that video, he’s also got a fantastic nickname: MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSEEE!
Honorable mention: Lawrie, Middlebrooks, Kyle Seager, Mariners.
Outfield — Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
There’s a legit chance this rookie can do what only Ichiro Suzuki and Fred Lynn have done — win both AL MVP and Rookie of the Year. Trout has been that good this season, and he’s completely changed the Angels for the good; more so than even the great Albert Pujols.
There will surely be some grumpy old-school MVP voters who refuse to reward a rookie with the MVP trophy, but hey, there’s a chance and that’s all it takes.
Honorable mention: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins.
Outfield — Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
You either think he’s the great, young, mormon phenom or a complete and utter douche bag. There’s no inbetween on Harper, and that’s alright. Baseball needs a young stud to come up and live up to the hype. Thus far, Harper’s done that. Maybe, that whole negative image isn’t a bad thing — the Angels’ Trout needs a rival.
That might not be fair — calling Harper a villan already — but if it means these two are battling for top honors in the outfield for ten years, I think it’ll be quite alright.
Honorable mention: Jason Heyward, Braves.
Outfield — Justin Upton, Arizona D’backs
Can you believe Arizona is actually shopping this guy? After finishing fourth in the NL MVP voting last season, Upton has gotten off to a slow start this season, but he’s still one of the most talented outfielders in the game — under 24 or not.
One trade rumor has the young gun going to Toronto, can you imagine the sheer awesomeness of an outfield with Upton, Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista?
Starting Pitcher (R) — Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
There isn’t a lot to say when it comes to Strasburg. He’s got the stuff, he’s got the mentality and he’s shown he’ll be the ace in D.C. for years to come. The only thing standing between him and stardom this year is that pesky innings limit.
If the Nationals let him pitch this season, there’s a chance they make it to the National League Championship Series. If they shut him down, there’s a change they miss the playoffs. Pretty good for a 23 year old, eh?
Honorable mention: Rick Porcello, Tigers.
Starting Pitcher (L) — Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
Sale is another guy who’s going to risk becoming a victim of the dreaded innings limit before becoming that of the opponent. He’s came out of nowhere and currently ranks in the top 10 in wins, WHIP and ERA.
Just like Strasburg with Gio Gonzalez in D.C., Sale has teamed with Jake Peavy to form one of the better one-two punches in baseball. The White Sox first-half lead in the AL Central is as much Sale’s doing as anyone else on the team.
Honorable mention: Madison Bumgarner, Giants.