October 2015

A New Constellation

We’re really watching the changing of the guard. The new constellation of stars in the game we love has us wanting more and more. These young guys have ice water in their veins. The skills and tools of the crop of players that have recently graduated to the big leagues is unlike any group of young players arriving in one year that I can remember.

Sure, we’ve had great, great young players catapult to stardom in recent years. Players like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are setting the bar for years to come. But this year’s graduates–are you kidding me?

Kyle Schwarber. That Carl Schwarber. The guy who was a Spring Training invitee to Cubs camp. He was supposed to be a year away. He didn’t have a true position. There were doubts he was anywhere near a finished product behind the plate. That Carl Schwarber. The same guy that has a home run baseball resting atop the scoreboard at Wrigley Field. The Carl Schwarber that has hit some of the longest and most majestic home runs when the pressure is on. The Carl Schwarber that may become a fixture in left field. Or somewhere else. As long as he’s in the lineup.

Carlos Correa. That Carlos Correa. The guy who was a Spring Training invitee to Astros camp. All he’s done is show the baseball world that he reminds us of a young Alex Rodriguez with power, a terrific hitting tool, speed, a great arm and an ability to play fine defense. He didn’t wilt at the plate during the playoffs. He played like a star. One bad defensive play aside, Correa is one of the reasons the Astros came within a game of the American League Championship series. He’s the real deal.

Corey Seager. That Corey Seager. The one who was a Spring Training invitee to Dodgers camp. He has shown why he has deserved the buzz. He played like he belongs on the biggest stage and he’ll be even more confident next season. But there he was, on our television screens playing in the postseason for the iconic Los Angeles Dodgers. Right in the middle of the fray. A star in the making.

Roberto Osuna. That Roberto Osuna. The one who was a Spring Training invitee to Blue Jays camp. He closed the biggest game for the Blue Jays in years and years when they beat Houston to advance to the National League Championship Series. He was calm, cool, and collected. He had the role that All Stars like Mariano Rivera had in the past. And Osuna was a rookie. And a star in the making. He came up big time.

Kris Bryant. That Kris Bryant. The one who was a Spring Training invitee to Cubs camp. Fans clamored for his arrival at the beginning of the season and he provided some electric moments. His maturity and his presence in the lineup helps make the Cubs a scary foe for years to come in the National League Central. He played better defense than his critics predicted, helped lengthen the Cubs lineup and provided some massive home runs in his first season in Major League baseball. And they didn’t suffer because he didn’t break camp with the team on opening day. Now the Cubs will have his services a little longer. It was worth the wait of a few days.

Addison Russell. That Addison Russell. The one who was a Spring Training invitee to Cubs camp after being traded by the Oakland Athletics in a deal that I’m still trying to figure out. With Russell, now hurt for the Championship Series, the club has middle infielders like Starlin Castro and Javier Baez, Tommy La Stella and Russell to provide depth to the organization. Russell may not be in the top tier with Schwarber and Bryant, but he’s one very, very good athlete. Watch his career blossom. He’s that good.

Those are just a few in the new galaxy. I mention them today because they all felt the joy, the glory and the pressure of postseason baseball. There are more stars in this new constellation that will continue to bring excitement and thrills to the game. Young new stars like Francisco Lindor, Byron Buxton, Mookie Betts, Carlos Rodon, Luis Severino, Joc Pederson, Miguel Sano, Maikel Franco, Stephen Pisotty, and Devon Travis, just to name another ten. Guys that got their first extended stay with the clubs. Yikes!

These guys are scary good. They show no fear. Of anything or anyone. They are a new generation of talented baseball players from around the world who are ready, willing and able to thrill us with the athletic gifts we wish we had.

Yes, baseball is in great shape. We love it. We can’t get enough of it. And as soon as the World Series is over, we’ll count the days until Spring Training begins. Maybe we’ll see another crop of Spring Training invitees like we had this year. I doubt it.

Thanks for following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff and for reading my work on MLBPipeline.com.

I’ll begin scouting reports of Arizona Fall League players next week at Pipeline. And I’ll be doing a blog about some of the guys I’ve seen so far. So watch this space as well.

That’s it. I’m done.

Oh-one more thing. There’s still time to contact me @BerniePleskoff and tell me you have had a cancer test. I am donating money to Stand Up 2 Cancer and TGen for every person that tells me he or she has been tested for cancer. Be among them. Please.

Now I’m done.