Here are the top 3 younger players in the MLB to keep an eye on throughout Spring Training.
Addison Russell, SS, Oakland A’s
The No. 11 overall pick from the 2012 draft had a busy first full professional season in 2013. The shortstop began the year in Single-A playing for the Stockton Ports, where he hit .275/.377/.508. That performance earned him a spot in the Futures Game and also Cal League Rookie of the Year honors.
Russell ended the regular season with a brief cameo in Triple-A before heading off to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League.
Oscar Tavera, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
In five minor league seasons, Taveras has hit .320/.377/.518. That impressive level of production prompted Callis to suggest that Taveras will challenge for batting titles and hit at least 25 home runs per year when he reached the big leagues.
His MLB debut should occur at some point in 2014, but for now it remains to be seen just how soon Taveras will land in St. Louis. 2013 was essentially a lost season for the outfielder after a serious ankle injury limited him to just 47 games.
General manager John Mozeliak explained to Callis that the club expects Taveras to be 100 percent healthy by spring training. Still, the Cardinals will likely take a cautious approach with him.
Taijuan Walker, SP, Seattle Mariners
Taijuan Walker began the 2013 season in Double-A, but he ended the year in the big leagues with the Seattle Mariners.
In three starts with the Mariners, Walker went 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA. The right-hander earned that promotion after posting a 2.93 ERA in 25 starts for Seattle’s Double-A and Triple-A affiliates. For his performance last year, Walker earned the No. 6 spot on MLB.com’s top 100 prospects list.
Seattle’s new manager, Lloyd McClendon, has lofty expectations for the highly touted starter. McClendon explained to Doug Miller of MLB.com that he not only expects Walker to make the Mariners’ rotation out of spring training, but that he’d be “very disappointed” if Walker doesn’t.
For more on this story visit: Karl Buscheck, Bleacher Report