MLB: The Next Generation

Jim Williams joins The Pickup Game to talk about baseball’s young greats

You can tell, more or less, when a league is about to move into a new era.

The signs are clear: Great players retiring or aging fast, a loaded group of young star players, and teams that had not been regular contenders starting to break through. The last few years in Major League Baseball have seen all of those things, the most exciting part of which by far is the young class.

Sports Talk Florida editor Jim Williams joins The Pickup Game this week to talk about MLB’s emerging set of stars, the markets they play in, and how bright they make baseball’s future appear.

In addition to being a longtime sportswriter and sports media expert, Jim was one of the very first Washington Nationals fans, hopping aboard Nationals fanhood the moment the former Expos settled on a new address. As a result, Jim has a lot to say about Bryce Harper, the twentysomething superstar that has come to set a tone for the reltively new organization.

Given my turn to gush about a local outfielder in my neck of the woods, I break down the American League’s two coastal center field megastars, contrasting reigning MVP Mike Trout against his Boston counterpart Mookie Betts. Rest assured it does not take me much to get me going about Betts and his potential.

Perhaps the bigger question isn’t how good these guys can be but how they came to be this good already. In years of private conversations Jim and I have developed a theory about how teams these days can cultivate young rosters that make tremendous strides early. We share that theory with you today.

The other side to this, of course, is that there is a risk in expecting too much too soon from young baseball players. To that end, we discuss the New York Mets’ current run-in with Murphy and his annoying little Law. Is it “Generation K” all over again? Jim’s take sounds a lot more like the 2003 Chicago Cubs, actually.

It’s over eighty degrees here in Boston on Wednesday afternoon, with tomorrow’s forecast in the nineties. Calendar or no, it’s time to think of the summer, and in the sports world nothing says summer louder than baseball.

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Tim Williams has been covering sports since his days as a student at Northeastern University covering events such as the Beanpot. In the thirteen years since, he has covered college hockey, the NFL, Major League Baseball, the PGA Tour, and the National Hockey League. A native of the Tampa Bay area, Tim has returned home after living much of his life in the northeast, including sixteen years in the Boston area. These days the Managing Editor of Sports Talk Florida can be found on Florida's golf courses when he's not working.