We’re almost there! Opening Day is tomorrow and a new season of baseball is upon us. I’m excited about so many different things, not the least of which is watching some of my favorite players. However, the best thing is watching the MOST INTERESTING guys, not always my favorites. I decided to come up with a list of 50 players that I am extremely excited to see play for the next 6-7 months. Here it is…
50. Miguel Cabrera- Is he still alive? Will his albatross of a contract keep him stuck in Detroit? I want to see a resurgence (and maybe a trade).
49. Javy Baez- Who’s more fun to watch than Javy Baez? No one.
48. Rafael Devers- I guess this one might be biased because I’m a Red Sox fan but Devy Ding Dongs excites the shit out of me. Will he defense be atrocious? Will he pulverize baseballs? Both are probably a yes.
47. Luis Severino- Is he really what he was last year? I personally doubt it. We’ll find out though.
46. Jacob deGrom- What are the Mets getting out of deGrom? You could say that about a lot of their players, but this one is of significant importance.
45. Vlad Guerrero Jr.- We’ve all seen the videos of young Vladdy mashing baseballs like his dad. He’s a top prospect in the Blue Jays system and probably won’t make it to the bigs this year even if he ascends at a rapid pace. This is where the title of the blog comes in though. It says most interesting players and doesn’t stipulate that they must be in the big leagues. We’ll be watching this kid mash all year via the Internet.
44. Logan Morrison- This one might seem weird but I’m insanely interested to see Lo-Mo in the Twins lineup. If he produces like he did last year, Minnesota is going to be very good.
43. Clayton Kershaw- Kershaw is really this long on the list because we just know what he is. He’s the best pitcher possibly ever. He’s always, always good. The only question is if he can take the Cy Young back from Max Scherzer.
42. Freddie Freeman- Remember how good he was last year when healthy? Yea, I want to see how he does now that he’s healed up.
41. Aaron Sanchez- Sanchez is looking for a bounce back year after blister issues derailed his 2017. He was the ERA leader the year before and if he gets it together again this year, the Blue Jays rotation could feature two young studs at the top with him and Marcus Stroman.
40. George Springer- How do you follow up a historically good postseason and World Series power performance? I don’t know but I can’t wait to find out.
39. Wilson Contreras- Willy Contreras is really swinging it lately and his power looks crazy. There is a ton of hype surrounding him this spring and I’m excited to see if he can emerge as an elite player. As if the Cubs need another one…
38. Christian Yelich- Yelli has become one of my favorite players over the past couple of years and now he’s a part of what should be a really fun and likable Brewers club. This could be a breakout year for the outfielder, especially if he finds a power stroke.
37. Corey Kluber- Kluber is not interesting at all. He’s like a robot. But yet that makes him interesting.
36. Andrew Benintendi- Benny Biceps, or Benny Buttcheeks or whatever you want to call him, seems poised for a big year. He’s been hitting absolute shots this spring and I think I see a power surge coming. Let’s go.
35. Jake Arrieta- After nearly holding out for all offseason and spring training, Arrieta got his deal with the Phillies. He wasn’t great last year but he wasn’t bad either. Arrieta is still a bulldog on the mound with a great mentality and a winning pedigree. It’ll be cool to see how he influences the Philadelphia young guns.
34. Michael Kopech- Kopech’s stock is high right now even though he likely will spend some time in the minors to begin the season. He throws absolute flames and reminds people of Noah Syndergaard. That’s not a bad comparison to have at all.
33. Ronald Acuna Jr.- Every year there is a new guy that is tabbed as the next Player X. Acuna is being compared to Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. After the spring he had, it’s not that crazy sounding either. He’ll start the year in Triple A because the Braves are dumb but once he hits the show I’ll be tuning in.
32. Nolan Arenado- Arenado has got to be the most underrated player in the game. Sure, he plays in Denver where the balls jump off the bat, but I don’t believe that matters. The guy hits it everywhere he goes and he plays the best defense at third that I’ve ever seen.
31. Mookie Betts – Betts finished as the runner up to Mike Trout for the 2016 AL MVP and then made a remark about how that was the best he would ever do in a season. I hate that mentality and I hate that he fell off last season. I’m looking for him to regain form and be one of the top players in baseball, while also taking on a leadership role for the Sox.
30. Marcell Ozuna- Ozuna was maybe the most under the radar awesome move of the offseason. The Cardinals added a guy who absolutely raked last year and he was overlooked just because he isn’t Giancarlo Stanton. I’m excited to see him be the dude for the Cards.
29. Yoan Moncada- What is he? He was once the next Mike Trout. He was God’s gift to baseball. Now he looks like a shitty second baseman for the White Sox who can’t hit a curveball. On one hand, I won’t mind him failing so that the Red Sox don’t look dumb for trading him. On the other, I want to see talent more than I don’t.
28. Max Scherzer- Right now he’s got the crown as the best pitcher on the planet. He’s insanely fun to watch because of his crazy person attitude and I want to see how he keeps himself above all the rest.
27. Jon Lester- Strictly for the bounce passes to first base.
26. Noah Syndergaard- I’m going to be very mad at the baseball gods if they don’t let Thor reach his full potential. Can we just take him off of the Mets? Please?
25. Mike Moustakas- After mashing homers last year and looking like he’d be getting a big deal this offseason, he was stiffed. Now he’s back in Kansas City and humbled. There’s no more Hosmer or Cain to lean on either. I want to see how he handles all of this.
24. Jose Berrios- With Ervin Santana done for a bit, Berrios needs to hold the fort. This is high praise, but he kind of reminds me of the late Jose Fernandez at times. I think he’s got killer stuff and could be about to make the jump as the next big thing.
23. Trea Turner- The buzz around Turner has been there for a while now. He’s still young but injuries have really hampered him so far in his career. I want to see what he can do when he’s out there everyday.
22. Madison Bumgarner- Injuries hurt MadBum last year and they already have again in 2018. Hopefully he’ll only be out for a short time and he can get the Giants back into the pennant race. It’s better with them there.
21. Chris Sale- I want to see what Sale can do for an encore. I’ve never had more fun watching a pitcher than last year from April-June. He doesn’t have to do that again, but he needs to hold up late into the season and be good in October. Hopefully his new approach takes him there.
20. Josh Donaldson- Donaldson is like Machado light. He’s not as good and he’s older but he plays for a middling team in the AL East and might be a trade candidate.
19. Kyle Schwarber- Schwarber had a very disappointing year in Chicago and has now slimmed down. I’m not sure I like Skinny Schwarbs, but I will if he still slams YABOs all over Wrigley.
18. Cody Bellinger- He’s kind of a forgotten man despite being the NL’s version of Aaron Judge last year. Of course, he wasn’t quite a powerful and he’s not as well-rounded but I feel like a lot of people are writing him off and don’t care enough to see what he does this season. Is he a flash in the pan or a legit star in LA?
17. Jose Altuve- I mean the guy is the reigning AL MVP and he’s 17th on this list. He’s one of the most unique players in baseball and although I don’t obsess over him like most people, he’s really fun to watch.
16. Joey Votto- Votto has been stuck in Cincinnati for far too long. He’s one of the most invisible great players and I want to see if he can get moved to a contender. (I also low-key want to know if he can hold off a decline in production)
15. Chris Archer- Could be the best arm moved at the deadline. It’ll be interesting to see what contender he joins.
14. Aaron Nola- This guy has all the tools to be a frontline ace. He’s gaining notoriety but his profile is still pretty low. It’s about to explode when he zips through lineups this season.
13. Matt Olson- A lot like Hoskins, except with less buzz around him among the public. The A’s need stars, so I hope he can be one.
12. Rhys Hoskins- Hoskins put on a power surge last year over a short amount of time that got everyone buzzing. I want to see what he does with a full season to work with.
11. Kris Bryant- Maybe it was just me, but I felt like Bryant was eerily quiet last season. Let’s see if he can make some noise.
10. Mike Trout- It’s crazy that Trout just isn’t all that interesting because he’s the best player in the game. Seeing him come back after his first injury effected year will be intriguing though.
9. David Price- Is this finally the year that David Price works out with the Red Sox? Will he stay healthy and out of drama? God, I hope so.
8. Yu Darvish- In a new home in Chicago, how will Yu bounce back from a rough World Series?
7. JD Martinez- When you sign a big money deal in Boston to be the savior for a power-starved offense, people will be interested in you. Is he going to become the new Fenway favorite or will he be booed outta the stadium?
6. Aaron Judge- After an absolutely wild rookie campaign, all eyes are glued to the larger than life Judge. Will he regress? Probably. But just how much?
5. Carlos Correa- I feel like Correa is in for an MVP season and he’s going to bust out in a big way. In my opinion, I see the potential to be a young Alex Rodriguez minus all of the steroids. I can’t wait to see what kind of show he puts on.
4. Giancarlo Stanton- What will the reigning National League MVP do for an encore? Well, he’ll be on the big stage in New York and part of the biggest two-headed monster in the game today with Aaron Judge. Will he continue to mash or will the pressure get to him?
3. Manny Machado- Machado is most likely going to be the biggest name traded at the deadline and so much of this year will focus on where he lands for the second half. Throw in the fact that he’s going to be a part of the giant free agent class in the offseason and we’ll be talking about what will happen with him all year long. (Oh yea, and he’s a full time shortstop now).
2. Bryce Harper- Harper is one of the most interesting players in any year because of his hype, potential, personality and immense talent. This year though, we’ve got his looming free agency added on to all of that to make this year all about Bryce and not only how he’ll do during the season, but what is going to happen after it.
- Shohei Ohtani – This was a no-brainer for me. I know that he’s been awful all spring and there’s actually been some talk of him going to the minor leagues but he’s still insanely interesting. He’s the Japanese Babe Ruth and we’ve never seen anything quite like him. Whether he sucks and becomes a complete bust or ends up doing well, he’s going to be a major topic of conversation. He’s the most interesting player of 2018, no questions asked.
Honorable mention: Xander Bogaerts, Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Ramirez, Khris Davis, Gerrit Cole, Kevin Keirmaier, Francisco Lindor, Johnny Cueto, Stephen Strasburg, Justin Bour, Travis Shaw, Ian Happ, Greg Bird, Charlie Blackmon