Posts tagged Tampa Bay Rays
The future is here: the MLB's youth movement, part I
Getty Images

Getty Images

The 2018 MLB season has gotten off to an eventful start to say the least. There have been multiple “no hitters”, a milestone 3,000th hit from a legend, and the occasional bench-clearing brawl. The most exciting part of the young season? The influx of fresh talent entering the majors.

Some of these players have given their teams an added jolt during the early parts of the marathon season. Other prospects haven't made it to The Show just yet, but they've given fans a feeling of optimism for the future from down in the Minors. Those players will be examined further in a future piece, but for now here are some names that are already on big-league rosters that you should get familiar with.

Ronald Acuna Jr. (Braves)

Atlanta’s top prospect made his debut on April 25th in Cincinnati, and he's already amassed 4 home runs one month in. The 20-year-old Venezuelan outfielder is said to have “5-tool” talent, meaning he can hit for power and contact, possesses speed, a strong arm and he plays good defense. With Acuna Jr. joining fellow prized prospect Ozzie Albies, the Braves have become one of the more fun teams to watch in the league so far. 

Gleyber Torres (Yankees)

Torres is the prized prospect the Yankees got back in the Aroldis Chapman deal that sent the Cuban flamethrower to the Cubs. Torres lost a good portion of his 2017 season to a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his non-throwing elbow. The 21-year-old Venezuelan second baseman has made up for lost time, drilling six homers and batting .323 on the season. The rich get richer as Torres is just another bat in a loaded New York lineup.

Juan Soto (Nationals)

Juan Soto, a 19-year-old from the Dominican Republic, homered in his first Major League at-bat on Monday. It's a familiar feeling for Nats fans; Soto became the first teenager to homer in the Majors since Bryce Harper did it in 2012.

 Willy Adames (Rays)

Willy Adames had the unenviable position of facing Red Sox ace Chris Sale in his Major League debut. He responded to a strikeout in his first at-bat by going yard off Sale in his next appearance. Adames has been pretty consistent at the plate throughout his minor league career and he is also a solid defender. On and off the field, the 22-year-old Dominican shortstop shows long-term potential as a face of a Tampa Bay franchise that badly needs one.

Hot stove predictions: trades

MLB free agency has been god-awfully slow, but there's been no shortage of trades this season.

The Marlins were so happy to get a pack of Frooties back from the Yankees for Giancarlo Stanton, they traded Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis for a slice of Imo's Pizza (which is huff as fuck if we're keeping it a buck).

The Giants FINALLY dealt for Evan Longoria, and we also saw the salary dumps of all salary dumps when the Dodgers re-acquired Braves outfielder Matt Kemp for Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kasmir. It was an NBA-style of getting rid of salaries to get under the luxury tax. A genius move by the LA brass.

Aside from that, it's been mostly talk from teams looking to trade star players. The Orioles ruined any chance of re-signing Manny Machado before next offseason by linking his name with damn near every team in MLB. The Pirates are close to trading Gerrit Cole somewhere, and they still have Andrew McCutchen to deal with.

Here's some predictions on where top trade names will end up (or not). When you're done, catch my free agency predictions here.

Manny Machado

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Machado is rare; a mixture of power and slick fielding who has clubbed 30 homers each of the last three seasons and has a WAR of 6.0 or better in the three seasons he received MVP consideration. What's rare about him is that kind of player doesn't hit free agency at 26 that often.

It would behoove the Orioles to re-sign him, but they've fumbled their chances at that. Their best bet is to trade him before the summer trade deadline and recoup some assets for what could turn out to be a one-year rental. It's better than letting him walk for a compensatory draft pick.

Rumor has it the Yankees are in on the Machado sweepstakes, but the Orioles would be sick to trade him to a division rival. The White Sox were the aggressive name at the Winter Meetings, but they've done a helluva job stocking the farm in the last year and it doesn't make sense to undo that work for one year of Machado. The Cardinals are the most likely destination, and they could give him a chance to return to shortstop like he wants.

Prediction: St. Louis will bid hard for Machado, but the Orioles don't like any bids. Machado stays in Baltimore to start the season, is traded to a contender for a lesser haul at the deadline.

Gerrit Cole

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates' run to three consecutive playoff berths ended with no series win and back-to-back embarrassments at home in the wild card game. Now it's time for Pittsburgh to rebuild, and first to go? Star pitcher Gerrit Cole.

MLB Network's Jon Morosi reports the Pirates have agreed to a deal with the Houston Astros for Cole, who now becomes the young ace behind Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel for the defending World Series champs. The Astros are bringing over a game-changer to the American League.

Andrew McCutchen

MLB.com

MLB.com

The Pirates will then turn their attention to former MVP Andrew McCutchen, who actually had a decent year-30 season after struggling in 2016. His WAR boosted from -0.7 to 2.5, hit 28 home runs 88 RBI's and an .849 OPS. Even in his 30s, McCutchen brings veteran leadership and a solid bat to any outfield.

The Giants are players in the McCutchen sweepstakes with their abysmal outfield, as are the Mets, with a logjam but not many great players outside of Yoenis Cespedes.

Prediction: Giants trade for McCutchen after signing Lorenzo Cain, move McCutchen to right & Pence to left.

Other predictions:

Pirates trade Josh Harrison to Mets
Chris Archer
stays with Rays
Marlins trade Christian Yelich to Brewers
Jose Abreu stays with White Sox