Kicking off Major League Baseball’s All-Star festivities on Sunday was the MLB All-Star Futures game, putting some of the best young talent in the minor leagues on display.
The game is designed to show fans of the sport that the future is bright.
A better determinant of how impressive the coming years of baseball look was the actual MLB All-Star game Tuesday night.
Of the 79 total players who were selected as All-Stars, 27 of them are 26-years-old or younger.
In fact, every player in the AL’s starting lineup not named David Ortiz or Chris Sale is 26 or younger.
Speaking of Machado, he and the Cubs Kris Bryant became the first pair of 24 year olds to hit third in the All-Star Game since Ken Griffey Jr. and Gary Sheffield did so in 1993.
Alongside Bryant, five of the other starters from the National League also fell into the category of 26 or younger – Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, Bryce Harper, Marcell Ozuna, and San Diego’s own Will Myers.
Meanwhile, with all the young players on display, it can’t go unmentioned that in his final season Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, without a doubt the best DH in the history of the game, became the oldest player to bat cleanup in ASG history.
Aside from Ortiz, though, it was a few of those young players that stole the show.
Royals teammates Hosmer and Perez homered, becoming the first pair of teammates to homer in the Mid Summer Classic since (oddly enough) Ortiz and Manny Ramirez each went deep in 2004.
Hosmer finished 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI before being replaced by Miguel Cabrera. He was awarded the All-Star game’s Ted Williams MVP Trophy for his efforts in the AL’s 4-2 victory.
Mike Trout, the face of baseball as the best player in the game currently, continued the success he has found early in these games. Since making his All-Star Game debut in 2012 he has, in this order, singled, doubled, tripled, homered, and singled in his first at bat.
Only Trout could possibly pull something like that off. That’s just how good he is.
Jackie Bradley Jr. was a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate with a pair of singles.
On the NL side, Harper and Myers each doubled, and Bryant tallied the first run of the game on a line drive home run to left field.
Of the talented young starters for the National League that were mentioned earlier, only Russell failed to register a hit.
As I mentioned, Trout is the face of baseball, and the best player in the game. Harper and Machado are also in the top five to seven players.
Altuve at just 26 years of age is arguably the best second baseman in the league, and has led in average, hits, and doubles for the last 2 ½ seasons.
Along with Bryant and Machado at the hot corner is Rockies all-star Nolan Arenado, who ranks second in the NL in home runs hit this year.
Staying on the left side of the infield, Dodgers rookie Corey Seager made his first All-Star team, Carlos Correa certainly has the potential to be one of the best players in the game, and Bogaerts has proved himself this year to be quiet the hitter.
There isn’t enough space to write about all the good, young talented players that currently roam the outfields of the 30 major league ballparks.
When it comes to young talent on the mound, really any-aged talent on the mound, it’s Madison Bumgarner’s world and we’re just living in it.
An ultimate 26U pitching rotation would read something like: Bumgarner, Jose Fernandez, Noah Syndergaard, Sonny Gray, and Julio Teheran. And there are plenty of other choices.
As we have seen a number of the games staple figures call it a career over the past few years, including Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Todd Helton, Chipper Jones, and now Ortiz, MLB fans should take comfort on who’s taking over the game they love.