There's been a lot of talk about all the young stars taking over baseball, and with Mike Trout looking like one of the best players in the league in just his second season…it's a pretty easy discussion to get wrapped up in.
So along those lines, here's a look at seven young Major Leaguers who already look to have a shot at Cooperstown.
7. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
Freddie Freeman is the wildcard in this group, but if you take a look at baseball-reference.com, it's pretty clear that he's a promising young player. The Atlanta first baseman has raised this season's average to .315 (with 106 RBI) while cutting his strikeout rate. He's a solid defensive defender, he's only 24…and he's still improving. Not to mention he's on a franchise that will give him many opportunities to shine in the postseason.
6. Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
It's tough to include Stephen Strasburg on this list given that he's under 25 and he's already had Tommy John surgery. But Strasburg is still so good when healthy, you have to give him a shot. Plus, he can get it done with the curveball, meaning he won't rely on declining velocity as much as some pitchers.
5. Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs
Statistically, Starlin Castro is behind Hall of Fame pace, so this is a bit of a reach. But here's the deal…Derek Jeter will be out of the game soon, and the Yankees will want a long-term solution at shortstop. The Cubs just showed a willingness to deal with New York in the Alfonso Soriano trade, so it's conceivable that the Yanks offer a haul for Castro and bring him into a situation where he can truly excel for the next 10-plus years.
4. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Pitchers are tough to project, but Clayton Kershaw is so good and so consistent, that he's got a great shot at Cooperstown. Just take a look at the betting.betfair.com sports betting guide, where the Dodgers are considered heavy World Series favorites and know that it's in very large part thanks to Kershaw!
3. Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
Somehow Manny Machado keeps flying under the radar. He's a physical beast, a fantastic fielder and a very promising hitter with some power. He's only 21, but Machado, should he bounce back from his recent injury, will be very good for a long time.
2. Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
Yasiel Puig may have cooled off a bit from his scorching start, but he is still a big reason the Dodgers are looking like the best team in the MLB. And the idea that a 22-year-old hitting over .325 with a .546 slugging pct. can still get better is frightening.
1. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
No one tops Mike Trout. He's been a legitimate MVP candidate in each of his first two seasons. Plus, he has that intangible quality that makes for a truly special baseball player…he looks to be insanely competitive and fun-loving all at the same time. Trout could be the face of the coming generation of baseball.