Posted July 15, 2013 on AP on Fox
Flip on any highlight show and you're almost sure to see them, with those peach-fuzz faces and boyish features beneath their big league caps. Mike Trout makes a diving catch on the warning track. Manny Machado whacks another double into the corner at Camden Yards. Bryce Harper belts a tape-measure home run or barrels into a catcher ... or an outfield fence ... or whatever stands in his way. The next generation of baseball stars has arrived - straight from the senior prom, it seems - and these guys are changing the complexion of the grand ol' game. Derek Jeter is 39 and injured, left off the All-Star team for the first time in eight years. Matt Harvey is 24 and merciless, with a polished array of breaking pitches to complement 98-mph heat. ''These guys are coming up now with incredible talent, these young players,'' National League manager Bruce Bochy said Monday at Citi Field, where the New York Mets are hosting the All-Star game for the first time since Shea Stadium opened in 1964. ''I think they are just getting better, faster, bigger, stronger still, and it's impressive to watch.'' No kidding. Trout and Harper, the Rookies of the Year last season, are making their second trip to the All-Star game. This time, they will start Tuesday night after getting elected by fans with a fervor for the new boys of summer. Some of baseball's best players are among the youngest on the field. Night after night, they put up unprecedented numbers and turn in spectacular plays that belie a birth certificate from the 1990s. ''It's good for the game,'' Trout said. ''A lot of young guys are playing fearless and making a name for themselves at an early stage in their career.'' Not only that, they move merchandise. Jersey sales for Harvey, Harper and Trout rank among the top 10 this season based on purchases of Majestic tops at MLB.com, the league and the players' association said last week. Harper is 20, and Trout is all of 21. Barely old enough to vote, let alone buy a drink. Machado's jersey ranked eighth, one spot behind Jeter, even though the Baltimore third baseman has spent less than a year in the majors. That didn't stop him from earning his first All-Star selection on his 21st birthday. ''In today's era, young dudes are getting better and more prepared to come up to the big leagues,'' said Orioles teammate Adam Jones, an All-Star himself. ''It's just an improvement in the game. These young dudes are phenoms, and he's put his name up there. ''He's probably more mature than I am, and I'm 27.'' Machado was voted in by players, a significant sign of respect from his peers. Well, mostly elders, actually. He certainly deserved it at a power-packed position after hitting 39 doubles in the first half, threatening the single-season record of 67 set by Earl Webb in 1931. ''Swing and hit the white ball coming at you. That's all it is,'' Machado said. ''There's no secret to it.'' Just like Little League, apparently. Sometimes he makes it look that easy, too. But take a swing around the majors and you see it's not only Trout, Harper and Machado. There is Miami rookie Jose Fernandez, a 20-year-old All-Star with a Cy Young future. Don't forget lefty Patrick Corbin (23), who is 11-1 with a 2.35 ERA for Arizona. And second-year shortstop Jean Segura in Milwaukee, who leads the NL in hits at age 23. ''I feel pretty good when they compare me with those guys,'' Segura said about his place among baseball's new breed. Then there's Harvey, the New York Mets ace with 29 major league starts to his name. His next one will be Tuesday night on his home mound opposite Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer. ''For me, he's the best pitcher in the game,'' Diamondbacks outfielder Cody Ross said this month. ''Not even just in the National League. He's really good. I faced a lot of those guys in the American League last year and I can't say that I saw anyone better than him. ''His mound presence is as good as you'll see.'' There are 12 All-Stars this season 24 or younger, seven in the National League. That's the most since a dozen were selected in 1993, according to STATS - a group that included Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza, Gary Sheffield, Mike Mussina and Juan Gonzalez. The only player from that bunch under 23 was 21-year-old catcher Ivan Rodriguez. This year, there are four. That doesn't include Los Angeles Dodgers sensation Yasiel Puig, left out of the game after six electric weeks in the big leagues at 22. More to come from him, for sure. ''Every guy that you just mentioned plays the game hard, plays it the right way every day. It's so much fun to be part of that,'' Harper said. ''I'm not going to back off the throttle at all. I'm full speed every day.'' In all, 12 players who qualified as rookies last season made the All-Star team this year. So much for sophomore slumps. ''There's definitely a different breed of ballplayer coming out,'' Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said last weekend. ''This seems to be one of those cycles where a lot of young players are flashing quick.'' Although fresh faces are taking over, that doesn't mean all the old guys are out. Mariano Rivera, Torii Hunter, Carlos Beltran and Bartolo Colon are back at the Midsummer Classic, bringing decades of experience and wisdom. And what impresses veterans the most about this crop of young stars is the way they carry themselves on and off the field. Harper occasionally flashes a hot temper with Washington, but opponents predominantly praise them for their all-around skill and steady performance. ''It's different from when I first came up. Just the attention, the media coverage, the pressure,'' said Twins catcher Joe Mauer, a No. 1 draft pick who made his first All-Star appearance at 23. ''To keep everything in perspective and go out there and do your job every day and stay consistent is really what makes it pretty special. ''A lot of guys can come up and have immediate success right away and the league can kind of figure you out a little bit. But those guys keep going day after day and keep producing.'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi is reminded of the mid-90s when Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra all broke in at shortstop in the American League. ''It is kind of amazing the level that these young guys are playing,'' Girardi said. Making them just the sort of stars baseball wants to build around. ''I like the fact that they play the game the right way. They seem to get it,'' Minnesota general manager Terry Ryan said. ''They're gifted, they're energetic. It's good to see a young, up-and-coming player that represents not only their franchise well but the game well.''
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Bryce Harper, in short shorts, appears to be ready for first HR Derby

So Bryce Harper will compete in his first ever MLB HR Derby tonight, with his father pitching to him. There is above, apparently preparing for the event in a pair of short shorts? Huh? (Photo by @MLBONFOX) Ian Desmond on Harper's little shorts: “@MLBONFOX: Showtime! Behind the scenes with @Bharper3407. pic.twitter.com/xy0ksQucFc” Bike coaching shorts circa 1990. ...
THAT'S TWICE!

Bryce Harper flips on ump, gets ejected

So Bryce Harper got ejected by Hunter Wendlestat in the 8th inning Saturday night after arguing strike three. According to lip readers everywhere, Harper said: "F**K! No Way! That's twice!". Memo to Bryce Harper: one run game; your teammates could use you. Befriend Nats Enquirer on Facebook. Follow on Twitter.

Video of all 24 home runs Bryce Harper hit in the Home Run Derby

So Bryce Harper put up a good effort in the Home Run Derby last night, but not good enough to beat Yoenis Cespedes. Up above, all 24 of Harper's Derby home runs, via MLB.com. Such an incredible opportunity to share this with my pops! I am truly blessed and humbled for this experience! #fam pic.twitter.com/ToxsO5POGb — Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) July 16, 2013 ...

Bryce Harper’s brother steals Home run derby spotlight with mustache

Bryce Harper may have spent Monday night smashing baseballs into the stands at Citi Field but his brother Bryan was equally impressive with his mustache. Bryce Harper qualified for the finals with his father throwing baseballs to him while his brother has become an overnight TV sensation. Better mustache: Bryce Harper's brother, or Rollie Fingers? #HRDerby pic.twitter.com/jRgDUYqLU8...

Mike Trout looking forward to All-Star week

(source feed provided no summary content for this entry)

Under Armour makes exclusive Bryce Harper shoes for Home Run Derby

Under Armour has designed shoes Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper will be wearing for the 2013 Home Run Derby and they're crazy fresh.

Yoenis Cespedes beats Bryce Harper in 2013 Home Run Derby

And so, Bryce Harper put on a good show in his first MLB HR Derby...but Yoenis Cespedes was even better in his. Cespedes wins 2013 HR Derby over Harper. Good show. Still, Cespedes' hair didn't hold a candle to Harper's. (Screencap of Harper and Cespedes hugging it out via ESPN/TV) Befriend Nats Enquirer on Facebook. Follow on Twitter. Related articles Bryce...

Harper Finishes Second In Home Run Derby

He wasn’t officially named baseball’s best slugger, but Bryce Harper made the Washington Nationals proud in his first Home Run Derby appearance, finishing second to Yoenis Cespedes. Harper hit eight home runs in all three rounds, finishing just one shy of Cespedes' nine in the final round. Cespedes clinched his victory with five outs to spare as his ninth home run sailed...

DMV: Bryce Harper Vs. Chris Davis For All The Home Runs

Home Run Derby offers Chris Davis a chance at national spotlight. [FTW] Every O’s All-Star came to Baltimore through Andy MacPhail. [BS] Orioles GIFs of the Week, including an All-Star wet willy. [Camden Chat] Good: Bryce Harper usually makes the most of his big moments. [NI] Bad: Ian Desmond calls out Harper for a selfish ejection on Saturday. [NE] Cool pic of Pierre Garcon hanging...

TOC midseason awards: AL MVP

Last year, the race for the AL MVP award between Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout was heated, and often times grew personal between the proponents of either side. The arguments really boiled down to "Triple Crown" versus "historical, five tool, balanced season". In the end, Cabrera won the award rather handily, and the internet grumbled. This year, there really...

Fantasy Baseball All-Star Break Rankings - Outfielders

Mike Trout continues to live up to the hype and is having an excellent season without the help of Albert Pujols, and Josh Hamilton. Justin Upton started hot and finished hot to keep himself valuable. He hit 12 home runs in April and has hit just 4 over his last 235 ABs. But he did hit .319 in July before the break so that is a good sign of things to come. His brother B.J. on the...

Drew Storen’s dad takes funny shot at Nationals over Stephen Strasburg

Bryce Harper and Yoenis Cespedes showed us that the future of the MLB is incredibly bright when they battled it out in the final round of the Home Run Derby on Monday night. Cespedes may have won the event with a towering home run and an epic bat flip, but the highlight of my night [...]

Home Run Derby: 5 reasons I did not watch

After checking ESPN.com, it looks as if Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland A’s hit more long fly balls over the wall than fan-favorite Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals. The reason I had to check ESPN.com (and don’t ask why I chose ESPN.com, bad habits I guess) was because I had absolutely zero interest in watching the Home Run Derby. Here are five reasons why I did not watch...

Does winning the HR Derby raise your trade value?

This video is actually 2 years old, but it still pretty much sums up the experience of watching the Home Run Derby. Kudos to you if you got through the whole minute and a half. I was annoyed after 15 seconds. Plus, I have this sudden craving for chicken… For those of you who actually enjoyed your day off of baseball yesterday by doing non-baseball things, the Home Run Derby happened...

Angels end 1st half with sweep by the Mariners, lose 4-3

After hitting a hot streak and looking like a legitimate contender for .500 1st half (don't laugh) they end the run with a sweep in Seattle. Despite ending the 1st half on the season under .500 and facing an ugly sweep against the Mariners the Angels are still in a decent spot to make a run after the break. Out of the Angels next 20 games 13 of them are against teams ahead of...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.