Originally written on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 7/25/12
National League Potential Stars NL East

Giancarlo Stanton- Just ask Alex on which list Stanton will end up after his career. He thinks that Giancarlo is destined to break Barry Bonds single season home run record (*). I don't think so. But he is, and will continue to be a force for many years to come. The 22-year-old right fielder already has 75 round-trippers. His average seems to be creeping up to more respectable numbers, which shows he's not just an all-or-nothing swinger. His 33 walks aren't awful, either. He has even chipped in with 5 stolen bases. In such a big park, Stanton will still not have a problem finding the cheap seats.

Freddie Freeman- This young man, also 22, put up great numbers in his rookie campaign in 2011, with a .282 average, 21 home runs and 76 RBI's. This season, he is on pace for similiar numbers. He'll have to improve on his 74 punchouts, but he could be a top 5 first baseman of his time if he keeps this up. He can also do the splits.

Jordan Zimmerman- If it weren't for a certain pitcher named Stephen, this young man would be the ace of the Nationals staff. He has incredible stuff, and the stats don't lie. His ERA is 2.35 and he has amassed 84 strikeouts so far. He has grown up on a couple of bad Washington teams, but this year it seems the Nationals are putting it all together and going for the division (I still have the Braves winning the NL East, especially if they trade for Ryan Dempster).

Danny Espinosa- Espinosa is quickly becoming one of my favorite players. He has struggled to keep his batting average near respectable for most of the season, but he is violently making a push for the .275 range. 8 home runs and 30 RBI's are definitely acceptable for a second baseman, although rumors say he will switch to his natural shortstop position while Ian Desmond is on the DL. Man, does he strike out way too much, though. He already has 103 K's on the season. But he is still young and I think he will figure things out.

Jon Neise- This crafty lefty has had his ups and downs this season, but I like him moving forward. He has the ability to strike out hitters (102 in 117.2 IP) and his WHIP is a pretty good 1.17. He has given up 17 home runs so far, but he will learn how to approach hitters better with more experience. He will fit nicely in a future rotation of Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler.

NL Central Starlin Castro- I have backed off of Castro a little bit because of his lack of focus, and making bad decisions. But the kid can do it all. His .282 average is a little down from what we have come to expect. He will be right around .300, over that if you ask me, when the season comes to an end. His 9 home runs show a lot of promise for future power numbers. He has also stolen 16 bases. He is the centerpiece of this future Cubs team, and a key to their success. Should be a top 10 shortstop of his time. Castro should be a fixture on the North Side for years to come

Jose Tabata- I know his stats aren't up to par, but I really like the potential of Tabata. He has been back and forth between Triple-A and the big club, and there is a lot of room to go. What I like most about this young outfielder is the fact that he doesn't strike out much. He has only 43 strikeouts in 72 games. I think he will improve with the stick, and he definitely has great defense. I'm not worried about Tabata right now. He will be a very productive player for this scrappy Pirates bunch.

Jose Altuve- This 22-year-old will end his career with an average above .300. He is so physically gifted with hittin line drives and finding gaps. I don't think he will ever hit for much power. He might hit a lot of doubles, but his home runs with never go above 12 or 13. He will always be a great stolen base condidate. And his defense is very solid. I see him as the lead off hitter for the Astros the next time they contend.

Mike Fiers- This 27-year-old got a little more seasoning in the minors before being called up late last year. However, in his first full season he has a 1.96 ERA. He has 58 strikeouts in just 59.2 IP. He has outpitched 2011 free agent signees Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcom so far this year. With Greinke rumored to possibly be on his way out of town, I like Friers to step in and do great things with this Milwaukee team that is struggling to find positives right now.

Aroldis Chapman- I know this is the "safe pick", but I'm picking Chapman with his potential as a starter. The electric stuff is well-documented. We all check the radar gun in the stadium after each pitch. I get that. But I think if the Reds decided to stretch him out and make him a starter, it could pay huge dividends. With his 86 strikeouts in only 45.2 innings pitched, it's obvious he is tough to hit of off. Why not let him take a few miles-per-hour off the fastball and pitch 6 or 7 innings every 5 days? He'll still hit 96 or higher on the gun. And with his delivery and all his body parts flying everywhere, he could really throw some quality innings for a championship-caliber Reds squad.

Chapman has 86 strikeouts in 45.2 innings this year NL West

Madison Baumgarner- With all the talk this offseason about Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, this 22-year-old lefty sort've fell through the cracks. I've been high on this guy ever since his call-up as a 20-year-old. He has everything you want in a pitcher: size, durability, and stuff. His sparkling 3.12 ERA backs me up here. He has the ability to get the strikeout when needed (112). And his 25 walks are very impressive, given most young lefties have trouble finding the zone. I think it's safe to say that at his young age, he is a complete package for the pitch-happy Giants.

Paul Goldschmidt- Goldschmidt had incredible power numbers before his call-up, and he is definitely going to hit a lot of home runs in the big leagues. But his ability to hit for average (.297) is going to make him an even bigger asset for a Diamondbacks club that has plenty of pop in their order. This big guy already has 29 doubles and even 9 stolen bags to go along with his 13 HR and 46 RBI. He's only 24, an will hit even more home runs when he adds weight to his 6'3" frame.

Wade Miley- I'm staying in Phoenix, Arizona with this pick. He is my pick for NL Rookie of the Year so far. His 11 wins are tied for 11th (ironically) in the Majors. His 3.02 ERA is pretty solid on a team that I think will eventually win the NL West. The guy has 110 strikeouts this season. There aren't many better lefties in the game than Miley already. He will only continue to mature and become a possible ace on a staff full of talent.

Dexter Fowler- As much as I wanted to go with Josh Rutledge, I don't think he will be in the majors, with the Rockies at least, once star Troy Tulowiztki returns from injury. I have always liked Dexter Fowler's defense. He has elite speed and he's just a solid athlete at 6'4", 190 lbs. He is finally starting to hit, and hit well. He sports a .301 average going into Tuesday night. His 12 home runs from a defenseive position are only icing on the cake. Fowler only has 8 steals, which is kind've disappointing. But overall, I love this guy going forward. He has the chance to be a top 5 centerfielder eventually.

Yasmani Grandal- Grandal came over to the Padres in the Mat Latos deal with Cincinatti. This guy can really swing the stick. He has a career .314 average in the minors. He got called up this year in San Diego and has continued to hit well (.299). I would like to think he would hit for more power than this (4 doubles, 5 home runs), but he is still only 23. I think he is up to the Majors to stay.

American League Potential Stars
Ross Parcel's Archives

By: Ross Parcel

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