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Players we're all excited to see in 2019

February 9, 2019

Spring Training is more than simply on the horizon. It's mere days, hours and seconds from getting underway. Cracks of the bat and the pops of baseballs hitting gloves will soon fill the air in Florida and Arizona. And with all that comes the anticipation of seeing players old and

Spring Training is more than simply on the horizon. It's mere days, hours and seconds from getting underway. Cracks of the bat and the pops of baseballs hitting gloves will soon fill the air in Florida and Arizona. And with all that comes the anticipation of seeing players old and new take the field.
There are plenty of fresh faces, too. And guys coming back from injury, along with notable players trying out new positions. For rebuilding clubs, there are top prospects -- or groups of prospects -- who will look to make the big leagues. For others, there are likely pivotal offseason acquistions who will suit up in their new uniforms for the first time.
In short, it's time to get excited to see the players we've waited all winter for.
:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::
Baltimore Orioles
Players and staff. Executives and coaches. Prospects and their peers, and all the permutations in between. So much turnover has occurred in Baltimore over the last eight months that the Orioles have a chance to break camp with a roster nearly 60 percent different from a season ago. And for the first time in years, the main focus will be on players who are unlikely to crack that roster immediately. More >
Boston Red Sox
Dustin Pedroia once seemed as familiar to Red Sox fans as the Green Monster. A fixture in the lineup and at second base, Pedroia set the tone with his all-out style of play for over a decade. Yet this Spring Training, when Pedroia takes the field for his daily work, there will be a renewed sense of excitement and curiosity from all those who will watch him. More >
New York Yankees
Limited to 34 at-bats with the Yanks last season, 24-year-old Clint Frazier arrived in camp sporting a clean bill of health, announcing his intent to challenge incumbent veteran Brett Gardner for reps in left field. Frazier's bravado may have created a spring stir two years ago, but in this case, the club could not be more pleased to hear that his confidence is back. More >

Tampa Bay Rays
Matt Duffy has been at the Rays' Spring Training facility for about a week, and he believes his improved shape will help the team fight for a playoff spot in 2019. Duffy played exclusively at third base last season, but he has made it clear that he's willing to play anywhere, as long as it gets him in the lineup. More >
Toronto Blue Jays
No matter what happens this spring, the player everyone is going to be talking about on a daily basis is Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The top prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline is about to attend the first Major League Spring Training of his career. Guerrero made a handful of appearances in the Grapefruit League last year, but until now he has never been a full-time participant in Blue Jays Spring Training. More >
Chicago White Sox
With White Sox position players scheduled to report to Camelback Ranch on Feb. 18, the wide array of talents for Eloy Jiménez, the No. 3 overall prospect per MLB Pipeline, once again will be on display. Only this time, Jimenez will be taking part in Cactus League action with his big league time just a short period away. More >
Cleveland Indians
At this time last year, Shane Bieber was getting ready for Minor League Spring Training, before opening the season with the Akron RubberDucks. Fast forward to 2019, and the right-hander is preparing for his sophomore campaign in the Majors. More >
Detroit Tigers
Casey Mize, the 17th-ranked prospect in MLB Pipeline's overall rankings, won't be pushing for an Opening Day roster spot after just 13 2/3 innings in the Minor Leagues last summer. But what the Tigers' top prospect shows in camp should play a big role in determining his path to the big leagues. More >

Kansas City Royals
The Royals and general manager Dayton Moore have made it clear that in 2019 they will focus on being an elite team defensively and in terms of speed, returning to the formula that helped them get to back-to-back World Series in 2014 and '15. That would appear to give Brett Phillips an edge, although as he competes for the right-field job with Jorge Soler, Jorge Bonifacio and Brian Goodwin, Phillips is aware he has to show the Royals he is capable of doing something, anything, offensively. More >
Minnesota Twins
Hard-throwing right-hander Fernando Romero made it 15 2/3 innings into his Major League career without allowing a run last May. While the 24-year-old has primarily been a starter throughout his professional career, could he ultimately prove a better fit for the Twins' bullpen in 2019? More >
Houston Astros
For the Astros, Michael Brantley was exactly the player they needed at exactly the right price -- two years and $32 million -- and the kind of addition that should fire up the fan base. The club signed the former All-Star to give it a left-handed bat to plug into the middle of a talented and right-handed-heavy lineup. More >
Los Angeles Angels
Shohei Ohtani, who joined Babe Ruth as the only players to hit 20 homers and make 10 pitching appearances in the same season, will be limited to only designated hitter duty in '19 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Oct. 1. Ohtani, though, remains a must-watch player for Angels fans and his recovery from the operation will be worth monitoring throughout the season as he prepares to pitch again in '20. More >
Oakland A's
One of baseball's top pitching prospects will soon descend upon the A's spring complex in Mesa, Ariz., and he'll warrant a stream of attention for weeks to come. Lefty Jesus Luzardo hopes to prove the hype is real. It just might land him a spot in Oakland's Opening Day starting rotation. More >

Seattle Mariners
When Spring Training opens for the Mariners, as pitchers and catchers report for physicals, there'll be plenty of buzz around the numerous newcomers getting their introductions. But the one guy at the center of much of the attention figures to be Yusei Kikuchi, the newest Japanese sensation to sign with Seattle. More >
Texas Rangers
The Rangers have four left-handed candidates for their bullpen going into Spring Training, and between them they have a total of 28 Major League appearances. Two have never pitched in the big leagues. That doesn't faze manager Chris Woodward. "We have so many options ... somebody is going to obviously wow us at some point," Woodward said. More >
Atlanta Braves
Considering Josh Donaldson spent much of this decade serving as a chief threat to Mike Trout's annual MVP bid, there's certainly reason to anticipate him becoming the Braves' best free-agent acquisition since Greg Maddux came to Atlanta. But to gain this distinction, Donaldson must re-establish himself as the offensive monster he was before a right calf strain sidelined him for most of the first two months of 2017 and a left calf strain forced him to miss most of last season. More >
Miami Marlins
When full-squad workouts begin on Feb. 18, the Marlins' staff will get a chance to evaluate many of their top position player prospects. Although they will be closely monitoring all of them, perhaps the one they will be particularly excited to see is outfielder Victor Victor Mesa. More >

New York Mets
An offseason spent shopping brought the Mets a clubhouse full of new faces this spring. But for all the excitement sure to surround each Robinson Canó swing and Edwin Díaz fastball in Port St. Lucie, Fla., at least as many eyes are bound to be on top prospect Peter Alonso, who may even supplant Tim Tebow as the most-watched player at Mets camp. More >
Philadelphia Phillies
No disrespect to the players that the Phillies acquired this offseason, even the recently acquired J.T. Realmuto, but Phillies fans have had their hearts and minds fixated on Bryce Harper and Manny Machado for the past three or four years. They want to see one of these guys in a Phillies uniform this spring. More >
Washington Nationals
Among those new additions who will arrive to Nationals camp next week, none may be more exciting or offer more potential than Patrick Corbin, the best free-agent starter available this winter. He is coming off a career year in Arizona -- 33 starts for a 3.15 ERA and 246 strikeouts in 200 innings, earning him a spot on the NL All-Star team and a fifth-place finish in the voting for the NL Cy Young Award. More >
Chicago Cubs
All eyes will be on Kris Bryant this spring. Every swing within view on a practice field and every Cactus League plate appearance will be under the public microscope. For the Cubs, Bryant exists as the most critical component to correcting the offensive landslide that occurred last year. More >
Cincinnati Reds
Acquired from the Dodgers in December's seven-player trade that also brought pitcher Alex Wood, outfielder Matt Kemp and catcher Kyle Farmer, Yasiel Puig has wasted little time endearing himself to his new fan base. He is frequently on social media, often wearing a Reds cap, and showing off his personality in places ranging from a Hawaiian vacation to the dentist's chair. More >
Milwaukee Brewers
Yasmani Grandal didn't wait until Spring Training to begin his Brewers tenure. After signing a surprise one-year deal in early January, he texted a new teammate who also spends his offseason in Arizona. Days later, Josh Hader was throwing his first bullpen session with his new catcher. More >

Pittsburgh Pirates
Good pitching beats good hitting, as the saying goes. Pirates starter Jameson Taillon repeated the baseball adage last month. Manager Clint Hurdle did the same, adding: "It always has." The Bucs are counting on that still being true in 2019. More >
St. Louis Cardinals
As the Cardinals open camp next week, Paul Goldschmidt will begin assimilating to a new clubhouse and heightened expectations. He's arguably the most accomplished player to arrive via trade since the Cardinals dealt for Matt Holliday in 2009. That relationship lasted eight seasons, and the Cardinals intend to make every effort to ensure Goldschmidt settles in for the long haul, too. More >
Arizona Diamondbacks
There will be a lot of attention paid to D-backs infielder Jake Lamb when Spring Training gets underway. Lamb, of course, is coming off a season that was almost entirely lost to a left shoulder injury. His healthy return would play a big part in helping the D-backs' offense overcome the departures of Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock during the offseason. More >
Colorado Rockies
With new faces on the team, Spring Training is a time for excitement, but the Rockies had October in mind with their one big offseason signing: Daniel Murphy for two years and $24 million. More >
Los Angeles Dodgers
A.J. Pollock said he's excited about being on a team that expects to be in the World Series every year, after spending most of his career chasing the Dodgers. "Every time they step on the field, they anticipate that they'll win that game and that's pretty cool. Not a whole lot of teams out there are like that," Pollock said. More >

San Diego Padres
Thirteen of the Padres' top 30 prospects will be in camp, five of whom are ranked in MLB Pipeline's top 100. A handful of those prospects will be told: Prove it this spring, and you're on the roster. More >
San Francisco Giants
It's been less than a year since the Giants selected catcher Joey Bart with the second overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, but the 22-year-old catcher is already generating plenty of excitement within the organization. The buzz should continue to grow next week when Bart reports to his first big league camp. More >