This era of baseball has brought arguably the most athletic, talented and competitive wave of players the game has seen -- with the smarts to supplement it all. That could make this generation's players even more prepared to return to the dugout someday, replacing their batting gloves with a lineup card.
Consider that players today have seen the Major Leagues undergo a sizable face-lift. The power surge in the batter's box and on the mound, as well as the rise (and comprehension) of analytics has made communication more paramount than ever. And, of course, leadership will never be discounted. The adaptability to their competitive environment could merit today's players' credentials to guide tomorrow's.
So who might be a future manager? And why? With the help of MLB.com's beat reporters, we took a look at the strongest candidates to return to the dugout among current players in the National League West:
D-backs: Stephen Vogt
It’s somewhat of a cliché to pick a catcher, but Stephen Vogt seems to check all the boxes for a future manager. He is able to relate well to teammates from varied backgrounds, his communication skills are off the charts and he has a love and passion for the game. Before Spring Training games got underway this year, you could find Vogt in the early morning sitting in front of his locker with a group of teammates gathered around him talking baseball. After that day’s workout, the same group would assemble and break down what had happened. Pitchers talk about Vogt's ability to calm them down on the mound when things are starting to get away from them. Vogt’s father, Randy, has a coaching background too, so it runs in the family. -- Steve Gilbert
Dodgers: Justin Turner
Justin Turner not only qualifies as the perfect Dodgers player, but he checks the most important boxes for manager material. In the clubhouse, he’s a leader, a communicator, and he has been a high performer on the game’s biggest stage. He overcame the failure of being non-tendered to develop into an All-Star with a gamer approach. He’s a product of the analytics generation, handles the media deftly and relates to any culture. Maybe the only box unchecked is whether he wants (or needs) the aggravation of being a manager, because when he’s done playing, he’ll have greater financial security than any current manager. -- Ken Gurnick
Giants: Hunter Pence
Hunter Pence earned the nickname “The Reverend” for his stirring speeches during the Giants’ World Series title runs in 2012 and '14. His ability to inspire others and connect with his teammates was one of the reasons the Giants decided to bring back the 37-year-old veteran on a one-year deal this offseason. Pence, who revived his career after overhauling his swing last winter, returned to the Giants with an eagerness to share what he learned during his '19 All-Star campaign with the Rangers, showcasing the growth mindset that front-office executives are increasingly seeking in future managers. Pence has plenty of off-the-field passions that he could pursue after his playing career ends, but if he’s interested in staying involved in baseball, his relentless optimism and energy are qualities that would serve him well in the dugout. -- Maria Guardado
Padres: Craig Stammen
For whatever reason, there aren’t many relief-pitchers-turned-managers across MLB. But Craig Stammen might become an exception. A 10-year veteran, Stammen is revered by his teammates and regarded as a tone-setter in the Padres' clubhouse and bullpen. His laid-back demeanor makes him easily approachable, and he has a wealth of knowledge, according to teammates, who regularly congregate at his corner locker. Said one Padres staffer: “He has a real future after his playing career is over -- maybe manager, but he could do any number of things that would be valuable to any organization.” -- AJ Cassavell
Rockies: Ian Desmond
Over 11 seasons, Ian Desmond has played myriad positions, appeared in five postseasons and has been influenced by some of the era's most experienced managers -- Frank Robinson (when he was a prospect), Jim Riggleman, Davey Johnson and Bud Black. Desmond was brought to the Rockies as they were transitioning into a contender, he has put forth effort to improve communication among teammates, speaks well of struggling teammates to the media and quietly communicated with Spanish-speaking fellow outfielder Raimel Tapia to lessen his learning curve. In-game, Desmond is among the most attentive players in terms of picking up minute advantages. -- Thomas Harding