With baseball season so close we can almost taste it, questions are looming regarding which rookies have a shot to make the team out of camp and which ones can make an immediate impact. Sure, most of these guys will probably start the year and then be called up shortly into the season, but they can still be considered rookies.
Jorge Soler, RF, Chicago Cubs
Soler had a glimpse of action in the Majors last year as he was called up in late August. Soler batted .292 with 5 homers and 20 RBI's playing in just 20 games. The Cuban native, who is listed at 6'4" 215 pounds, has crazy power and is compared to other Cuban phenom Yoenis Cespedes. It is highly likely that Soler will make the team out of Spring Training and will possibly be their Opening Day starter in right field. If this kid can produce this year, he will be a force in the middle of the Cubs revamped lineup and possibly be in question for the Rookie of the Year award at the end of the season. Soler has the potential to be a 30+ homer guy who drives in around 100 runs a year. The Cubs have a true superstar in the making.
Rusney Castillo, CF, Red Sox
After signing with the Red Sox in August to a 7 yr/ 72.5 million dollar deal (largest ever to a Cuban defector), it didn't take Castillo long to make his big league debut. Castillo made his Major League debut on September 17th, appearing in just ten games, Castillo went 12 for 36 (.333) with two homers and stealing three bases as well, a bright spot in the Red Sox miserable 2014 campaign. Castillo also tore up the Arizona Fall League and the Puerto Rican Winter League this off-season. His large contract and success last season almost guarantee him the starting center fielding job in 2015. Castillo's ability to use the whole field, with some occasional pop in his bat and ability to steal bases, makes him a very valuable player to the Red Sox for many years to come. These tools make him a favorite to win the AL Rookie of the Year in a weak American League rookie class in 2015.
Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs
Bryant is the top prospect in all of baseball right now, but one of the biggest questions looming around the Cubs organization is whether or not Kris Bryant is ready for the Major Leagues on an everyday basis. Bryant, the number two pick in 2013 out of the University of San Diego, has some gaudy numbers throughout his time in the Minor Leagues. The 6'5", 215 pound twenty-three year old, hit .325 with 43 homers and 110 RBI's in his time in Double A and Triple A last season while earning Minor League player of the year. Bryant has shown comparisons offensively to guys like Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout, guys who hit for average, power and drive in runs. Whether or not Bryant makes the team right out of camp, it is almost certain he will be called up at some point in 2015, and when he does, look out, this kid can flat out play and is a superstar in the making.
Yasmany Tomas, LF, Arizona Diamondbacks
The 24 year old Cuban defector signed a 6 yr/68.5 million dollar deal with the DBacks back in November. Tomas has crazy power but it is a question of whether or not he can hit Major League pitching. He isn't as polished offensively as Jose Abreu and Yoenis Cespedes were when they defected, but he is scouted to be a very dangerous power hitter. He will not put up Abreu type numbers in his rookie year but between Castillo, Tomas and Soler, we may have a Cuban defector as a finalist for the Rookie of the Year award for a fourth straight year.
Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Kansas City Royals
Finnegan had quite the year last season. After being drafted 18th overall, then leading his TCU Horned Frogs to Omaha, Finnegan would be a key factor in the Royals bullpen in their postseason run to the Fall Classic. Finnegan was a shutdown lefty in the Royals pen last season, and since he has been a starter most of his life and James Shields likely gone, Finnegan could find himself in the Royals rotation this year.
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Jake Wesley is now the only writer for MLB_NL_AL.com all of these articles are ether based on facts and pieces of his opinion.