While we cut through the teeth of winter, let’s begin our march toward opening day with USA TODAY’s 100 Names You Need to Know, our annual look of emerging major league talent, topped by the son of a Hall of Famer by the same name. They’re not necessarily the top prospects but players you’ll get to know quite well this season.
Our list stipulates that players must have had more innings (for pitchers) or plate appearances (for hitters) in the minor leagues during 2018 than they have accumulated during all of their major league playing time. Players are ranked in order of their anticipated impact this season.
Player capsules written by Ted Berg, Scott Boeck, Stephen Borelli, Steve Gardner, Gabe Lacques and Jesse Yomtov.
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Blue Jays: Given the way the Blue Jays stubbornly adhered to service-time concerns in keeping Guerrero, 19, in the minors last year, it’d be a shock if the consensus top prospect in baseball breaks camp with the big club. But given how he performed against advanced pitching in 2018, it’d be equally surprising if Vlad finishes the 2019 season as anything less than a major league regular. Guerrero marries his family’s preternatural bat-to-ball skills with precocious plate discipline and power.
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