Jim Callis posted Friday his ranking of the rookies that he thinks has the most long-term potential and will be the most valuable over the course of their careers. In the Year of the Rookie many of the players that began the season as the top prospects in the game have graduated to the big leagues. And several of the first-year players are in the middle of a pennant race or push for the playoffs.
According to Jim Callis, the top 10 rookies based on long-term potential are SS Carlos Correa (Astros), 3B/OF Kris Bryant (Cubs), OF Byron Buxton (Twins), SS Francisco Lindor (Indians), SS Addison Russell (Cubs), 3B Miguel Sano (Twins), RHP Noah Syndergaard (Mets), OF Joc Pederson (Dodgers), LHP Carlos Rodon (White Sox) and C/OF Kyle Schwarber (Cubs). OF Jorge Soler checked in at No. 15 on Callis’ list.
The Cubs first-year players have already set a franchise record for the most-home runs by a rookie class. And Kris Bryant broke Billy Williams’ rookie records for home runs and RBI.
Most predicted Kris Bryant would win the NL Rookie of the Year before the season. And Bryant has actually out produced the hype he created in Spring Training. Bryant has not only improved his defense at third base, he has also played all three outfield spots when Joe Maddon has asked him to put on an outfielders glove. Bryant owns the Cubs All-Time Rookie record for home runs and RBI. For the season, Bryant has hit .280/.372/.504 with 31 doubles, five triples and 26 home runs for a .876 OPS.
If Addison Russell made his Major League debut this year, many thought he would be called up in September to get his feet wet for 2016. Injuries, ineffectiveness and Javier Baez being on personal leave, forced the front office’s hand and Russell made his debut four days after Bryant. Russell has played Gold Glove caliber defense at second base and shortstop and he will hit more than he has this season as Jim Callis pointed out. Russell has a .238/.304/.388 line with 26 doubles, one triple and 13 home runs for a .691 OPS. Russell has shown flashes of the offensive force he will be in the near future. Russell is the Cubs’ everyday shortstop moving forward.
Kyle Schwarber has shown he belongs in the majors. Beyond this season the question remains where will he play in the field. Schwarber made major improvements as a receiver this season, those that saw him in Spring Training easily noticed how hard he worked on his catching skills. Schwarber has played more games in the outfield (37) than behind the plate (20) while hitting .245/.351/.509 with six doubles, a triple and 16 home runs for a .860 OPS.
Injuries have slowed Jorge Soler this year, and his second trip to the DL last month came just as he started taking his at bats to the next level. Soler has not performed to unrealistic expectations but he’s had a good year. Soler has a .266/.326/.406 slash line with 18 doubles, a triple and 10 home runs for a .732 OPS.
Jim Callis’ Top 25 Rookies
- Carlos Correa, SS (Astros)
- Kris Bryant, 3B/OF (Cubs)
- Byron Buxton, OF (Twins)
- Francisco Lindor, SS (Indians)
- Addison Russell, SS/2B (Cubs)
- Miguel Sano, 3B (Twins)
- Noah Syndergaard, RHP (Mets)
- Joc Pederson, OF (Dodgers)
- Carlos Rodon, LHP (White Sox)
- Kyle Schwarber, C/OF (Cubs)
- Blake Swihart, C (Red Sox)
- Luis Severino, RHP (Yankees)
- Lance McCullers, RHP (Astros)
- Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP (Red Sox)
- Jorge Soler, OF (Cubs)
- Michael Conforto, OF (Mets)
- Aaron Nola, RHP (Phillies)
- Joe Ross, RHP (Nationals)
- Daniel Norris, LHP (Tigers)
- Maikel Franco, 3B (Phillies)
- Greg Bird, 1B (Yankees)
- Andrew Heaney, LHP (Angels)
- Raisel Iglesias, RHP (Reds)
- Ketel Marte, SS (Mariners)
- Stephen Piscotty, OF/1B (Cardinals)