Major League baseball has enjoyed the rise of various stars throughout the league which has added a new, interesting, and fresh dynamic to the baseball landscape. In the past, we have touched base on a few of those stars who are helping to reshape and update the image of baseball.
However, on the other side of the spectrum are many great young pitchers. A few of those, who are downright exceptional in their character, image, potential, and talent. Here, yours truly, will spotlight fifteen pitchers, twenty-five years of age and younger, that will impact the future, become household names in their respective cities, and throughout Major League Baseball as well.
1. Joba Chamberlain, 23, New York Yankees - Joba broke onto the scene two years ago with a blazing fastball and a wicked slider anchoring the Yankee bullpen, and bridging the gap to Mariano Rivera. After much debate, Joba is now utilizing all four of his plus-pitches as a starter, and is poised to be a potential number one starter in the future. Joba's recent 12 strikeout performance were flashes of Joba's ability once his potential is attained.
Career Stats - Win-Loss:7-4 Innings Pitched: 153.0 Earned Run Average: 2.47 Strike Outs: 181
2. Matt Garza, 25, Tampa Bay Rays - An already accomplished pitcher that has had success in the post-season, Garza is often overlooked due to the success of teammate Scott Kazmir. However, Garza has the tools to become a mainstay amongst the great pitchers in the league debate, while maintaining his number two slot for the Rays behind future Ray number one in...
Career Stats - Win-Loss:22-24 Innings Pitched: 358.2 Earned Run Average: 3.97 Strike Outs: 269
3. David Price, 23, Tampa Bay Rays - Price had his coming out party on a big stage in the ALCS by sealing the American League pennant for the Rays over the Red Sox. The young twenty-three year old has the make up of a traditional power lefty exhibiting a high 90's fastball, and a sharp break-in stuff.
Career Stats - Win-Loss: 0-0 Innings Pitched: 14.0 Earned Run Average: 1.93 Strike Outs: 12
4. Zack Greinke, 25, Kansas City Royals - If you didn't know about Greinke before, you are definitely discovering his talent now. Greinke, is arguably baseball's best starting pitcher today sporting a 6-0 record with 54 strikeouts in 45 innings, and a microscopic 0.60 ERA. Greinke is sure to be the face of the future for the re surging Kansas City Royals.
Career Stats - Win-Loss: 40-45 Innings Pitched: 703.2 Earned Run Average: 4.03 Strike Outs: 562
5. Cole Hamels, 25, Philadelphia Phillies - World Series MVP. National League CY Young candidate. Dominating stuff. Hamels has arrived, and will be a handful for the rest of the NL East for a long time to come.
Career Stats - Win-Loss: 38-25 Innings Pitched: 560.1 Earned Run Average: 3.55 Strike Outs: 533
6. Tommy Hanson, 22, Atlanta Braves - Hanson, the Braves #1 prospect is considered a can't miss prospect as he has rocketed through their farm system breaking various records along the way. Look for Hanson to make his debut mid-season helping the big league club.
7. Jon Lester, 25, Boston Red Sox - Lester, like Hamels, is young, but has already thrown a no-hitter in the show, and has proven himself on the big stage in October. Lester, a cancer survivor, has given the Red Sox a left-handed, strikeout, innings-eating, pitcher that will eventually become their ace.
Career Stats - Win-Loss: 29-10 Innings Pitched: 391.2 Earned Run Average: 3.93 Strike Outs: 305
8. Tim Lincecum, 24, San Francisco Giants - Lincecum, the small framed, funky delivery right hander has shown exemplary strikeout stuff in the bay area. The reigning National Cy Young award winner is off to a great 2009 as well, as he slowly becomes the face of the Giants.
Career Stats - Win-Loss: 28-11 Innings Pitched: 411.2 Earned Run Average: 3.15 Strike Outs: 465
9. Clayton Kershaw, 21, Los Angeles Dodgers - Kershaw, another dominating strikeout phenom out west has given the Dodgers a viable bid to fill their #1 slot. Kershaw, who had a brief playoff experience last year, looks to build upon his experience, develop his circle change, and continue growing into the lock down ace the Dodgers need in a pitching heavy NL West.
Career Stats - Win-Loss: 5-7 Innings Pitched: 135.2 Earned Run Average: 4.51 Strike Outs: 129
10. Stephen Strasburg, 20, San Diego State Aztecs; USA Baseball - Strasburg, the potential (most likely lock) number one pick in the 2009 MLB draft is expected to be selected by the Washington Nationals. Strasburg, who played on Team USA in the 2008 Olympics, has been labeled by scouts as a "once every twenty-five years" type of pitcher. He has recorded a 23 strikeout game this year. Strasburg has a fastball that consistently reaches 101mph, and has topped out at 103mph. Strasburg is currently 10-0 with 147 strikeouts in 78.1 innings for the Aztecs.
11. Brandon Morrow, 24, Seattle Mariners - Probably the best kept secret due to playing in the northwest, Morrow has nasty stuff. For most of 2008, Morrow was a reliever, then eventually taking over the closer's role for the injured J.J. Putz. The Mariners, who pushed Morrow back into the starter's role due to his dominant performances, managed to no-hit the Yankees for 7 2/3 in his first start. However, Morrow, who suffers from diabetes, will be placed back into relief, where he is sure to continue giving hitters problems.
Career Stats - Win-Loss: 6-9 Innings Pitched: 134.2 Earned Run Average: 3.74 Strike Outs: 149
12. Josh Johnson, 25, Florida Marlins - Johnson, selected by Hall of Famer, Peter Gammons, to be the 2009 National League Cy Young winner has done everything to prove Gammons correct. Johnson has good stuff that has already matched up with Johan Santana on two occasions this season.
Career Stats - Win-Loss: 21-11 Innings Pitched: 314.1 Earned Run Average: 3.41 Strike Outs: 272
13. Edinson Volquez, 25, Cincinnati Reds - Volquez, finally put it together in Cincinnati after struggling in the Rangers organization. Volquez, went on to start the All-Star Game for the National League. Volquez is expected to lead a young, but talented rotation for the Reds in 2009.
Career Stats - Win-Loss: 24-19 Innings Pitched: 312.1 Earned Run Average: 4.27 Strike Outs: 296
14. Matt Cain, 24, San Francisco Giants. Cain is often overshadowed these days due to Lincecum's recent success. Nonetheless, Cain compliments Lincecum nicely as a young and dangerous one-two punch for San Francisco.
Career Stats - Win-Loss: 32-44 Innings Pitched: 591 Earned Run Average: 3.71 Strike Outs: 579
15. Felix Hernandez, 23, Seattle Mariners - Hernandez blew onto the scene at the age of 19 in to 2005 with a power fastball. Today, Hernandez, Seattle's best pitcher, continues to dominate, and appears to be set to do so for the foreseeable future.
Career Stats - Win-Loss: 43-37 Innings Pitched: 706.1 Earned Run Average: 3.77 Strike Outs: 638