For a nation where the clock is ticking to bring two new members to Cooperstown, that a third like Albert Pujols would enter his farewell campaign, what to expect from its current stars starting this Thursday in a Major League campaign that is expected by all.
Sound names like Robinson Canó, 2,624 hits, a .303 lifetime batting .303 will not be with the Mets this year, Edwin Encarnación and his 424 home runs is unemployed, it is almost certain that Melky Cabrera, 1,962 hits will not be able to reach 2,000. All are out of the picture, of course the winner of two golden gloves in the middle is serving a one-year punishment, but when he tries to return he will already be 39 years old.
With Pujols throwing his “last cartridges” of one of the most extraordinary careers that any player has ever achieved, with a Nelson Cruz, who with one-year contracts places increasingly magnificent records, because he exhibits quality and discipline in a Twins in which he is their luxury designated player.
This leaves new figures with the commitment to provide continuity to the quality that for decades the Dominicans have sealed in the great circus, so consistent that only the United States has the ability to present a more finished talent.
Some of them, such as Manny Machado, José Ramírez and Marcell Ozuna, have already been playing for several years in the different stadiums, and the trio has the youth to maintain magnificent productions. None of the three reaches 30 years of age.
The talent exhibited by this trio has been joined by a magnificent group that are part of what will be the young faces of baseball in the coming years.
A couple of them, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Juan Soto are already ranked among the top 10 players in the game, with the Padres’ stellar shortstop with a $314 million dollar signing with that club and Soto, last season’s batting leader with the Nationals with a robust .351 and waiting to follow in the footsteps of his fellow countryman.
Both ranked fourth and fifth last season in the Most Valuable Player race in the old circuit, with Machado taking second and Ozuna sixth. Ramírez was second in the American.
They are joined by a package made up of Rafael Devers (Boston), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays), Gary Sanchez (Yankees) waiting for an offensive rebirth. Another very young, already with star status, Eloy Jimenez (White Sox) injured his pectoral muscle and will be out for most of the season.
This other trio is set to greatly surpass their records, with Devers in a Red Sox with much more offense, Guerrero Jr. more than 30 pounds lighter and Sanchez rediscovering his strength with the lumber.
Other important players for their teams are Franmil Reyes (Indians), Ramon Laureano (Athletics), Starling Marte (Marlins), Ketel Marte (D-Backs), Victor Robles (Nationals), the duo of Miguel Sanó and Jorge Polanco (Twins) among others.
In pitching, great performances are expected once again from Luis Castillo (Cincinnati), Sandy Alcántara and Sixto Sánchez (Marlins), a good return of Domingo Germán (Yankees), Johnny Cueto, who is going to his last year with the Giants; Alex Colomé, who will be the closer for the Twins, among others.
On his side, Luis Rojas will manage the Mets, a team with which he had a 26-34 record, last in the National League East, now with a new owner he has the great challenge of guiding this club to the postseason.