Baseball is currently stocked with young stars (and some old ones), who make the game as enjoyable to watch as it’s ever been.
We asked our staff to share their favorite player in baseball to watch. Here are their answers:
Kevin McGuire: For me, the answer is Mike Trout. I live on the east coast so getting a chance to see the Millville product is a relatively rare opportunity. But if I know he is coming to the plate, I’m sticking on the broadcast if the Angels happen to be on. I find him worth staying up late to watch, and I’m not so sure I would say that about many other players around the league right now.
Matt Clapp: I’m going to pick two — if that’s allowed! — because they’re incredibly similar anyway, in Francisco Lindor and Javy Baez. Heck, they were just the double play combo for Puerto Rico.
Lindor and Baez are skilled across the board (though Lindor is a much better overall player right now), but they’re especially incredible as middle infielders. It seems every other game they make a play that seems impossible. Baez has made tagging a skill to watch. We never cared about tagging until he came along! They both have plenty of flair in their game, and the big thing—THEY HAVE FUN. It’s refreshing, and highly entertaining.
Joe Lucia: I was going to roll out a predictable response (Trout! Harper! Kershaw!), but then I watched the first game of the Braves-Marlins series on Tuesday night. That made me remember just how much I love watching Christian Yelich play. He’s a great baserunner, hits for power, hits for average, is a solid fielder, and he just looks like he’s having a damn good time when he’s playing the game. That’s really what I’m looking for in a baseball player—someone who’s good at what they do, and looks like they enjoy it, too.
Ian Casselberry: Even though he doesn’t play as regularly as he once did and is probably six or seven years past his prime (though his prime lasted much longer than it will for many of his fellow major leaguers), I keep coming back to Ichiro Suzuki. Ever since he began playing in MLB in 2001, I’ve been fascinated by him. He was maybe the first player who compelled me to stay up late to watch on Pacific time. (Granted, that’s much easier now with so much more baseball available on TV and streaming.)
The way he winds his bat forward when beginning an at-bat, as if he’s a samurai drawing his sword. How he would begin running out of the batter’s box as he made contact. His constant stretching in the outfield. That amazing arm for someone his size. I barely watched the Miami Marlins before (despite Giancarlo Stanton’s presence), but Ichiro gets me to tune in. At least I get to watch him on East-Coast time now. I’ll be sad when he retires.
Brandon Liebhaber: I grew up watching Adrian Beltré with the Dodgers and remember thinking his 48-homer contract year was a huge anomaly. His route to superstardom has been circuitous, and I think we fail to appreciate him as much as we should as a result. All he has done is get better with age since moving to Texas. Whether its falling to a knee on a home run swing, nonchalantly making gold-glove caliber plays in the field or getting angry with teammates who try to touch his head, nothing is ever boring with Adrían Beltré. Lets enjoy him while we can.
Ryan Williamson: I’d have to say my favorite player to watch is Jake Arrieta. As a kid growing up in Minnesota, my love for dominant pitching began with Johan Santana slinging it in the mid-2000s. Now, the Twins lack that sort of high-end starter, so I look to other teams to fill that void. Arrieta’s dominant style is something to behold every time he takes the mound. Plus, he has strong defense around him that allows him to up his game even more.
Alex Putterman: I considered a bunch of players will fun skillsets—Javy Baez, Trea Turner, Billy Hamilton, Andrelton Simmons, Edwin Diaz—before realizing I was totally over-thinking this.
The answer is Mike Trout. He might be the best player any of us have ever seen, and he does it in a super entertaining way, with line drives and stolen bases and leaping catches. On Wednesday night I tuned into the Angels game in the fifth inning, at a time when I should’ve been getting into bed, and watched Trout hit two doubles, score the game-tying run and rob a homer. Sometimes the simple answer is the best one: Mike Trout is baseball’s most fun player to watch.