Major League Preview

2008 Top 25 Rookies

Longoria's ready to star in Tampa




Capsules written by Will Lingo. The order has been modified since the print edition because of Andy LaRoche's injury.

01 Evan Longoria, 3b
Tampa Bay Rays
Evan LongoriaIf this is the year the Rays finally break through the 70-win barrier, contributions from Longoria's bat will probably be a big reason why.

 
14 Chase Headley, 3b/of
San Diego Padres
Chase HeadleyHeadley was MVP of the Texas League last year as a third baseman, but the Padres are trying him in the outfield to get his bat into their lineup as soon as possible.

 
02 Kosuke Fukudome, of
Chicago Cubs
Kosuke FukudomeBA readers first read about Fukudome when he was with Japan's Olympic team in 1996, but now he's one of the reasons the Cubs are the favorite in the NL Central.

 
15 Joey Votto, 1b/of
Cincinnati Reds
Joey VottoSure, Scott Hatteberg is ahead of him, but Votto should displace him before too long and can also get at-bats in the outfield in the meantime.

 
03 Clay Buchholz, rhp
Boston Red Sox
Clay BuchholzHe already threw a no-hitter in his second big league start, and there's no reason to think he won't win big this year on a team that's loaded with talent.

 
16 Brandon Wood, 3b/ss
Los Angeles Angels
Brandon WoodContinuing our run of guys who should get playing time but have obstacles in their way at the moment, Wood has a bat the Angels need and defensive versatility.

 
04 Jay Bruce, of
Cincinnati Reds
Jay BruceThe Reds will be breaking in some premium young talent this season, and the 2007 Minor League Player of the Year should be the best of the bunch.

 
17 J.R. Towles, c
Houston Astros
Daric BartonInjuries have limited Towles' exposure, but his all-around skills make him a bright spot in what could be a long year in Houston.

 
05 Joba Chamberlain, rhp
New York Yankees
Joba ChamberlainHe's set to open the season in the New York bullpen, and it will be interesting to see where he's pitching at season's end. He has the talent to dominate in any role.

 
18 Daric Barton, 1b
Oakland Athletics
Daric BartonThe Athletics are beginning their rebuilding project in earnest, and they will be counting on Barton as one of their cornerstones.

 
06 Jacoby Ellsbury, of
Boston Red Sox
Jacoby EllsburyThere's a reason Coco Crisp trade rumors were so rampant during spring training. Ellsbury is nearly his equal on defense and will be much better at the plate.

 
19 Jair Jurrjens, rhp
Atlanta Braves
Jair JurrjensThe Braves hope the return on the Edgar Renteria trade can just approach the last time they turned to a Tigers prospect to boost their rotation (John Smoltz, 1987).

 
07 Geovany Soto, c
Chicago Cubs
Geovany SotoSoto's huge 2007 performance in Triple-A prompted the Cubs to clear the way for him, and he should be instanlty productive with the bat.

 
20 Steve Pearce, 1b/of
Pittsburgh Pirates
Steven PearceWhat makes more sense for the Pirates: Confirming that Xavier Nady is a replacement-level big leaguer or seeing what Pearce can do?

 
08 Cameron Maybin, of
Florida Marlins
Cameron MaybinAs the Marlins finally appear to have a defined future with a new ballpark on the horizon, Maybin will be one of the key pieces they build around.

 
21 Jeff Clement, c/1b
Seattle Mariners
Jeff ClementWhile catcher and first base are blocked in Seattle for now, his bat is ready and he can find enough work backing up at those spots and at DH to help the Mariners.

 
09 Colby Rasmus, of
St. Louis Cardinals
Colby RasmusThe Cardinals didn't have Rasmus penciled into their outfield going into spring training, but it's hard to believe his all-around skills won't be needed in St. Louis soon.

 
22 Andy LaRoche, 3b
Los Angeles Dodgers
Andy LaRocheLike last year, the Dodgers again will have to wrestle with playing youngsters or mediocre veterans. With talent like LaRoche, the decision shouldn't be that hard.

 
10 Hiroki Kuroda, rhp
Los Angeles Dodgers
Hiroki KurodaHe hasn't attracted as much attention as Fukudome this offseason, but Kuroda was a proven in Japan and should be a key part of the Dodgers rotation.

 
23 Nate Schierholtz, of
San Francisco Giants
Nate SchierholtzThe Giants finally begin their post-Bonds reconstruction, and they'll eventually hand a full-time job to Schierholtz over one of their many mediocre veterans.

 
11 Franklin Morales, lhp
Colorado Rockies
Franklin MoralesMorales showed his inconsistency in his major league debut last fall, but his plus stuff and strong makeup give him all the tools for long-term success.

 
24 Gio Gonzalez, lhp
Oakland Athletics
Gio GonzalezGonzalez was the centerpiece of the Nick Swisher trade with the White Sox, and while he might not start the year in Oakland's rotation, he'll certainly finish there.

 
12 Ian Kennedy, rhp
New York Yankees
Ian KennedyKennedy isn't going to blow anyone away, but his well-rounded arsenal and strong feel for pitching make him look like a guy who will post innings and results for years.

 
25 Masahide Kobayashi, rhp
Cleveland Indians
Masahide KobayashiJapanese pitchers in general, and relievers in particular, have a strong track record of performance in the U.S., so don't be surprised if he ends up closing for the Tribe.

 
13 Homer Bailey, rhp
Cincinnati Reds
Homer BaileyA groin injury kept him out much of the second half of last season, but he still has the plus fastball and curveball to make him the Reds' ace of the future.