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A Great Mix of Rookies and Young Guns
February 02, 2007
Copyright 2015 TMP International, Inc.

Major League Baseball has been blessed with an abundance of talented rookies and breakout young stars, and next May's MLB 18 lineup shows a healthy respect for these "young guns." Mix in a pair of unique sequel figures for two of the game's best players and you've got a dynamite lineup sure to please collectors everywhere.

Ryan Howard -- Philly's slugging first baseman never heard the term "sophomore slump." In just his second year in the big leagues, Howard made the All-Star Team, won the Home Run Derby, put the Phillies on his back, chased Roger Maris' home run mark of 61, and made himself a legitimate MVP candidate. The scary part? He's only 26.

David Ortiz 2 -- The most feared hitter in the game today is Boston DH David Ortiz. With a keen eye, power to spare and a flair for the dramatic, Ortiz is the driving force in the Red Sox lineup. With a personality to match his accomplishments, there is a nation of Ortiz fans that doesn't care beans about the Red Sox. Couple that with the dedicated Beantown faithful and you've got probably the most popular player in the Major Leagues.

Justin Verlander -- There are 100 reasons to respect Tigers rookie pitcher Justin Verlander, and every one of them is a mile-per-hour. Verlander is a big part of Detroit's Cinderella season -- he became the first rookie pitcher in baseball history to win 10 games before the end of June.

Mariano Rivera 2 -- The strains of "Enter Sandman" ring through Yankee Stadium, a door opens in the outfield wall and out walks the most dominant closer in the history of the game. Mariano Rivera has taken the mound under the brightest of spotlights for the last decade and delivered inning upon inning of brilliant relief -- breaking bats and killing dreams all along the way.

David Wright -- You might remember him for his airborne dive into the stands, or his barehanded stab in shallow left field, or his All-Star Game home run. David Wright is the new face of the very talented New York Mets -- coming soon to the playoffs near you.

Brandon Webb -- The new-look Arizona Diamondbacks stayed competitive all season in 2006 -- staying close to the N.L. West and Wild Card leaders while breaking in a new crop of rookies. Brandon Webb established himself as the ace of the staff, and delivered wins in 14 of his first 28 starts, matching his career-high in wins while turning in his best stats in ERA and WHIP as well.

With young talent like this meshing with established superstars, the future certainly looks bright for Major League Baseball, and for McFarlane's Sports Picks as well. MLB 18 is scheduled to arrive in stores in early May 2007.


All stories are Copyright © and TMP International, Inc., and may not be reprinted without permission.

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