Baseball fans, welcome to the second annual search for Major League Baseball’s next superstars.

This tricky, treacherous venture—which began a year ago at this time—isn’t about highlighting youngsters who might be above-average players.

No, this is about unearthing those with the potential and ability to break out and become the very best, those who possess the talent and skill to make themselves into perennial All-Stars and/or MVP and Cy Young Award candidates—and soon. Like, by-the-end-of-the-2015-season soon.

In short, if this search were to take out a classified ad, the write-up would include something like: “Seeking the next Mike Trout or Jose Abreu, the next Madison Bumgarner or Garrett Richards.”

Such players exist somewhere in the baseball world and should rise to prominence in the very near future. This is simply about uncovering them.

All of the following candidates are players whose careers are still in their infancy, but that doesn’t mean they’re all prospects. There is a mix of both prospects and those with at least some major league experience, because casting a wide-enough net hopefully will capture a batch of MLB‘s next superstars.

To qualify for this, players must have:

  1. Less than two years of service time in the majors heading into Opening Day 2015
  2. Never received any votes for MVP or Cy Young
  3. Zero All-Star appearances to date

After all, achieving any of those lofty criteria can be equated to having reached superstardom already.

Hence, there’s no Anthony Rendon, the Washington Nationals’ all-around stud third baseman; or Corey Kluber, who came almost out of nowhere to win the AL Cy Young; or Chicago Cubs slugging first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who just barely has more than two years in the bigs; or Devin Mesoraco, the Cincinnati Reds’ breakout catcher.

All of the above placed in MVP/Cy Young voting in 2014 or made it to the Midsummer Classic. Or both.

For the purposes of finding MLB’s next superstars, that makes them old news. This is about finding next year’s old news—now.

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