How exactly does a player become one of the faces of his respective sport?

From on-field ability and playing style, to off-field marketability and personality, there are a cornucopia of factors that go into a player becoming one of the ambassadors of a sport.

With MLB icon Derek Jeter hanging it up after the 2014 season and another of the game’s most recognizable stars in David Ortiz set to call it quits at the end of this year, we’re undergoing a changing of the guard in baseball.

Luckily, the game is overflowing with young talent.

So who will carry the torch for the sport going forward? Who are the 10 most important faces of MLB, both now and in the future?

That’s what we’ve attempted to answer here.

First, some parameters that determined who we considered:

  • Age: Since our focus here is not only on the present but also the future of the sport, we stuck to players under the age of 30.
  • Current skills and upside: While all 10 of the players we chose could already be considered stars, many of them are still in the process of reaching their full potential. These are not the 10 best players in baseball right now, but all of them have the potential to be in that conversation in the near future.
  • Market size: Players in small markets don’t receive the same level of attention nationally as their large market counterparts. That’s just the business. Paul Goldschmidt is one of the best players in the game, but he often goes overlooked in Arizona. Mookie Betts is still establishing himself as a superstar, but he’s he looks like the future face of the Boston Red Sox, one of baseball’s marquee teams. Betts earned a spot on our list. Goldschmidt did not.
  • Marketability: Along with market size, a player’s overall marketability was also taken into account here. It’s hard to be one of the faces of the sport if you don’t get your face out there.

So with all of that in mind, here’s my take on the 10 most important faces of Major League Baseball.

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