If the popularity of Moneyball, which questioned the efficacy of old-fashioned scouting and trumpeted the arrival of the sabermetric era, wasn't statistically undeniable, you'd be tempted to conclude that no one paid the moral of that story much mind. The stands of every major club's spring training stadium are packed with would-be experts analyzing the swings and throws of the up-and-coming players. Fans are eager to spot talent and even more eager to spot talent first – to have that strangest of claims to a player's career: "I said he was going to be good."
Scouting is like watching the future so long as you're looking at the right guys. Whether you're making the trip to Arizona or Florida for Spring Training over the next five weeks, or just binging on games shown by MLB Network, here are the boys of spring to watch. These potential franchise players are coming into their own and their success or failure will shape the playoff landscape for at least the next five years.
Joey Gallo, Rangers
Joey Gallo is nowhere close to breaking into the big leagues and may never make it, but he's on this list because he's the best batting-practice show in the minors. Gallo hit 40 homers last season while playing Class-A ball for the Spokane Indians and 22 the year before with the Arizona Leage Rangers. He's only 20, having been drafted out of high school in Las Vegas, so his future is far from written. Still, he's worth watching if only because he might surprise you with a 450-foot moonshot.
Credit: Tom Priddy / Four Seam Images / AP