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Predicting Every MLB Staff’s Face of the Franchise in 2026

Predicting Each MLB Team’s Face of the Franchise in 20260 of 6Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty ImagesWho will be the face of the franchise for every MLB team three years from now?For some clubs, it’s as simple as choosing the young superstar who has signed a long-term deal or is controllable for several years, such

Predicting Every MLB Staff’s Face of the Franchise in 2026

Predicting Every MLB Staff’s Face of the Franchise in 2026

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    ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 02: Atlanta Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 is congratulated by his teammates after scoring during the MLB game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Atlanta Braves on August 2, 2023 at TRUIST Park in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire through Getty Pictures

    Who would be the face of the franchise for each MLB group three years from now?

    For some golf equipment, it is so simple as selecting the younger famous person who has signed a long-term deal or is controllable for a number of years, corresponding to Ronald Acuña Jr. in Atlanta or Corbin Carroll in Arizona.

    Different groups’ selections are usually not fairly as clear-cut, and selecting their future face requires some projection of prospects or important spending on the free-agent market.

    Forward you may discover our choose for every group’s face of the franchise in 2026, primarily based on roster outlook, anticipated spending and participant growth.

    Try final 12 months’s model of this text here.

American League East

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    TORONTO, ON - JULY 31:  Adley Rutschman #35 of the Baltimore Orioles bats against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on July 31, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

    Vaughn Ridley/Getty Pictures

    Baltimore Orioles: C Adley Rutschman

    The Orioles used the No. 1 total choose within the 2019 draft on Rutschman, and he has shortly developed right into a franchise cornerstone since making his MLB debut early final 12 months. After a 5.2-WAR rookie season, he earned his first All-Star choice this 12 months whereas persevering with to make a significant affect offensively and defensively.

    High prospect Jackson Holliday has famous person upside, however Rutschman has the potential to be for the Orioles what Yadier Molina was for the St. Louis Cardinals.

    Boston Purple Sox: 1B Triston Casas

    After a comparatively quiet first half of his rookie season, Casas is hitting .347/.434/.778 with 9 residence runs and 15 RBI in 23 video games for the reason that All-Star break. His star flip for Staff USA within the 2020 Olympics showcased his face of the franchise upside, and at 23 years previous he’s simply scratching the floor of his potential.

    Slugger Rafael Devers is signed via 2033, and Marcelo Mayer is one in all baseball’s finest prospects, however do not sleep on Casas rising because the man in Boston.

    New York Yankees: OF Aaron Choose

    Choose inked a nine-year, $360 million contract final offseason following his record-setting 62-homer season and AL MVP honors. After wholesome seasons in 2021 and 2022, the damage bug has reared its ugly head as soon as once more this 12 months and he has performed solely 60 video games, however the Yankees group captain will proceed to be the face of the squad.

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    Can prime prospect Jasson Dominguez dwell as much as the hype and ship on his famous person potential?

    Tampa Bay Rays: SS Wander Franco

    Nonetheless solely 22 years previous, Franco has already piled up 11.3 WAR in his profession. His mixture of contact abilities, energy, pace and protection is the rationale the cost-conscious Rays opened their wallets, signing him to an 11-year, $182 million extension to be the muse of the franchise.

    A high-ceiling teenager who was the No. 8 prospect within the Tampa Bay system when the season started, Junior Caminero is now the No. 6 total prospect in baseball within the midst of a breakout 2023 season the place he reached Double-A earlier than his twentieth birthday.

    Toronto Blue Jays: 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

    Guerrero went from a hyped prospect to a bona fide famous person in 2021 when he hit .311/.401/.601 with 48 residence runs and 111 RBI to complete runner-up to Shohei Ohtani in AL MVP voting. The 24-year-old is presently scheduled to succeed in free company following the 2025 season, however the homegrown star is a chief candidate for a long-term extension.

    Shortstop Bo Bichette is arguably the extra productive of Toronto’s second-generation MLB standouts, however it’s Guerrero who’s the extra recognizable participant on a nationwide stage.

American League Central

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 06:  Bobby Witt Jr. #7 of the Kansas City Royals in the dugout during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies on August 6, 2023 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Wealthy Graessle/Icon Sportswire through Getty Pictures

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    Chicago White Sox: SS Colson Montgomery

    Luis Robert Jr. and Dylan Stop survived the commerce deadline, however there is a good probability the White Sox are headed for a full-scale rebuild, whether or not it occurs this offseason or progressively over the following few years.

    That makes it troublesome to view anybody on the present roster as the long run face of the franchise, so as an alternative it is Montgomery who will get the nod. The group’s prime prospect has already reached Double-A at 21 years previous after going No. 22 total within the 2021 draft.

    Cleveland Guardians: 3B José Ramírez

    The Guardians have a historical past of buying and selling away their stars, and Ramírez was the focus of commerce rumors for years earlier than signing a seven-year, $141 million extension that runs via the 2028 season. The five-time All-Star stays baseball’s underrated famous person.

    Rookie right-hander Gavin Williams has one of many highest ceilings of any younger pitcher in baseball, and he might develop right into a perennial AL Cy Younger contender.

    Detroit Tigers: 3B Colt Keith

    Keith has been flying up prime prospect lists since he was chosen within the fifth spherical of the 2020 draft, and he’s batting .308/.377/.538 with 25 doubles, 17 residence runs and 69 RBI in 88 video games within the higher ranges of the minors this 12 months. The 21-year-old has one of many highest offensive ceilings of any prospect in baseball.

    Outfielder Riley Greene has taken a step ahead in his second season following a middling rookie marketing campaign, however he has struggled to remain wholesome and has but to completely emerge as a authentic star.

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    Kansas Metropolis Royals: SS Bobby Witt Jr.

    Witt is simply the second participant in Royals historical past with a number of 20-homer, 30-steal seasons, and he has performed it within the first two seasons of his MLB profession. The 23-year-old has additionally made main strides defensively at shortstop, and locking him up with a long-term extension needs to be a precedence amid the present rebuild.

    At this level, nobody else within the group appears to be like like a possible face of the franchise candidate.

    Minnesota Twins: RHP Joe Ryan

    The Minnesota entrance workplace little doubt anticipated Carlos Correa to function the face of the franchise going ahead when he signed a six-year, $200 million deal through the offseason, however he is hitting .228 with a 91 OPS+ and 1.0 WAR in 103 video games.

    As a substitute, Ryan will get the nod as a younger pitcher who has logged a 3.96 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 333 strikeouts in 299.2 innings over his first three seasons. The 27-year-old is controllable via 2027.

American League West

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    ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 6: Julio Rodriguez #44 of the Seattle Mariners at bat against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 6, 2023 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

    Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Pictures

    Houston Astros: DH Yordan Álvarez

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    Franchise icons Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman will each be free brokers after the 2024 season, so there’s a potential altering of the guard coming within the Astros face of the franchise seat.

    Álvarez is signed long-term, so he will get the nod over outfielder Kyle Tucker who’s controllable via 2025, however that duo figures to anchor the Houston lineup for years to come back.

    Los Angeles Angels: OF Mike Trout

    Trout is likely one of the most recognizable gamers within the sport, and three years from now he may very well be knocking on the door for some important profession milestones if he can shake the damage bug that has plagued him in recent times.

    The 32-year-old is owed $37.1 million yearly via the 2030 season, so even when the Angels lose Shohei Ohtani and pivot to rebuilding, Trout is probably going not going wherever.

    Oakland Athletics: C/1B Tyler Soderstrom

    With a 55-hit, 60-power offensive profile, Soderstrom has middle-of-the-order potential, and he posted an .838 OPS with 20 residence runs and 59 RBI in 69 video games at Triple-A earlier than he made his MLB debut in mid-July.

    On tempo for 110-plus losses this season, the Athletics will nearly actually have the very best odds at touchdown the No. 1 total choose within the 2024 draft.

    Seattle Mariners: OF Julio Rodríguez

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    The Mariners noticed sufficient from J-Rod in his rookie season to signal him to an enormous extension that ensures him $210 million over 12 seasons and will max out at a whopping $470 million. That is what committing to a participant as the current and future face of the franchise appears to be like like, of us.

    Catcher Harry Ford starred for Nice Britain within the World Baseball Traditional and has star potential, whereas George Kirby, Logan Gilbert and Bryce Miller may very well be amongst baseball’s finest starters for years to come back.

    Texas Rangers: SS Corey Seager

    The Rangers inked Seager to a 10-year, $325 million contract previous to the 2022 season as a part of a $500 million spend on a new-look center infield that additionally included second baseman Marcus Semien.

    Regardless of damage points all through his profession, Seager has confirmed again and again that he’s one in all baseball’s finest gamers when wholesome. He has a 187 OPS+ with 50 extra-base hits in 72 video games in a 5.2-WAR season this 12 months.

Nationwide League East

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    ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 02: Atlanta Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 reacts after hitting a home run during the MLB game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Atlanta Braves on August 2, 2023 at TRUIST Park in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire through Getty Pictures

    Atlanta Braves: OF Ronald Acuña Jr.

    Acuña didn’t seem like the identical electrifying participant final 12 months upon coming back from a torn ACL, hitting simply 15 residence runs in 119 video games. Any considerations about additional lingering results have been emphatically erased this season as he has been the NL MVP front-runner for a lot of the 12 months whereas hitting .341/.422/.588 with 26 residence runs and 53 steals. With a contract that runs via 2028 if each membership choices are exercised, he’ll be the face of the group for years.

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    Catcher Sean Murphy, first baseman Matt Olson, third baseman Austin Riley, heart fielder Michael Harris II and right-hander Spencer Strider are additionally all signed to long-term offers.

    Miami Marlins: RHP Eury Pérez

    Pérez is the youngest participant to look in an MLB sport this season. He was simply 27 days previous his twentieth birthday when he made his debut on Might 12, and whereas the Marlins have fastidiously dealt with his innings, he nonetheless has a 2.79 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 68 strikeouts in 58 frames. Together with his measurement, stuff and monitor document, he may very well be a perennial Cy Younger contender.

    Can Jazz Chisholm Jr. keep wholesome and dwell as much as his huge potential?

    New York Mets: C Francisco Álvarez

    The Mets bought aggressively on the deadline and with reports that they’re turning their consideration to contending in 2025 and 2026, extra trades are coming this offseason. Even with some roster uncertainty, Álvarez figures to be a cornerstone piece of the group’s future plans, and he has a 113 OPS+ with 21 residence runs in 85 video games as a rookie.

    Shortstop Francisco Lindor is signed via the 2031 season and can stay one of the vital recognizable gamers on the roster, however he might be 33 years previous in 2026 and will begin to be on the downswing.

    Philadelphia Phillies: OF Bryce Harper

    Harper is on a Corridor of Fame trajectory and his 13-year, $330 million deal will hold him in a Phillies uniform via the 2031 season. He has been one of the vital recognizable gamers within the sport since he burst onto the scene as a 19-year-old rookie, and can proceed to be the face of the franchise.

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    Shortstop Trea Turner will not be having a robust debut in Philadelphia, however after signing an 11-year, $300 million deal he might be a staple on the roster as nicely.

    Washington Nationals: OF James Wooden

    With a towering 6’6″, 240-pound body and a extra polished sport than anybody anticipated popping out of highschool, Wooden has shortly gone from an intriguing second-round choose in 2021 to one in all baseball’s elite prospects. The 20-year-old checked in at No. 3 on B/R’s most up-to-date prime 100 prospect checklist.

    Do not rule out 2023 first-round choose Dylan Crews additionally making a significant affect by the point the 2026 season rolls round.

Nationwide League Central

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    Elly De La Cruz

    Elly De La CruzBrian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire through Getty Pictures

    Chicago Cubs: OF Pete Crow-Armstrong

    The No. 13 prospect on B/R’s newest High 100 checklist, Crow-Armstrong has been pegged as a future Gold Glove winner in heart area since he was chosen within the first spherical of the 2020 draft by the New York Mets. Now he has the offensive potential to match, hitting .283/.372/.523 with 20 doubles, 15 residence runs, 64 RBI and 29 steals in 80 video games between Double-A and Triple-A.

    The center infield tandem of Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson has been rock strong this season, and Swanson is being paid like a face of the franchise participant with a seven-year, $177 million deal.

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    Cincinnati Reds: 3B Elly De La Cruz

    De La Cruz has been one of many largest tales of the 2023 season, taking the league by storm and serving to to leap begin the Reds season when he made his MLB debut on June 6. The 21-year-old has a uncommon mixture of energy, pace and athleticism, and he has an opportunity to be Cincinnati’s finest homegrown participant since Joey Votto.

    Talking of Votto, who has been the face of the franchise for the final decade, he’s within the ultimate assured season of his contract with a $20 million membership possibility and $7 million buyout in 2024.

    Milwaukee Brewers: OF Jackson Chourio

    Chourio was the most important breakout prospect in baseball final season, reaching Double-A on the age of 18 whereas posting an .879 OPS with 55 extra-base hits in 99 video games throughout three totally different ranges. {The teenager} has continued to impress in a full season at Double-A, and he might push his method onto the MLB roster early subsequent season.

    Christian Yelich is having fun with a robust bounce-back season, and he’s signed via 2028, so do not rule him out as an ongoing face of the franchise candidate as nicely.

    Pittsburgh Pirates: RHP Paul Skenes

    The very best collegiate pitching prospect to come back alongside since Stephen Strasburg was chosen No. 1 total in 2009, Skenes went 12-2 with a 1.69 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 209 strikeouts in 122.2 innings this spring at LSU. He instantly grew to become the highest pitching prospect in baseball the second he signed on the dotted line.

    Do not forget about Oneil Cruz, who nonetheless has one of many highest ceilings within the sport due to his five-tool potential.

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    St. Louis Cardinals: OF Jordan Walker

    Walker has not made the identical quick splash as different rookies like Corbin Carroll and Josh Jung this season, however he has greater than held his personal, hitting .260/.319/.415 with 11 doubles, 10 residence runs and 30 RBI in 74 video games. He’s miscast defensively as an outfielder, however his offensive ceiling continues to be super.

    Paul Goldschmidt is a free agent following the 2024 season and Nolan Arenado might be 35 years previous by the point the 2026 season rolls round, so count on a altering of the guard in St. Louis.

Nationwide League West

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - AUGUST 04: Corbin Carroll #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks takes an at-bat against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning at Target Field on August 04, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Diamondbacks 3-2. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

    David Berding/Getty Pictures

    Arizona Diamondbacks: OF Corbin Carroll

    The D-backs noticed sufficient in 32 video games from Carroll final season to signal him to an eight-year, $111 million extension through the offseason, and that’s already shaping as much as be an absolute steal. The NL Rookie of the Yr front-runner has a 135 OPS+ with 22 doubles, 21 residence runs, 36 steals and 4.1 WAR, and at 22 years previous he’s already among the finest outfielders in baseball.

    Ace Zac Gallen is controllable via 2025, so it will likely be fascinating to see if the entrance workplace can hammer out an extension between from time to time.

    Colorado Rockies: OF Yanquiel Fernandez

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    The prediction requires probably the most projection of anybody chosen as a future face of the franchise, however Fernandez is having an enormous season within the Colorado system. The 20-year-old is hitting .289/.338/.543 with 20 doubles, 22 residence runs and 82 RBI in 88 video games throughout three ranges, and his uncooked energy is among the many finest in all of minor league baseball.

    Shortstop Ezequiel Tovar needs to be a staple on the left facet of the infield and fellow center infielder Adael Amador is presently the group’s prime prospect, however Fernandez has the loudest offensive instruments within the group.

    Los Angeles Dodgers: DH/RHP Shohei Ohtani

    The Dodgers have lengthy been considered because the favorites to signal Ohtani if he packs up and leaves the Los Angeles Angels in free company this offseason, and along with his present membership trending towards lacking the postseason as soon as once more, that appears more and more seemingly. The 2-way famous person has grow to be the face of baseball, and he would be the face of the franchise wherever he goes the remainder of his profession.

    If they do not land Ohtani, Freddie Freeman (via 2027) and Mookie Betts (via 2032) will each nonetheless be round three years from now.

    San Diego Padres: OF Juan Soto

    Merely put, Soto has been the very best participant on a disappointing Padres group this 12 months, posting a 158 OPS+ with 25 doubles, 24 residence runs, 73 RBI and 4.3 WAR in 115 video games whereas persevering with to be one in all baseball’s most disciplined hitters. It is easy to overlook that he is nonetheless solely 24 years previous.

    With free company looming after the 2024 season, the query is whether or not the Padres can afford to signal him long-term after they have already got Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove on the books with nine-figure offers.

    San Francisco Giants: RHP Logan Webb

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    Webb is the very best homegrown participant on the Giants roster proper now, and the entrance workplace locked him up with a five-year, $90 million extension that kicks in subsequent season. The 26-year-old has a 3.38 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 151 strikeouts in an NL-leading 154.1 innings, and all indicators level to him being a part of the NL Cy Younger dialog for the foreseeable future.

    High prospect Marco Luciano nonetheless has super upside and Kyle Harrison will be an ace-caliber pitcher in his personal proper if he can clean out his command points, however for now Webb is the most secure wager to be the face of the group.

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