While the 2020 sports season has been unlike any other year in history, let’s not overlook all of the promising rookie players just starting their careers in their respective sports. Athletes are often drafted based on their potential, but it’s not unusual for several first-year players to contribute to their teams immediately upon joining them out of college or the minor league ranks.
Below, we’ve compiled our list of some of the most exceptional athletes in four major sports leagues that could be destined to become household names. Let’s take a look!
The National Hockey League (NHL) was one of the lucky sports leagues that got to play the majority of their season before the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic took over. Therefore, we’ve seen a variety of new players rise up and make a name for themselves in the 2019/2020 season. Keep your eyes out for the following NHL rookies in the coming years:
- Cale Makar (Colorado Avalanche) – All NHL teams yearn for a franchise defenseman, and the Avalanche found it in Cale Makar, who seemingly does everything well. He’s arguably not just one of the best NHL rookies, but one of the best defensemen in the game.
- Jack Hughes (New Jersey Devils) – Though Hughes’ rookie year only mustered seven goals and 21 points, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft is likely to be a star in the league.
Major League Baseball (MLB) baseball returned for the 2020 season just a few weeks ago, but we’ve already seen some incredible talent on the field. Here are the MLB rookies to pay attention to this season:
- Casey Mize (Detroit Tigers) – Mize looks to have all of the pieces for a successful big-league career, and he’ll likely be a huge piece of the Tigers’ rebuild.
- Gavin Lux (Los Angeles Dodgers) – With a .392 average in AAA last year, it’s clear that this rookie can hit. The Dodgers are loading up for success in the next five to seven years, and Lux looks to fit right into this plan.
Similar to the NHL, the National Basketball Association (NBA) also completed a majority of their season before the pandemic took hold. And if the beginning of the season taught us anything, it’s that there’s plenty of new talent in the league, including:
- Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans) – Even while spending the start of the season injured, there hasn’t been an NBA rookie with more hype than Zion Williamson in perhaps a generation.
- Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies) – While Zion went No. 1 overall in the NBA draft, Morant came in close at No. 2. This rookie certainly hasn’t disappointed, putting up nearly 18 points per game in his rookie campaign.
The future of the upcoming National Football League (NFL) season remains unclear (yet hopeful), but this year’s college recruits are sure to make a name for themselves when the league returns. Here are a few NFL rookies to look out for:
- Jerry Judy (Denver Broncos) – Speed, speed, and more speed. Judy is a terrific route runner with a level of explosiveness that the Denver Broncos need. He put up 26 touchdowns in his last 28 games at Alabama, and while there’s sure to be an adjustment period in the NFL, he has the goods to be a star.
- Chase Young (Washington Football Team) – The former Ohio State standout looks to bolster an already strong defensive line for the Washington football franchise, picking things up right where he left off in college.