From the Cover to the Diamond: Eastbay Cover Stars are Ready for a Huge Season

From the Cover to the Diamond: Eastbay Cover Stars are Ready for a Huge Season

Baseball is finally here and this year is full of intriguing storylines. Can Chicago repeat? What crazy stats will mega stars like Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout put up this season? Which young prospects will emerge as the faces of their franchises? It is sure to be a year of intrigue and the baseball players who have graced our cover promise to be at the center of all the action. So let’s take a look at some of baseball’s biggest names, break down what to watch for from them this year, and check out what they’ll be wearing on game day.

Mike Trout, Los Angeles Center Fielder

Let’s start with a 5-time All-Star and 2-time MVP. Trout is coming off another monstrous individual year, but is focused on leading LA back to the postseason for the first time since 2014.

What he’ll be wearing:

Nike Trout 3 Cleats

Rawlings Pro Preferred Glove

Nike MVP Elite Batting Gloves

Bryce Harper, Washington Right Fielder

Washington hasn’t had a losing season since Harper landed in the majors in 2012 and they’ll look for their young superstar to help them go further in the playoffs this year.

What he’ll be wearing:

Kris Bryant, Chicago Third Baseman

The world champs got the breakout season they needed from Bryant last season. His .292 BA, 39 HRs, and 102 RBIs earned him a well-deserved MVP award. Want to hear the crazy part? At only 25 years old, he’s still got plenty of room to grow.

What he’ll be wearing:

Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Right Fielder

Miami had their best record in six years last year and will count on their mighty cleanup hitter, Stanton, to power their offense. The three-time All-Star has over 200 career homers and is sure to launch plenty more long bombs in 2017.

What he’ll be wearing:

Kevin Kiermaier, Tampa Bay Center Fielder

Few players make as big of an impact on the diamond as Kiermaier does. The two-time Gold Glover is one of the best defensive players the game has seen in a long time. He also took major strides on the offensive side last year, setting career highs in HRs and OBP.

What he’ll be wearing:

Buster Posey, San Francisco Catcher

Speaking of outstanding defensive players, Posey finally captured his first Gold Glove in 2016. It was a long time coming for the veteran star who has been a lynchpin on both sides of the plate for the perennial contenders.

What he’ll be wearing:

Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Pitcher

The surefire first ballot Hall of Famer will look to add to his ridiculous trophy case which already includes 3 Cy Young Awards, 1 MVP, and 6 All-Stars. But at this point, the one he really cares about and has a nice spot cleared out for is that world title ring.

What he’ll be wearing:

Xander Bogaerts, Boston Shortstop

Boston’s trusty starting shortstop would love to win his third consecutive Silver Slugger award this season, but he’s much more concerned about getting his team back to the Fall Classic for the first time since his rookie year in 2013.

What he’ll be wearing:

2015 In Review: The Best Of Eastbay Athletes

2015 In Review: The Best Of Eastbay Athletes

2015 has become the past. While there are many incredible sports moments yet to come in 2016, this is a time to look back at all the major feats our Eastbay athletes accomplished this past year — they did pretty well.

Eastbay Soccer Covers

2015 World Cup Champions

Leading up to the tournament, we featured not one, but seven, USWNT players on either the catalog or eastbay.com. That included the likes of Sydney Leroux, Kelley O’Hara, Heather O’Reilly, Becky Sauerbrunn, Morgan Brian, Lauren Holiday, and Alex Morgan. Those players dedicated their lives to that one goal, and they brought home the trophy for the first time since 1999.

Eastbay Basketball Covers

NBA Finals + NBA MVP + 24-0 Start

He’s the best, and those accomplishments above prove it. In 2015, Stephen Curry didn’t just win the league’s MVP award and bring Golden State its first championship in 40 years, but he went on to lead the Warriors to an NBA-record 24-0 start to the 2015-16 season. 2015 was Curry’s year.

No. 7 Overall NBA Draft Pick

Emmanuel Mudiay didn’t take the traditional path to the NBA. He skipped the whole college thing so he could play basketball professionally in China to prepare himself for the NBA.  Well, it worked, because the explosive and versatile Mudiay was drafted No. 7 overall by the Denver Nuggets.

WNBA MVP

Elena Delle Donne’s 2015 season was one of the best in WNBA history. She averaged 23.4 points per game, which is fifth best in league history, and she set a league record by converting on 95 percent of her free throws. Delle Donne was the definition of efficiency, game in and game out — that’s the Eastbay way.

Eastbay Football Cover

Best Start In Team History (14-0)

The Carolina Panthers were doubted. Critics and fans thought of the Panthers as, at best, an above-average football team, but no one gave them the credit of an elite team. Fortunately, Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly feed off that doubt. It drives them to be their best. Those two led Carolina to its first-ever 14-0 start, and with the playoffs starting, it could become ever better. Plus, Newton is a frontrunner for the league’s MVP award.

Top 15 On NFL’s Top 100 Players Of 2015 List

Two of our Eastbay athletes made that list: DeMarco Murray (No. 4) and Luke Kuechly (No. 14). You just read about Kuechly’s outstanding 2015, but Murray’s season didn’t quite live up to the high expectations. After one of the best seasons we’ve ever seen in 2014-15, Murray stumbled a bit this year, but there’s no denying his talent.

Eastbay Baseball Covers

Cubs Rookie Home Run Record + Wild Card Berth

Few players in the MLB have the power of Kris Bryant. After finally being called up by the Chicago Cubs, Bryant took off running at the plate, becoming one of the league’s most feared power hitters. His 26 homers put him atop the list of Cubs rookies, ahead of Hall of Famer Billy Williams. That power helped Chicago reach the postseason for the first time since 2008. The future looks bright for Bryant, that’s for sure.

Superstar In The Making

The shortstop position in Boston hasn’t been this solidified since Nomar Garciaparra was traded in 2004. With Xander Bogaerts on the diamond, Boston’s infield no longer has any problems. Once ranked the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball, Bogaerts has sky-high expectations, and he lived up to the hype in 2015. Not only was he a defensive juggernaut, but he excelled at the plate, hitting .320 with seven homers and 81 RBIs. The potential here is endless — just wait until next season.

Like we said, 2015 is gone now, but these accomplishments will live on forever. Congrats to all our dedicated Eastbay athletes who know winning takes discipline, training, and desire. Keep up the hard work — 2016 is going to be one to remember.

MLB National League MVP

In just his fourth season in the big leagues, at 22 years and 353 days old, Bryce Harper bagged his first MVP award, making him the third youngest player to ever do so. And it was certainly deserved. Harper finished the season with a .330 average, hitting 42 home runs and 99 RBIs. The stats speak for themselves.