It always seems like the proverbial “Face of MLB Baseball” is a revolving door, with new names constantly popping up.
— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) August 20, 2022
Many thought San Diego Padres superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. would be a perfect candidate.
However, his preseason motorcycle crash and recent PED suspension may have changed that.
Now, with both of those stars taking steps back from the top, who are the players that could take it over?
Here is a look at three of the sport’s best players that fill that mold.
3. Juan Soto
Many may argue that Soto is already at that point.
The 23-year-old has spent five seasons in MLB and has proven himself to be one of the sport’s best hitters.
His ability to get on base paired with prodigious power makes him fun to watch.
He also has a large personality and loves the spotlight, something that would make him a perfect candidate to fill that role.
While he was thrust into a title run during his first season in Washington, the Nationals have since fallen well below a .500 team.
However, the trade deadline deal that sent Soto to San Diego was huge.
— Borna Nazari ⚡️ (@thehogwatch) August 21, 2022
The move now centers Soto in the middle of one of the most exciting teams in baseball, taking over Tatis’s role.
He will also likely become the sport’s highest paid player of all-time in two years.
Put all of this together and there is no reason that Soto shouldn’t be in this conversation.
2. Shohei Ohtani
It would be hard to say that Shohei Ohtani isn’t already the most recognizable name in baseball.
Shohei Ohtani this summer:
BATTING: .396 OBP, .600 SLG, 14 homers in 49 games
PITCHING: 88 Ks and a 2.06 ERA in 9 games started
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) August 20, 2022
Because of this alone, Ohtani might already be the Face of Baseball.
The issue for Ohtani now is the lack of postseason experience.
This obviously isn’t his fault, but it is crushing to not get his name out on the biggest stage.
He still needs to prove whether or not he has the “clutch gene” and can step up in the clutch.
This is what could take him clearly over the top, but he will not be getting it this season.
He may be the most recognizable name, but he may not truly become the Face of Baseball until he has that postseason experience.
1. Aaron Judge
Any list like this would be incomplete without Aaron Judge.
Playing in the biggest, most hostile environment in baseball, Judge has risen to the occasion.
This is especially true this season, where the 6-foot-7 right fielder has posted historic offensive numbers.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 13, 2022
Since he is in New York, coverage of his success is doubled.
Nearly everyone knows his name and his numbers are well documented.
He is also a free agent this offseason, sparking a potential bidding war that could push his popularity even more.
The biggest challenge he faces this season is leading the Yankees during the playoffs.
While this was never in question before the All-Star break, the team has faltered over the last month.
The pressure on Judge is mounting, and his play over the final month will be closely monitored.
This could be what takes him over the top in the “Face of Baseball” conversation.
Regardless of who it becomes, one thing is certain: baseball is in a good place right now with its abundance of star talent.