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Names to look out for during spring training

The best part about living in Arizona is upon us.

Spring training is here.

Pitchers and catchers will report within the next week, and games will begin in the first week of March.

While most of the veterans play their requisite three innings before heading to Scottsdale to pick up college girls and/or cougars, the youngsters and rookies get a chance to shine.

Here’s a couple of names to pay attention to when you skip class to see at least two of the 15 teams that call Arizona their spring training home.

Peter Bourjos (Angels)

Bourjos is a local kid out of Notre Dame Prep in Scottsdale, and if nothing else, his blazing speed will entertain you.

He has 82 combined stolen bases over the last two years in the minors and has incredible range in the outfield. He may not make the big club on Opening Day, but is sure to be fun to watch at Tempe Diablo.

Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson (Athletics)

The two pitchers made their MLB debuts at age 21 last year, with pretty solid results. Anderson had an ERA of 4.06 and Cahill an ERA of 4.63.

The two kids will be around for a while and bring back memories of when Tim Hudson and Barry Zito were mowing down batters.

Alcides Escobar (Brewers)

JJ Hardy’s replacement at shortstop has earned rave reviews from scouts for his speed and high-average swing.

In a 38-game trial last year, Escobar hit .304 for the Crew.

Starlin Castro (Cubs)

The 20-year-old shortstop is still a while away from the bigs, but he has hit around .300 every year in the minors and stole 28 bases last year.

Justin Upton (Diamondbacks)

He doesn’t really fit in the category of the other guys on this list, as he already has an All-Star game appearance. Still, he’s only 22 and keeps on getting better.

Matt Kemp (Dodgers)

Similar to Upton in that he is a step above the others on this list, but the 25- year-old has seen his power, average, and stolen bases rise every year and he’s not even in his prime.

Gordon Beckham (White Sox)

Drafted in 2008, in the big leagues by 2009.

The former Georgia star provides power and average and is entering his first full season of baseball after hitting .270 with 14 home runs and 63 RBI in only 103 games last year. He’s moving from third to second base, and his offensive numbers will make him one of the top hitting second basemen.

Kyle Blanks (Padres)

The 6-foot-6 bear of a man hits tape measure blasts with ease. He hit 10 home runs in only 172 major league at-bats last year.

Head out to Peoria early for batting practice and watch the big man hit moon shots.

Michael Saunders (Mariners)

When/if Milton Bradley gets hurt/throws a tantrum/kills a small animal, the Mariners’ top prospect will step into his place in the outfield.

Saunders has struggled with strikeouts, but shows prodigious power and good outfield defense.

Neftali Feliz (Rangers)

One-hundred mile-per hour fastball? Check. Intimidating stare? Check. Impeccable control? Check.

Feliz came up late last year and allowed only 13 hits in 31 innings while striking out 39. Forget Stephen Strasburg — this is the top pitching prospect in baseball.

Billy Butler (Royals)

The big right-hander quietly hit .301 with 21 home runs and 93 RBI at the tender age of 23 last year. Other than Zack Greinke and his ridiculous arsenal of pitches, Butler is the only reason to watch the Royals.

Jhoulys Chacin (Rockies)

With Ubaldo Jimenez and Dexter Fowler successfully becoming major-league regulars, this hard throwing right-hander is now the top Rockies prospect.

Chacin went 9-8 with a 3.21 ERA last year in the minors and will be in the majors this year.

Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley, and Trevor Crowe (Indians)

After trading away CC Sabathia, Victor Martinez, Cliff Lee and Casey Blake, the Tribe received a number of exciting young prospects, including a trio of exciting young outfielders.

All three have All-Star potential, and will be in the majors with the next five years,

Chris Heisey (Reds)

Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman gets most the publicity, but it’s Heisey who will be on the Opening Day roster.

The outfielder hit .314 with 22 home runs in the minors and will start in the Cincinnati outfield.

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