The Youth Movement of Philly Sports in 2016
In 2016 Philadelphia sports may not be the city of championship contenders but it is a town with many young prospects who give Philly fans hope that the future is bright. Here is my list of the top young players to watch in 2016 in Philadelphia:
Philadelphia Eagles: Jordan Hicks
Thanks to injuries at Linebacker early in the Eagles 2015 season, Hicks was thrust into the lineup and arguably was one of the best defensive players until he was injured in November. Hicks brought energy to a defense that was lacking play makers. Hicks closing speed to the ball carrier along with his surprising smooth hips in pass coverage. In only 8 games played he tailed 43 solo tackles along with 2 interceptions. Returning in 2016 from a torn pectoral muscle will not diminish his athletic abilities on the field. I expect Hicks to come into training camp hungry and to have a major impact on the field with the knowledge how much he was able to do in just 8 games in 2015.
Philadelphia Phillies: Maikel Franco
Despite playing in only 80 games in 2015 Maikel Franco showed he is the Phillies Third Baseman of the future. Franco only struck out 52 times in 335 plate appearances which is good for a rookie in the major leagues. He also had a .280 batting average with 14 home runs and 50 RBIs. Aside from his offensive production, he showed his glove is capable to be a starting third baseman with a.944 Fielding Percentage. In comparison, when Scott Rolen won the NL Rookie of the Year with the Phillies his Fielding Percentage was .948 and his batting average was .283; so statistically Franco and Rolen had similar rookie seasons in Philadelphia. The future is bright at Baseball's Hot Corner in Philadelphia with Maikel Franco in 2016.
Philadelphia Flyers: Shayne Gostisbehere
Before Gostisbehere made his debut for the Flyers the Black and Orange were four games under .500 and averaging only two goals per game. With the arrival of "Ghost Bear" the Flyers now averaging 2.6 goals per game since November 14th. Shayne has been a dynamic player on the offensive end while also acting as a spark plug from a defense men core that has play inconsistently this season. Gostisbehere has 7 goals and 9 assists in 23 games played along with three game winning goals. He has given a team and their fans hope for the potential of a playoff appearance in a city thirsty for a winner.
Philadelphia 76ers: Jahlil Okafor
The 20 year old rookie out of Duke University has lived up to the hype as he has been the most consistent offensive player for the 76ers this season. Jahlil is averaging 17.4 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game along with a 47.8 field goal completion percentage. While the attrition of a long losing season has taken its toll at times on the young player, Okafor has shown in every game that he has the skill set to be an All-Star caliber big man in the NBA as he has accumulated eight double-doubles this season. His smooth footwork around the basket combined with his shooting touch causes Okafor to be a major focus of opposing defenses around the NBA. Its been a while since the Sixers have been able to boast of player of Jahlil Okafor's offensive skills on their roster.