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Top 10 Athletes Who Will Crush It In 2019

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Spencer Sher

Script written by Spencer Sher

Keep an eye on these rising sports stars! WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Athletes to Watch in 2019.

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Script written by Spencer Sher

Top 10 Athletes to Watch in 2019


Keep an eye on these rising sports stars! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Athletes to Watch in 2019.



For this list, we’re looking at athletes from across the sporting world that are poised for big years in 2019.





#10: Eloy Jiménez




Only time will tell if the Chicago Cubs’ decision to trade Eloy Jiménez to their cross-town rival Chicago White Sox in 2017 was the right one. For now, all signs seem to be pointing towards 2019 being Jiménez’s breakout year. The hard-hitting Dominican outfielder left his mark on the minors in 2018, recording 22 home runs, 75 RBIs and a batting average of .337 in 108 games between stints in the Double-A and Triple-A leagues. While he may not be as highly touted as another baseball player on our list (more on him in a moment), Jiménez looks primed for a solid rookie season with the White Sox.





#9: A'ja Wilson




After a college career that saw her win nearly every award a female basketball player can win, not to mention a National Championship, A'ja Wilson made the jump to the WNBA. In her 2018 rookie season, the 6 foot 4 power forward averaged 20.7 points and eight rebounds per game, and was voted to the All-Star Game. She finished the season as the league’s top rookie, prompting some to label her the “future of the WNBA”. It seems like the only thing higher than the expectations for her 2019 season is her skill level on the court.




#8: Baker Mayfield




Even if Baker Mayfield never plays another NFL game, he’ll still be remembered as a hero by the city of Cleveland. In his regular season debut in Week 3, he led the Browns to a 21-17 comeback victory over the New York Jets after starting QB Tyrod Taylor went down with an injury. The win gave the Browns their first victory in 635 days. As the season went on, Mayfield galvanized the city with his impressive play and positive attitude – two things Cleveland’s been missing for some time now. While he doesn’t yet have the pieces around him to ensure Cleveland becomes a perennial playoff favorite, his skill, vision and poise under pressure make him one to watch in 2019.





#7: Nikola Jokić




This 23-year-old Serbian big man has a very bright future ahead of him. A second round pick in 2014, Nikola Jokić played 80 games in his rookie season, and finished third in Rookie of the Year voting. In 2017-18, he set career highs in almost every important statistical category, including points per game, rebounds per game and assists per game. He’s kept up his strong play to start the 2018-19 season, and was named Western Conference Player of the Week in week one. A seven-foot center who can drive the lane and shoot with accuracy? Yeah, we like this guy’s chances in 2019.





#6: Marcus Rashford




Trying to predict whether or not a player will become a superstar is far from an exact science. But when it comes to 21-year-old English footballer Marcus Rashford, we feel confident that he’s well on his way to becoming the next big thing. This past summer, Prime Time Sports listed him as the second most valuable player in the world under 21. Since 2015, Rashford has netted 30+ goals with Manchester United across various competitions, and in 2018 was an important bench player for an English national team that finished fourth at the FIFA World Cup. We wouldn’t be surprised if he’s one of the leaders of that squad at the next World Cup in four years’ time.





#5: Patrick Mahomes




The Kansas City Chiefs knew what they were doing when they traded away a former first overall pick in Alex Smith and started a young quarterback who’d had just one NFL game under his belt. Patrick Mahomes took the league by storm in 2018, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t do it again next year. The man is a human highlight reel that can torch defenses with his arm and his legs, even occasionally using his opposite hand to make a play. He set numerous records during his sophomore campaign, and broke the Chiefs’ single-season touchdown record in just 10 games! We feel sorry for whoever has to face Mahomes in 2019.





#4: Rasmus Dahlin




Regardless of your sport, expectations will inevitably run high when you’re drafted first overall. But so far, Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin has lived up to the pre-draft hype. His poise on the back end has not only infused the city of Buffalo with hope for the future, but has also kept the team in playoff contention – a position they haven’t been in since 2011. Whether they hang on to that momentum remains to be seen, but one thing’s for certain: Dahlin has a long career ahead of him, and 2019 will likely be the year he shows the hockey world just how good he truly is.





#3: Saquon Barkley




The New York Giants’ quarterback situation might be uncertain going forward, but they’re all set in the running back department. Saquon Barkley is the whole package. This bell cow back can run between the tackles with explosiveness, catch balls in the flats and take them for huge gains and block better than half the Giants’ O-line. The second overall pick at the 2018 NFL Draft, Barkley has had a fantastic rookie season, scoring with consistency and punishing opposing defenses with his bruising style of running. He appears poised for an even stronger outing in 2019, especially if the Giants can complement his play with a consistent passing attack.





#2: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.




Like father, like son. The progeny of Hall of Fame slugger Vladimir Guerrero, Vlad Jr. appears to have inherited his father’s gift for smacking the crap out of baseballs. The 19-year-old Toronto Blue Jays prospect has been called “the future of baseball” thanks to his remarkable hitting ability. In 2017, he was named Prospect of the Year by ESPN, and in 2018 led the minors in hitting, slugging and OPS. The Blue Jays appear to have a sure thing in Guerrero Jr., and it’s only a matter of time before he starts making his presence felt in the majors – with all signs pointing to a breakout rookie campaign in 2019.




Before we unveil our number one pick, here are some honorable mentions.





Elias Pettersson



Dario Saric



Gabriel Jesus



Derwin James



Nelly Korda





#1: Kylian Mbappé




What can we say about this football phenom that hasn’t already been said? Kylian Mbappé’s electrifying play has drawn comparisons to everyone from Thierry Henry to Pelé. After a strong 2017-18 season in which he helped lead Paris Saint Germain to a Ligue 1 title, a Coupe de France and a Coupe de la Ligue, the budding superstar exploded under the bright lights of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He played an instrumental role in helping France capture their first title in 20 years, finishing with four goals and walking away with the tournament’s Best Young Player Award. Topping the success he achieved in 2018 will be a tall task, but if anyone’s up for it, it’s Kylian Mbappé.
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