Baseball: Who is NEXT?
Editor's Note: Mike Stanton was named NEXT for the Jan. 9, 2012 issue of ESPN The Magazine. You can read more about him here.
FAME CLAIM: The ace of the Japan team that won the 2009 World Baseball Classic
FAME CLAIM: 2010 Golden Spikes award winner
FAME CLAIM: Pitched seven innings of shutout ball in Game 1 of the ALDS vs. Texas
Every year since 1998, ESPN The Magazine has recognized an elite group of emerging athletes to watch in the year ahead -- athletes we call NEXT. They are competitors not only on the cusp of stardom, but on the verge of transcending their sports. NEXT is what happens when the hype is real.