December 22, 2014 9:12 AM EST

BASEBALL

Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs

Bryant, picked No. 2 overall in 2013, wowed with 43 minor-league homers in 2014. He and Anthony Rizzo will give the rising Cubs a pair of old-school sluggers–good luck pitching around both.

BASKETBALL

Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke

The 6-ft. 11-in. Okafor’s low-post moves made him most everyone’s top high school player in 2014. After a year at Duke, he’ll quickly help the NBA team that snags him.

HOCKEY

Connor McDavid, C, Erie Otters

It says a lot about McDavid, and the NHL, that he broke his hand fighting and remained the consensus top pick. He projects as the kind of playmaking savant who can save a team.

FOOTBALL

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

A precise passer (2014 stats: 38 touchdowns, two interceptions) and deft runner (5.7 yd. per carry, 14 TDs). The Heisman-winning Hawaiian could be a taller Russell Wilson–and first off the board in April.

This appears in the December 29, 2014 issue of TIME.

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Write to Jack Dickey at jack.dickey@time.com.

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