Updated: Sep 6, 2022
Top 10 MLB Players Under 25
Written by: Charles Vakassian
Rafael Devers rising up / nesn.com
The Bright and the Bold. As the years have passed, baseball has seen a shift in the biggest names and talents playing the sport. Gone are the days of Jeter, Ortiz, Ichiro, and Bonds. We are now seeing new faces dominate the sport, and some of them are only in their first couple of seasons. This article will offer my take on the top players in Major League Baseball under the age of 25, and my reasoning behind the selections.
SS Fernando Tatis Jr. | 22 Years Old | San Diego Padres
Leaping onto the scene in San Diego in 2019, Tatis has quickly won the hearts and minds of young fans not just in SD, but across America. He is having an extraordinary season so far, leading the National League in homers, slugging percentage, OPS, and OPS+. He is most definitely on the short list to win MVP this season, and I definitely see him filling multiple trophy cases over the course of his career. While his defense leaves something to be desired, his offensive game is so complete that he is the clear choice as the best player in baseball under 25.
OF Ronald Acuna Jr. | 23 Years Old | Atlanta Braves
A close second to Tatis, Acuna is elite in every facet of the game, hitting for power, stealing bases, playing Gold Glove caliber defense, and finding any way he can to get on base and score. Already a 2 time Silver Slugger winner, 2 time All Star, and winner of the ROY back in 2018, the sky's the limit for this talented youngster.
OF Juan Soto | 22 Years Old |Washington Nationals
There are few players in baseball who can get on base at the rate Juan Soto does. A career OBP of .411, Soto boasts elite walk rates, along with high contact skills and ridiculous power. His 2019 campaign catapulted him to the top of the who’s who in young talent, crushing 34 home runs, 110 RBIs, and walking over 100 times. In the COVID-19 shortened season in 2020, he led the National League in average, OBP, slugging, OPS, and OPS+, and also had the most intentional walks, which shows how feared he was, and still is, by pitchers across the league.
1B/3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr | 22 Years Old | Toronto Blue Jays
This is the year of Vladdy Jr. With a less than stellar debut season and a subpar 2020, we were left wondering when he would explode onto the stage. Boy, has he exploded this year. Guerrero has taken the league by storm, hitting .336, with a whopping 27 home runs, 69 RBIs, and an OBP of .439. His fielding has been subpar, which keeps him from being higher on this list, as he did struggle with weight issues, and was subsequently moved to first base, where his one glaring issue can be hidden.
3B Rafael Devers | 24 Years Old | Boston Red Sox
Another budding superstar on this list, Devers has seen his star steadily rise ever since coming into the league back in 2017. A doubles machine, he led the American league with 54 in 2019, his best season prior to the current one. Devers so far in 2021 has been on an absolute tear, with 25 doubles, 21 homers, 71 RBIs, and we aren’t even at the All-Star break yet! He has been the best player on a resurgent Red Sox team, and if he keeps playing at this high level, he could be even higher on this list in the years to come.
2B Ozzie Albies | 24 Years Old | Atlanta Braves
Another Braves stud to make the cut, Ozzie Albies has been a very consistent ballplayer since he made it to the big league in 2017. His numbers may not jump out at you, but he can do all the little things to help win you a game, like laying down a sacrifice bunt, moving from first to third on a single, and stealing a base when necessary. He has solid power, and has hit for 20 plus home runs twice, and is on pace for a career high this year, as he already has 15 prior to the All Star break. He is slugging a career high .509 as a result of his power surge, and if he can work more walks and be patient at the plate, his numbers will only get better in time.
SS Bo Bichette | 23 Years Old | Toronto Blue Jays
Bo Bichette has done nothing but rake since coming into the league in 2019, although he is sometimes overlooked because of the accomplishments of his teammate Vladimir Guerrero Jr, and others like Tatis and Acuna. Bichette has always been an excellent offensive player, and so far in his first full season, has proven it, hitting .290 with 15 homers, 54 RBIs, and a league-leading 68 runs. He has been an above average defender as well, with 8 defensive runs saved over his career so far. The sky's the limit for Bo, same as the rest of the studs on this list.
3B Ke'Bryan Hayes | 24 Years Old | Pittsburgh Pirates
This is a name that makes my list because of the tools he possesses, and the potential he has to become something better. Hayes is an above average hitter, who can spray the ball to all parts of the field, and can hit it out of the park as well. In his limited sample size last year he hit .376 with 14 XBH in only 85 at bats. This season he has struggled a bit, as he had suffered an injury, but is slowly rounding into form. If you took his career numbers and spread them out over a full season, he would be among the best of the best, with career averages of .306, 27 home runs, 82 RBIs, and an OPS+ of 147. Where Hayes has been great from the beginning is with his glove, as he makes ridiculous plays look easy, as he already has 8 defensive runs saved in his short career. I can see Hayes being higher on this list in a couple years, if he can stay healthy
OF Eloy Jimenez | 24 Years Old | Chicago White Sox
Here we come to another under-talented player who has suffered from injuries. Jimenez had an absolutely superb rookie season in 2019, hitting over 30 home runs and almost 80 RBIs, and continued that in the shortened 2020 season, with 14 homers, 41 RBIs, and 14 doubles in only 55 games played. If Jimenez didn’t hurt himself in spring training, he would be much higher on my list. But similar to Hayes, his talent is too great to be left off of said list.
OF Trent Grisham | 24 Years Old | San Diego Padres
This spot could have gone to a number of players, but in the end I decided on Grisham, as he is a well-rounded ballplayer who can do it all. He has a career WAR of over 5, despite only playing in limited games over the past two seasons. He has a Gold Glove, and has over 10 defensive runs saved. He has come into his own with the bat this year, hitting almost .270 with 10 homers and 31 RBIs, all career bests so far and we are not even at the All Star break yet.
Honorable Mentions go to:
All information/statistics come from https://www.baseball-reference.com/