The 25 best players in Major League Baseball under the age of 25. Some are household names. Others have flown under the radar. Rankings based on a combination of career accomplishments, position value, future potential and, of course, a certain je ne sais quoi only the list creator can understand.
No. 1 | Manny Machado, 24 | 3B | Baltimore Orioles
Gold Glove-caliber defense at third base. Hits for average. Hits for power. What’s not to like? Finished in the top-5 of American League MVP voting in consecutive seasons. Blasted 35 homers in 2015 and 37 in 2016 while posting .861 and .876 OPS, respectively. Somehow underappreciated.
No. 2 | Bryce Harper, 24 | RF | Washington Nationals
Came back to earth in 2016 after a historically great 2015 in which he hit .330 with 42 homers and a 1.109! OPS to win the MVP. Led the National League in intentional walks as opposing teams must game-plan around him.
No. 3 | Mookie Betts, 24 | INF-OF | Boston Red Sox
Finished second in AL MVP race in 2016. Led the league in total bases while winning a Gold Glove. Was four steals shy of joining the 30-30 club.
No. 4 | Aaron Sanchez, 24 | SP | Toronto Blue Jays
Went 15-2 while leading the AL in ERA. Allowed the fewest home runs per 9 in baseball. Should put up even better numbers if allowed to eat up more innings.
No. 5 | Noah Syndergaard, 24 | SP | New York Mets
Pitches with veteran poise. No reason to think he won’t lower his 2.89 career ERA. Nearly impossible to touch up with the long ball.
No. 6 | Francisco Lindor, 23 | SS | Cleveland Indians
Captured a Gold Glove at the most demanding position. Carries a .306 career batting average. If his power numbers jump, he’s a serious MVP candidate.
No. 7 | Corey Seager, 22 | SS | Los Angeles Dodgers
Finished third in National League MVP voting. Won the NL Rookie of the Year. Ridiculously high ceiling. God help opposing pitchers if .308/26/72/.877 is the floor.
No. 8 | Carlos Correa, 22 | SS | Houston Astros
Model of consistency through two years while putting up a .829 OPS. Look for a 25 HR/100 RBI campaign.
No. 9 | Rougned Odor, 23 | 2B | Texas Rangers
Is so much more than The Punch. Blasted 33 homers from a non-power position. Would be an incredible player if he practiced discipline at the plate.
No. 10 | Xander Bogaerts, 24 | SS | Boston Red Sox
Set a career highs last season in OBP, SLG, OPS, HR, and RBI. How will he do without the protection of David Ortiz?
No. 11 | Kyle Schwarber, 23 | LF | Chicago Cubs
Small sample size (278 regular season plate appearances), but his postseason runs have been epic. How much damage can he do in a healthy year?
No. 12 | Jose Ramirez, 24 | 3B | Cleveland Indians
Came out of nowhere to hit .312 in 2016 with an .825 OPS. Has the clutch gene.
No. 13 | Trea Turner, 23 | CF | Washington Nationals
Hit .342 with 13 homers and 33 steals in 73 games. Could be looking at a member of the 30-70 club.
No. 14 | Michael Fulmer, 23 | SP | Detroit Tigers
Faded a bit toward the end of his rookie year but put together two of the hottest months in memory. Tigers will need him to creep closer to the 200-inning mark.
No. 15 | Nomar Mazara, 21 | RF | Texas Rangers
If there’s such a thing as a quiet breakout year, Mazara had it. His 20-homer rookie season may be a career low. Has remarkable size.
No. 16 | Gary Sanchez, 24 | C | New York Yankees
Twenty homers in 203 at-bats. If he keeps up that pace,he’ll be the greatest player of all-time. No pressure.
No. 17 | Javier Baez, 24 | 2B | Chicago Cubs
Defensive wizardry at any position. Joe Maddon would be smart to not mess with happy and leave his young stud at second base.
No. 18 | Roberto Osuna, 22 | RP | Toronto Blue Jays
Perhaps the least recognized player on this list. Closed 36 games for a playoff team. Boasts 2.63 career ERA and a stingy .926 WHIP.
No. 19 | Joc Pederson | CF | Los Angeles Dodgers
Expecting to take some heat on having Pederson so low. He has incredible power and a .847 OPS to brag about. The strikeouts, plus a .210 batting average in 2015, are a concern.
No. 20 | Addison Russell, 23 | SS | Chicago Cubs
Twenty-one homers and 95 RBI in 2016. Rocket for an arm. Overlooked member of the World Champions.
No. 21 | Wilson Contreras, 24 | C | Chicago Cubs
The same could be said for Contreras. Put up a .845 OPS in limited action. Sky’s the limit for his future.
No. 22 | Andrew Benintendi, 22 | LF | Boston Red Sox
“Second coming of Fred Lynn.” – The Sports Guy, probably
No. 23 | Vince Velasquez, 24 | SP | Philadelphia Phillies
Going out on a limb here. Velasquez will figure it out this year. Has swing-and-miss stuff. Find some odds on him leading the league in strikeouts and take a chance. Has fanned 10.1 per 9 during his young career.
No. 24 | Maikel Franco, 24 | 3B | Philadelphia Phillies
Twenty-five homers and 88 RBIs in his first full year. Look at all these Phillies on the list!
No. 25 | Julio Urias, 20 | SP | Los Angeles Dodgers
Made Major League debut while still a teenager. Went 5-2 with 3.39 in 18 appearances. Will be a crusty old veteran by age 25.
Honorable Mention: Brandon Drury, Joe Ross, Michael Conforto, Dansby Swanson, Miguel Sano, Daniel Norris, Tim Anderson