About two days after the All-Star Break I began to think “What players will take over the league and be guaranteed starters in the All-Star Game in five years?” I began to do some research and with the help of bleacherreport.com I have compiled a group of players who stand out as the best of the youngest. In this 3-part report, I will cover the starting lineup as well as the pitching rotation and the bench. Here are the best 5 players who I wouldn’t start if I had a team of players under 25 years of age.
First, here are the qualifications:
- The player cannot already be 25.
- He must have played a major league game.
- This includes all the players in the MLB
- This is based over their career, not solely 2013.
- The bench is like a major league bench, it features five skilled players that aren’t yet starters. I will include two outfielders, two infielders, and a catcher.
OF Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
The Cuban sensation has taken the MLB by storm as of late and has taken a last place, slumping Dodger team and turned it into a first place team. He has made the Dodgers the hottest team in baseball and made LA have hope that maybe one of their high paying teams might make it. Puig is hitting .362 with 11 homers and 27 RBIs. He also has been flashing the leather with 6 outfield assists since his debut on June 3rd. He has excited many fans across the country and people have begun using the term Puiging. I’m not at all sure what it means but Puigmania is sweeping the country.
Bottom Line: Puig is no flash in the pan. He can play and he’s going to continue to be a big producer in the coming years. Expect slight drop in numbers next year as he cant be this great forever. I expect .314/27/94 in a full season next year for Yasiel Puig.
OF Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves
His career WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is an outstanding 13.9 which puts him into my list of the top under 25 players in the MLB. He is on a winning team and just like what I said about his teammate Freddie Freeman he is helping guide a great Braves team. Heyward will strike out a lot (1 out of every 4 at-bats) but he is still worth it as he averages a home run in 1 of every 26 at bats. Unfortunately he is sitting on my bench because I would rather have Giancarlo Stanton in the starting lineup over Heyward.
Bottom Line: Jason Heyward will be helping lead this very good Braves team for the coming years. In the future I still don’t see him as a starter over Puig or Stanton. He doesn’t compare at all with Trout or Harper.
SS Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers
I would have put him in the starting lineup if I saw the power was there and that he still had a .275-.290 average. Unfortunately he is hitting a disappointing .254 and only has 1 homer. He made this team simply as a defensive replacement for Starlin Castro who is not nearly as good with his glove as Andrus is. Andrus also makes his case with the fact that this is his 5th full major league season making him a wise leader in the locker room because he has experienced the good and the bad.
Bottom Line: Within about a year Andrus may take Starlin Castro over as my starting SS, but that said I think Andrus will have to become a more solid offensive player.
1B Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals
The absolute toughest decision for a bench player was between Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs and Eric Hosmer. It really shouldn’t have been so tough because I realized how close in power numbers they are (Rizzo: 18 homers, Hosmer: 14 homers), but at the same time Hosmer is so much more consistent (Rizzo: .230 AVG, Hosmer .294). If I were a manager I would most definitely take a consistent and powerful guy off the bench over a slugger who gets me a hit 2 outta 10 times and a home run in only 1 out of 28 at bats, which during the same time Hosmer could get me 10-12 hits. Rizzo also lacks timely hitting which all pinch hitters needs.
Bottom Line: Hosmer doesn’t have an excellent glove which is why his is a pinch hitter and nothing more.
C Wilin Rosario, Colorado Rockies
He is having a very good 2013 campaign following up on a nice 2012 season in which he hit 28 homers and hit .270. This season he has followed it up and in my opinion done even better hitting .285 and has 17 homers. Unlike above where I said 1 homer in 28 at bats is unacceptable when you hit .230, down here I would take that. Except I have a problem. Rosario hits .285 and hits a home run in every 21 at bats which is so much better then what Anthony Rizzo was capable of. Rosario flies under the radar because of Tulowitski, Gonzalez, and Helton who take up all of that Rockie glory. Honestly I would most likely place Rosario as a top-10 catcher in the MLB right now and unfortunately for him he will live out his career under Buster Posey and Yadier Molina as at best the third best National League catcher.
Bottom Line: He is very consistent and has a great bat. It’s unfortunate he doesn’t have a good glove which lands him on my bench.
Statistics were provided by MLB.com and players’ ages are provided by bleacherreport.com