I have come up with a list of the top 25 MLB position players 25 years old or younger. There are a few requirements to be eligible for the rankings.
First, obviously, the player must be no older than 25 years old by July 31st of this year. Only players currently in the MLB are eligible, so minor league prospects are a no go. Also, a player must have a minimum of 200 at-bats this season.
Next to the ranking will be the player’s position, team, and regular season stats leading up through July 31st. Here is the stats key:
rbi=Runs Batted In
Let me know what you think of the rankings.
I wanted to put Han-Ram first, I really did. But there is no denying that Prince Fielder has turned into one of baseball’s most elite players at one of its most elite positions. He is second in the MLB in RBI behind Albert Pujols, while hitting a substantial amount of homers and keeping his average above .300, not to mention he won the Home Run Derby.
As it stands, Ramirez is the reason Albert Pujols won’t be winning the Triple Crown this year. The former Red Sox prospect acquired in the Josh Beckett trade, Ramirez is one of the most dangerous players in baseball, with the combination of speed, average, and power.
After winning the AL Rookie of the Year award last season, it was only a matter of time until Longoria became one of the league’s premier players. He is already an MVP candidate in his first full season.
- 4. OF, Ryan Braun - Milwaukee Brewers: 389ab, 21hr, 70rbi, .314ba, 74r, 9sb, Age: 25
The 2007 National League Rookie of the Year, Braun is already one of the best outfielders in the MLB. He ranks in the top ten in the NL in batting average, RBI, home runs, runs, slugging percentage, and OPS.
- 5. 2B, Dustin Pedroia - Boston Red Sox: 403ab, 5hr, 44rbi, .300ba, 72r, 14sb, Age: 25
The reigning American League MVP, Pedroia is a Gold Glove shortstop who hits for average and runs the base paths well. Although Pedroia is having a down year as compared to last season, he is nonetheless producing at a solid level for the Red Sox.
Arrived in Baltimore as part of the Erik Bedard trade. Jones is your classic five-tool outfielder, as he has speed, hits for average, hits for power, has a great throwing arm, and is great defensively.
Honestly, Zimmerman might be the only bright spot on the National’s roster. He still has managed to drive in 67 runs and score 71 runs in the National’s “not-so-deep-and-talented” lineup.
Kung Fu Panda may not look like a formidable foe on the outside, but opponents only make that mistake once. He did not make the All-Star game, which has been a controversial topic.
Although it seems like he has been around forever, yes, Brian McCann is only 25. Arguably the best all-around catcher in the MLB, McCann has gotten his dues in making four consecutive All-Star games.
Barely missing this year’s All-Star game, Reynolds nonetheless continues to pound the ball, ranking second in the MLB in home runs. Reynolds also ranks in the top ten of the NL in runs, stolen bases, and RBI.
- 11. OF, Justin Upton - Arizona Diamondbacks: 369ab, 19hr, 63rbi, .298ba, 64r, 15sb, Age: 21
The younger brother of B. J. Upton, one could make the argument that Justin Upton has already surpassed his older brother. Upton was the first overall pick in the 2005 MLB draft by the Diamondbacks.
Votto continues to impress after his breakout season last year. He made a trip to the DL, which has limited his at-bats, but still continues to pound the ball while batting for a whopping average.
Ranking in the top ten in the NL in batting average and stolen bases, it’s obvious Kemp knows how to get on base and what to do once he gets there. Kemp also has a solid amount of home runs and RBIs.
- 14. OF, Nick Markakis - Baltimore Orioles: 410ab, 12hr, 70rbi, .298ba, 63r, 3sb, Age: 25
Another guy who seems like he’s been around for forever, Markakis ranks sixth in the AL in RBI total, while hitting for a solid average.
- 15. OF, Jacoby Ellsbury - Boston Red Sox: 384ab, 6hr, 35rbi, .302ba, 55r, 47sb, Age: 25
One of the premier speedsters of the MLB rankings second in stolen bases, Ellsbury hits for average and is also excellent in the field.
Tulo’s arm, range, and instinct at his respective position are highly regarded. He has a good combination of power and speed, something you don’t see often at the shortstop position.
- 17. OF, B. J. Upton - Tampa Bay Rays: 394ab, 7hr, 36rbi, .244ba, 63r, 32sb, Age: 24
Nicknamed “B. J.” as in Bossman Junior, Upton has always been regarded as having tremendous upside. Although he struggles with consistency with his average, Upton is always a threat on the base paths once he gets on.
Although Aybar mainly plays shortstop, he is also capable of playing second base and outfield. Aybar is a great utility guy who hits for average and can hold his own on the base paths.
- 19. 1B, James Loney - Los Angeles Dodgers: 385ab, 7hr, 63rbi, .286ba, 48r, 6sb, Age: 25
While Loney might not have the explosive power that some first basemen do, he makes up for it with his ability to knock in runs on a consistent basis. Loney is also a very good fielder, committing only three errors all season.
Many say that Butler has the potential to be a power and average guy, and he has begun to show that this season, although playing for the Royals doesn’t give him a chance to expose himself fully.
Here is proof that the Pirates are not willing to trade away every valuable player to their team. Called up after Nate McLouth was traded to the Braves, McCutchen has shown in his rookie season that he can hit for average while being a threat on the base paths.
- 22. 3B, Ian Stewart - Colorado Rockies: 278ab, 17hr, 48rbi, .223ba, 51r, 7sb, Age: 24
Although struggling with consistency at the plate, Stewart has shown a nice amount of power at third base. He has showcased his versatality by playing second base and outfield as well for the Rockies.
- 23. OF, Jay Bruce - Cincinnati Reds: 299ab, 18hr, 41rbi, .207ba, 38r, 3sb, Age: 22
Currently on the DL, Bruce has struggled with his batting average throughout the season. Bruce has shown he is a dangerous power hitter, and he is also solid in the field.
- 24. OF, Nolan Reimold - Baltimore Orioles: 213ab, 10hr, 29rbi, .286ba, 29r, 6sb, Age: 25
Reimold has burst onto the scene as a candidate for AL Rookie of the Year. Provides speed, average, and power as well as a solid glove in the outfield.
Arguably the leading candidate for NL Rookie of the Year, Rasmus has been a solid contributor all season from the plate and in the field.
Honorable Mentions (In no particular order):
3B, Martin Prado - Atlanta Braves
3B, Andy LaRoche - Pittsburgh Pirates
OF, Dexter Fowler - Colorado Rockies