Blog Entry

Top 25 MLB Pitchers 25 Years Old or Younger

Posted on: August 4, 2009 10:51 am
You can call this part two of “The Future of Baseball” series.  If you haven’t seen the “Top 25 MLB Position Players 25 Years Old or Younger” I recommend you check it out.

I have come up with a list of the top 25 MLB pitchers 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 by July 31 of this year.  Only players currently in the MLB are eligible, so minor league prospects are a no-go.  A starting pitcher must have accumulated at least 80 innings to be eligible for the top 25, but they are still eligible for the honorable mentions section if not.

While a pitcher’s record is important, I tend to look more at a pitcher’s ERA and WHIP, as those are areas that they can control.  For instance, Zack Greinke’s record might not be eye-popping because he plays on a terrible team, but his ERA and WHIP are phenomenal.

Next to the ranking will be the player’s position, team, and regular season stats leading up through August 2.  Here is the stats key:

SP=Starting Pitcher

RP=Relief Pitcher

ip=Innings Pitched


era=Earned Run Average



whip=Walks and Hits Allowed per Inning Pitched

The spots 20-25 were difficult to rank, and there are a few deserving pitchers that just missed the top 25.  An argument could be made for any of those spots, so let me know what you think.

  • 1. SP, Tim Lincecum - San Francisco Giants: 156.2ip, 12-3wl, 2.18era, 191k, 41bb, 1.05whip, Age: 25

The reigning NL Cy Young winner hasn’t slacked off one bit.  Lincecum is ranked in the NL’s top three in wins, strikeouts, WHIP, complete games, innings pitched, ERA, and win percentage.  Lincecum has thrown two shutouts this season.  That’s one heck of a resume right there folks.

  • 2. SP, Zack Greinke - Kansas City Royals: 147.1ip, 10-6wl, 2.08era, 153k, 28bb, 1.09whip, Age: 25

I think all baseball fans pity Greinke.  So much talent, so little run support playing for the Royals.  Greinke has an impressive resume as well, ranking in the AL’s top three in strikeouts, WHIP, ERA, and complete games.  Greinke has also thrown two shutouts this season.

  • 3. SP, Matt Cain - San Francisco Giants: 140.0ip, 12-2wl, 2.12era, 112k, 54bb, 1.17whip, Age: 24

Looking amongst Giants pitchers, you barely have enough time to recollect yourself after seeing Lincecum’s stats before you are hit yet again, this time by Matt Cain.  Cain ranks in the NL’s top three in wins, ERA, win percentage, and complete games.

It’s hard to believe King Felix is only 23, as it seems like he’s been around for much longer.  Hernandez ranks in the AL’s top five in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched, ERA, and win percentage.

  • 5. SP, Cole Hamels - Philadelphia Phillies: 123.0ip, 7-6wl, 4.68era, 107k, 23bb, 1.32whip, Age: 25

After a World Series championship and MVP award, Hamels has struggled with injury throughout the season which has led to his inconsistency on the mound. 

  • 6. SP, Josh Johnson - Florida Marlins: 141.0ip, 10-2wl, 2.87era, 114k, 36bb, 1.12whip, Age: 25

Johnson has been spectacular in his first career All-Star season, rankings in the NL’s top ten in wins, ERA, win percentage, innings pitched, WHIP, and complete games.

Gallardo can be inconsistent at times, but when he’s on, he’s dangerous.  An interesting tidbit: Gallardo is the only pitcher to ever hit a home run off of Randy Johnson, which he did in his first start of the season in April.  He ranks third in the NL in strikeouts.

The first reliever to make the list, Broxton is excellent in nearly every category.  Broxton ranks fourth in the NL in saves, converting 24 out of 27 chances. 

  • 9. SP, Edwin Jackson - Detroit Tigers: 139.2ip, 7-5wl, 2.64era, 109k, 45bb, 1.15whip, Age: 25

Jackson has pitched well this season after being acquired from the Rays in the offseason.  Jackson ranks fourth in the AL in WHIP and third in the AL in ERA.

  • 10. SP, Chad Billingsley - Los Angeles Dodgers: 143.2ip, 11-6wl, 3.82era, 140k, 63bb, 1.28whip, Age:24

While Billingsley can be shaky, he has proven himself as a reliable option for the best team in baseball.  Billingsley ranks fifth in the NL in strikeouts, although he also ranks fourth in walks.

  • 11. SP, Jon Lester - Boston Red Sox: 134.0ip, 9-7wl, 3.90era, 148k, 44bb, 1.31whip, Age: 25

Lester has been shaky this season, but he is 5-2 in his last ten starts.  Lester ranks third in the AL in strikeouts and has thrown two complete games.

  • 12. SP, Jair Jurrjens - Atlanta Braves: 139.0ip, 9-8wl, 2.85era, 98k, 50bb, 1.24whip, Age: 23

Through all the Tommy Hanson hype, Jurrjens is sometimes overlooked.  He has been solid and steady all year for the Braves, and ranks ninth in the NL in ERA.

We all know what Joba is capable of, and he has started to consistently show his true potential.  He has struggled with his control, and ranks sixth in the AL i walks even though he’s only pitched 110 innings.  He does, however, rank third in the AL in win percentage.

  • 14. RP, Joakim Soria - Kansas City Royals: 31.2ip, 2-0wl, 18s, 1.71era, 40k, 8bb, 0.95whip, Age: 25

Soria often goes unnoticed, reason being he plays for the Royals.  Soria ranks ninth in the AL in saves, it’s a shame he doesn’t get more opportunities. 

  • 15. SP, Clayton Kershaw - Los Angeles Dodgers: 120.2ip, 8-5wl, 2.76era, 117k, 65bb, 1.23whip, Age: 21

The young lefty often struggles with his control, as he ranked second in the NL in walks, but he is still 5-1 in his last ten starts.  Kershaw is ranked sixth in the NL in ERA.

  • 16. SP, Matt Garza - Tampa Bay Rays: 136.2ip, 7-8wl, 3.69era, 121k, 53bb, 1.22whip, Age: 25

Garza’s got great stuff, but he struggles with inconsistency and control.  He ranks third in the AL in walks, although he does rank eighth in strikeouts.

Ubaldo has been off and on this season, although he is 2-0 in his last four starts.  Jimenez ranks seventh in the NL in strikeouts and sixth in the NL in innings pitched.

  • 18. SP, John Danks - Chicago White Sox: 119.1ip, 9-7wl, 4.00era, 100k, 46bb, 1.31whip, Age: 24

Danks has been good of late, with a 4-1 record over his last six starts.  He’s always had upside, and it appears now he’s beginning to hit his stride.

The rookie closer has just about been the most productive player for the struggling Athletics.   He has a great ERA and WHIP, especially for a rookie.

A leading rookie of the year candidate, Romero has been on tear as of late.  Romero is 7-1 over his last ten starts, and is ranked ninth in the AL in wins and seventh in win percentage.

  • 21. SP, Kevin Slowey - Minnesota Twins: 90.2ip, 10-3wl, 4.86era, 75k, 15bb, 1.41whip, Age: 25

Slowey hasn’t pitched for a month, and is most likely out for the rest of the year after having surgery on his right wrist.  It’s a shame, as Slowey already reached double digits in the win column.

  • 22. SP, Johnny Cueto - Cincinnati Reds: 126.1ip, 8-8wl, 4.06era, 95k, 43bb, 1.34whip, Age:23

Cueto has struggled of late, losing four of his last five starts.  Cueto struggles with inconsistency like many other young pitcher, but he’s got good stuff.

While Bergesen is not a strikeout pitcher, he makes up for it in other ways.  Bergesen doesn’t get much attention, or run support for that matter, playing on the Orioles, but he’s definitely a young talent.

  • 24. SP, Brett Anderson - Oakland Athletics: 108.0ip, 6-8wl, 4.33era, 85k, 31bb, 1.31whip, Age: 21

Anderson has made the most out of his rookie season, showing that he’s got good stuff and also has good control.  Anderson is 3-1 over his last six starts, in which he tossed a shutout against the Red Sox.

  • 25. SP, Rick Porcello - Detroit Tigers: 105.1ip, 9-7wl, 4.36era, 55k, 35bb, 1.41whip, Age: 20

The 20-year-old rookie has been up and down all season.  Porcello has gone 1-3 over his last six starts, but the talent and upside is undoubtedly there. 

Honorable Mentions (In no particular order):

SP, John Lannan - Washington Nationals

SP, Dallas Braden - Oakland Athletics

SP, Max Scherzer - Arizona Diamondbacks

SP, Chris Volstad - Florida Marlins

SP, Luke Hochevar - Kansas City Royals

SP, Scott Kazmir - Tampa Bay Rays

SP, David Price - Tampa Bay Rays

SP, Jordan Zimmermann - Washington Nationals

SP, Phil Hughes - New York Yankees

SP, Tommy Hanson - Atlanta Braves

SP, Mike Pelfrey - New York Mets

SP, Trevor Cahill - Oakland Athletics

SP, Clayton Richard - San Diego Padres

RP, Matt Capps - Pittsburgh Pirates

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Category: MLB
Tags: MLB

Since: Apr 23, 2009
Posted on: September 1, 2009 11:09 pm

Top 25 MLB Pitchers 25 Years Old or Younger

Great list with future studs to come! hopefully they stay clean!

Since: Aug 5, 2009
Posted on: August 8, 2009 4:52 pm

Top 25 MLB Pitchers 25 Years Old or Younger

would you like to know who leads the American league in strike-outs since 2006, his rookie year? He's on your honorable mention list and is a 2 time all star.


It has to be Kazmir.

Since: Jun 25, 2007
Posted on: August 8, 2009 10:49 am

Top 25 MLB Pitchers 25 Years Old or Younger

Matusz and Tillman hadn't even been called up yet when I compiled the list, so that is why the receive no mention.

Since: Aug 5, 2009
Posted on: August 7, 2009 3:46 pm

Top 25 MLB Pitchers 25 Years Old or Younger

I know, I know, they dont have the 80 innings required, but id still put Brian Matusz, 22 and Chris Tillman, 21 on the list. I'll admit, im partial to them, being baby birds, but noone can argue that these guys arent gonna be absolute studs. Hell, these guys could be veteran all stars by the time they're 25!

Since: Jun 25, 2007
Posted on: August 5, 2009 2:15 pm

Top 25 MLB Pitchers 25 Years Old or Younger

When I started compiling this list Latos only had one or two starts, so thats why I didn't notice him.  He definitely looks like a stud, and if I were doing the rankings right now he would make it.

BucFan-These rankings are mainly based on his season, and you'd be surprised how many young pitchers are having good seasons.  All-Star voting is a joke, more of a popularity contest.  Let's look at Kaz' stats for this year: 6-6 Won/Loss, 6.10 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 67-42 K-BB ratio.  His ERA and WHIP are terrible, and his K-BB ratio isn't very impressive either.  I know Kaz is capable of much more, but this season he just isn't showing it.

Since: Jun 4, 2008
Posted on: August 4, 2009 3:06 pm

Top 25 MLB Pitchers 25 Years Old or Younger

would you like to know who leads the American league in strike-outs since 2006, his rookie year? He's on your honorable mention list and is a 2 time all star.

Since: Jun 30, 2009
Posted on: August 4, 2009 1:46 pm

Top 25 MLB Pitchers 25 Years Old or Younger

Another great list! Mat Latos doesn't have the 80 innings yet to make Top 25, but the kid is a stud and probably deserves Honorable Mention. I watched him throw last night... good stuff! He is 3-1 this year with a 2.66 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP. I actually just picked him up in my Fantasy League a few days ago.

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