The All 25 and Under Team
The past decade has not been a bright spot in baseball’s history. A large number of the games biggest names are either admitted or suspected steroid users. Players who have achieved some of the games greatest milestones such as Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, and Mark McGwire, will most likely not be admitted to the Hall of Fame. Thankfully there is an emerging group of stars in baseball that will have never played during the steroid era, and we can enjoy watching them and celebrate their accomplishments without doubting their authenticity. I present to you the All 25 and under team.
C Brian McCann, 25: Playing a defensively oriented position, McCann provides consistent offensive numbers. He has a career batting average of .297 and SLG of .499. There isn’t a team in baseball that wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to have a catcher with that type of production.
1B Prince Fielder, 25: Already a two time All Star and recent home run derby champion, he has emerged as one of the premiere power hitters in the game today. Just how much power you ask? His SLG % for the season is .615, a ridiculous number, and.546 on his career. He’s also not too shabby with the glove either, having a career fielding percentage of .991.
2B Dustin Pedroia, 25: Pedroia hit the ground running when he entered the league, earning the 2007 AL Rookie of the Year. One of the top second baseman in the game today, he has a career batting average of .311. Last year his 54 doubles, .326 batting average, and high energy attitude earned him the 2008 AL MVP.
3B Evan Longoria, 23: There are a few other third basemen that you could argue should be here, but in total Longoria provides the best all around choice. He currently has a batting average of .280, 19 home runs, and an OPS of .892. His fielding percentage also ranks in the top half of starting MLB third basemen.
SS Hanley Ramirez, 25: This is not even close. Not only is he the best shortstop among 25 and under players, but he is arguably the best shortstop in baseball period. He leads the NL in batting average this season with .345, has an OBP of .408, and an OPS of .969. In short, Hanley Ramirez is really good and it will be exciting to watch him for years to come.
LF Ryan Braun 25: Braun is in only his third full season but has already been an All Star starter twice. He has hit over thirty home runs in each of his two prior seasons and is on pace to do it again this season. His rookie year he had 34 HR and 97 RBI in only 113 games and he’s continued to show why he’s one of the top outfielders in the game today.
CF Jacoby Ellsbury, 25: This position was a tight race between Ellsbury, Matt Kemp, and Adam Jones, but ultimately the speed of Ellsbury won out. He has 41 stolen bases already this season, second in the AL, and a very respectable .293 batting average.
RF Justin Upton, 21: Upton, in only his second full season, is the youngest player on the list. He’s batting .292 with a .524 SLG %, an OPS of .887, and has 13 stolen bases. He’s not quite there yet defensively but at only 21 he’s got time to develop that part of this game.
Starting Pitcher Tim Lincecum, 25: Currently has a 2.27 ERA, and at only 25 he has already won baseball’s highest pitching honor as the 2008 NL Cy Young winner and is the front runner to repeat again in 2009.
Relief Pitcher Jonathan Broxton, 25: One of the best closers in the game today, Broxton has a microscopic WHIP of .94 and has struck out 71 in only 43.2 innings, showing his utter dominance on opposing batters. Eric Gange who?