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The Top 25 MLB Players Under 25 Years Old

Fernando Tatis Jr. Ronald Acuña. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Juan Soto. The league has more superstar young talent than ever before. Who’s the best of the bunch?

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

There’s more thrilling young talent in baseball than at any point in recent memory. The National League MVP front-runners are 22 and 23 years old, respectively. The major league home run leader is also 22. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Every MLB division features at least one superstar who’s younger than 25; most divisions feature several.

So who’s the best of that bunch? The Ringer MLB Show team—Michael Baumann, Zach Kram, Ben Lindbergh, and Bobby Wagner—sought to find out by ranking the top 25 MLB players under 25. Players had to have made their major-league debuts to be eligible. Each staffer created their individual order, and the final order was determined by averaging the lists.

Listen to the episode here. Below the full rankings are listed, along with each staffer’s rank and a relevant excerpt for each player.

25. Víctor Robles, OF, Washington Nationals

Baumann rank: 17
Kram rank: NR
Lindbergh rank: NR
Wagner rank: NR

I’ll say this up front: I am a sucker for elite defensive center fielders who have shown even offensive flashes, as evidenced by my lifelong flirtation with Jackie Bradley Jr. I think [Robles] is a really good player who’s gotten sucked in by some of those other players on that Washington team. —Baumann

24. Mike Soroka, P, Atlanta Braves

Baumann rank: 21
Kram rank: 25
Lindbergh rank: NR
Wagner rank: 22

He hasn’t historically fit the profile of the strikeout monster that we all kind of like to see when we’re projecting long term. He’s obviously been successful, but he’s done it in kind of a different way—getting grounders and low BABIP. Long term, I tend to prefer the strikeout guy. —Lindbergh

23. Dustin May, P, Los Angeles Dodgers

Baumann rank: NR
Kram rank: NR
Lindbergh rank: 20
Wagner rank: 18

May has always had the eye-popping stuff, but had a lot of trouble missing bats in a pretty big sample. The Tommy John [surgery] doesn’t really scare me that much. I would’ve just liked it to have happened at a different time, other than the first time he’s striking guys out at the big-league level, so that I could have a little more confidence in his prognosis going forward. —Baumann

21. Nick Madrigal, 2B, Chicago White Sox

Baumann rank: 24
Kram rank: 21
Lindbergh rank: 22
Wagner rank: 20

I believe I’m the only one on this podcast that has rooted for a team that had Ben Revere on it. I think Madrigal’s a really good player. He’s gonna be a really good player for a long time. That lack of power is a little disappointing based on what I thought he could grow into when he was coming out of Oregon State. —Baumann

21. Sixto Sánchez, P, Miami Marlins

Baumann rank: 10
Kram rank: 24
Lindbergh rank: NR
Wagner rank: 25

20. Trevor Rogers, P, Miami Marlins

Baumann rank: 13
Kram rank: 19
Lindbergh rank: 21
Wagner rank: NR

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the biggest fault line [in our lists] so far is that you guys are scared to death of pitchers. You are such cowards that you could watch what Sixto Sánchez did last year, watch what he did all through the minors—he’s going to win a Cy Young award if his arm even stays attached. If we did this list in two months, no. 20 Trevor Rogers would be up in the mid-teens on everybody’s list. —Baumann

19. Julio Urías, P, Los Angeles Dodgers

Baumann rank: 20
Kram rank: 18
Lindbergh rank: 18
Wagner rank: 17

He’s on my list because he is … not currently injured, which I think is an important distinction. He has returned from his injuries and pitched quite well. —Lindbergh

Also because he shut down the opposing team in the World Series last year. —Wagner

18. Dylan Carlson, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

Baumann rank: NR
Kram rank: 12
Lindbergh rank: 14
Wagner rank: 19

Carlson is an example of a player type that was really tough for me to handle on this list: players who debuted in 2020. He’s a 22-year-old who’s been a league-average hitter. He’s a good defender with good speed. I think that makes him a really valuable player long term. —Kram

17. Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros

Baumann rank: 25
Kram rank: 13
Lindbergh rank: 19
Wagner rank: 13

Tucker is a nice player with a pretty swing, but I have a hard time seeing him with star or superstar potential. —Baumann

16. Gleyber Torres, SS, New York Yankees

Baumann rank: 19
Kram rank: 16
Lindbergh rank: 17
Wagner rank: 15

If we did this list a few years ago, he would’ve been in the top five, because we would’ve been assuming that his production would’ve been some sort of linear. It just has not been close to that. A 124 wRC+ at 22 is really good, but it ultimately amounted to less than 4 WAR. —Wagner

One thing that we’ve seen a lot in the last couple years is Torres playing shortstop, and I hate watching him play shortstop. He is such a bad defender I can’t stand it. He deserves to be on this list on merit, but there’s a chance that he and Kyle Tucker both turn out to be pretty good hitting left fielders. —Baumann

Miami Marlins v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

15. Jazz Chisholm, 2B/SS, Miami Marlins

Baumann rank: 14
Kram rank: 23
Lindbergh rank: 13
Wagner rank: 12

I’ve bought in to the hype. He’s such an exciting player who’s had the highlights, like hitting the home run on a triple-digit [Jacob] deGrom fastball. It seems like he has the ability to hit the best stuff and hit it hard. The raw skills seem to be impressive enough and he is young enough that I’m a believer. —Lindbergh

14. Ian Anderson, P, Atlanta Braves

Baumann rank: 6
Kram rank: 17
Lindbergh rank: 16
Wagner rank: 21

What he was able to do in the playoffs, the poise and polish that he showed as someone who just turned 23, I think that he can end up being the 200-inning no. 1 starter, at high volume, for a very, very long time. I’m betting on the stuff, and I’m betting on the results so far. —Baumann

13. Yordan Álvarez, OF, Houston Astros

Baumann rank: 16
Kram rank: 14
Lindbergh rank: 12
Wagner rank: 16

He’s been one of the best hitters in baseball, when he’s been on the field, since he debuted in 2019. The when-he’s-been-on-the-field caveat is pretty important, because he was almost never on the field last year, and he very rarely is playing a fielding position. So that holds back his value. —Lindbergh

12. Eloy Jiménez, OF, Chicago White Sox

Baumann rank: 15
Kram rank: 15
Lindbergh rank: 15
Wagner rank: 11

There’s a reason that the White Sox had such a fun lineup that we were looking forward to seeing. If Eloy were healthy right now and hitting like he did in 2020, even without any improvement, he would’ve been in my top 10 fairly comfortably. —Kram

11. Jarred Kelenic, OF, Seattle Mariners

Baumann rank: 22
Kram rank: 11
Lindbergh rank: 10
Wagner rank: 9

He hasn’t done anything since he made the majors to make me more confident, but he’s just such a can’t-miss prospect. And also, he’s just so young. He’s the youngest player on our list, so that means he has a little bit of an edge over a 23- or 24-year-old guy. —Lindbergh

10. Ozzie Albies, 2B, Atlanta Braves

Baumann rank: 12
Kram rank: 8
Lindbergh rank: 11
Wagner rank: 10

His defensive stats were elite earlier in his career, so I don’t know what to make of the fact that he’s been average there in the last couple seasons. When they were off-the-charts good, he didn’t even have to hit to be valuable. He’s settled in as a comfortably above-average hitter, and he’s a great base runner. I love Albies. —Lindbergh

9. Trent Grisham, OF, San Diego Padres

Baumann rank: 11
Kram rank: 6
Lindbergh rank: 6
Wagner rank: 14

Since the start of last season, Trent Grisham ranks third among all under-25 players in WAR, behind only Acuña and Tatis. He is an above-average hitter, runner, and defender with great patience at the plate. He’s fantastic. —Kram

8. Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox

Baumann rank: 8
Kram rank: 10
Lindbergh rank: 8
Wagner rank: 7

He was starting to answer some of the questions about refinement and on-field production before he got hurt. Grisham has a very high probability to be a very good player, and Robert also has a high probability of being a good player with more questions, but he has the potential to win an MVP, and I don’t think you can say that for Grisham. —Baumann

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

7. Rafael Devers, 3B, Boston Red Sox

Baumann rank: 9
Kram rank: 7
Lindbergh rank: 9
Wagner rank: 6

He led the American League in doubles and total bases in 2019. He’s leading the AL in doubles and has 15 home runs right now. If I’m going to put a corner guy who’s not an elite defender this high, he’s gotta absolutely rake, and Devers has. —Baumann

6. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates

Baumann rank: 7
Kram rank: 9
Lindbergh rank: 7
Wagner rank: 8

I don’t know if I expected Hayes to end up this high, but as I was making the list, I couldn’t put him outside my top 10. Hayes hit about as well as we could’ve possibly expected last year and he has an amazing glove. Is this the next Matt Chapman? —Kram

5. Bo Bichette, SS, Toronto Blue Jays

Baumann rank: 5
Kram rank: 5
Lindbergh rank: 5
Wagner rank: 5

He’s a very good hitter at a premium defensive position. Putting that bat in that lineup spot just makes him so valuable. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Bichette’s game. He’s pluses all around. —Kram

4. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B, Toronto Blue Jays

Baumann rank: 3
Kram rank: 4
Lindbergh rank: 4
Wagner rank: 4

The comp I keep drawing is Guerrero’s season now to Bryce Harper’s MVP year. These are the last two players that came up with that level of hype as a hitter. And Harper was a very good player at 19 and 20, and in his age-22 season he put together the 1941 Ted Williams year, adjusted for inflation. Guerrero might be the most talented hitter in the world right now. —Baumann

3. Ronald Acuña Jr., OF, Atlanta Braves

Baumann rank: 4
Kram rank: 2
Lindbergh rank: 1
Wagner rank: 3

Since the start of last season, Acuña has walked more than 15 percent of his plate appearances. He has improved his chase rate every year so far. It’s getting to the point now where it’s at near-Soto level selectivity. He has as much power as anyone else in the game, and he’s close to the league lead in stolen bases. He has every tool. —Lindbergh

2. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, San Diego Padres

Baumann rank: 1
Kram rank: 3
Lindbergh rank: 3
Wagner rank: 1

If you’re going to get the guy that is more-or-less Soto at the plate and also provides value elsewhere, why wouldn’t you get the guy who’s the shortstop and is the better base runner? I don’t think we’re prepared to comprehend how good he could be if he’s even mostly healthy. —Baumann

1. Juan Soto, OF, Washington Nationals

Baumann rank: 2
Kram rank: 1
Lindbergh rank: 2
Wagner rank: 2

Soto has a career .414 on-base percentage. I know Acuña and Tatis are approaching that, but even at their best they’re not as good at getting on base as Juan Soto is at his worst. When you’re making these decisions about who you would most want, I think I choose philosophically to fall back on the single talent that I believe in most. And for any under-25 player in the majors, that is Juan Soto’s bat. —Kram