Baseball

The MLB All-Under-25 Team

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Baseball has had a problem attracting young fans for several years now. The older generation still wants to see players play the game “the right way” by respecting the unwritten rules and policing themselves. While this is great for old fans, young fans need something to latch onto.

Drawing attention to young talent is one thing MLB should be doing to attract a new demographic. Fortunately, it should be relatively easy to do as there’s a wealth of talented players under 25 years of age. To demonstrate, I’ve put together the MLB All-under-25 team.

Requirements

First and foremost, the player must be 25 years old or younger as of the day of publication of this article. Should he turn 26 tomorrow, it still applies. Secondly, I require that the player has spent time with his respective big-league club. While Adley Rutschman is a highly-touted catching prospect in the Baltimore Orioles system (and likely better than the player on this list), he hasn’t made his debut and is, therefore, ineligible to be named to this list. A designated hitter won’t be assigned to this list because that’s become somewhat of an “old man” position.

Without further ado, let’s get into it.

Pitcher

Mike Soroka – age 23 for 2022 (Atlanta Braves)

The elephant in the room with Soroka is his twice-torn right Achilles tendon. As a right-handed pitcher, this could be problematic as that’s the foot he pushes off when he pitches. However, if Soroka returns to being a fraction of what we in 2019 (when he was an All-Star and finished second for Rookie of the Year), he could be a solid rotation guy for Atlanta behind Charlie Morton and Max Fried if they’re going to try to run it back in 2023.

Catcher

Tyler Stephenson – age 25 for 2022 (Cincinnati Reds)

There isn’t exactly an abundance of catchers under 25 years old at the big-league level, so this guy sort of gets it by default. Stephenson played his first full season with the Reds in 2021, with 78 of his 132 appearances coming behind the dish. He platooned with Tucker Barnhart, who is now with Detroit, so it’s likely he’ll be the Reds’ go-to catcher. He proved his worth slashing .286/.366/.431 with 10 home runs and 45 RBIs, which was good enough for a top-10 finish in Rookie of the Year voting.

First Base

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – age 23 for 2022 (Toronto Blue Jays)

What your name is Vladimir Guerrero, you’d better be able to hit, and Vlad Jr. has yet to disappoint. At the ripe age of 22 years old, Guerrero led the AL in home runs (48), OPS (1.002), and runs scored (123). If it hadn’t been for Shohei Ohtani’s historic year at the plate and on the mound, Vlad would have been the AL MVP. He’s proven to be durable thus far in his young career, despite a violently explosive swing.

Second Base

Ozzie Albies – age 25 for 2022 (Atlanta Braves)

Ablies is one of the elder statesmen on this list as he comes in with more than four years of MLB service time. The two-time All-Star is a switch-hitter with great pop, especially for his position. In 2021, he hit 30 homers, drove in 106 runs, and stole 20 bases. Albies has notably worked closely with Atlanta’s infield coach Ron Washington to work on improving his defense as well. The Braves are set at second base through at least the 2026 season.

Third Base

Rafael Devers – age 25 for 2022 (Boston Red Sox)

The other guy on this list to be entering a season as a 25-year-old with more than four years of service time is Rafael Devers. The Red Sox have seen steady improvement out of Devers year over year as 2021 was his best yet. He made his first All-Star appearance last season and finished in the top-15 for MVP voting for the second time. Since 2019, Devers has been rock solid defensively with a fielding percentage hovering around .950 with more than 150 games played at third base.

Shortstop

Fernando Tatis Jr. – age 23 for 2022 (San Diego Padres)

Few guys in the league have the “it” factor like Tatis He’s a five-tool player who’s also lightning in a bottle. Despite missing 32 games with intermittent shoulder problems in 2021, Tatis still managed to lead the NL in home runs (42), make the All-Star team, and finish third in MVP voting. The Padres moved him to the outfield for 24 games in an effort to mitigate a recurring shoulder injury on his non-throwing arm, but a guy who plays the way Tatis does isn’t safe from injury even in the outfield. It’s safe to assume he’ll be back to making highlight-reel plays at shortstop in 2022.

Outfield

Juan Soto – age 23 for 2022 (Washington Nationals)

Of all the young talent in MLB, Soto is the cream of the crop. At just 23 years old, he’s already got a batting title, All-Star, and played a significant role in a World Series title run. In the shortened 2020 season, Soto led the league in all three categories by slashing .351/.490/.695. He strikes fear into pitchers and managers alike and has led the NL in intentional walks the last two years. Still three years from free agency, Soto has already rejected a massive bag of money from the Nats and will be looking for the richest contract in MLB history.

Ronald Acuna Jr. – age 24 for 2022 (Atlanta Braves)

Acuna took the league by storm when he made his debut with the Braves at age 20. He stormed his way to winning Rookie of the Year with 26 home runs and a .917 OPS. The 2021 Braves were held afloat by Acuna’s contributions before he sustained an ACL injury right before the All-Star break. Despite the injury, there’s no reason to believe he won’t return to form for the 2022 season.

Dylan Carlson – age 23 for 2022 (St. Louis Cardinals)

There are plenty of young outfielders who could take this third spot, but Carlson is the one who was consistently available to his team during his rookie campaign (he exceeded rookie limits during the 2021 season but played in 2020) and put up a WAR of 3.2. He had his struggles at the plate, with a .266 average but put up a .987 fielding percentage with eight assists. He finished third in the Rookie of the Year race behind Jonathan India and Trevor Rogers. Carlson is set to be a fixture in the Cardinals’ outfield for many years to come.

Follow me on Twitter @jojocornrow for more of my content. Don’t forget to listen to our baseball podcast, Cheap Seats Chatter, and make sure to check out my own podcast, Baseball Together! We’ll see ya there! Come join the discussion made by the fans at the Overtime Heroics forums! A place for all sports!

main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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