Young superstars are dominating both the American and National Leagues in the MLB, helping increase the popularity of the sport in a time that they need it the most. Being able to relate to the younger generation is a very useful tactic for the sport of baseball, and marketing this sport to its strengths can only increase its popularity.
Each league has a great crop of 25-and-under ballers who are taking over the league by storm, turning it into their league and changing the face of the game. Once dominated by the veterans that everyone knows, like Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and others, the league is now turning to the likes of Ronald Acuna and Walker Buehler to take the torch and be the best of the best for the sport of baseball.
This article is a grouping of the best MLB players currently 25 years old or younger on National League squads who have had enough time spent on their respective big league rosters. No minor league players were considered into this compilation, and players who have only had a brief cup of coffee at the big league level were dismissed as well.
Simply put, this is what is next for the sport of baseball: the likes of young sluggers, toolsy superstars and fireballing arms that are here now, ahead of their time, bringing the game to yet another level.
C Jorge Alfaro, MIA
1B Peter Alonso, NYM
2B Ozzie Albies, ATL
3B Scott Kingery, PHI
SS Fernando Tatis Jr., SD
Four of the five included players all currently reside in the NL East division, as this grouping of franchises has an eye towards the present and an eye to the future, helping build their teams up for now and for later. Every team but the Washington Nationals are featured here, but their shortstop Trea Turner was a solid factor in the race to be the face for the best shortstop.
Turner was not selected due to only being 25 for less than two months, so getting onto the hype train for Fernando Tatis Jr. is only right to be happening now.
Close to the anniversary of his father setting an MLB record by hitting two grand slams in the same inning, Tatis Jr. is joined by catcher Jorge Alfaro from the Marlins, Peter Alonso of the Mets, recently-extended Ozzie Albies of the East-winning Braves, and Scott Kingery of the Phillies.
Of these five players, Albies is the one with the most proven MLB experience, but Tatis Jr. is leading the way in hype, as he was a part of the youngsters, along with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays, that figured to be breaking into the big league some time this season.
Other players who were close in this grouping included shortstops Turner and Dansby Swanson and first baseman Cody Bellinger (who is mentioned later on this list), just to name a few.
OF Ronald Acuna, ATL
OF Juan Soto, WAS
OF Cody Bellinger, LAD
Keeping with the NL East theme here, two of the three starting outfielders in this group come from the East, and Juan Soto is the first entrant for the Nationals on this list, as is Bellinger for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Pick your poison with this group, as it is very tough to find a weakness.
Acuna, like his teammate Albies, just received a long-term deal with the Braves and is the player in this outfield with the most potential. Soto is a huge part of why Bryce Harper was able to leave the nation’s capital, as he has stepped in huge and been able to help with some of the offensive drop off with Harper going to the Phillies. Bellinger has absolutely lit up NL pitching to begin the year, and if not for reigning MVP Christian Yelich continuing his hot streak to begin the season, Bellinger would be getting more hype.
SP Walker Buehler, LAD
RP Josh Hader, MIL
CL Jordan Hicks, STL
Even though only three arms are including in the pitching group, this array of pitchers brings their stuff. On any given night, the trio of Buehler, Josh Hader, and Jordan Hicks can all be slinging nasty stuff, making it damn near impossible for any hitter to touch them.
For Buehler, capitalizing on his strong season last year is a must for the Dodgers, as Clayton Kershaw has been dealing with injury issues to being 2019 but seems to be back on the right track and has rejoined the starting rotation.
Hader has much more pressure on him to begin this season, as the Milwaukee Brewers are looking to replicate 2018’s success with fewer bullpen pieces – Corey Knebel is lost for the year with Tommy John surgery and Jeremy Jeffress had a slow rise back to game shape and is just getting back into shape with the big-league club.
Hicks is helping shut the door for the St. Louis Cardinals, who have become a common factor in the preseason playoff selections for the NL. After having acquired Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks and having signed Andrew Miller to be another key arm in the pen, Hicks has the duty of closing most games for the Red Birds, a welcome sign that this 22-year-old is just hitting his prime as a flamethrower.