Most known for their big spending and large payrolls, the franchises that make up the American League in the MLB also have solidified really good pipelines for youthful prospects that will eventually take over the game. Even the New York Yankees, who are commonly known for shipping out top prospects in order to acquire yet another big-time arm or position player, have begun to churn out solid prospects that have become core pieces developed in their minor league system.
Both the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox, seen as two of the biggest powerhouses in the AL, have great players at 25 years of age or younger that fit the budding superstar criteria.
Smaller market franchises, like the Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, and Tampa Bay Rays, must rely on top-notch scouting techniques to bring in the best players via international signings and the yearly high school and college prospect first-year players draft. These teams have a slim chance of competing with the big boys every season, and their player development is what makes or breaks them every season, year in and year out.
This article is a grouping of the best MLB players currently 25 years old or younger on American 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
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
Infield & Designated Hitter
C Danny Jansen, TOR
1B Matt Olson, OAK
2B Yoan Moncada, CHW
SS Carlos Correa, HOU
3B Alex Bregman, HOU
DH Shohei Ohtani, LAA
As previously mentioned, the Astros have developed a great strategy over the years of drafting top players, developing them throughout their minor league journey, and seasoning them enough to make sure they have the perfect path to succeed – like both Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman have for their squad.
Both Correa and Bregman are staples on the left side of the infield for many years to come, and even though their price tags will continue to rise due to their popularity and excellent performance, the Astros seem fully committed to keeping that part of the team together.
Danny Jansen of the Blue Jays is an interesting piece, as he is the first member of the youthful core that will soon be taking over the big-league squad for the only team north of the border. With the now-confirmed callup of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to the team, this team is looking like it is fully ready to pounce and become, yet again, a feared opponent and begin to make noise once again in the uber-competitive AL East.
Matt Olson looks like a bonafide stud at first base for the Athletics, who is locked up for a few more seasons as an arbitration-eligible player, great news for a team that is forced to scrape from the barrel any money it can get. For Yoan Moncada, assuming an everyday role at second base is exactly what he is capable of and ready for, as this Chicago White Sox team looks primed to be competing very soon yet again.
As for the designated hitter role, Shohei Ohtani slots into here simply due to his Tommy John injury that is not allowing him to pitch at all in 2019. Thankfully though, his hitting prowess can be put on full display for the entire season, which blesses us MLB fans with a great showing of what a two-way player looks like in this day and age of the sport of baseball.
OF Andrew Benintendi, BOS
OF Byron Buxton, MIN
OF Ramon Laureano, OAK
All three studs across the board, no real complaints can be made about any of them.
For Andrew Benintendi, his career in Beantown has been nothing short of amazing for the Red Sox, who have been able to pair him with Mookie Betts to form one of the league’s best younger corner outfield tandems. Betts is 26 and just missing this list, otherwise, he would have been a shoo-in.
Byron Buxton is this generation’s Rickey Henderson when it comes to base stealing. He is also an ideal leadoff hitter for the Minnesota Twins, a team that has the tools in place to make some real noise and potentially knock the Cleveland Indians off of their perch at the top of the AL Central division.
Ramon Laureano has really come on late for the Athletics, and he has become a sensation in terms of an everyday highlight reel. From fantastic catches to one of the better arms in the outfield currently, Laureano is the toolsy guy every team dreams about and just happens to be on one of the more deserving franchises in the league. He will get his dues at the Coliseum, and his days roaming around the friendly (but also unfriendly) confines in center field will be seen as impressive yet normal for his caliber of play throughout the rest of his career.
SP Jose Berrios, MIN
RP Diego Castillo, TB
CL Jose Alvarado, TB
The second Twins player on this list is Jose Berrios, an absolute stud of a rotation arm and one that has top of the league written all over him. Flashing his stuff early on in his career has only helped him become better, and he just squeaks out over Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell, who is awesome in his own right.
The first two Rays players on this list are currently in their bullpen, as Diego Castillo and Jose Alvarado are studly arms that help shut the door on any opponents at Tropicana Field. Castillo is just coming into his own and should remain a shutdown setup man for the Rays, and Alvarado has already become a feature on the Pitching Ninja’s Twitter page, so that tells you enough right there about the type of player he really is (swords out!).
SP Blake Snell, TB
CL Jose Leclerc, TEX
SS Gleyber Torres, NYY
While not finding a spot for these three was hard, they could not be left off the list. These players are all deserving in their own ways and thus deserved to be noticed.
Snell is a fantastic piece that the Rays are currently pairing with Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow, with the latter of those two being acquired at the trade deadline last year in the Chris Archer deal. Happy to rob the Pittsburgh Pirates of two of their best farm prospects, the Rays find themselves sitting pretty in terms of the future of their starting rotation.
Jose Leclerc seemingly is one of the few bright spots for the Texas Rangers, besides the weekly moonshots that Joey Gallo has turned into normal occurrences. Leclerc is a great arm that helps close doors and save games for the Rangers, who do not seem to be winning quite enough to have Leclerc out there enough in save situations.
Finally, Gleyber Torres has finally found his spot in the Big Apple for the pinstripes after being a piece in the Aroldis Chapman deal that saw him go from eventually playing at Wrigley Field to now making regular starts at Yankee Stadium. The growth and promise that this kid is showing now, especially after his 2018 season, has got to be giving Yankees fans a lot to look forward to for many years to come.