Best MLB Players Under 25 in 2018

Major League Baseball is flush with young talent. So much so that making a list of the best players 25-years-old and younger is extremely tough. The guidelines are simple, the player must have MLB experience and be 25 or younger throughout the 2018 season. So that disqualifies young studs such as Aaron Judge, Paul DeJong, and Manny Machado — among others — who will be 25 before the end of next season.

The rankings are based on potential and MLB accomplishments. Major League Baseball has an influx of young, talented players that should keep the future of the game bright. Here are 25 players who will be 25-years-old or younger that will help guide baseball for the next few years.

25. Joey Gallo, 3B, Texas Rangers
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Gallo has always had the power profile. His one hold up has been his ability to make consistent contact. That is still his biggest issue after he finally had a full season in the Majors in 2017. He clubbed 41 home runs, scored 85 runs, drove in 80, and hit 18 doubles and three triples. However, he slashed just .209/.333/.537. He struck out 196 times in 449 at-bats, a pace that would have had him surpass Aaron Judge’s league lead over a full season. Gallo will still need to work on making better contact but he profiles similarly to Mark Reynolds, a big power hitter who will strike out in bunches. The power, however, is something to behold. He will be 24 during the 2018 season and he should improve on his contact rate which is a scary thought for opposing pitchers.

24. Addison Russell, SS, Chicago Cubs
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Russell is excellent defensively and no slouch with the bat either. The 2016 All-Star suffered a bit of a regression in 2017 but not enough of one to dim the brightness of his future. He owns a career slash line of .240/.312/.408, has hit 46 home runs, 75 doubles, scored 179 runs, and driven in 192. While those numbers don’t exactly jump out at you they aren’t exactly bad either. Russell is going to be a good shortstop for years to come and should improve offensively as his body matures. After all, he will only be 24 next season. The future is bright with him.

23. Rougned Odor, 2B, Texas Rangers
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Odor entered the 2017 season as one of baseball’s most intriguing and best young players. He had slugged 33 home runs, slashed .271/.296/.502 with 33 doubles, 89 runs scored, four triples and 88 RBI in 2016. He was a middle of the order bat playing in the middle of the infield, quite the luxury. However, Odor suffered a bit of a setback in 2017 as his slash line dipped to .204/.252/.397. He still hit 30 home run but had just 21 doubles and three triples while scoring 79 runs and driving in 75 runs despite playing in 12 more games than 2016. It was not the progression the Rangers were hoping for. All is not lost. Odor has never been a truly disciplined hitter but the power is real and he is not as bad as his slash line from 2017. Expect a bounce back in 2018 to something in between 2017 and 2016.

22. Nick Williams, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
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Williams will turn 25 at the end of the 2018 season but he is one of the most intriguing young players in the game. He came to the Phillies in the Cole Hamels deal and made his MLB debut this past season. The left-handed hitter slashed .288/.338/.473 with 12 home runs, 45 runs, 14 doubles, four triples and 55 RBI. Williams is a lot of fun to watch. He has excellent power and speed. His defense isn’t great but his bat more than makes up for it. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him hit 30 home runs a year while also stealing bases and taking the extra base. Williams will be a cornerstone of the Phillies’ rebuilding project moving forward.

21. Ian Happ, 2B, Chicago Cubs
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Happ enjoyed a solid debut in the Majors slashing .253/.328/.514 with 24 home runs, 62 runs scored, 68 RBI, 17 doubles and three triples. He will turn 24 next season and Happ, who a career best in home runs on any level, is just starting to find his power. His slash line should improve as he makes adjustments to Major League pitching. He probably won’t be a middle of the order hitter, especially in this deep lineup, but he will be a major factor for the Cubs moving forward and should make a couple of All-Star games along the way.

20. Michael Conforto, OF, New York Mets
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Conforto has been a highly touted prospect for the Mets since he was drafted in the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft. He made his debut in 2015 and appeared in 56 games while slashing .270/.335/.506. He played in 109 games in 2016 and he struggled to make adjustments at times but showed flashes of his ability. His .220/.310/.414 slash line with 12 home runs and 38 runs scored were not indicative of his talents. His 2017 season was the real Conforto as he slugged 27 home runs, drove in 68 runs, scored 72 runs and slashed .279/.384/.555 in 109 games. The Mets need him to be healthy in 2018 if they hope to return to the playoffs. If he is he should put together his best season yet and show he is one of baseball’s elite young players.

19. Dansby Swanson, SS, Atlanta Braves
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Swanson was the NL favorite for Rookie of the Year heading into 2017. However, he struggled as a rookie, hitting .232/.312/.324 with six home runs, 23 doubles, two triples, 59 runs scored, 51 RBI and striking out 120 times in 488 at-bats. However, he is a much better hitter than his slash line from 2017 suggests. He might not ever be a power hitter but Swanson should make enough contact and have doubles power to make him a consistent threat at the top, or bottom, of any lineup in baseball. It shouldn’t be long before he is making All-Star teams.

18. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins
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Buxton was a major reason why the Twins found themselves in the playoffs in 2017. While his numbers might not jump out at you he did put together a strong year slashing .253/.314/.413 with 16 home runs, six triples, 69 runs scored, 51 RBI, 29 stolen bases and 14 doubles. He has loads of talent and might be just starting to realize it as he will be 24 when the 2018 season begins. His power is still developing and his speed and defense are already excellent. He should continue to get better and develop into an elite center fielder.

17. Matt Olson, 1B, Oakland Athletics
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Olson had a forgettable debut in 2016 when he collected just two hits in 21 at-bats. However, things seemed to fall into place in 2017 and Olson broke out in a big way, albeit overshadowed by the likes of Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger. Olson only hit 24 home runs but did it in just 59 games. That would equate to 65 home runs over a 162-game schedule. He also slashed a respectable .259/.352/.651. The power is real, though it might not be as real as his 2017 numbers suggest. He hit just two extra-base hits that weren’t home runs and it isn’t realistic to think that half of his hits would be home runs. Still, Olson is an exciting power bat that should enjoy a full season in 2018 where he should gain the national recognition he deserves.

16. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins
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Sano seemed to finally put things together in 2017. He slashed .264/.352/.507 with 28 home runs, 75 runs scored, 77 RBI and 15 doubles in 114 games. He became the middle of the order bat that Minnesota has desperately craved. The strikeouts are still a weak point, he struck out 173 times in 424 at bats, but the power is real. He will be just 25 next season and he has gotten better each year and he should develop into a premier power hitter in MLB. You’re going to have to live with the strikeouts, however.

15. Trea Turner, INF-OF, Washington Nationals
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Turner will turn 25 in the middle of the 2018 season and is one of the most exciting young players in the game. The 2016 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up has slashed .304/.348/.491 with 25 home runs, 86 RBI, 133 runs scored, 39 doubles, 14 triples and 81 stolen bases in 198 career games. Health has been an issue so far in his young career and he is in need of a set home defensively but the Nationals will find a place for him to play.

14. Aaron Nola, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
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The Phillies have an ace in the making in Nola who will turn 25 during the 2018 season. He is coming off of his best year, going 12-11 with a 3.54 ERA, 3.27 FIP, 1.208 WHIP, 9.9 K/9 ratio and striking out 184 over 168 innings. He seems poised to lead the Phillies rotation for many years and should be a major factor in turning around the fortunes of the Phillies, something that could happen fairly quickly.

13. Alex Bregman, 3B, Houston Astros
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Bregman was a shortstop coming up but the Astros moved him to third and he has been a plus defender there. He has legitimate power and his 27 home runs through 204 games is just scratching the surface. He has legitimate 30-home run power and that should come soon. He is still young, turning 24 at the start of next season, and should develop into one of the best all-around third basemen in the game. In his first full season he slashed .284/.352/.475 with 19 home runs, 39 doubles, five triples, 88 runs scored, 71 RBI and 17 stolen bases. He can do a little of everything and should be a mainstay with the Astros for many years at third.

12. Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies
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Hoskins made his MLB debut in 2017 and injected some life into a Phillies lineup that was desperately in need of some. He slugged 18 home runs, slashed .259/.396/.618, scored 37 runs, drove in 48 runs and added seven doubles in 170 at bats. Hoskins should play a major role for the Phillies in 2018 and could be a huge part of a quick turnaround in Philadelphia. He will turn 25 during the season next year and should be entering his prime power years. Phillies fans have reason to be excited.

11. Yoan Moncada, SS, Chicago White Sox
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Arguably the most intriguing prospect to come from Cuba in decades, Moncada, who will turn 23 in 2018, possesses defensive and offensive promise that made him the top prospect in baseball entering the 2017 season. He made his debut in 2016 with the Boston Red Sox but appeared in only eight games and struck out 12 times in 19 at-bats. With the White Sox in 2017, however, he got a little more time in the Majors. He hit .231/.338/.412 with eight home runs, eight doubles, two triples and scoring 31 runs in 199 at-bats. There is a world of promise in Moncada and he should finally see a full year in MLB in 2018 and fans will finally get to see what all the hype is about.

10. Rafael Devers, 3B, Boston Red Sox
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Devers, who will be just 21 when the 2018 season starts, is one of baseball’s brightest young stars. He plays solid defense at the hot corner but his bat is what will gain him the accolades. As a 20-year-old rookie he slashed an impressive .284/.338/.482 with 10 home runs, 34 runs scored, 14 doubles and 30 RBI in just 222 at-bats. He is going to be a force in the middle of the Red Sox order for many years as long as he continues to make adjustments to pitchers as they adjust to him. That shouldn’t be too hard for Devers who has shown an advanced understanding for hitting since signing with the Red Sox in 2013.

9. Andrew Benintendi, OF, Boston Red Sox
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Benintendi is a professional hitter who is very good at making contact. He was the early favorite for 2017 Rookie of the Year. While he won’t win the award he still put up a very impressive season that saw him slash .271/.352/.424 with 20 home runs, 90 RBI, 84 runs scored, 26 doubles and 20 stolen bases. The average should go up as he makes adjustments to Major League pitchers. He will be a cornerstone of Red Sox lineups for years to come.

8. Luis Severino, SP, New York Yankees
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Scouts have either thought Severino would be an elite reliever or a top-of-the-rotation starter for years. During his debut in 2015 it looked like he might prove the starter believers right as he posted a 2.89 ERA, 1.203 WHIP, 4.37 FIP, struck out 56 and went 5-3 for the Yankees. Then, in 2016 the wheels seemed to come off. He went 0-8 with an 8.50 ERA in 11 starts last year and got hammered. He came back as a reliever after spending time in Triple A and posted a 0.39 ERA and 0.771 WHIP while striking out 25 across 23.1 innings. The elite reliever prognosticators seemed right. Then, in 2017, Severino found his changeup and poise and turned into an ace on a playoff team. He went 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 1.040 WHIP and struck out 230 in 193.1 innings. He isn’t moving out of the rotation any time soon.

7. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
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Lindor will be 24 for all of 2018 and is already the face of the Indians, a perennial playoff contender right now. He smashed a career-high 33 home runs in 2017 while also setting career bests in doubles (44), RBI (89) and walks (60). He also tied his career best in runs with 99 and triples with four. Lindor is a future face in Major League Baseball and for good reason, he is an outstanding player and always looks like he is having fun out on the diamond. His third season is under his belt and he has already eclipsed 60 home runs. His combination of speed, power, defense and batting eye should propel him to the top of many lists for years to come.

6. Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
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The 2016 NL Rookie of the Year is coming off a strong 2017, even if the numbers took a dip from the year prior. He already has 52 home runs, a career slash line of .305/.374/.502 with 81 doubles and 207 runs scored. That’s over just two full seasons and 27 games in 2015. Seager is a stud and the fact he plays a premium position with outstanding offensive output only makes him more valuable. He is the future face of the Dodgers and won’t turn 25 until the start of the 2019 season.

5. Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees
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Sanchez will turn 25 in December and has only played one full year in the Major Leagues. What a year it has been too. He burst onto the scene in 2016, homering 20 times in 53 games while slashing .299/.376/.657 and almost stealing the Rookie of the Year from Michael Fulmer. In 2017 he clubbed 33 home runs, drove in 90 runs, scored 79 runs, slashed .278/.345/.531. Not bad for 122 games. When you consider this kind of production from the catcher position you have a legitimate superstar and that’s what Sanchez is. His defense has been called into question but he has worked extremely hard to improve and now has a future behind the plate. He certainly has a future at the plate.

4. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
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Correa just turned 23 this past season and already has three consecutive seasons of 20 or more home runs. He set a career high in homers this past season with 24 despite playing in only 109 games. He is already an elite shortstop and is just starting to scratch the surface of his potential. He owns a .288/.366/.550 slash line and could very easily become a .300/.400/.500 guy for years to come. Any team would take that out of their shortstop any day of the week.

3. Mookie Betts, OF, Boston Red Sox
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Betts will turn 26 next October but he will be 25 for all of the 2018 regular season. He is coming off of back-to-back seasons of at least 100 runs scored and 100 RBI. The 2017 season was a bit of a disappointment compared to expectations that saw many predict an MVP award for him but it was still an outstanding year. He owns a .292/.351/.488 with 78 home runs, 349 runs scored, 609 hits, 80 stolen bases, 16 triples and 142 doubles in 508 career games. The 2016 AL MVP runner-up has an insanely bright future.

2. Cody Bellinger, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers
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Bellinger turned 22 in July but had already made his debut earlier in the season at 21 and it was quite the debut. In 132 games he slashed .267/.352/.581 with 39 home runs, 97 RBI, four triples, 26 doubles and 87 runs scored. He also added 10 stolen bases for good measure. He also made the All-Star team. It was quite the start to a career that promises to be a very good one. He might just have one season under his belt but when you couple his production with his potential you get one heck of a ballplayer.

1. Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals
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Harper will turn 26 on October 16, 2018 which means the 2015 NL MVP will be 25 for all of the 2018 regular season. Harper has already amassed 150 home runs in 768 games and owns a slash line of .285/.386/.515 in his career. He rebounded nicely from a poor 2016 that saw him slash .243/.373/.441 with 24 home runs and 84 runs scored. In 2017 he slashed .319/.413/.595 with 29 home runs and 95 runs scored despite playing in only 111 games. Injuries have been his one bugaboo but there is no doubt Harper is the best player 25 or under in the game right now.