With steroids gone from the game, baseball is now a young man’s game, which means the best MLB players under 25 are among the best players in the league, period.
In fact, some of the top baseball players under 23 are already bonafide stars. That’s made it somewhat difficult to put together an accurate ranking of the best young MLB players in 2022. Nevertheless, we’re going to try.
Best MLB players under 25 in 2022
While opening day was delayed by the lockout, anyone who was under 25 on the original opening day date of March 31 was eligible on our list. Frankly, the scary part of putting together this list is the number of candidates for the top baseball players under 25 in 2022 who will still be under 25 next season.
With that in mind, here is our top-10 ranking of the best MLB players under 25 heading into the 2022 season.
10. Austin Riley
After failing to take advantage of playing time in 2019 and 2020, Austin Riley finally had a breakout season in 2021, becoming an invaluable part of Atlanta’s championship run.
He still has something to prove so people don’t think of him as a one-season wonder. But hitting 33 homers and 33 doubles while batting .303 is no joke. Helping the Braves win a World Series doesn’t hurt either.
9. Ian Anderson
Somehow, Ian Anderson ended up being the only pitcher on our list of the best young MLB players in 2022. That says a lot about how good he’s been early in his career. He made just six starts in 2020 but posted a 1.95 ERA during those starts.
He also helped an injury-riddled Atlanta staff throughout the 2021 season. Anderson even showed up in the postseason, not going that deep into games, but going 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA over four starts, including five shutout innings in his only start during the World Series.
8. Yordan Alvarez
Power is the name of the game in baseball, and Yordan Alvarez has plenty of it. As a rookie, he came up in June of 2019 and still managed to hit 27 homers. After playing in just two games in 2020, Alvarez returned in 2021 and smashed 33 home runs and 35 doubles.
It’s also worth noting that his career batting average is .290, so he’s a better contact hitter than most people realize. Of course, he doesn’t play the field much, which hurts his case, although his power helps make up for that.
7. Wander Franco
The 21-year-old Wander Franco doesn’t even have 300 career at-bats, so he’s still a lot more projection than anything else right now. But there are still plenty of reasons to include him on the list of the best MLB players under 25.
He got off to a sluggish start after making his big league debut last June. But by August and September, he was fully locked in and playing like a budding star. There are a lot of reasons why the budget-conscious Rays gave him a $182 million contract; Franco just has to live up to it.
6. Bo Bichette
Bo Bichette is the first of several sons of former major league stars to appear on our list. He had something of a breakout season last year, hitting 29 home runs and 30 doubles while also stealing 25 bases.
Perhaps more importantly, Bichette is a .301 career hitter after his first three seasons in the big leagues. That alone makes him a valuable player, and if his power and defense continue to come along, Bichette will continue to be an all-star caliber shortstop for many years to come.
5. Luis Robert
Expectations were sky high from the day Luis Robert first signed, and the Cuban outfielder has come close to matching the hype. The only problem is that he missed a huge chunk of 2021 because of an injury.
But when he was healthy, he hit .338 with an OPS of .945. Keep in mind he also won a Gold Glove as a rookie during the shortened 2020 campaign. The four players ahead of him on our list are a little more accomplished, but in terms of talent and potential, Robert is equal to all of them, which should make him one of the top baseball players under 25 in 2022.
4. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
He’s barely 23 and the young Vladimir Guerrero Jr. already looks like he’s going to be a better hitter than his father, who is in the Hall of Fame. As evidenced by his 48 home runs in 2021, Guerrero has unreal amounts of power, and that was in his first full season in the majors.
He posted an OPS over 1.000 last year and didn’t have nearly as many strikeouts as you would expect for a power hitter. He also batted .313, so it’s not an all-or-nothing hitter. The fact that he spends a lot of time as the DH and isn’t a great defensive player is Guerrero’s only drawback, but other than that, he’s clearly one of the best young MLB players heading into 2022.
3. Fernando Tatis Jr.
Injuries have tripped him up a little during his first three seasons in the big leagues, but the numbers Fernando Tatis has put up don’t lie. His 42 home runs in 2021 led the National League, helping him earn Silver Slugger honors for the second straight season and finish third in the National League MVP voting despite multiple IL stints.
Over his first three seasons, Tatis has hit .292 and racked up over 50 stolen bases, showcasing all of his tools. While he’s not yet reached Gold Glove level at shortstop, he’s a strong defensive player, and since he plays a premium position, he’s even more valuable than some of the other elite youngsters in the big leagues.
2. Ronald Acuna Jr.
It’s a little weird to think that the Braves were able to win the World Series last year after Ronald Acuna suffered a season-ending injury. But there’s no denying that he’s something special.
After winning Rookie of the Year in 2018, Acuna had a 30-30 season in 2019 at the age of 21, winning the Silver Slugger Award and leading the National League in stolen bases that year.
In fact, he was just three stolen bases away from a 40-40 season. His OPS has actually increased over the last two seasons, although Acuna didn’t play a full year in 2020 or 2021. If he can stay healthy and showcase what he can do on both sides of the ball, there is a case for Acuna being the best player in the majors.
1. Juan Soto
It’s hard to separate the top-four players on our list of the best MLB players under 25, but Juan Soto does enough to stand out from the pack just a little.
He’s just dripping with raw power, and yet, he also won the batting title in 2020 by hitting .351, following that up by hitting .313 in 2021.
Soto also shows unbelievable patience for such a young hitter. Without much help in the Washington lineup around him last season, he happily drew 145 walks (not counting 23 more intentional walks), knowing that teams were pitching around him.
Of course, he still managed to hit 29 home runs and 95 RBIs. For such a young player, he’s a complete hitter with tons of power who is also well above-average defensively, making him one of the best players in baseball right now, period.
[spreaker type=player resource=”show_id=3300147″ width=”100%” height=”200px” theme=”light” playlist=”false” playlist-continuous=”false” chapters-image=”true” episode-image-position=”right” hide-logo=”false” hide-likes=”false” hide-comments=”false” hide-sharing=”false” hide-download=”true”]