Top five 25-year-olds in MLB
January, 16, 2013
By Keith Law | ESPN Insider
Leon Halip/Getty ImagesWhat Buster Posey is most excited about is his place on this list.Last week, I unveiled my top 25 players under the age of 25. Previously, I had ranked the top big leaguers "25 and under," and the change in age cutoff generated a lot of questions from readers about where certain 25-year-old players would rank if I included them on the main list. Here's a quick look at the top big leaguers who are age 25 today, in order, along with where they'd rank if I merged them into the 25-under-25 list.
1. Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants
Posey emerged in 2012 not just as one of the best players of his age cohort but one of the best players in baseball, period. He would have ranked third on my "25 under 25" list behind Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, primarily because of the higher injury risk associated with catchers -- a risk with which Posey is, unfortunately, already familiar. (Of course, if you're making me king for a day, enforcing the rules on obstruction and interference at the plate would be high on my list of official edicts.)
Posey came into surprising power this year to go with his ability to hit for average and get on base, and he remains a very good defensive catcher who can limit the running game. (Remember the concern that he couldn't catch good velocity? Me neither.) He also played a remarkable amount for a catcher, and the Giants were wise to sneak him over to first base to get some extra at-bats for their best hitter without overtaxing his rebuilt leg. If he didn't have an injury history at a position that is inherently injury-prone, I'd put him first on the list, but catchers don't have the same shelf lives that elite players at other positions do, and even when healthy, they rarely reach the 600-plate-appearance mark as Posey did last year. So while I'd rather have Posey for 2013 than Bryce Harper, I'd rather have Harper for the long term.