Angels outfielder Mike Trout is a five-tool prospect the way Babe Ruth was a two-way player: It's true, but it understates the case. Trout has more tools than a Jersey Shore marathon hosted by Jason Sudeikis. He's the future in Anaheim, a future top-tier defensive center fielder; contender for on-base titles; hitter of 15-20 home runs at his peak; and 50-steal threat on the bases.
All that drool-inducing talent allowed Trout to reach MLB at age 19, and though his part-time showing in a limited big-league audition was not a runaway hit, he should be great by his age-21 season. He is rare for each of his skills, but first and foremost, for his position.
A sudden and stark dearth of young talent at premium positions has begun to attract the attention of some in baseball. Fewer teams have young, controllable assets at their most important spots than at any time in the past several years. The huge majority of the league's best young hitters play first base or a corner outfield spot.
Of course, those guys have value, too. Offense-only talents are still talents, and deserve recognition. First and foremost, every team should treasure under-25 studs whose salary they can control as they develop. Here are the 25 best players under 25 years of age in the game right now. To qualify, a player must have MLB plate appearances under his belt.
Read last year's list here.