Picking the Under-25 MLB All-Star Team for 2014
From Madison Bumgarner to Yasiel Puig, there is no shortage of options when it comes to constructing the under-25 MLB All-Star team.
What follows is a rundown of the standouts who are a part of the 25-man roster. The squad consists of 14 position players and 11 pitchers. The players were selected based on how they have performed in the opening months of the 2014 season.
All the stars are, of course, under 25. That means there's no room on the team for aces like Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees and Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals who have already exceeded the age limit.
Now, let's take a look at who made the grade.
Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals
Salvador Perez gets the nod behind the plate.
At a position that is lacking for talent when it comes to players under 25, the backstop for the Kansas City Royals is the obvious option.
Just 24 years old and already playing in his fourth season in the big leagues, Perez has connected on seven home runs and posted a .771 OPS in 2014. The Venezuelan earned his first All-Star selection a season ago.
Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
In 2014, 24-year-old Anthony Rizzo is off to the best start of his career.
Having gone yard 14 times already, the Chicago Cubs first baseman is on pace to surpass the 23 home runs he tagged a season ago. Rizzo ranks second among all National League first basemen in that category. The left-handed slugger also owns a .509 slugging percentage and a .914 OPS.
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
No player in baseball has more hits than Jose Altuve in 2014.
The 24-year-old is batting .318 on the season, which is the second-best among all players at his position. Altuve has also been a major threat once he reaches base. The Houston Astros star has racked up 24 steals, which ranks No. 1 in the American League and No. 2 in MLB.
Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals
There is a myriad of talented third basemen in baseball, but Anthony Rendon stands out among the players under 25.
The right-handed hitter has smashed nine home runs and collected 34 RBI for the Washington Nationals. The 24-year-old Rendon could ultimately end up back at second base, but on this squad he gets the start at the position he currently calls home.
Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs
Starlin Castro has posted some big-time power numbers in 2014 for the Chicago Cubs.
His nine home runs rank fifth among all shortstops in baseball, and his 19 doubles are tied for the lead in the NL. Thanks to those numbers, the 24-year-old could be on his way to Target Field in Minnesota for the 2014 All-Star Game, which would be his third selection of his brief career.
George Springer, Houston Astros
Swings-and-misses are definitely an issue for George Springer, but the 24-year-old also supplies an absurd amount of pop.
After an ice-cold start to his big league career, Springer has now totaled 12 home runs in 200 at-bats. The rookie has also been playing outstanding defense for the Houston Astros in right field but lines up in left on this team.
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Already a two-time All-Star at the age of 22, it's no surprise that Mike Trout gets the start on this team.
After a pedestrian start, the right-handed hitter is back to his old habits. Trout has piled up 17 doubles, five triples and 14 home runs while hitting .305. The center fielder is also a perfect 7-for-7 on stolen base attempts.
Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
Yasiel Puig is already one of the most gifted athletes in baseball. Now, the 23-year-old is becoming one of the best players.
Just take a look at his drastically improved eye at the plate. After walking 36 times in 104 games a season ago, Puig has already drawn 33 walks in 64 contests for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014.
Then there's the damage that the right-handed hitter inflicts when he actually swings the bat. On the season, Puig has clubbed 17 doubles, three triples and 11 home runs while hitting .320 with a .963 OPS.
Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
Giancarlo Stanton is one of the most powerful hitters in baseball.
The 24-year-old is tied for fourth in MLB in home runs (18) and ranks fifth in slugging percentage (.586). The Miami Marlins star also has the fifth-highest isolated power in baseball, according to FanGraphs. In 2014, Stanton should earn a spot as an All-Star for the second time in the past three seasons.
The Starting Lineup
- Jose Altuve, 2B
- Mike Trout, CF
- Yasiel Puig, RF
- Giancarlo Stanton, DH
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- George Springer, LF
- Starlin Castro, SS
- Anthony Rendon, 3B
- Salvador Perez, C
On the Bench
The team goes without a backup catcher, as there simply aren't any backstops who deserve a spot on the roster.
Andrelton Simmons and Jason Heyward make the bench thanks primarily to their glove work. Meanwhile, Xander Bogaerts gets edged out by Starlin Castro for the start at shortstop. Finally, Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna provide bats that are simply too good to be ignored.
- Andrelton Simmons, SS, Atlanta Braves
- Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves
- Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta Braves
- Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox
- Marcell Ozuna, OF, Miami Marlins
Just Missed the Cut
Before moving on to the pitching staff, let's take a look at a few of the position players who just missed out on earning a spot on the roster.
- Chris Owings, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks
- Billy Hamilton, OF, Cincinnati Reds
- Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies
- Nick Castellanos, 3B, Detroit Tigers
- Scooter Gennett, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers
Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves
In an exhibition game, Julio Teheran would take the mound for this all-star team.
The 23-year-old has been dealing for the Atlanta Braves in 2014. Teheran owns a 2.41 ERA, which is the lowest mark of any starter under the age of 25. The Colombian has allowed three earned runs or less in 12 of his 14 outings this season.
Since this team was built to compete in a single exhibition game, the bullpen consists of all the pitchers aside from Julio Teheran. The staff is heavy on starters with just three relievers earning roles on the club.
First, let's take a look at the starters who made the grade.
- Sonny Gray, RHP, Oakland Athletics
- Madison Bumgarner, LHP, San Francisco Giants
- Michael Wacha, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
- Henderson Alvarez, RHP, Miami Marlins
- Yordano Ventura, RHP, Kansas City Royals
- Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Drew Hutchison, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
As far as closing is concerned, Trevor Rosenthal, the owner of an 11.7 K/9 ratio, handles that responsibility. Here are the other relievers who join the St. Louis Cardinals right-hander on the staff.
- Trevor Rosenthal, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
- Will Smith, LHP, Milwaukee Brewers
- Dominic Leone, RHP, Seattle Mariners
Just Missed the Cut
Now, let's take a look at the pitchers who were part of the conversation but who ultimately missed out on making the staff.
- Daniel Webb, RHP, Chicago White Sox
- Tommy Kahnle, RHP, Colorado Rockies
- Jordan Lyles, RHP, Colorado Rockies
- Ian Krol, LHP, Detroit Tigers
- Kelvin Herrera, RHP, Kansas City Royals
- Nathan Eovaldi, RHP, Miami Marlins
- Jeurys Familia, RHP, New York Mets
- Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
If you want to talk baseball, find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.