Felix Hernandez will make two more big-league starts for the Seattle Mariners before turning 25 years old on April 8. For a guy who still has not reached that age, Hernandez has posted phenomenal numbers already in his career. He won his first American League Cy Young Award in 2010, hurling 249.2 innings and posting a stellar 2.27 ERA.
Seattle should handle Hernandez with care, since he faced over 1,000 batters last season and may be an injury risk due to the resulting strain on his arm. He will finally be (in physiological terms) fully mature in 2011, though, so now might be the time to ride him back toward contention. More Cy Young honors might well be in his future.
He is not alone, of course. The big leagues are replete with promising young pitchers, many of whom will be 25 years old or younger in 2011. Having a stockpile of young hurlers is a key ingredient to success for any franchise, so this is a crucial question: Who are the best young arms in the league?
In the following slides, you will find a power ranking of baseball's 25 best young pitchers who will be 25 or younger in baseball age in 2011. To qualify for the list, a pitcher needed to have pitched in the majors already. Where does your favorite team's ace fall? How many youngsters make the list for your side? The answers may help inform the future prognosis of your franchise. Read on.