Picking the 2013 All-Under-25 MLB Team
The future of the MLB lies with a group of young players who will eventually be the next faces of the game.
Some are well known and established, while others are still young and learning the game. However, one thing holds true for all: They have their fanbases excited about the future.
So, which are the top young players at each position?
Here's a look at MLB's all-under-25 team for the 2013 season.
Note: Only stats from the 2013 season were considered.
Catcher: Salvador Perez
Ever since Salvador Perez stepped onto an MLB diamond, he's shown he belongs.
The 23-year-old is shining once again this year, batting .291 with 11 home runs and 73 RBI. Defensively, he ranks ninth in baseball, having thrown out 22 would-be base stealers while also catching the third-most innings of any catcher with 1,041.
He's not going to get the recognition that guys like Yadier Molina and Buster Posey will get, but Perez is as good as they come behind the plate. He's part of a young core of guys that include Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler.
Now, if the Royals can keep good pitching in town, they should compete for the playoffs for many years to come.
First Base: Freddie Freeman
Freddie Freeman has shown he can do a lot at the plate for the Braves, especially this year. Freeman is batting .310 with 22 home runs and 103 RBI, helping carry the Braves into the playoffs once again.
Defensively, Freeman has struggled a little with 10 errors, but he more than makes up for it with the number of balls he picks out of the dirt on throws by infielders.
He won the NL Fan Vote for the All-Star Game and continued his great performance in the second half of the season. Since the break, he's batting .314 with 12 home runs and 39 RBI. Those numbers rank him up there with the other great first basemen in the game today.
Like Perez, Freeman doesn't get a lot of the respect he deserves because of bigger names that play the position. Players like Joey Votto, Chris Davis, Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder will always get more press. But Freeman deserves to be in the same conversation as those four.
Second Base: Jose Altuve
Standing at 5'5", there's no doubt that Jose Altuve has heard a lot of short jokes in his time in baseball. However, there's nothing short about his approach at the plate.
He is batting .285 with five home runs, 52 RBI and 35 stolen bases.
While the Astros as once again the worst team in baseball, Altuve is showing there is some good coming out of there. Once the big prospects make their way through the minors, the Astros will be good again and Altuve's numbers will be even better.
Shortstop: Jean Segura
For a two-month rental of Zack Greinke, the Angels sent Jean Segura to the Milwaukee Brewers. While the Brewers didn't make the playoffs this year, the deal has already worked out for the team.
Segura is batting .296 with 12 home runs, 49 RBI and 44 stolen bases. He's given Milwaukee a shortstop it can build around and eventually make the face of the franchise.
Segura still has a little bit to learn at shortstop, with 15 errors this year, but those improvements will come with time.
Moving forward, he will be able to help the Brewers win in the future.
Third Base: Manny Machado
I'll admit, I wasn't a fan of Manny Machado at first. But the kid has grown on me lately.
Machado is batting .283 with 14 home runs and 71 RBI. He's also second in the league in doubles with 51, and his WAR ranks eighth in baseball at 6.5. Defensively, he has a range factor of 3.07 and has helped turn 42 double plays this year, which is the most of any third baseman.
The Orioles have a good, young core, which includes Machado. He's a big reason why they were in the playoffs last year and why they're competing for another spot this year.
Left Field: Bryce Harper
While it's not the sophomore season that Bryce Harper wanted to have, it's still a rather good one. He's batting .285 with 20 home runs and 56 RBI. Although he missed a little bit of time this year due to injury, there's no questioning his passion when he's out on the field.
When the Nationals were struggling midway through the season, it was Harper who spoke up about the need to keep fighting when the veterans on the ballclub didn't.
Although he can't take all the credit himself, Harper showed leadership this year, and it's translated into the Nationals at least making the playoff race interesting in the NL.
Center Field: Mike Trout
Mike Trout has put on another impressive display in his second year, batting .330 with 26 home runs, 92 RBI and 33 stolen bases.
He's shown all five tools again this year and is my pick for the best offensive player on this list. Trout also leads the majors with a 9.1 WAR.
Had Miguel Cabrera not been even better this year than he was last year, we would be having the same debate concerning the AL MVP this year. Trout has made himself into a perennial All-Star and will be considered a candidate in the MVP race from here on out.
Right Field: Yasiel Puig
When Yasiel Puig made his MLB appearance, he took the league by storm and he hasn't stopped since.
There's no questioning this kid's fire and passion for the game, as he helped spark the Dodgers to the NL West title after a horrible start to the year.
Puig is batting .331 with 17 home runs and 39 RBI. His power numbers have gone down, but you can credit that to him being moved to the top of the order. He's still getting on base, which is what's most important. The young Cuban also has seven outfield assists this year, most of which have been highlight plays.
As long as this kid continues to play with fire and passion, he'll continue to be one of the most talked-about players in all of baseball.
Starting Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw
Not only is Clayton Kershaw the top pitcher under 25, he's also the top pitcher in all of baseball. He is 14-9 with a 1.94 ERA and 214 strikeouts. His WHIP sits at 0.93, and he's allowing opponents a .197 batting average. It's safe to say he's going to win the NL Cy Young.
When you look at Kershaw's career stats, the biggest thing you notice is how consistent he's been since he came into the league. Since 2009, he's never had an ERA above 2.91, he's struck out at least 200 batters four times and he's pitched over 200 innings in four straight years.
Simply put, Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball.
Relief Pitcher: Craig Kimbrel
Craig Kimbrel has asserted himself as the best closer in all of baseball. While he did recently blow a save for the Braves, those kinds of days are few and far between.
Kimbrel leads the league in saves with 48 and already has three seasons with 40 or more saves. In a year where Mariano Rivera is being praised for having nine such seasons, Kimbrel is already one-third of the way there.
Even better than the saves total is the fact that he has a 1.31 ERA, 0.89 WHIP.
If I were an opposing batter, I'd hate to see Kimbrel coming into the game to close the door on my team.