This list is about 8 guys under 25 that are gonna be great!
I’m not going to waste your time with a list of Justin Upton, Andrew McCutchen, Mike Stanton, Buster Posey, Clayton Kershaw, Starlin Castro, Stephen Strasburg and Mike Trout, because you obviously know who they are. And if you don’t know you better learn, and fast!
Instead, what I’ll do is make a comparison list for the 8 under 25 guys. The thing with the top 8 guys is that they are all completely legit and everyone of your league mates should know about them already. So the price on all of them will be high, and rightfully so.
I am not saying do not go after any of the top 8! You should probably try to have at least one of those guys on your squad, but you certainly could not have all 8. However, there are 8 other guys that will get you pretty close to the stats of their well-hyped counterparts and they should be relatively easy to obtain.
Justin Upton 24 – Desmond Jennings 25
Jennings is a speedster with power. He may always be more on the 20/40 side rather than the 30+/30+ of Upton, but he will as close as you are gonna get unless (sleeper alert) Jason Heyward proves good on his hype from 2 years ago (which I think is highly likely as he is only 22).
Andrew McCutchen 25 – Austin Jackson 24
McCutchen evened out his power (23) and speed (23) numbers last year, a trend I do not likely see continuing. He is good in the 3 spot but may end up with a team than can bat him 2 and let him run more. That being said, Austin Jackson is the working man’s McCutchen, he is in a nice line-up and has good power on the rise to make him another legit 20/40 contender.
Mike Stanton 22 – Jay Bruce 24
This one is funny to me being that Jay Bruce was Mike Stanton before Mike Stanton became Mike Stanton. You following any of this? Jay Bruce is a young guy, on an imporving team that has 40+ HR potential, but strikes out a ton and will hurt your AVG. The only thing is he will strike out less and hurt your AVG less than Stanton. Hear my out, Bruce hit .281 the year before last, and Stanton will not be hitting .281 anytime soon.
Buster Posey 24 – Wilson Ramos 24
OK, this one is a bit of a stretch as I think Posey finishes atop the catcher list next year. However, Wilson Ramos is going to make the Twins regret trading him for Matt Capps so much next year it may hurt. He has a great bat and will certainly out perform our conservative projections for him next year.
Clayton Kershaw 23 – Mat Latos* 23
I previously wrote that I am not high on Latos next year, and I’m really not. That being said, I am now going to compare him to Clayton Kershaw (Who can be had for $3. Here’s how). He is a strong young flame thrower who strikes out a lot of guys. He still has a season or 2 of growing pains left so be careful how you value you him in this seasons drafts, but you should get 200 ks from this kid.
Starlin Castro 21 – Elvis Andrus 23
This one is also a bit of a stretch as Castro will always hit for a much higher AVG than Andrus, Andrus will always steal double digit better bases that Castro, and they are about the same in name recognition so far. This really comes down to if you want a batting champ at SS or steals machine.
Stephen Strasburg 23 – Madison Bumgarner 22
OK I think that Clave, Dixon and I could loose all of our readership with one podcast of us doting on these 2 guys like Jon Gruden watching Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers face-off (Obviously not in the NFC championship game). Both of these young pitchers have it all and can be the cornerstone to any fantasy rotation. But Bumgarner may be a steal as he is nowhere as hyped as Strasburg, but then again who is?
Mike Trout 20 – Peter Bourjos 24
To find a kid that will get you about the same stats as Trout next year who is also under 25, look no further than 120 feet to his left. Bourjos (who is older, but relatively unknown compared to Trout) got a fair amount of at bats in the top of the order last year and I feel like he will get 225 at bats or so in the lead off or 2 spot this year as well. He has good speed, OK power, and gets on base at a pretty good clip. He should be the starting CF for LA all season.
If you are in a keeper league I would take any of these 16 guys and build myself a winning team for YEARS to come.