Cain’s Corner: Youth Reigns Supreme in Major League Baseball

By: Eric Cain / @_Cainer 

Major League Baseball is enjoying a sweep of young talent that can’t be ignored.

Many players, even some future Hall of Famers, well into their 30s and some past their primes shouldn’t worry about the state of baseball when their gone. 2019 has proven that the young guns thrive on power, longevity and excitement.  

Look no further than Monday’s 2019 T-Mobile Home Run Derby when 3-of-the-4 semifinalists in champion Peter Alonso, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Ronald Acuna Jr. were age 24 or younger. The elder statesman who went toe-to-toe with 20-year-old Guerrero Jr. in the most prolific round of home run derby history? Joc Pederson who is only 27.

For the purpose of this blog, I mainly focus on hitters ages 26 or younger who are dominating certain aspects of the game this season. There are plenty of other MVP candidates excelling to the midway point of the season under the age of 30 (Christian Yelich, Mike Trout, Freddie Freeman, etc.), but take a gander at some of these guys leading the pack – not only on their teams – but in their divisions, leagues and all of Major League Baseball.

NL Average Leaders (4 players 26 or younger in top-10)

2nd – Cody Bellinger (LAD) .336 – Age: 23

6th – Ketel Marte (ARZ) . 311 – Age: 25

8th– David Dahl (COL) .308 – Age: 25

10th – Alex Verdugo (LAD) .303 – Age: 23

AL Average Leaders (5 players 26 or younger in top-10)

3rd – Rafael Devers (BOS) .324 – Age: 22

4th – Tim Anderson (CHW) .317 – Age: 26

5th – Jorge Polanco (MIN) .312 – Age: 26

6th – Hanser Alberto (BAL) .309 – Age: 26

7th – Yoan Moncada (CHW) .308 – Age: 24

*4 players 26 or younger in MLB top-10

Pete Alonso – Mets 1B / ESPN Images – Credit: Phil Ellsworth)

NL Home Run Leaders (5 players 26 or younger in top-10)

2nd – Cody Bellinger (LAD) 30 HR – Age: 23

2nd – Pete Alonso (NYM) 30 HR – Age: 24

4th – Josh Bell (PIT) 27 HR – Age: 26

6th – Franmil Reyes (SD) 25 HR – Age: 24

9th – Javier Baez (CHC) 22 HR – Age: 26

*11th – Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL) 21 HR – Age: 21

AL Home Run Leaders (5 players 26 or younger in top-10)

3rd – Gary Sanchez (NYY) 24 HR – Age: 26

4th – Alex Bregman (HOU) 23 HR – Age: 25

6th – Max Kepler (MIN) 21 HR – Age: 26

6th – Daniel Vogelbach (SEA) 21 HR – Age: 26

6th-  Matt Chapman (OAK) 21 HR – Age: 26

*4 players 26 or younger in MLB top-10

NL RBI Leaders (3 players 26 or younger in top-10)

1st – Josh Bell (PIT) 84 RBI – Age: 26

2nd – Cody Bellinger (LAD) 71 RBI – Age: 23

3rd – Pete Alonso (NYM) 68 RBI – Age: 24

AL RBI Leaders (4 players 26 or younger in top-10)

3rd – Xander Bogaerts (BOS) 65 RBI – Age: 26

4th – Domingo Santana (SEA) 63 RBI – Age: 26

6th – Rafael Devers (BOS) 62 RBI – Age: 22

9th – Gary Sanchez (NYY) 57 RBI – Age: 26

*4 players 26 or younger in MLB top-10

NL WAR Leaders (6 players 26 or younger in top-10)

1st – Cody Bellinger (LAD) 6.6 – Age: 23

3rd – Pete Alonso (NYM) 4.0 – Age: 24

4th – Ketel Marte (ARZ) 3.7 – Age: 25

6th – Javier Baez (CHC) 3.5 – Age: 26

6th – Trevor Story 9COL) 3.5 – Age: 26

8th – Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD) 3.3 – Age: 20

AL WAR Leaders (6 players 26 or younger in top-10)

2nd – Matt Chapman (OAK) 4.3 – Age: 26

3rd – Jorge Polanco (MIN) 4.2 – Age: 26

4th – Alex Bregman (HOU) 4.1 – Age: 25

7th – Rafael Devers (BOS) 3.6 – Age: 22

8th – Mookie Betts (BOS) 3.5 – Age: 26

10th – Joey Gallo (TEX) 3.2 – Age: 25

*6 players 26 or younger in MLB top-10

Tonight’s MLB All-Star Game in Cleveland (7:30p ET) follows a similar trend.

  • 5 NL starters are 26 or younger (Freddie Freeman is the oldest at 29)
    • Javier Baez (CHC), Cody Bellinger (LAD), Josh Bell (PIT), Ketel Marte (ARZ), Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL
  • 3 AL starters are 26 or younger
    • Alex Bregman (HOU), Gary Sanchez (NYY), Jorge Polanco (MIN)
  • 4 NL reserves are 26 or younger
    • Pete Alonso (NYM), Paul DeJong (STL), Trevor Story (COL), David Dahl (COL)
  • 8 AL reserves are 26 or younger
    • Daniel Vogelbach (SEA), Gleyber Torres (NYY), Matt Chapman (OAK), Xander Bogaerts (BOS), Francisco Lindor (CLE), Mookie Betts (BOS), Joey Gallo (TEX), Austin Meadows (TB)
  • 5 NL pitchers are 26 or younger
    • Sandy Alcantara (MIA), Walker Buehler (LAD), Luis Castillo (CIN), Mike Soroka (ATL), Brandon Woodruff (MIL)
  • 4 AL pitchers are 26 or younger
    • Jose Berrios (MIN), Shane Bieber (CLE), Lucas Giolito (CHW), John Means (BAL)

 

As Major League Baseball would say, “Let the kids play!”

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