Baseball America

The Top 10 Youngest Players In Each League On Opening Day

As we’ve done for three years, here’s a look at the Top 10 youngest players in each league as the season began (you can also see the 2012 Opening Day2011 Opening Day and 2010 Opening Day lists). While being young for a level is not enough to make a player a prospect by itself, the fact that a team feels comfortable pushing a young player to a level is usually a pretty good sign of the player’s lofty potential. In all cases asterisks denote a player currently on the disabled list.

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Rk Name DOB Team
1 Manny Machado 1992-07-06 Baltimore
2 Mike Trout 1991-08-07 Los Angeles
3 *Avisail Garcia 1991-06-12 Detroit
4 *Martin Perez 1991-04-04 Texas
5 Leury Garcia 1991-03-18 Texas
6 *Drew Hutchison 1990-08-22 Toronto
7 Joe Ortiz 1990-08-13 Texas
8 Carter Capps 1990-08-07 Seattle
9 Brandon Maurer 1990-07-03 Seattle
10 Salvador Perez 1990-05-10 Kansas City
Machado was the youngest player in the American League as a midseason callup last year, and now he’s still almost a year younger than anyone else in the American League. A trio of players on the disabled list make this list, but all three have played in the majors before their injuries cropped up.
NATIONAL LEAGUE
Rk Name DOB Team
1 Bryce Harper 1992-10-16 Washington
2 Jose Fernandez 1992-07-31 Miami
3 Paco Rodriguez 1991-04-16 Los Angeles
4 Julio Teheran 1991-01-27 Atlanta
5 *Arodys Vizcaino 1990-11-13 Chicago
6 Shelby Miller 1990-10-10 St. Louis
7 Trevor Rosenthal 1990-05-29 St. Louis
8 *Henderson Alvarez 1990-04-18 Miami
9 Starlin Castro 1990-03-24 Chicago
10 Jean Segura 1990-03-17 Milwaukee
At some point, Bryce Harper will no longer be the youngest player in the National League. By then, he might have a Most Valuable Player award under his belt. Paco Rodriguez went from the 2012 draft to the Dodgers’ 2013 bullpen. Teheran’s appearance is a reminder that even when he was struggling in the International League in 2012, he was doing it against hitters much older than him.
INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE
Rk Name DOB Team
1 Carlos Sanchez 1992-06-29 Charlotte
2 Nick Castellanos 1992-03-04 Toledo
3 Jonathan Schoop 1991-10-16 Norfolk
4 Tommy Joseph 1991-07-16 Lehigh Valley
5 Giovanni Soto 1991-05-18 Columbus
6 Oswaldo Arcia 1991-05-09 Rochester
7 Trevor Bauer 1991-01-17 Columbus
8 Wil Myers 1990-12-10 Durham
9 Bruce Rondon 1990-12-09 Toledo
10 Hak-Ju Lee 1990-11-04 Durham
The youngest players in the International League is actually older than the youngest players in the National or American League. Sanchez is a name worth keeping an eye on as a versatile plus defender who can play both shortstop and second base. Castellanos got pushed up to the International League despite struggles in Double-A last season.
PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE
Rk Name DOB Team
1 Jurickson Profar 1993-02-20 Round Rock
2 Oscar Taveras 1992-06-19 Memphis
3 Chris Owings 1991-08-12 Reno
4 Wilmer Flores 1991-08-06 Las Vegas
5 Tyler Skaggs 1991-07-13 Reno
6 Michael Wacha 1991-07-01 Memphis
7 Jacob Turner 1991-05-21 New Orleans
8 Jonathan Villar 1991-05-02 Oklahoma City
9 Nolan Arenado 1991-04-16 Colorado Springs
10 Matt Davidson 1991-03-26 Reno
Profar gives the Rangers the youngest shortstop in Triple-A (remember that, as it is going to be a theme). Taveras’ consolation prize for not making the Cardinals out of spring training is the chance to be the second youngest player in the Pacific Coast League. Michael Wacha looks to be one of the first 2012 draftees to make the majors (although Paco Rodriguez has already settled in to the big leagues ahead of him). There’s still some hope for Jacob Turner, as his appearance in the middle of this list is a reminder that he’s been pushed up the ladder quite quickly. Now he’s trying to stop from sliding back in the other direction.
EASTERN LEAGUE
Rk Name DOB Team
1 *Dylan Bundy 1992-11-15 Bowie
2 Xander Bogaerts 1992-10-01 Portland
3 Jose Ramirez 1992-09-17 Akron
4 Ronny Rodriguez 1992-04-17 Akron
5 Ramon Flores 1992-03-26 Trenton
6 *Dixon Machado 1992-02-22 Erie
7 Jameson Taillon 1991-11-18 Altoona
8 Jesse Biddle 1991-10-22 Reading
9 Giovanny Urshela 1991-10-11 Akron
10 Tyler Austin 1991-09-06 Trenton
Bundy already has big league time under his belt, but he’ll likely start back here once he recovers from what has been described as a minor elbow injury. Akron easily fields the youngest infield in the Eastern League with Urshela at third base, Rodriguez at shortstop and Ramirez at second base.
SOUTHERN LEAGUE
Rk Name DOB Team
1 Taijuan Walker 1992-08-13 Jackson
2 Joc Pederson 1992-04-21 Chattanooga
3 Julio Morban 1992-02-13 Jackson
4 Arismendy Alcantara 1991-10-29 Tennessee
5 Zach Lee 1991-09-13 Chattanooga
6 Christian Bethancourt 1991-09-02 Mississippi
7 Edward Salcedo 1991-07-30 Mississippi
8 David Holmberg 1991-07-19 Mobile
9 Christian Villanueva 1991-06-19 Tennessee
10 *Jan Vazquez 1991-04-29 Chattanooga
Even a return trip to the Southern League can’t keep Walker from being the league’s youngest player. Alcantara has moved quickly up the ladder for the Cubs in part because he’s trying to stay ahead of fast-rising shortstop prospect Javier Baez.
TEXAS LEAGUE
Rk Name DOB Team
1 Hanser Alberto 1992-10-17 Frisco
2 Domingo Santana 1992-08-05 Corpus Christi
3 Cody Buckel 1992-06-18 Frisco
4 Kaleb Cowart 1992-06-02 Arkansas
5 Teodoro Martinez 1992-03-16 Frisco
6 Orlando Calixte 1992-02-03 NW Arkansas
7 Odubel Herrera 1991-12-29 Frisco
8 *Adys Portillo 1991-12-20 San Antonio
9 Taylor Lindsey 1991-12-02 Arkansas
10 Enrique Hernandez 1991-08-24 Corpus Christi
Alberto is one of the seemingly endless number of talented Rangers’ middle infield prospects as is Herrera. Buckel has a polish that belies his young age and Martinez, an outfielder, gives Frisco a fourth player on the Texas League youngest top 10.
CALIFORNIA LEAGUE
Rk Name DOB Team
1 Addison Russell 1994-01-23 Stockton
2 Adalberto Mejia 1993-06-20 San Jose
3 Duanel Jones 1993-05-11 Lake Elsinore
4 Clayton Blackburn 1993-01-06 San Jose
5 Kyle Crick 1992-11-30 San Jose
6 Trevor Story 1992-11-15 Modesto
7 Matt Wisler 1992-09-12 Lake Elsinore
8 Austin Hedges 1992-08-18 Lake Elsinore
9 Delino DeShields 1992-08-16 Lancaster
10 Yorman Rodriguez 1992-08-15 Bakersfield
With shortstops moving up behind him in the organization and his impressive feel for the game, Russell gets the aggressive assignment to the California League. The hitter-happy environments should help ease any transition issues he faces. Meja, the No. 10 prospect in the Giants’ organization, will get a big test in those same pro-hitter environments. Duanel Jones is a surprise to see on this list–he posted only a .620 OPS in low Class A last year.
CAROLINA LEAGUE
Rk Name DOB Team
1 Rougned Odor 1994-02-03 Myrtle Beach
2 Francisco Lindor 1993-11-14 Carolina
3 Courtney Hawkins 1993-11-12 Winston-Salem
4 Jorge Bonifacio 1993-06-04 Wilmington
5 Luis Sardinas 1993-05-16 Myrtle Beach
6 Eduardo Rodriguez 1993-04-07 Frederick
7 Zach Davies 1993-02-07 Frederick
8 Jack Lopez 1992-12-16 Wilmington
9 Shawn Morimando 1992-11-20 Carolina
10 Cheslor Cuthbert 1992-11-16 Wilmington
What we said about young Rangers’ middle infielders in the Texas League applies here as well. At both levels, the Rangers will field the youngest double-play combination in the league here with Odor (second base) and Sardinas (shortstop). Courtney Hawkins is moving quite quickly for a 2012 high school draftee.
FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE
Rk Name DOB Team
1 Miguel Sano 1993-05-11 Fort Myers
2 Jake Hager 1993-03-04 Charlotte
3 Jose Osuna 1992-12-12 Bradenton
4 Gary Sanchez 1992-12-02 Tampa
5 Javier Baez 1992-12-01 Daytona
6 Alen Hanson 1992-10-22 Bradenton
7 Angelo Gumbs 1992-10-13 Tampa
8 *Juniel Querecuto 1992-09-19 Charlotte
9 Ben Wells 1992-09-10 Daytona
10 Willy Garcia 1992-09-04 Bradenton
Sano not only has the best power potential in the Florida State League, he’s also the league’s youngest player. Hanson, Garcia and Osuna give the Pirates a very young lineup.
MIDWEST LEAGUE
Rk Name DOB Team
1 Roberto Osuna 1995-02-07 Lansing
2 Dorssys Paulino 1994-11-21 Lake County
3 Carlos Correa 1994-09-22 Quad Cities
4 Orlando Arcia 1994-08-04 Wisconsin
5 Zach Bird 1994-07-14 Great Lakes
6 Jonathan Martinez 1994-06-27 Great Lakes
7 Timmy Lopes 1994-06-24 Clinton
8 Nelson Rodriguez 1994-06-12 Lake County
9 Rio Ruiz 1994-05-22 Quad Cities
10 Corey Seager 1994-04-27 Great Lakes
Whereas none of the high Class A leagues can put together a Top 10 of youngest players without including 20 year-olds, you have to have not had your 19th birthday to make the Midwest League list. Houston’s 2012 draft haul sees Correa and Ruiz make the list. Last year, the Indians has the youngest shortstop in the league with Francisco Lindor. This year they have the same situation with Dorssys Paulino, and Paulino is almost exactly one year younger than Lindor, so they are facing the Midwest League at near identical ages.
SOUTH ATLANTIC LEAGUE
Rk Name DOB Team
1 Carlos Tocci 1995-08-23 Lakewood
2 Adalberto Mondesi 1995-07-27 Lexington
3 Nomar Mazara 1995-04-26 Hickory
4 Lucas Sims 1994-05-10 Rome
5 Lewis Brinson 1994-05-08 Hickory
6 Jose Peraza 1994-04-30 Rome
7 Josh Hader 1994-04-07 Delmarva
8 David Dahl 1994-04-01 Asheville
9 Adrian Marin 1994-03-08 Delmarva
10 Dilson Herrera 1994-03-03 West Virginia
The Phillies are placing a big vote of confidence by promoting Tocci to the South Atlantic League–he slugged under .300 in the Gulf Coast League last year. He’s very close to the same age as Tocci, but the decision to promote Adalberto Mondesi to low Class A Lexington is not nearly as risky–he more than held his own in the Pioneer League last summer. The theme of young Rangers’ players continues with Mazara and Brinson.