This year’s edition of the top 25 players under 25 -- that’s under 25 years old, by which I mean players who are younger than 25, which is what the “under” part is for, and I hope someone will actually read this part -- is out a little earlier to give us (me) a break from draft coverage for the moment. The list also has seen big changes from last year’s edition: Eleven of the 25 players, including No. 1 Mike Trout, in last July's rankings have aged out of the list, and one more, Jose Fernandez, died in September.
This list is limited to players whose seasonal ages for 2017 are 24 or younger -- that is, any player who will not yet have turned 25 on July 1, 2017 -- and players who have exhausted their rookie status. That means no Mike Trout or Kris Bryant (both are already 25) and no Cody Bellinger or Yoan Moncada (they haven't exceeded rookie status).
One thing you’ll notice is how position-player-heavy this year’s list is. The ranks of pitchers under 25 who are both effective and healthy are pretty thin, with some of the best pitchers in the category missing significant time this year or last year due to arm troubles. Given how brief pitchers' peaks can be anyway, I was more aggressive this year in downgrading pitchers who had shoulder, elbow or other arm injuries the past two seasons.