March 25, 2012; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis (22) hits a double during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Goodyear Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
Here are some brief capsule summaries, in alphabetical order, of my views of more non-rookie players age 25 or younger. Note that these guys will play the majority of 2012 at that age. Guys like Carlos Santana or Matt Wieters will spend the majority of this season at age 26, so I'm not including them.
Pitchers will follow tomorrow.
This is intended as a starting point for discussion, so discuss!
Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston Astros: Age 22. Main concern here is sharp drop in his walk rate against higher level pitching, although he made contact at least. I remain optimistic.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates: Age 25. Strikeout rate is high enough to concern me. I still think he has a decent chance to be a solid regular but might need a change of scenery. Remember Alex Gordon and don't give up yet.
Alex Avila, C, Detroit Tigers: Age 25. Don't expect him to hit .295 every year, but should produce power and OBP consistently. Excellent outcome for a fifth-round draft pick. Ranks in the 13-15 range.
Gordon Beckham, 2B, Chicago White Sox: Age 25. Three-year downtrend in performance but still young enough to live up to what he showed in college. As with Pedro Alvarez, it is too soon to give up on him.
Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants: Age 24. I think he just needs to play.
Pete Bourjos, OF, Los Angeles Angels: Age 25. Glove and speed will keep him employed long enough for him to work out the kinks in his hitting. Any improvement in his plate discipline would carry him a long way.
Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia Phillies: Age 24. As with Belt, Brown needs to stay healthy and get some playing time, which isn't always as easy as it sounds. I expect he'll be starting regularly in 2013, either for the Phillies or someone else.
Hank Conger, C, Los Angeles Angels: Age 24. He's better than he looked last year, but seems more like a gradual, steady development type than a guy who will explode.
Brandon Crawford, SS, San Francisco Giants: Age 25. Have to respect the glove and it will keep him employed for a long time, but unlikely to do much with the bat. The Giants should be happy if he ever hits like he did in Double-A (.241/.337/.375).
Ike Davis, 1B, New York Mets: Age 25. Expect further continuation of his career numbers, which are currently .271/.357/.460. Should be a solid regular for years.
Alcides Escobar, SS, Kansas City Royals: Age 25. Like Crawford, he'll stay employed for his glove. Main positive here is that he makes contact and can swipe a base, but I doubt we'll see much in the way of OBP.
Danny Espinosa, 2B, Washington Nationals: Age 25. Should poke his average above .250 eventually with power, speed, and walk contributions.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks: Age 24. His line last year is what I would expect going forward, .240-.250 with some walks, power, and lots of strikeouts.
Dee Gordon, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers: Age 24. I think he's more of a .280 hitter than a consistent .300+ guy. Can he draw more walks to keep the OBP high even if he sees a BABIP slump?
Austin Jackson, OF, Detroit Tigers: Age 25. Making strikeouts into an art form. I think he can improve but I don't have anything objective to back that up. Somehow I ended up with him on my fantasy team so I'm rooting for him.
Desmond Jennings, OF, Tampa Bay Rays: Age 25. I expect we'll see a gradual rise in his batting average, and he should maintain OBP, speed, and some power. A fine player.
Jason Kipnis, 2B, Cleveland Indians: Age 25. We don't hear enough about this guy, but what he did last year was not a fluke. Cano-like upside. Ranks in the 13-15 range.
J.D. Martinez, OF, Houston Astros: Age 24. I liked this guy in college and was glad to see his breakout. Tools underrated, and I expect to see more power.
Cameron Maybin, OF, San Diego Padres: Age 25. Speed, defense stand out...can he boost power and OBP production? I think he'll sneak up on people in the age 27/28 window.
Logan Morrison, OF, Miami Marlins: Age 24. He'll keep hitting but I wonder if he would blossom even further in a different environment?
Mike Moustakas, 3B, Kansas City Royals: Age 23. Hasn't lived up to his minor league numbers yet, but I think he will eventually, and the Alex Gordon precedent should lead the Royals to be as patient as possible.
Wilson Ramos, C, Washington Nationals: Age 24. As a Twins fan, I wish we had him back. Never assume that the depth you think you have will still be there in a year, especially at a position where injuries easily strike.
Colby Rasmus, OF, Toronto Blue Jays: Age 25. A good test for the "change of scenery" theory. Broad base of skills is too intriguing to give up on after one bad year.
Ben Revere, OF, Minnesota Twins: Age 24. Love the speed, but I'm generally not a fan of the punchless-outfielder types.
Trayvon Robinson, OF, Seattle Mariners: Age 24. That power spike may end up undoing him when all is said and done. I used to be optimistic but I'm starting to worry about him.
Pablo Sandoval, 3B, San Francisco Giants: Age 25. Would likely rank 13th or 14th. Extremely impressive bat, sharp fielder despite the concerns about his weight. It is natural to think he won't age well, but a remarkable and unique player.
Kyle Seager, INF, Seattle Mariners: Age 24. Can he really boost his power production? I doubt he's ever a real masher but should stick around as at least a semi-regular for awhile.
Justin Smoak, 1B, Seattle Mariners: Age 25. I thought he was going to be a star. I doubt that will happen now, but I expect improvement.
Travis Snider, OF, Toronto Blue Jays: Age 24. Strikeouts are eating him up but still plenty of thunder potential in the bat. Change-of-scenery type, too soon to give up on him in the big picture.
Jose Tabata, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates: Age 23. Really? He's still just 23? He's been around forever. I think he can develop more power than he's shown, an OBP/speed combo is solid.
Eric Thames, OF, Toronto Blue Jays: Age 25. A solid bat and has improved his defensive skills. I don't expect him to be a star but he should be productive enough to hold his job.
Dayan Viciedo, OF, Chicago White Sox: Age 23. Not as good as he hit in 2010, and not as bad as he hit in 2011. Real skills somewhere in the .280/.325/.440 range with a chance for more eventually.