Major League Baseball is always looking for the next superstar, and all 30 clubs have numerous websites dedicated to covering the top prospects. While most of the top five position players 23 and under have played at least a little bit of baseball at the highest level, they can still be considered prospects. For both fantasy and regular fan purposes, here are the five best.
Some people may argue that the Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout had one of the greatest rookie seasons of all time in 2012. He finished runner up to Miguel Cabrera in the AL MVP race, and if he started the year in the majors, who knows how well he could have done.
With 2012 now behind him, Trout now must live up to the expectations he has set for himself. Considering he has all five tools though, it seems hard to believe he will not be one of the best players in baseball again in 2013.
The teenager received all sorts of hype when he finally made his MLB debut, but Trout stole most of the spotlight. Harper had one heck of a season himself though, winning National League Rookie of the Year honors by hitting .270 while slugging 22 home runs in less than a year of service.
Harper has always been known as a hitter, but he proved that he has plenty of speed and can play some solid defense in the outfield. His swing is not quite as refined as Trout, and he is a corner outfielder, so that is why Trout gets the nod over Harper for the top slot.
Poor Giancarlo Stanton received awful news over and over again this offseason. It seems as though the Miami Marlins have traded away all of his teammates heading into 2013, leaving Stanton to slug home runs with the possibility of fewer Marlin teammates being on base than ever before in his career.
Miami built a new stadium that ended up being pitcher-friendly, but Stanton still found a way to hit 37 home runs. He has the most power out of any youngster in baseball. He hit for a high average in 2012 as well, which was a cause for concern early in his career.
Baseball fans saw a short glimpse of what Machado can do in 2012 when he was called up late in the season. As the best young infielder in fantasy baseball Machado might not quite reach Alex Rodriguez level in his prime, but he has all the tools to be that type of player.
The early American League Rookie of the Year favorite hit for a solid average and showed a good amount of power in limited action. He also received some pretty nice postseason experience as well with Baltimore.
Some might claim this is too low for Heyward, but he has not really taken that next step just yet. He has the size and tools to be a great player for the Braves for years to come, but his .269 average and 27 home runs a season ago were just kind of average (for his standards).
Injuries have already been an issue for him early in his career, and his patience at the plate is a work in progress. Should he correct those things, and with the Upton brothers now in the Braves lineup, Heyward and Stanton should form a nice rivalry in the National League East.
If you think we forgot someone, please be sure to let us know about it in the comments below.