J.J. Cooper of Baseball America put together a list of the youngest player at each minor-league level, which is always useful when evaluating the performance of a prospect relative to his competition.
He also included the youngest players in the majors and what stood out to me is this: Bryce Harper is still the youngest player in the National League.
Harper has three seasons and more than 1,500 plate appearances of experience in the big leagues, including two All-Star games and a Rookie of the Year award, and he’s now the No. 3 hitter on a team many people pick to win the World Series. He’s also just 22 years and 176 days old. Even if Harper were an entire year older he’d still be one of the 10 youngest players in the league.
Blue Jays pitchers Roberto Osuna (20 years, 62 days) and Miguel Castro (20 years, 107 days) are the two youngest players in the American League.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.