Youth shall be served

Guerrero, Bichette propel Toronto to top of age rankings

The youth movement in Toronto is paying big dividends.

The Blue Jays’ drive to the playoffs is being powered by several strong hitters, prominently including Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette. Guerrero has piled up 430 bases through hits, walks, hit batsmen, stolen bases, and sacrifices — the highest total for any big leaguer as of September 19 — and Bichette has added 343.

The striking thing about these stars is how young they are. Guerrero is just 22 years old and Bichette is 23.

Nor are they alone. Six Toronto players under the age of 25 have combined for 876 bases, accounting for 29.7% of the team’s total of 2,947 bases. The latter is the second-biggest sum in the majors, trailing only the Giants’ 2,959 bases.

Most clubs are much less reliant on young players. The typical team gets only 13.5% of its bases from batters who are 24 or younger. The Giants are about as close to zero as you can get: 0.5%

I have devised a simple formula to determine the relative youth of each club’s production in 2021. I’ve added up the bases reached by hitters in four age groups (20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-up), respectively multiplying the totals by four, three, two, and one. The club that winds up with the most points — Toronto in this case — is obviously blessed with the most youthful firepower.

(Thanks, by the way, to Baseball Reference for the ages of all batters. It uses June 30 as its cutoff, defining a player’s age on that date as his official age for a particular season.)

Four other playoff contenders round out the top five. The Red Sox, Braves, Astros, and Rays have nice blends of youth and skill, boding well not only for the coming postseason, but for years ahead.

Sixth in my standings are the Orioles, who entertain no playoff dreams whatsoever, consigned as they are to last place in the American League East. But Baltimore can take heart that its young players are developing at a promising pace.

The Royals and Diamondbacks, on the other hand, not only are saddled with losing records this season, but also have the worst scores in my age-group standings.

Kansas City ranks dead last with 6,260 points, putting it more than 2,700 below Toronto. The Royals get only 1.4% of their base production from batters younger than 25, compared to 12.7% from those who are 35 or up. Not a promising sign for the future, not at all.

Below are breakdowns for the top 10 (youngest) and bottom 10 (oldest) clubs. (You’ll notice the jump from the No. 10 Indians to the No. 21 Dodgers.) They’re listed with their scores under my formula, their base totals, the production totals for the four age groups (both in bases and percentages of the club’s total), and the leading batters in those same four groups. All results are as of September 19.


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1. Toronto Blue Jays

  • Points: 9,018

  • Bases: 2,947

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 876 bases (29.7%) for 20-24s; 1,378 bases (46.8%) for 25-29s; 687 bases (23.3%) for 30-34s; 6 bases (0.2%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (age 22), 430 bases, for 20-24s; Teoscar Hernandez (age 28), 314 bases, for 25-29s; Marcus Semien (age 30), 403 bases, for 30-34s; Jarrod Dyson (age 36), 6 bases, for 35-ups

2. Boston Red Sox

  • Points: 8,321

  • Bases: 2,896

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 440 bases (15.2%) for 20-24s; 1,649 bases (56.9%) for 25-29s; 807 bases (27.9%) for 30-34s; 0 bases (0.0%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Rafael Devers (age 24), 363 bases, for 20-24s; Xander Bogaerts (age 28), 319 bases, for 25-29s; J.D. Martinez (age 33), 331 bases, for 30-34s; none for 35-ups

3. Atlanta Braves

  • Points: 8,244

  • Bases: 2,785

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 1,064 bases (38.2%) for 20-24s; 596 bases (21.4%) for 25-29s; 1,075 bases (38.6%) for 30-34s; 50 bases (1.8%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Ozzie Albies (age 24), 346 bases, for 20-24s; Dansby Swanson (age 27), 315 bases, for 25-29s; Freddie Freeman (age 31), 373 bases, for 30-34s; Stephen Vogt (age 36), 28 bases, for 35-ups

4. Houston Astros

  • Points: 7,984

  • Bases: 2,946

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 694 bases (23.6%) for 20-24s; 1,001 bases (34.0%) for 25-29s; 954 bases (32.4%) for 30-34s; 297 bases (10.1%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Yordan Alvarez (age 24), 320 bases, for 20-24s; Carlos Correa (age 26), 324 bases, for 25-29s; Jose Altuve (age 31), 344 bases, for 30-34s; Yuli Gurriel (age 37), 297 bases, for 35-ups

5. Tampa Bay Rays

  • Points: 7,934

  • Bases: 2,883

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 222 bases (7.7%) for 20-24s; 1,827 bases (63.4%) for 25-29s; 731 bases (25.4%) for 30-34s; 103 bases (3.6%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Wander Franco (age 20), 141 bases, for 20-24s; Brandon Lowe (age 26), 327 bases, for 25-29s; Joey Wendle (age 31), 226 bases, for 30-34s; Nelson Cruz (age 40), 102 bases, for 35-ups

6. Baltimore Orioles

  • Points: 7,932

  • Bases: 2,580

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 371 bases (14.4%) for 20-24s; 2,030 bases (78.7%) for 25-29s; 179 bases (6.9%) for 30-34s; 0 bases (0.0%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Ryan Mountcastle (age 24), 291 bases, for 20-24s; Cedric Mullins (age 26), 394 bases, for 25-29s; Freddy Galvis (age 31), 128 bases, for 30-34s; none for 35-ups

7. San Diego Padres

  • Points: 7,910

  • Bases: 2,726

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 621 bases (22.8%) for 20-24s; 1,222 bases (44.8%) for 25-29s; 877 bases (32.2%) for 30-34s; 6 bases (0.2%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Fernando Tatis Jr. (age 22), 355 bases, for 20-24s; Manny Machado (age 28), 331 bases, for 25-29s; Tommy Pham (age 33), 263 bases, for 30-34s; Jake Arrieta (age 35), 3 bases, for 35-ups

8. Washington Nationals

  • Points: 7,805

  • Bases: 2,751

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 725 bases (26.4%) for 20-24s; 1,005 bases (36.5%) for 25-29s; 869 bases (31.6%) for 30-34s; 152 bases (5.5%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Juan Soto (age 22), 380 bases, for 20-24s; Josh Bell (age 28), 275 bases, for 25-29s; Josh Harrison (age 33), 182 bases, for 30-34s; Ryan Zimmerman (age 36), 131 bases, for 35-ups

9. Chicago White Sox

  • Points: 7,732

  • Bases: 2,774

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 562 bases (20.3%) for 20-24s; 1,060 bases (38.2%) for 25-29s; 1,152 bases (41.5%) for 30-34s; 0 bases (0.0%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Andrew Vaughn (age 23), 213 bases, for 20-24s; Yoan Moncada (age 26), 284 bases, for 25-29s; Jose Abreu (age 34), 341 bases, for 30-34s; none for 35-ups

10. Cleveland Indians

  • Points: 7,652

  • Bases: 2,584

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 251 bases (9.7%) for 20-24s; 2,012 bases (77.9%) for 25-29s; 291 bases (11.3%) for 30-34s; 30 bases (1.2%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Josh Naylor (age 24), 110 bases, for 20-24s; Jose Ramirez (age 28), 368 bases, for 25-29s; Cesar Hernandez (age 31), 206 bases, for 30-34s; Rene Rivera (age 37), 30 bases, for 35-ups

21. Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Points: 7,062

  • Bases: 2,901

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 182 bases (6.3%) for 20-24s; 1,315 bases (45.3%) for 25-29s; 985 bases (34.0%) for 30-34s; 419 bases (14.4%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Gavin Lux (age 23), 152 bases, for 20-24s; Mookie Betts (age 28), 296 bases, for 25-29s; Max Muncy (age 30), 335 bases, for 30-34s; Justin Turner (age 36), 309 bases, for 35-ups

22. New York Yankees

  • Points: 7,055

  • Bases: 2,728

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 226 bases (8.3%) for 20-24s; 1,344 bases (49.3%) for 25-29s; 961 bases (35.2%) for 30-34s; 197 bases (7.2%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Gleyber Torres (age 24), 209 bases, for 20-24s; Aaron Judge (age 29), 350 bases, for 25-29s; Giancarlo Stanton (age 31), 296 bases, for 30-34s; Brett Gardner (age 37), 197 bases, for 35-ups

23. New York Mets

  • Points: 6,987

  • Bases: 2,523

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 12 bases (0.5%) for 20-24s; 1,918 bases (76.0%) for 25-29s; 592 bases (23.5%) for 30-34s; 1 bases (0.0%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Travis Blankenhorn (age 24), 10 bases, for 20-24s; Pete Alonso (age 26), 335 bases, for 25-29s; Jonathan Villar (age 30), 241 bases, for 30-34s; Rich Hill (age 41), 1 base, for 35-ups

24. St. Louis Cardinals

  • Points: 6,869

  • Bases: 2,618

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 336 bases (12.8%) for 20-24s; 1,276 bases (48.7%) for 25-29s; 691 bases (26.4%) for 30-34s; 315 bases (12.0%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Dylan Carlson (age 22), 281 bases, for 20-24s; Tommy Edman (age 26), 302 bases, for 25-29s; Paul Goldschmidt (age 33), 353 bases, for 30-34s; Yadier Molina (age 38), 188 bases, for 35-ups

25. San Francisco Giants

  • Points: 6,778

  • Bases: 2,959

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 15 bases (0.5%) for 20-24s; 994 bases (33.6%) for 25-29s; 1,786 bases (60.4%) for 30-34s; 164 bases (5.5%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Logan Webb (age 24), 13 bases, for 20-24s; Wilmer Flores (age 29), 203 bases, for 25-29s; Brandon Crawford (age 34), 298 bases, for 30-34s; Evan Longoria (age 35), 152 bases, for 35-ups

26. Los Angeles Angels

  • Points: 6,757

  • Bases: 2,621

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 208 bases (7.9%) for 20-24s; 1,249 bases (47.7%) for 25-29s; 1,014 bases (38.7%) for 30-34s; 150 bases (5.7%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Brandon Marsh (age 23), 90 bases, for 20-24s; Shohei Ohtani (age 26), 399 bases, for 25-29s; Jose Iglesias (age 31), 187 bases, for 30-34s; Kurt Suzuki (age 37), 91 bases, for 35-ups

27. Oakland Athletics

  • Points: 6,703

  • Bases: 2,744

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 0 bases (0.0%) for 20-24s; 1,563 bases (57.0%) for 25-29s; 833 bases (30.4%) for 30-34s; 348 bases (12.7%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: none for 20-24s; Matt Olson (age 27), 384 bases, for 25-29s; Mark Canha (age 32), 301 bases, for 30-34s; Jed Lowrie (age 37), 230 bases, for 35-ups

28. Miami Marlins

  • Points: 6,589

  • Bases: 2,469

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 507 bases (20.5%) for 20-24s; 638 bases (25.8%) for 25-29s; 1,323 bases (53.6%) for 30-34s; 1 bases (0.0%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Jazz Chisholm (age 23), 232 bases, for 20-24s; Jorge Alfaro (age 28), 125 bases, for 25-29s; Jesus Aguilar (age 31), 262 bases, for 30-34s; Ross Detwiler (age 35), 1 base, for 35-ups

29. Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Points: 6,407

  • Bases: 2,550

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 172 bases (6.7%) for 20-24s; 1,183 bases (46.4%) for 25-29s; 975 bases (38.2%) for 30-34s; 220 bases (8.6%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Daulton Varsho (age 24), 137 bases, for 20-24s; Josh Rojas (age 27), 255 bases, for 25-29s; David Peralta (age 33), 233 bases, for 30-34s; Asdrubal Cabrera (age 35), 150 bases, for 35-ups

30. Kansas City Royals

  • Points: 6,260

  • Bases: 2,595

  • Base breakdown by age groups: 37 bases (1.4%) for 20-24s; 1,325 bases (51.1%) for 25-29s; 904 bases (34.8%) for 30-34s; 329 bases (12.7%) for 35-ups

  • Base leaders by age groups: Kyle Isbel (age 24), 25 bases, for 20-24s; Nicky Lopez (age 26), 250 bases, for 25-29s; Salvador Perez (age 31), 352 bases, for 30-34s; Carlos Santana (age 35), 273 bases, for 35-ups