One thing most serious baseball fans share is a fascination of the future. We pour over lists of prospects in large part because we like to sneak a peek into the crystal ball. When was the last time you eagerly opened up a list of the top 100 35-year-olds?
Every team seeks to develop that young ace starter to form the backbone of its rotation for the next decade or so. While you can shell out $200 million and bring in a Max Scherzer or a David Price, only a handful of teams make bets that expensive. Developing a young pitcher is something all 30 teams can do.
Here are my picks for the 25 best starting pitchers under 25 years old. This isn't a strict statistical ranking, though projections are going to be a part of how I consider a player. After all, projections are derived primarily from how a pitcher performs and how a pitcher performs is quite relevant. But not everything. To qualify for this list, a pitcher has to be 24 years old or younger as of July 1, 2015 (ages are listed in parentheses below).
25. LHP Andrew Heaney (24), Los Angeles Angels
In a year in which it looked like most of the impact rookies who would be up all season were in the National League, Heaney was my sleeper pick to win the AL Rookie of the Year back in March. I expected Heaney to be a solid No. 4 starter for the Angels, lead AL rookie pitchers in wins and possibly edge out a fairly weak crop. Instead, he bombed in spring training and has yet to pitch in the majors this year. While Heaney doesn't have high upside, I expect him to be a mid-rotation starter for a long time, which does have tremendous value.