In the second year of his newly developed “Young Talent Inventory,” groundbreaking baseball analyst Bill James names Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto 25th on his list of the top 25 major league ballplayers under 30 years old. In The Bill James Handbook 2009, to be published on November 1, 2008, James judges the Reds to have the 15th-best overall young talent in Major League Baseball, same place as last year.

. . . James lists the Reds as the #15 team in all of baseball for young talent, just below the St. Louis Cardinals and above the New York Mets: “The Cardinals don’t really have any young studs, but they have a bunch of guys in their late twenties who are pretty decent. The Reds are the exact opposite of the Cardinals. They have four young lions that everybody would love to have (Votto, Volquez, Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto), but only two late-twenties guys who can really play (Edwin Encarnacion and Brandon Phillips). Chris Dickerson will make a splash in ’09, if he’s the player we think he is.”

Making James’ list of the top 25 young players in order were:
 1. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers first baseman, age 24
 2. Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins shortstop, age 24
 3. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants pitcher, age 24
 4. David Wright, New York Mets third baseman, age 25
 5. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers left fielder, age 24
 6. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox second baseman, age 24
 7. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder, age 23
 8. Francisco Rodriguez, Los Angeles Angels pitcher, age 26
 9. Jose Reyes, New York Mets shortstop, age 25
10. Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles right fielder, age 24
11. Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals pitcher, age 24
12. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals third baseman, age 23
13. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, age 24
14. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies shortstop, age 23
15. Felix Hernandez, ! Seattle Mariners pitcher, age 22
16. Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox pitcher, age 24
17. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays third baseman, age 22
18. John Danks, Chicago White Sox pitcher, age 23
19. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres first baseman, age 26
20. James Loney, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman, age 24
21. Stephen Drew, Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop, age 25
22. Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves catcher, age 24
23. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers first baseman, age 25
24. Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians center fielder, age 25
25. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds first baseman, age 24
What are his criteria for the order of these players? A lot of these selections make me scratch my head. Sizemore and Cabrera at 24 and 23??

Also, how are the Reds 15th in MLB with young talent?

James also listed teams in order of overall young talent currently on the big league squad:
 1. Minnesota Twins
 2. Arizona Diamondbacks
 3. Tampa Bay Rays
 4. Florida Marlins
 5. Kansas City Royals
 6. Milwaukee Brewers
 7. Cleveland Indians
 8. Colorado Rockies
 9. Atlanta Braves
10. Boston Red Sox
11. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
12. Oakland A’s
13. Los Angeles Dodgers
14. St. Louis Cardinals
15. Cincinnati Reds
16. New York Mets
17. Pittsburgh Pirates
18. Seattle Mariners
19. Texas Rangers
20. Philadelphia Phillies
21. San Diego Padres
22. San Francisco Giants
23. Washington Nationals
24. Baltimore Orioles
25. Chicago White Sox
26. Chicago Cubs
27. Detroit Tigers
28. Toronto Blue Jays
29. New York Yankees
30. Houston Astros
The bolded comment alone makes me wonder how we placed 15th.