Once again, fans will have the opportunity to vote for Boston’s best young athletes in NBC Sports Boston’s annual “20 Under 25” list. For multiple reasons, this list should look pretty different from last year’s.
For starters, 8 of the 20 players on last year’s list have since turned 25, including the top two -- Mookie Betts (No. 1) and Xander Bogaerts (No. 2). One of the players from the 2016 list has also since been traded -- Jacoby Brissett (No. 19).
But the question isn’t about who’s off the list or who figures to drop -- and there’s at least one candidate there in Malcolm Mitchell (No. 5 last year). Rather, it’s about the pretty large number of new additions.
The rating system looks like this:
1: Not going to make an impact
3: End of the bench
5: Consistent contributor
10: Franchise cornerstone
The Bruins certainly have a few candidates. Charlie McAvoy was on last year’s list at No. 16, but youngsters Danton Heinen (22 years old), Jake DeBrusk (21) and Anders Bjork (21) should also end up on the list.
The Patriots added Brandin Cooks in the offseason; he should near the top of the list.
But in my opinion, this list could be topped by a Celtic. Jaylen Brown was No. 6 last year, but the 21-year-old could push for No. 1. Of course, he’d need to beat out 19-year-old teammate Jayson Tatum for that honor. What’s wild is that Kyrie Irving (25 years old) just misses the cut; otherwise, it’s possible the top of the list would be all Celtics.