The 2013 MLB Futures Game has just as much at stake as it does every other year. However, there may not be a case where a team has brought as much star power to the event as the Minnesota Twins are going to when the game is played Sunday at Citi Field.
The Twins organization has suddenly become loaded in the past year and a half, and a lot of that has to do with Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano.
Sano is the name that prospect followers will be aware of. After tearing up Low-A Fort Myers with a .330/.424/.655 line to go with 16 home runs and 48 runs batted in, the Twins promoted him to Double-A New Britain at the beginning of June.
His numbers aren't as great as they were in the Florida State League, but the power is still there. A .195 average in 26 games with the Rock Cats hasn't stopped him from slugging six home runs, and Baseball Prospectus' Jason Parks took notice when he made a trip to see Sano play in late June.
Dear Miguel Sano, thanks for hitting bombs when we watch you play. Signed, Everybody who watches you play #Twins— Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks) June 29, 2013
Despite a 6'3", 195-pound frame, Sano has also been able to improve his defense at third base, cutting his error total from 42 in 2012 to 18 through 79 games this season. According to Parks, this isn't a fluke.
Sano is a much better athlete than people realize; run is 5+; glove will be at least 5; arm is 7; raw 8; hit 5; legit instincts as well— Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks) June 29, 2013
The improvement across the board (along with a shocking nine stolen bases and four triples on the year), has made his stock rise, going from ninth in Baseball America's preseason top 100 prospects, to third on their mid-season list.
Even MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo is on the bandwagon, as he thinks Sano can put on a show this Sunday.
As good as Sano is, he is no longer the best prospect in the Twins organization. That's because Buxton is the new number one prospect...in all of baseball.
Which Twins prospect has the higher ceiling?
Buxton was the second-overall pick in last year's June entry draft, but it hasn't stopped him from tearing each level of the Twins' system apart. In 68 games at Low-A Cedar Rapids, he posted a .341/.423/.547 line with eight home runs, 55 RBI and 32 stolen bases.
The domination of the Midwest League is shockingly similar to the clinic Mike Trout put on in 2009, but it's not shocking when you hear some of the experts talk about Trout.
Aside from an article I posted a couple weeks ago on the subject, Mayo also declared Buxton as a Trout-like player.
Buxton has everything going for him right now. His bat is magnificent. His speed is so good that former manager Tom Kelly, who led the Twins to their two World Series championships, said he was the fastest player he's ever seen. Oh, and he makes sweet plays in center field too.
Buxton was promoted to High-A Fort Myers a couple weeks after Sano received his promotion. After a small hiccup to begin his tenure with the Miracle, Buxton picked things up and has a .340/.377/.480 line in his first 12 games.
If there is one team to watch during the Futures Game, it will be the Minnesota Twins. Just ask Mayo.
There are few organizations that have the opportunity to add two players who resemble Trout and Miguel Cabrera to a major league squad that already features Joe Mauer. If they can put on a show at Sunday's Futures Game, they'll be household names before Buxton can go from first to third.