Stock Up, Stock Down on MLB's Top 10 Prospects After Week 14
It’s been an eventful week on the prospect front.
After unveiling Prospect Pipeline’s Midseason Top 50 Prospects on Wednesday, fans received a first-hand look at many of the players on the list during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday afternoon. More specifically, eight prospects ranked within the top 10 overall appeared in the game and made a strong impression.
Here’s an updated look at each top prospect’s stock after Week 14 of the 2013 season.
1. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins
2013 Stats (A/A+): .333/.418/.533, 77 R, 17 2B, 11 3B, 9 HR, 35 SB, 68/49 K/BB (83 G)
After destroying the Midwest League with a .990 OPS, 33 extra-base hits, 32 stolen bases and 56/44 K/BB through 68 games, the Twins promoted Buxton to High-A Fort Myers. The 19-year-old has been anything but overmatched since arriving in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League and is batting .300/.354/.417 with nine runs scored, four extra-base hits and 12/5 K/BB through 15 games.
Buxton was the prospect that everyone wanted to see on Sunday at the Futures Game, and didn’t disappoint with an impressive round of batting practice and solid defense in center field. However, he went 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts—against right-handers Rafael De Paula and Miguel Almonte—during the game after replacing Billy Hamilton in center field in the fifth inning.
2. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
2013 Stats (AAA): .306/.341/.462, 12 2B, 5 HR, 22/9 K/BB (46 G)
Taveras returned from the disabled list (ankle) in early June to bat .280/.315/.420 with five extra-base hits through 15 games. However, the 21-year-old outfielder aggravated the injury during Triple-A Memphis’ game on June 23 and subsequently landed back on the disabled list.
Thankfully, it appears that the best pure hitter in the minor leagues is almost healthy. Taveras began a rehab assignment today for the Cardinals’ Rookie-level affiliate in the Gulf Coast League, going 1-for-1 with a double and walk while playing three innings in center field.
As long as the ankle is not an issue moving forward, Taveras should reach the major leagues later this season as the Cardinals groom him for an everyday role in 2014.
3. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox
2013 Stats (AA/AAA): .294/.390/.489, 12 2B, 6 3B, 13 HR, 7 SB, 72/50 K/BB (85 G)
The Red Sox promoted Bogaerts to Triple-A Pawtucket in mid June after the 20-year-old batted .311/.407/.502 with 24 extra-base hits and 51/35 K/BB in 56 games for Double-A Portland.
Since arriving at the new level, Bogaerts has continued his assault on opposing pitching with an .814 OPS, seven home runs and 21/15 K/BB in 29 games. More importantly, the shortstop has proven that he’s close to being major league ready with his improved production and plate discipline this season.
One of the stars of the Futures Game, Bogaerts was 2-for-3 with a run scored, walk and strikeout on Sunday. He collected hits off right-handers Noah Syndergaard and Anthony Ranaudo.
4. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
2013 Stats (A+): .306/.373/.410, 100 H, 26 XBH (19 2B), 20 SB, 39/35 K/BB (83 G)
Beyond his future Gold Glove defense at shortstop, Lindor has also emerged as one of the top young hitters in the minor leagues this season. Since the beginning of June, the 19-year-old switch-hitter has batted .300 with 21 runs scored, seven extra-base hits, seven stolen bases and an impressive 14/12 K/BB in the last 32 games.
Lindor served as a late-inning replacement during the Futures Game and was 0-for-1.
5. Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners
2013 Stats (AA/AAA): 100 IP, 2.16 ERA, .193 BAA, 112/35 K/BB (17 GS)
After struggling at Double-A Jackson last season as a 19-year-old, Walker mastered the level during his second tour this year with a 2.46 ERA and 96/30 K/BB in 84 innings. The right-hander’s success ultimately led to an early promotion to Triple-A Tacoma where he’s allowed only one earned run with 15/6 K/BB through three starts.
During the Futures Game, Walker allowed one walk during a scoreless inning. The right-hander worked in the 93-97 mph range with his fastball, showed a hard cutter in the low-90s and showed an inconsistent breaking ball in the low-to-mid 70s.
6. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins
2013 Stats (A+/AA): .293/.388/.609, 19 2B, 22 HR, 91/43 K/BB (84 G)
After positing a video game-like 1.079 OPS with 16 home runs in 56 games for High-A Fort Myers, the Twins challenged Sano with a promotion to Double-A New Britain. Since arriving at the more advanced level, the 20-year-old slugger hasn’t fared as well—in fact, he’s struggled to make consistent contact with 30 strikeouts through 28 games. However, Sano has still showcased his robust power with 12 extra-base hits—including six home runs—in his first 88 at-bats.
And even though he was 0-for-2 with a walk during Sunday’s Futures Game, the right-handed hitter put on a ridiculous show of power during batting practice.
7. Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
2013 Stats (A+/AA): 104.2 IP, 2.06 ERA, .220 BAA, 115/44 K/BB (18 GS)
After struggling in his final first-half start for Double-A Mobile on July 8, Bradley was given additional rest in anticipation of the Futures Game at Citi Field. As expected, the 20-year-old right-hander was impressive during a perfect inning on Sunday, sitting 94-98 mph with his fastball while showcasing his usual devastating breaking ball in the low-80s.
8. Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins
2013 Stats (AA): .257/.340/.497, 24 XBH (6 HR), 50/22 K/BB (56 G)
After landing on the disabled list in early June with an abdominal strain, Yelich returned to action late last week for Double-A Jacksonville and was 2-for-11 over three games before departing for the Futures Game.
The 21-year-old stood out as one of the top hitters of the event on Sunday, going 2-for-2 with a ringing double and RBI while serving as the designated hitter for the U.S. squad.
9. Addison Russell, SS, Oakland Athletics
2013 Stats (A+): .263/.341/.478, 42 XBH (9 HR), 12 SB, 91/34 K/BB (77 G)
After an unexpectedly rough start to the season including a .749 OPS in April and .705 OPS in May, Russell’s bat began to heat up in June and he’s been raking since. Although he’s still striking out more than desired, the 19-year-old shortstop has picked up with 45 hits and 23 extra-base hits over his last 27 games for High-A Stockton.
10. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
2013 Stats (AA): 98.1 IP, 3.75 ERA, .263 BAA, 93/34 K/BB (18 G/17 GS)
Taillon was absolutely shelled in his final start before the All-Star break, allowing a career-worst 10 earned runs on 13 hits over 3.1 innings on Saturday against Double-A Arkansas. Prior to the forgettable outing, the 6’6” right-hander had been on a roll with only nine earned runs over his last six starts.
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