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Stock Up, Stock Down on MLB's Top 10 Prospects After Week 5

Mike RosenbaumMLB Prospects Lead WriterOctober 9, 2016

Stock Up, Stock Down on MLB's Top 10 Prospects After Week 5

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    Buxton is back.
    Buxton is back.Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    The big news last week on the prospects front was the return of Byron Buxton, who had been sidelined since spring training with a left wrist injury. The 20-year-old outfielder made his season debut Sunday for High-A Fort Myers, going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts.

    Elsewhere, shortstop Francisco Lindor and outfielder Oscar Taveras put up impressive numbers last week at their respective levels, as Lindor batted .450 with seven RBI and four steals for Double-A Akron and Taveras posted a .781 OPS with six RBI for Triple-A Memphis. 

    Numerous top-10 prospects—as determined by Prospect Pipeline's End-of-Spring Top 100 Prospects—are sidelined with injuries. Shortstop Addison Russell (right hamstring tear) and right-hander Taijuan Walker (right shoulder) have been on the disabled list for most of the season’s first month, while right-handers Archie Bradley (right elbow strain) and Kevin Gausman (focal pneumonia) both landed on the shelf last week.

    Here’s a look at how the rest of baseball’s top-ranked prospects fared during the fourth week of the minor league season.

1. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Stats

    High-A Fort Myers (1 game): 0-for-4, 2 K

     

    Overview

    Buxton suffered a left wrist sprain on March 19 while diving for a ball in minor league camp and spent the first month of the minor league season on the disabled list. However, there’s good news to report: Buxton returned to action on Sunday for High-A Fort Myers. As expected the 20-year-old outfielder was rusty in his first game back, going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts.

    Buxton spend the second half of his 2013 full-season debut at Fort Myers, where he batted .326/.415/.472 with 16 extra-base hits and 23 steals in 57 games. Expect him to quickly adjust in his return to the Florida State League and receive a quick promotion to Double-A New Britain.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    0-for-4, 2 K (1 game)

     

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2. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros

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    Pat Sullivan/Associated Press

    2014 Stats

    High-A Lancaster (23 games): .290/.355/.430, 3 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 4 SB, 10 BB, 19 K

     

    Overview

    Carlos Correa moved up to No. 2 spot last week following Xander Bogaerts’ graduation to rookie status, and there isn’t a player more deserving of the ranking. Unfortunately, Correa was held out of action for most of the last week with a minor hamstring injury, but was able to avoid the disabled. The 19-year-old returned to action on Friday and was 3-for-13 with four strikeouts in three games against San Jose.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    3-for-13 (.231), 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K (3 games) 

     

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3. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Stats

    Triple-A Memphis (27 games): .301/.357/.495, 5 2B, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 8 BB, 14 K

     

    Overview

    Oscar Taveras has been on tear this season at Triple-A Memphis, which isn’t all that surprising considering we’re talking about Oscar Taveras. The 21-year-old outfielder had his 16-game hit streak snapped Sunday on the road at Colorado Springs; during the streak, Taveras batted .333/.394/.533 with six extra-base hits, 11 RBI and more walks (six) than strikeouts (five).

    The Cardinals recently promoted Randal Grichuk from Triple-A Memphis, which has led to an increase in playing time for Taveras in center field. However, he’s not a big league center fielder; rather, it reflects the organization’s need to get all of their Triple-A outfielders (Stephen Piscotty, Joey Butler) into games. Plus, despite his impressive first month of the season, Taveras lost almost a full year of development due to an ankle injury. So it’s more important that he receive consistent at-bats as opposed to being challenged at the highest level.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    6-for-23 (.261), 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K (6 games)

     

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4. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Stats

    Triple-A Iowa (20 games): .149/.232/.311, 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 3 SB, 6 BB, 31 K

     

    Overview

    Baez struggled at the dish during the first month of the season and took a trip to the seven-day disabled list with a minor hamstring injury. In his 12 games since returning from the injury, the 21-year-old is batting just .146/.241/.250 with one home run and a 21/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 54 plate appearances. Last week, he batted .105 with 10 strikeouts in 24 plate appearances.

    Baez has been a slow starter for most of his professional career, whether to open a season or following a promotion to a more advanced level; it takes him time to find his rhythm and timing at the plate. Despite his underwhelming first month of the season, Baez could still join the Cubs by June.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    2-for-24 (.105), 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 SB, 4 BB, 10 K (6 games)

     

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5. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    2014 Stats

    Double-A Akron (27 games): .301/.376/.466, 2 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 8 SB, 12 BB, 18 K

     

    Overview

    The switch-hitting Lindor got off to a great start at Double-A Akron this season, batting .308 and hitting safely in his first six games. After cooling off in the subsequent weeks, the 20-year-old, switch-hitting, slick-fielding shortstop has put together an impressive seven-game hitting streak in which he’s batting .400/.467/.640 with three extra-base hits, seven RBI and four stolen bases.

    Expect Lindor to debut at some point during the second half of the season, as the Indians will want him to log meaningful experience in the major leagues this year before taking over for Asdrubal Cabrera—who has posted a .625 OPS in the Tribe’s first 31 games this season—in 2015.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    9-for-20 (.450), 3B, HR, 7 RBI, 4 SB, 4 BB, 3 K (6 games)

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6. Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

    2014 Stats 

    Triple-A Reno (5 starts): 1-4, 24.1 IP, 5.18 ERA, .277 BAA, 12 BB, 23 K

     

    Overview

    After a pair of impressive starts to begin the season at Triple-A Reno, Bradley, 21, struggled in three consecutive outings, failing to complete five innings in each. In the three games, the touted right-hander has posted an 8.76 ERA with 19 hits allowed and a 15-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 12.1 innings.

    Last week the Diamondbacks announced (via Twitter) that Bradley was placed on the seven-day disabled list with Reno due to a mild flexor strain in his right elbow. According to Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona (via Twitter), general manager Kevin Towers said an MRI showed no damage to Bradley’s UCL. Bradley will rest for two weeks and then be reevaluated.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

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7. Addison Russell, SS, Oakland Athletics

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    2014 Stats

    Double-A Midland (2 games): 5-for-7, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, SB, K

     

    Overview

    Russell, 20, recovered from a right hamstring injury suffered during spring training in time for the start of the Double-A season, and he made an immediate impact by going 5-for-7 with a double and home run in his first two games.

    Unfortunately, Russell’s hamstring injury flared up once again during that second game, this time resulting in a Grade 3 strain and a trip to the disabled list, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

    Most expected Russell to reach the major leagues later this season, but his injury is a major setback that could potentially push back his debut to 2015.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

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8. Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    2014 Stats

    High-A High Desert/Double-A Jackson (2 starts): 9.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R (ER), 2 BB, 17 K

     

    Overview

    Taijuan Walker was expected to open the season in the Mariners’ starting rotation, but after he dealt with shoulder inflammation for most of the spring and failed to appear in a major league game, the organization ultimately sent the right-hander to the minor leagues to build arm strength and get back on track.

    After a pair of impressive starts at High-A and Double-A, the 21-year-old was supposed to throw for Triple-A Tacoma in mid-April but was a last-minute scratch with shoulder stiffness. Walker was scheduled to throw from 60 feet last Monday and Tuesday and then be reassessed, per Todd Dybas of the Tacoma News Tribune (via Twitter). Walker could throw a bullpen sometime this week.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

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9. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    2014 Stats

    Triple-A Las Vegas (6 starts): 4-2, 32 IP, 3.94 ERA, .270 BAA, 12 BB, 28 K

     

    Overview

    Syndergaard turned in three good-but-not-great starts to begin his season, logging at least five innings and allowing no more than three earned runs in each outing. The 21-year-old right-hander set season highs in  strikeouts (seven) and innings pitched (seven) in his start last Wednesday, as he allowed one unearned run on four hits and two walks. Syndergaard has looked much better in his past two turns, with a 2.25 ERA and 13/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 12 innings.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    5 IP, 6 H (HR), 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (1 start)

     

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10. Kevin Gausman, RHP, Baltimore Orioles

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    2014 Stats

    Triple-A Norfolk (5 starts): 0-1, 21.1 IP, 2.53 ERA, .266 BAA, 11 BB, 20 K

     

    Overview

    Gausman followed his scoreless season debut at Triple-A Norfolk with a pair of shaky outings, allowing a combined six earned runs on 11 hits and six walks in only seven innings. The right-hander righted the ship in his next two turns, highlighted by a 9-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 9.2 scoreless innings, but he hasn’t taken the mound since then after landing on the disabled list with focal pneumonia, according to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com (via Twitter).

    It was originally reported that Gausman suffered an intercostal muscle strain, which would have likely resulted in lengthy stay on the disabled list, so the fact it’s focal pneumonia is actually good news.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

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