MLB

Stock Up, Stock Down on MLB's Top 10 Prospects at the One-Quarter Mark

Mike RosenbaumMLB Prospects Lead WriterMay 12, 2014

Stock Up, Stock Down on MLB's Top 10 Prospects at the One-Quarter Mark

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    Astros SS Carlos Correa enters the week with a nine-game hitting streak.
    Astros SS Carlos Correa enters the week with a nine-game hitting streak.Pat Sullivan/Associated Press

    Byron Buxton just can’t catch a break. After making his season debut May 4 and playing in five games last week, the top-ranked prospect is back on the disabled list at High-A Fort Myers after re-injuring his wrist Saturday.

    On a more positive note, shortstops Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa stayed hot last week and continued to post impressive numbers at their respective levels. Lindor put together a six-game hitting streak for Double-A Akron, during which he owns an .872 OPS with four extra-base hits and eight RBI, while Correa is batting .390/.419/.488 with three extra-base hits and 13 RBI during his current nine-game streak.

    Several top-10 prospects—as determined by Prospect Pipeline's End-of-Spring Top 100 Prospects—are still 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, while right-hander Archie Bradley landed on the shelf last week with a right elbow strain.

    Here’s a look at how the rest of baseball’s top-ranked prospects have performed through the one-quarter mark of the season.

1. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Stats

    High-A Fort Myers (5 games): 3-for-20 (.150), 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 8 K

     

    Overview

    Byron Buxton spent the first five weeks of the minor league season on the disabled list with a wrist injury suffered during spring training, but he finally returned to action last week at High-A Fort Myers. The 20-year-old outfielder was understandably rusty after his lengthy stay on the disabled list, going 3-for-20 with a home run and eight strikeouts in five games last week. 

    Sadly, Buxton re-injured his left wrist during Saturday’s game while sliding into third base, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. He has been placed back on the disabled list at Fort Myers as the Twins await the MRI results, according to Lavelle E. Neal of The Star Tribune. Hopefully it’s only a minor setback and doesn’t force the sport’s top prospect to miss any more time.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    3-for-16, 3 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 6 K (4 games)

     

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2. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Stats

    High-A Lancaster (30 games): .323/.379/.460, 5 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 29 RBI, 6 SB, 11 BB, 22 K

     

    Overview

    Carlos Correa has been on fire following his return from a minor shoulder injury. He enters the week riding a nine-game hitting streak, during which he’s batting a robust .390/.419/.488 with three extra-base hits and 13 RBI in 43 plate appearances.

    The 19-year-old continues to check off all the developmental boxes in the California League, and it’s seemingly only a matter of time until he receives a promotion to Double-A. Correa is on the fast track to the major leagues in spite of his age and lack of professional experience, and it honestly wouldn’t be shocking to see him debut with the Houston Astros as a September call-up. The kid is simply that good.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    13-for-31 (.419), 2 2B, 3B, 12 RBI, 2 SB, BB, 3 K (7 games) 

     

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3. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Stats

    Triple-A Memphis (34 games): .293/.340/.489, 9 2B, 3B, 5 HR, 27 RBI, 9 BB, 20 K

     

    Overview

    Oscar Taveras has been on a 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 May 3 against Colorado Springs, but he’s since hit safely in five of his past seven contests, batting .267 with five extra-base hits and eight RBI in 32 plate appearances during that span.

    Taveras continues to see playing time at all three outfield positions, but it’s worth noting his last three starts have come in center field. However, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak mentioned last week, via Drew Silva of NBC Sports, that Taveras is “average at best” in center, which is another way of saying he needs further work at the position before there’s talk of a promotion.

    Taveras lost almost a full year of development due to an ankle injury, so it’s important right now that he receive consistent at-bats at Triple-A. While it’s clear he won’t join the Cardinals as soon as originally expected, Taveras still is likely to get the call in late May/early June when the Super Two deadline has passed.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    8-for-30 (.267), 4 2B, 3B, 8 RBI, BB, 6 K (7 games)

     

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4. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Stats

    Triple-A Iowa (25 games): .151/.248/.280, 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 3 SB, 10 BB, 38 K

     

    Overview

    Javier Baez’s struggles have continued since his return from an early season hamstring injury, as he’s batting .149/.260/.224 with two extra-base hits and 28 strikeouts over his past 17 contests (77 plate appearances). Last week, the 21-year-old slugger batted .158 with seven strikeouts in 23 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. However, I’d be remiss not to acknowledge he's currently mired in the deepest slump of his career. There’s no reason to think Baez won’t soon heat up and get back on track, but his slow start this season in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League certainly has been a surprise.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    3-for-19 (.158), R, 4 BB, 7 K (5 games)

     

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5. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians

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    Rob Tringali/Getty Images

    2014 Stats

    Double-A Akron (34 games): .293/.362/.466, 5 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 26 RBI, 9 SB, 14 BB, 24 K

     

    Overview

    The switch-hitting Lindor is off to a great start at Double-A Akron this season, with an .829 OPS, 12 extra-base hits, 26 RBI and nine steals through 34 games. The 20-year-old has hit safely in 16 of his past 18 games, batting .348/.410/.551 with eight extra-base hits (two home runs), 18 RBI and six stolen bases over the span of 79 plate appearances.

    After snapping his seven-game hitting streak last Monday, Lindor enters the week riding a six-gamer, during which he’s batted .308 with three doubles, a home run (grand slam) and eight RBI.

    Expect Lindor to debut at some point during the second half of the season, as the Cleveland Indians will want him to log meaningful experience in the major leagues this year before taking over for Asdrubal Cabrera—who has posted a .716 OPS in the Tribe’s first 38 games this season—in 2015.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    8-for-30 (.267), 3 2B, HR, 8 RBI, SB, 2 BB, 6 K (7 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, Archie Bradley, 21, struggled in three consecutive outings, failing to complete five innings in each. In the three games, the touted right-hander posted an 8.76 ERA with 19 hits allowed and a 15-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 12.1 innings.

    The Arizona Diamondbacks announced on Twitter April 29 that Bradley had been placed on the seven-day disabled list at Reno due to a mild flexor strain in his right elbow. According to Jack Magruder of Fox Sports Arizona, 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

    Addison 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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    USA TODAY Sports

    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 Seattle 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. According to Shannon Drayer of ESPN 710, Walker threw 25 pitches (no breaking balls) during a bullpen session Sunday. It was the first time he had thrown since suffering the setback, and he’s scheduled to throw again Wednesday.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

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9. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Stats

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

    Overview

    Noah Syndergaard got off to shaky start this season at Triple-A Las Vegas, posting a 4.95 ERA and 15/8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first four starts (20 innings). Since then, however, the 21-year-old has shown steady improvement by posting a new season-high strikeout total in each of his last four outings.

    Syndergaard wasn’t particularly sharp in his pair of starts last week, allowing five earned runs on 15 hits (four extra-base hits) in 11.2 frames. That being said, the right-hander is finally missing the appropriate number of bats, as he’s now fanned 18 of the last 53 batters (34 percent strikeout rate) he’s faced.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    11.2 IP, 15 H (HR), 5 ER, 3 BB, 18 K (2 starts)

     

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10. Kevin Gausman, RHP, Baltimore Orioles

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Stats

    Triple-A Norfolk (6 starts): 0-1, 26 IP, 2.08 ERA, .242 BAA, 14 BB, 26 K

     

    Overview

    Kevin Gausman missed his two previous turns in the rotation while on the disabled list with focal pneumonia, but he didn’t show any obvious signs of rust in his return to action Saturday. Making his sixth start of the season for Triple-A Norfolk, the 23-year-old right-hander allowed just two hits in 4.2 shutout frames against Indianapolis (Pirates), striking out six batters against three walks.

    The scoreless outing was Gausman’s third in a row; he hasn’t yielded an earned run in the past 14.1 innings, with nine hits (three extra-base hits) allowed and a 15/6 strikeout-to-walk ratio during that span.

     

    Last Week’s Stats

    4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K (1 start)

     

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