Stock Up, Stock Down on MLB's Top 10 Prospects
From Byron Buxton's injured wrist to Javier Baez's epic slump, it's been a rough start to 2014 for MLB's 10 best prospects.
Currently, four of the top 10 players on Bleacher Report's Top 100 Prospects list are on the disabled list. However, it hasn't been all bad news for the rising stars. Carlos Correa is making his mark in the Cal League and Oscar Taveras is on the verge of earning a trip to St. Louis.
So, here's the Week 7 installment of Stock Up, Stock Down for MLB's 10 best prospects.
1. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins
Last Week's Stats: N/A
The 2014 season has not gone according to plan for Byron Buxton.
The consensus No. 1 prospect in all of baseball entering the season, Buxton has appeared in just five games for the the Minnesota Twins' High-A affiliate.
The outfielder got a late start to the season courtesy of a wrist injury he sustained in spring training. Once he returned, the right-handed hitter made it just five games before re-aggravating that injury while sliding on May 8.
The No. 2 overall pick from the 2012 MLB draft is currently rehabbing in extended spring training, but the Twins have no official timeline for when he'll return.
As assistant general manager Rob Antony explained to Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the worst part about the injury is that Buxton simply isn't out on the field.
"It's obviously disappointing that he's losing out on development time. That's the big thing," Antony said.
Fortunately, Buxton is still just 20 years old.
2014 Stats: .150 (3-for-20), .150 OBP, .300 SLG, 2B, HR, 2 RBI
2 . Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
Last Week's Stats: .214 (6-for-28), 3 2B, 4 RBI, 6 K, 1 SB
Just 19 years old, Carlos Correa has been thriving in the Cal League in 2014.
The shortstop is hitting .303 and has driven in 33 runs in 36 games. This week, Correa has collected three doubles and also stole his seventh base of the season.
The Houston Astros' No. 1 prospect has also been excelling in the field for the Lancaster JetHawks. According to Jason Schwartz, the play-by-play voice of the team, Correa's performance on May 16 was the "best defensive game" he's ever witnessed in the Cal League.
2014 Stats: .303 (46-for-152), .351 OBP, .434 SLG, 8 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 33 RBI, 7 SB
3. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Last Week's Stats: .263 (5-for-19), 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI
Oscar Taveras has always had the ability to hit for a high average.
In parts of six minor league campaigns, the left-handed batter owns a .317 average. This year, the 21-year-old is also demonstrating a ton of pop. In 39 games for the St. Louis Cardinals' Triple-A club, Taveras has gone yard six times while adding 11 doubles and one triple.
In the video above, you can watch as the outfielder connects on home run No. 6 back on May 15.
In five games last week, Taveras totaled five hits including three for extra bases. With the Cardinals struggling to score runs, Taveras' bat would be a welcome addition in St. Louis.
2014 Stats: .289 (44-for-152), .343 OBP, .493 SLG, 11 2B, 3B, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 1 SB
4. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs
Last Week's Stats: .208 (5-for-24), HR, 4 RBI, 9 K
After clubbing 37 home runs a season ago, Javier Baez has endured a rough start to the 2014 campaign.
The shortstop is hitting .162 with just six extra-base hits in his first 31 games. However, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer believes the early-season funk could ultimately help the 21-year-old's development, as he explained to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
"He's in a big slump and will have to figure his way out of it. He'll be stronger for having to go through this," he said.
Last week, Baez collected five hits, including the home run you can see above. That homer was No. 4 of the year for Baez, and just his first extra-base hit since April 28.
In his last six games, the right-handed hitter punched out nine times. He has now racked up 47 strikeouts in 117 at-bats.
2014 Stats: .162 (19-for-117), .244 OBP, .291 SLG, 2B, 3B, 4 HR, 14 RBI
5. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
Last Week's Stats: .278 (5-for-18), 2 RBI, 4 R, 5 BB
Francisco Lindor is off to a flying start in 2014.
The switch-hitter is batting .293 with four home runs and nine steals in 39 Double-A contests. Lindor has been battering left-handed pitching to the tune of a .352 (19-for-52) average.
Last week, the shortstop drew five walks in five games and now owns a .372 OBP.
2014 Stats: .293 (44-for-151), .372 OBP, .444 SLG, 5 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 28 RBI, 9 SB
6. Archie Bradley, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week's Stats: N/A
Currently on the minor league DL with a mild flexor strain in his elbow, Archie Bradley hasn't pitched since April 26.
Considering the myriad of pitchers who have gone down with serious elbow problems in 2014, the injury is definitely a major concern for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
However, the 21-year-old is reportedly headed in the right direction. Arizona manager Kirk Gibson told Scott Bordow of AZCentral.com that Bradley "is feeling much better and will be examined soon to determine when he can begin throwing."
2014 Stats: 1-4, 5.18 ERA, 5 GS, 24.1 IP, 26 H, 14 ER, 12 BB, 23 K
7. Addison Russell, SS, Oakland Athletics
Last Week's Stats: N/A
Addison Russell has appeared in just two games in 2014 thanks to a torn hamstring, which has kept him on the shelf for the past six weeks.
The Oakland Athletics will be extremely cautious with the 20-year-old's recovery. Billy Owens, Oakland's director of player personnel, explained to Athletics Farm that Russell is the organization's most promising prospect in recent memory.
"I've been with the Oakland A's since November of '98, and I'm as excited about Addison Russell as anybody we've had during that time frame," he said.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Russell is taking batting practice and fielding grounders, but the Athletics have yet to decide when he'll return to Double-A.
2014 Stats: .714 (5-for-7), .714 OBP, 1.286 SLG, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, SB
8. Taijuan Walker, SP, Seattle Mariners
Last Week's Stats: N/A
Taijuan Walker has made just two minor leagues starts in 2014 as he rebounds from a shoulder inflammation that knocked him out of spring training.
According to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, the 21-year-old's recovery process is progressing smoothly. Divish reports that Walker threw a 55-pitch bullpen session on May 17 and the right-hander felt like he "got stronger' as the session wore on.
Walker is slated to throw another bullpen session on Tuesday, but there's still no timeline for when the starter will begin a minor league rehab assignment.
2014 Stats: 1-0, 0.96 ERA, 2 GS, 9.1 IP, 7 H, ER, 2 BB, 17 K
9. Noah Syndergaard, SP, New York Mets
Last Week's Stats: 1-0, 3.60 ERA, 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
Noah Syndergaard took the mound just once this past week, as he grabbed his fifth win of the season on May 16. The right-hander worked five frames, allowing two runs while punching out five batters.
That number actually represented Syndergaard's lowest strikeout total in his last five outings. The 21-year-old has been racking up swing-and-misses while pitching for the New York Mets' Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas, a notoriously hitter-friendly environment.
In nine starts, Syndergaard has now totaled 51 strikeouts in 48.2 innings.
2014 Stats: 5-2. 3.88 ERA, 9 GS, 48.2 IP, 54 H, 21 ER, 4 HR, 17 BB, 51 K
10. Kevin Gausman, SP, Baltimore Orioles
Last Week's Stats: 0-1, 11.25 ERA, 4 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Kevin Gausman wasn't "too thrilled" with his first major league start of the season, as the right-hander explained to Trevor Hass of The Baltimore Sun.
On May 14 against the Detroit Tigers, Gausman ended up working four innings, allowing five runs and taking the loss.
Afterward, the 23-year-old admitted to Hass that he was leaving his fastball up in the zone. Orioles manager Buck Showalter noted that Gausman "wasn't as good as we had hoped."
Following the outing, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reported that the club sent Gausman back to Triple-A.
2014 Stats: (MLB) 0-1, 11.25 ERA, GS, 4 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K; (Triple-A) 0-1, 2.08 ERA, 6 GS, 26 IP, 23 H, 6 ER, HR, 14 BB, 24 K
If you want to talk baseball, find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.
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