In February, when Baseball America posted their annual Top 100 Prospects list, the Twins were well represented. Oswaldo Arcia (41), Kyle Gibson (68) and Aaron Hicks (72) have all officially graduated now, having joined the ranks of the Major League club. But the other three members of the pre-season list - Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, and Alex Meyer - have all moved up the ranks, according to BA's midseason update.
Some of that movement will be the result of players like Arcia moving onto bigger and better things. But when you move up prospect lists, you deserve credit for more than simply being on the list when guys were taken off of it. At least that's certainly the case with all three of these guys.
Byron Buxton has leapfrogged Miguel Sano, and sits atop Baseball America's Midseason Prospect Update. Sano has jumped up to third. And Meyer now sits in the Top 50, at number 32. Here are their preseason and midseason rankings.
BA Comment: "Best power in the minors, one of the best arms. Hitting ability has taken a step forward."
As the top ranked Twins prospect heading into the season, Sano destroyed pitchers during his time in Advanced-A Fort Meyers, hitting .330/.424/.655 with 33 extra-base hits and scouting reports of improving defensive chops. That performance earned him a promotion to Double-A, where he's still hitting home runs ball but is also adjusting to the uptick in velocity, stuff and command that comes with that giant leap forward.
Terry Ryan hasn't ruled out a callup for Sano in September if the situation is merited. Right now I'm not sure that's the best thing to do, but if he shows he can hold his own in Double-A by the time their season finishes then I'll obviously change my tune. Whether that cup of coffee happens or not (and not to count pre-hatched chickens) it's seeming more and more likely that Sano will make the Major League team sometime in 2014 instead of 2015.
BA Comment: "No. 1 talent in last year's draft is even better than expected with power, speed, defense, and an extremely advanced hitting approach."
Remember when the 2012 draft was coming up and scouts kept saying that there wasn't a clear number one? How there were a number of players jostling for the top pick but none of them were obvious blue chip players? Whoops. Buxton hit .341/.431/.559 in Single-A Cedar Rapids, stealing 32 bases in 68 games and pounding out 33 extra-base hits while playing an impressive center field. As you can see from BA's quote above, they now know who last year's top talent was in the draft.
Buxton is faring well after his promotion to Advanced-A Fort Myers as well, hitting .364/.378/.477 in his first ten games. It's too early to tell anything about his numbers there, but he's made a good start of it.
For the record, Buxton was picked second overall. Picks three and four, catcher Mike Zunino and right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman, have both made their MLB debuts already. Zunino's minor league numbers are great for a catcher and Gausman has looked good at times for Baltimore this season, but neither of them have Buxton's ceiling. And the number one overall pick, Carlos Correa? He's having a good season for Single-A Quad Cities. But you know that Houston wishes they would have drafted Buxton.
BA Comment: "His acquisition helped fill Twins' most desperate need - nearly big league-ready power pitching."
Unlike Sano and Buxton, Meyer hasn't had a promotion yet this season. But he also started in Double-A, and he's more than holding his own. The 23-year old has struck out 73 batters in 61 innings, having walked 27 while allowing just 53 hits.
Of course, Meyer has also been on the disabled list and hasn't pitched since June 1, which will slow his advancement and likely means he won't see Triple-A until next summer. There hasn't been much said on the topic, other than that there was some "shoulder discomfort" and that everything came out okay after an MRI. It's apparently nothing serious, so it should be just a matter of time before we see Alex back on the hill for the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats.
Congratulations to all three players. Hopefully these rankings will be harbingers of success yet to come.