"When will the Twins call up Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano?" That's been a popular refrain for the last 12 months, since both players came off of very impressive 2013 campaigns. Buxton, at just 19, had his .334/.424/.520 between Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers; Sano, 20, had mashed a triple slash of .280/.382/.610 between Fort Myers and New Britain.
One year later a lot of fans are still asking the same question, even though both players' 2014 campaign was more or less a write-off. It's hard to blame anyone for chomping at the bit. Both prospects are considered franchise cornerstones for the foreseeable future, and it's hard to understate just how eager we all are to see this team turn the corner.
But the truth is that neither player is ready to debut for the Twins. At least, not quite yet. It would be a mistake to rush either player, especially at this point in their development, when both players are so close. My belief has been that Sano could be called up at some point after the All-Star break while Buxton could be a September call-up if things go right. Good news: minor league expert Jim Callis also sees post-break debuts.
Buxton and Sano could make their big league debuts in 2015, though that might not happen until August or September. The Twins aren't going to contend next year and both players need to make up for plenty of lost at-bats. It also would make no sense from a business standpoint to promote them before midseason and risk making them eligible for arbitration a year earlier than they otherwise would be.
I do think that, at this point in the cycle of losing and (not) competing, it's no use in delaying for monetary/business purposes the promotion of players who A) can help the team, B) can use the experience towards a long future with the club, and C) can excite the fans and give them a reason to come to the ballpark in the dog days of summer. Luckily, the Twins probably won't need to make that decision since both players will need plenty of time shaking off rust and staying healthy in the minors before a call up can even be considered.
It's hard to be patient. Tom Petty is a wise, wise man. But it's an exciting time to be a Twins fan, because those moments just before the good bit are often just as sweet and just as satisfying as the good bit itself. And that's where we are right now.