Moving on from yesterday's good news that the Twins were ranked as the second-best farm system in the game is the introduction of Keith Law's top 100 prospects for 2015. Minnesota had six players on MLB's mid-season update in 2014, and the same players all appear in his Law's pre-season ranking. Insider required. You can see his 1-50 list here and his 51-100 list here.
Even if Buxton had been healthy, after the year that Kris Bryant put together for the Cubs (325/438/660 with 43 home runs) it would have been hard for Buxton to finish higher than second. The fact that he still ranks so highly speaks volumes about the regard in which scouts and other organizations hold him. Law does mention that his lost 2014 season could push the timeline back by as much as a year.
A snip from Law's take on Buxton:
At full strength and health, Buxton is an 80 runner with an 80 arm and is capable of playing at least grade-70 defense in center field. His bat is quick and his hands are strong enough to drive the ball out to the gaps. He's more balanced than he was as an amateur, using his back leg more to generate power, which should end up above-average by the time he reaches his peak in his mid- to late 20s.
ETA: Late 2015
He came in tenth in Bernie Pleskoff's rankings, but as much as I prefer Sano being in the top ten it was a surprise to see him there. Sano has been hanging around in the top 15 of Law's rankings for the last few years, and while he pegs Sano's debut at more likely in '16 than '15 - I'll contend that point quite strongly. If Sano isn't with the Twins by August, something has gone wrong.
When healthy, Sano has grade-80 raw power, with the potential to hit 30-35 homers a year in the majors, generating that output with a rotational swing that makes good use of his hips and legs. [snip] He's always been rough at third base, and if the arm doesn't come all the way back, that'll speed his move to another position, likely first base due to his sheer size, although the bat will profile anywhere on the field.
ETA: Post-All Star Break 2015
We just spoke about Meyer last week. He's an exciting prospect who will break into Minnesota's rotation sooner rather than later, but it may take an act of the front office to make that opportunity happen.
Meyer still hasn't quite put everything together to be a front-line starting pitching prospect, but he's closer than he's been before, and with two plus pitches and a history of durability he would be wasting some of his talent if he had to go to the bullpen.
ETA: Early 2015
Law doesn't focus much on Gordon's defense but rather goes over the teenager's polish, mentioning that he has the arm to play all over the field - including center field. What people are interested in hearing, though, are exert takes on Gordon's offense. That's what I'll give you for your snippet from Law's blurb on Minnesota's first round pick from 2014.
His bat-to-ball skill is strong, and he has a good approach for his age, with doubles power at best and above-average but not plus speed, so drawing more walks to post a high OBP will be key for Gordon as he moves up the ladder. His ceiling is an everyday shortstop who can hit leadoff in a good lineup; the floor might be more of an 8- or 9-hole hitter if he doesn't develop a more patient approach.
We've heard some about Stewart's approach to the game since the Twins drafted him fourth overall in the 2013 draft, with views landing between the extremes of "assassin" and "kind of a prima donna." None of it should be taken too seriously, because teenage baseball prospects are still teenagers. What we're interested in are his prospects down the line and whether he'll be a good pitcher. Law thinks he will be, talking about his upper-90s fastball and athleticism. There looks like a good deal of faith here.
He'll show four pitches, any or all of which could end up as plus [snip] Stewart has the potential to front a rotation given a few more years of development; he might have to learn to pitch at 92-94 first so he can develop some command, and he needs to work in particular on his changeup before Double-A hitters force him to do so.
If anything is a surprise for the Twins on Law's list, it's that Berrios lands so low - although, to be fair, he wasn't ranked at all at this time 12 months ago. Law mentions Berrios' pitch arsenal and raises some minor mechanical concerns, and offers a couple of reasons to be cautiously optimistic. He closes with this:
I've seen Berrios a number of times, dating back to the Excellence Games in his native Puerto Rico in 2012, and I've always had a sense Berrios' height and lack of life or plane on his fastball would push him to the bullpen. He has the ceiling of a third or fourth MLB starter if he keeps missing bats and can tighten up both off-speed pitches.
ETA: Late 2015
Have a look at Law's list if you can. But even if you can't, how do you feel about the Twins' rankings? Anyone that you think could have merited consideration for the Top 100?