MLB.com released its new Top 100 Prospects list on Thursday, and Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton clocked in as the top prospect in baseball. Buxton was also ranked No. 1 by MLB.com on last year's midseason Top 100 list.
Buxton, 20, was the second overall pick in the 2012 draft and has posted a batting line of .312/.404/.502 in 173 professional games. The right-handed outfielder has displayed extra-base power and game-changing speed; he racked up 18 triples and 55 stolen bases last year while splitting the year between Single-A and High-A. The Twins scored another top-five nod with Miguel Sano at No. 4 on the list. The 20-year-old third baseman hit 35 home runs and slugged .610 last year. His batting average dipped after being promoted from High-A to Double-A, but he continued to hit for power at the higher level.
Xander Bogaerts is second on MLB.com's list. In October, the Red Sox shortstop was named by Baseball America as the top major league asset entering 2014 due to his premium defensive position and proximity to the majors. The rest of MLB.com's top five included outfielder Oscar Taveras of the St. Louis Cardinals (No. 3) and pitcher Archie Bradley of the Arizona Diamondbacks (No. 5).
The Astros, Red Sox and Cubs made the best showings in this year's rankings, with 23 total prospects represented (seven, nine, and seven, respectively); all three have representatives in the top 10. On the flip side, the Angels managed to put up a bagel, with Oakland and Milwaukee only squeaking one prospect each onto the list. The Cubs landed two prospects in the top ten, with shortstop Javier Baez and Kris Bryant landing at seventh and ninth, portending good things on the left side of the Wrigley infield in the near future. Seattle pitcher Taijuan Walker (No. 6) and Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor (No. 9) round out the top 10.
Four of the top 10 prospects are shortstops, with two third baseman, two outfielders and two pitchers comprising the rest of the group, underscoring the importance of up-the-middle positions to major league teams. Despite only two representatives in the top 10, pitchers dominated the overall top 100 with 58 entrants toeing the rubber. On the other end of the spectrum, first base only had one name on the list (Jonathan Singleton, No. 50), furthering how hard it is to be a legitimate prospect while being limited defensively.
As one might expect, the list is heavy on former first-round talent, with 42 making the cut, and the number balloons to 59 if you include the 17 supplemental first-rounders. If we look toward the back of the draft, the Cubs' C.J. Edwards and his 48th-round draft status take the prize of latest draftee. Other double-digit rounders include Boston's Allen Webster (18th round, No. 46), the Tigers' Robbie Ray (12th round, No. 97), and the Dodgers' Joc Pederson (11th round, No. 36).