Keynan Middleton vs. Byron Buxton, and the camera angles that showed it.
The Angels and Twins were tied 1-1 after six innings on Thursday night. Jorge Polanco led off the top of the seventh inning with a single, knocking Angels starter (and former Twins prospect) Alex Meyer out of the game. Eddie Rosario greeted rookie reliever Keynan Middleton with a well-struck fly ball to center field, but Shane Robinson made a good read and a rolling catch, sending Polanco back to first base.
Teams have smartened up about sacrifice bunts, but every once in a while managers just can't help themselves.
We don’t really do this kind of thing very much anymore. Saber-slanted baseball writing used to consist largely of criticizing poor strategic choices made by teams, either within games or over the course of a season. We won that war, though. Teams are so much smarter these days that kvetching about a bad sacrifice bunt or intentional walk here or there feels a bit like hosting a Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure.
Here’s the thing: it is good to be reminded, now and then, that rabies is still out there. If you pretend the disease has been permanently eliminated, or that it doesn’t pose a real public danger, you end up with anti-vaxxer movements among people who call themselves “dog parents." With that in mind, I want to talk about two bunts laid down last Tuesday night, why they were misguided, and why it matters.
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Which young hitters does PECOTA see as having breakout potential in 2017?
“Breakout” can mean different things to different people. It can mean a prospect or untested young big leaguer establishing himself as a valuable regular. It can mean a relative unknown becoming an impact player. It can mean a well-known star making the leap to full-blown superstar, perhaps even following up a “breakout” one year with an even bigger “breakout” the next. Your own definition may vary, but in PECOTA’s case “breakout” is all about out-performing track records.
The best prospect remaining in the minors will join the Twins on Sunday.
The situation: The surprising Minnesota Twins sit near the top of the American League Central despite a recent five-game losing streak and middling offensive production. What better remedy to cure those offensive woes then the best prospect in baseball, Sir Byron Buxton?
Background: Buxton wasn’t an unknown quantity by any stretch of the imagination, but the outfielder from Appling County, Georgia burst onto the scene with an outstanding performance at the East Coast Pro Showcase and Under-Armour All-American Game in Chicago in the summer of 2011. Some concerns over his performance against mediocre competition during his senior season, along with bonus demands and the emergence of Carlos Correa, dropped him to the second overall selection, though he was considered the consensus top talent on the board in 2012. That “drop” has been the Twins gain. Outside of an injury-marred 2014 campaign, Buxton has done nothing but impress; ranking at the top of not only the Twins’ top-ten list, but as the top prospect in baseball for the last two years running.
The Twins are teeming with top prospects, but there are big leaguers who could help your fantasy squad in 2015, too.
Byron Buxton. Miguel Sano. Alex Meyer. Kohl Stewart. Eddie Rosario.
This is how 2013/2014’s offseason preview for the Minnesota Twins opened, and with good reason. It seemed like a fait accompli that most or all of these prospects would begin their promising big league futures with the Twins at some point in 2014. As we know now with the benefit of sweet, delicious hindsight, it didn’t work out that way. Every one of these future studs hit a bump in the road, and not one of the Twins vaunted five put up a single MLB at-bat or inning pitched in 2014.
The future still looks bright for both these prospects and the Twins, but 2014 reminded us that if you want to make God laugh, show him a well-defined prospect timetable. With the exception of Stewart, all of these prospects could still make an impact in 2015 but 2014 reminds us to temper our expectations. Given the Twins fantasy outlook otherwise, for the most part we will be the same position in 2015 that we were in 2014: shying away from most of this roster in shallower formats while waiting for better days, both in the real world as well as in our fantasy realm.
Rather than re-printing the BP Prospect Staff Midseason Top 50 debates—much of which involves discussion of multiple players at the same time—we thought it would be interesting to call out some of the more interesting pairings of players who have been in consideration for the #BPTop50 and allow an advocate for each to make his case as to why that player should be ranked ahead of the other.