MLB.com’s Top 5 prospects played in Midwest League

MLB.com released Jonathan Mayo’s new ranking of baseball’s Top 100 prospects today, and the five highest-ranked players all did time in the Midwest League. In fact, all five players were notable prospects even when they were in the MWL:

1. Minnesota Twins OF prospect Byron Buxton of the High-A Fort Myers Miracle leapfrogged from a No. 19 preseason ranking to the top spot thanks in large part to his extremely impressive performance with the Midwest League’s Cedar Rapids Kernels this year. He hit .341 with 8 HR, 55 RBI and 32 SB in 68 games with Cedar Rapids, drawing fair comparisons to 2012 American League Rookie of the Year Mike Trout, another former Kernels player.

Twins prospect Byron Buxton batting for the Cedar Rapids Kernels earlier this year.

Twins prospect Byron Buxton batting for the Cedar Rapids Kernels earlier this year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

2. St. Louis Cardinals OF prospect Oscar Taveras of the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds moved up a notch from No. 3. He’s battled injuries this season, limiting his playing time, but still appears poised to become an impact player in the major leagues in the near future. Taveras won the Midwest League batting title in 2011, when he hit .386 with 8 HR and 62 RBI in 78 games with the Quad Cities River Bandits.

Oscar Taveras hitting during a St. Louis Cardinals spring training game this year. (Photo by Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Oscar Taveras during a St. Louis Cardinals spring training game this year. (Photo by Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

3. Minnesota Twins 3B prospect Miguel Sano of the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats jumped up from No. 12 in MLB.com’s preseason rankings. He’s been in the news the past few days for being benched after admiring a home run a bit too much (read about it here and here), but the fact remains that Sano is one of the best power prospects in baseball. He was one of the stars of the Midwest League last year when he hit .258 with 28 HR and 100 RBI in 129 games with the Beloit Snappers.

Minnesota Twins prospect Miguel Sano batting for the Beloit Snappers in 2012.

Twins prospect Miguel Sano batting for the Beloit Snappers in 2012. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

4. Seattle Mariners prospect Taijuan Walker of the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers is the top-ranked pitcher now that Baltimore Orioles RHP Dylan Bundy has graduated from the list. He had a subpar 2012 season in Double-A, but his numbers have returned this year to what is projected to be the norm for him. He went 6-5 with a 2.89 ERA, 113 strikeouts and 39 walks in 96.2 IP (18 starts) for the 2011 Clinton LumberKings.

Seattle Mariners prospect Taijuan Walker on the mound for the 2011 Clinton LumberKings.

Mariners prospect Taijuan Walker on the mound for the 2011 Clinton LumberKings. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

5. Cleveland Indians prospect Francisco Lindor of the Double-A Akron Aeros is considered by some as the top defensive shortstop in the minor leagues. The kid can hit, too, and is an above-average runner. He batted .257 with 6 HR, 42 RBI and 27 SB in 122 games with the 2012 Lake County Captains.

Cleveland Indians prospect Francisco Lindor playing shortstop for the 2012 Lake County Captains. (Photo courtesy of the Lake County Sentinel)

Indians prospect Francisco Lindor playing shortstop for the 2012 Lake County Captains. (Photo courtesy of the Lake County Sentinel)

You can read what Mayo wrote about these players and the rest of the list here.

This entry was posted in Akron Aeros, Beloit Snappers, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Eastern League, Florida State League, Fort Myers Miracle, Lake County Captains, Memphis Redbirds, Midwest League, New Britain Rock Cats, Pacific Coast League, Quad Cities River Bandits, Tacoma Rainiers. Bookmark the permalink.

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