The Midwest League continues to be a conduit through which many of baseball’s top prospects pass. The latest evidence of this comes from MLB.com’s recently-released list of top prospects; eight of the top 11 players are former Midwest Leaguers.
Of the top 11 prospects, only Chicago Cubs 3B Kris Bryant (No. 2) and Washington Nationals RHP Lucas Giolito (No. 6) didn’t play in the Midwest League.
Topping the list is Minnesota Twins OF Byron Buxton, who maintained his No. 1 rank despite an injury-plagued 2014 season. Buxton was the Midwest League Most Valuable Player and Prospect of the Year in 2013 when he batted .341 with 8 HR, 55 RBI and 32 SB in 68 games with the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
Houston Astros SS Carlos Correa is ranked third. He batted .320 with 9 HR and 86 RBI in 117 games with the 2013 Quad Cities River Bandits.
Coming in at No. 4 is Cleveland Indians SS Francisco Lindor, who batted .257 with 6 HR, 42 RBI and 27 SB in 122 games with the 2012 Lake County Captains.
Rounding out the top five is Cubs SS Addison Russell, who briefly played in the Midwest League as an Oakland Athletics prospect in 2012. He batted .310 with 9 RBI and 5 SB in 16 games with the Burlington Bees.
A pair of Los Angeles Dodgers prospects, SS Corey Seager and LHP Julio Urias, are ranked No. 7 and No. 8, respectively.
Seager played with the Loons in 2013, batting .309 with 12 HR and 57 RBI in 74 games.
Urias also played for Great Lakes in 2013, going 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 54.1 IP. The Mexican pitcher was only 16 years old when he made his professional debut with the Loons, making him a Midwest League rarity. He turned 18 last August.
New York Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard is ranked No. 10. As a Toronto Blue Jays prospect, he spent the entire 2012 season in the Midwest League after starting two games there in 2011. Overall he went 8-5 with a 2.64 ERA, one save, and 131 strikeouts in 112.2 IP.
The No. 11 prospect is Twins 3B Miguel Sano, who dropped from the No. 7 spot after missing the entire 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last March. The Dominican slugger was the Midwest League prospect of the year in 2012, when he manned the hot corner for the Beloit Snappers. He batted .258 with 28 HR and 100 RBI in 129 games.
Only one other player dropped out of the top 10: Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Archie Bradley, who dropped from No. 9 last year to No. 15 this year. He pitched for the 2012 South Bend Silver Hawks, going 12-6 with a 3.84 ERA and 152 strikeouts in 136 IP.