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Updated: July 8th, 2014 4:29pm
With Buxton in mind, how have No. 1 prospects historically performed?

With Buxton in mind, how have No. 1 prospects historically performed?

Audio Clip
7/7/2014
Sports Over Beers, episode 23. Dave St. Peter on the All-Star Game
Twins President Dave St. Peter joins the Sports Over Beers podcast to talk about this year's All-Star Game at Target Field. The best events of All-Star week, the concert at TCF Bank Stadium, the color run, the parade down Nicollet Mall, the Futures Game, the Home Run Derby and the rest of the party. Are there tickets available for any of the events for the week? Where can fans go to find tickets or seating for any of the All-Star events? How will the Twins and the city of Minneapolis benefit from hosting All-Star week at Target Field? Glen Perkins and Kurt Suzuki will be in the game, but several others with Twins ties will be involved, too. What upgrades have the Twins made to Target Field to make the All-Star Game as good as it can be? -- How were season ticket sales affected by the All-Star Game, and how will that change once the game is a thing of the past? What is St. Peter most looking forward to? (AllStarGame.com.) -- Also, from Mason's Barre in downtown Minneapolis, Phil Mackey and Derek Wetmore have a couple Shock Tops and chat about their expectations for the All-Star Game. What do you want to see in this year’s game and surrounding events (read: party)? Does Justin Morneau stand a chance to make it in the Final Vote? #VoteMorneau. Did Brian Dozier get robbed? How cool is it that Pat Neshek made it? Special thanks to Mason's Barre and Shock Top.
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by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com

Unless you're really interested in baseball prospects, you probably aren't terribly familiar with Todd Van Poppel. But even if you don't follow baseball you've heard of Alex Rodriguez.

They had strikingly dissimilar careers. Van Poppel was a pitcher in 90's and early 2000's. Rodriguez is one of a few dozen players among the greatest to ever play the game. Their common bond? Each player once was rated as the No. 1 prospect by Baseball America.

I draw the comparison because Byron Buxton, who very recently resumed playing games for the Fort Myers Miracle (Class-A Advanced) sits atop Baseball America's latest prospect list. The wrist injury that has sidelined the Twins' top prospect hasn't tarnished his luster or prospect status, according to the scouting publication.

Let's look back in time at how other BA top prospects panned out:

Year

BA's No. 1 prospect

Quick stats

Career WAR

2014

Byron Buxton

 

 

2013

Jurickson Profar

.231/.301/.343 in 94 games

-0.5

2012

Bryce Harper

.271/.351/.470 in 286 games

7.9

2011

Bryce Harper

.271/.351/.470 in 286 games

7.9

2010

Jason Heyward

.256/.348/.430 in 619 games

19.2

2009

Matt Wieters

.257/.320/.423, 683 games

15.1

2008

Jay Bruce

.255/.329/.477, 900 games

16.8

2007

Daisuke Matsuzaka

56-43, 4.42 ERA, 149 games

10.8

2006

Delmon Young

.283/.316/.423 in 1,026 games

-0.9

2005

Joe Mauer

.320/.401/.461 in 1,254 games

44.4

2004

Joe Mauer

.320/.401/.461 in 1,254 games

44.4

2003

Mark Teixeira

.276/.367/.522 in 1,579 games

41.5

2002

Josh Beckett

138-105, 3.86 ERA, 332 games

39.6

2001

Josh Hamilton

.294/.355/.526 in 928 games

27.1

2000

Rick Ankiel*

13-10, 3.90 ERA, 51 games

3.4

1999

J.D. Drew

.278/.384/.489 in 1,566 games

44.9

1998

Ben Grieve

.269/.367/.442 in 976 games

6.6

1997

Andruw Jones

.254/.337/.486 in 2,196 games

67.6

1996

Andruw Jones

.254/.337/.486 in 2,196 games

67.6

1995

Alex Rodriguez

.299/.384/.558 in 2,568 games

111.0

1994

Cliff Floyd

.278/.358/.482 in 1,621 games

23.4

1993

Chipper Jones

.303/.401/.529 in 2,499 games

84.8

1992

Brien Taylor

 

 

1991

Todd Van Poppel

40-52, 5.58 ERA, 359 games

1.4

1990

Steve Avery

96-83, 4.19 ERA, 297 games

20.3

Source: BaseballAmerica.com, Fangraphs.com

*I included Ankiel's pitching stats because that's how he was regarded as a prospect.

(Remember, it's far too early to judge Bryce Harper's career or that of Jurickson Profar, but many of these players we have enough games to at least feel like we have a fair assessment of how good they are or can be.)

--

So is Buxton a sure star? Not exactly. But it would be surprising to see Buxton, if healthy, not turn into a productive player in the Majors.

One thing that's noted about Buxton is that he's strong in every facet of the game. Even if -- for some unforeseen reason -- he's unable to hit for power or average as he climbs the ladder, Buxton has enough tools that he wouldn't be useless. In other words, he's a "safe" prospect. Many project he'll be a star, but there's always some amount of uncertainty with those projections. There's value, though, in a super-speedy, strong-armed center fielder who can steal bases at will. And none of that has anything do with learning how to hit or lay off Major League sliders.

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
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