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Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and great prospect duos

Jul 9, 2013, 1:18 PM EDT

Byron Buxton AP

Baseball America released its midseason top 50 prospects list yesterday–updating their preseason list based on performances, injuries, and graduations to the majors–and the Twins had 19-year-old center fielder Byron Buxton at No. 1 and 20-year-old third baseman Miguel Sano at No. 3.

Preseason lists are the standard for measuring prospect status and things could change between now and the official 2014 version, but I thought it would be interesting to go back through Baseball America‘s archives looking for other instances of one team having multiple prospects in the top five.

2009: Braves had Tommy Hanson at No. 4 and Jason Heyward at No. 5.
2006: Diamondbacks had Justin Upton at No. 4 and Stephen Drew at No. 5.
2004: Devil Rays had B.J. Upton at No. 2 and Delmon Young at No. 3.
1999: Cardinals had J.D. Drew at No. 1 and Rick Ankiel at No. 2.
1998: Dodgers had Paul Konerko at No. 2 and Adrian Beltre at No. 3.
1995: Yankees had Ruben Rivera at No. 2 and Derek Jeter at No. 4.
1994: Blue Jays had Alex Gonzalez at No. 4 and Carlos Delgado at No. 5.

Seven times in the past 24 seasons a team has placed multiple prospects in Baseball America‘s top five, which is actually more often than I’d have guessed. It’s interesting that there are two sets of brothers (the Uptons and the Drews) included in the sample of 14 total players. And the presence of Delmon Young is kind of a buzzkill for Twins fans attempting to get swept up in the Buxton-Sano hype.

Of those seven pairs of top-five prospect teammates only the 1998 Dodgers’ duo of Konerko and Beltre both went on to have lengthy, star-caliber careers. Drew and Ankiel for the 1999 Cardinals were both headed to sustained stardom before Ankiel’s pitching career imploded suddenly and the 2009 Braves’ pair of Hanson and Heyward were briefly both stars before injuries wrecked Hanson. In general, having two top-five prospects has usually just meant ending up with one star.

  1. rbj1 - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Ah yes, the good old Ruben Rivera era. Not that great at stealing though. Say whatever happened to that Derek Jeter fellow?

  2. paul621 - Jul 9, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Fun fact (unless you’re a Nats fan): The Nats could have had 1-2 in 2011 if they drafted a bit differently. Also, they had #1 two years in a row– if Strasburg went a bit slower, that probably would have given them 1-2, too. (Or, 1-2-3 in the alternate draft universe.)

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