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Another day, another prospect list with Byron Buxton No. 1

Jan 29, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

Byron Buxton AP

At this point I might be getting sick of writing these “Byron Buxton named No. 1 prospect by X” posts, except I’m a Twins fan and it’s negative-10 degrees here in Minnesota and it’s basically all I’ve got.

Anyway, the latest to pick Buxton as the best prospect in the world is Keith Law of ESPN.com, who released his annual top-100 rankings today.

Buxton–who was previously ranked No. 1 by Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com, along with my heart–is followed on Law’s list by Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox, Addison Russell of the A’s, Carlos Correa of the Astros, and Oscar Taveras of the Cardinals.

  1. dluxxx - Jan 29, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    There it is. That ESPN paywall again…

    Good to know that Buxton is the consensus top prospect though. Now we just need to struggle through a few more years before he makes the jump…

  2. drunkhistorian - Jan 29, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    Another day another advertisement for ESPN on a NBC site.

  3. paperlions - Jan 29, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    Why is it that people rail against “advertisements” for ESPN but ignore the fact that nearly EVERY SINGLE POST ON HBT links to something written by someone else that is affiliated with a network or paper….many of which are also people at ESPN and many of which come from sites that don’t give away all of their content for free.

    …and for people complaining about not get the fruits of someone’s labor for free, you should realize that almost none of the worthwhile content would exist if people didn’t get paid for their efforts…sometimes it is subscriptions and sometimes it is ad space.

    • drunkhistorian - Jan 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      I’m just bitter since I signed up for insider for like $12 and they tried auto-renewing a couple weeks ago at $49.95, right before these lists which were the only reason I had signed up in the first place :)

    • billybawl - Jan 29, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      I agree with paperlions, but find it a little odd that HBT made a point of not summarizing Law’s work because it was behind a paywall, but, e.g., had no problem with summarizing Verducci’s article at length. If the purpose of not summarizing Law is because he worked hard and deserves to get paid, same would be true for Verducci even though his revenue is generated by ad hits.

      • daveitsgood - Jan 29, 2014 at 3:39 PM

        You’re missing the obvious difference. One is free content (i.e. Verducci’s artcile) that can be accessed by anybody w/an internet connection, the other exists behind the paywall. You can debate the free vs paid content and access philosophy all you want, but it’s not an apples to apples scenarios as you suggest it to be. Should KLaw post the same information on his own website or in the free content section of ESPN, I’m sure Craig provide the same type of summary as a Verducci or Heyman (kidding) article in the same sphere.

      • billybawl - Jan 29, 2014 at 4:24 PM

        Dave, I obviously see the difference. But if summarizing Verducci’s freely accessed post in some detail here keeps me from visiting the source, then Verducci has been deprived of revenue. And in the Verducci case, I didn’t bother to click through because the summary on HBT was pretty detailed.

        I’m all for compiling stories from around the internet (that’s why I’m here), but I think it’s a bit inconsistent to treat paywall and free stories differently. Maybe the message is that posting behind a paywall carries a “don’t summarize this” message. But that’s not what Craig said in his Law post — he said that Law deserved to get paid for his hard work.

    • sawxalicious - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:33 AM

      I don’t have any problem with sites that have paid subscriptions. I won’t pay for them, but that’s my prerogative. I prefer to use the sites that generate their revenue via advertising, so it costs me nothing. Would those that complain about HBT referencing an article on a pay site expect to get into a Major League baseball game for free because it is described here? No way…Baseball is a business, and so is reporting on it.

  4. happytwinsfan - Jan 29, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    are hicks or gibson on anybody’s list, or are they no longer in the “prospect” category because they played part of a season at the mlb level?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 29, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      Both Gibson (51 IP) and Hicks (313 PA) exceeds Klaw’s criteria (50IP/150PA).

  5. nolasoxfan2012 - Jan 29, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    I’m sure this will get me bombarded with thumbs-down, but doesn’t it seem like everyone has gotten just a tiny bit carried away by someone who has only played a total of 57 games at high-A? Buxton is a great prospect, but he hasn’t even made the jump to AA yet. How will he look against advanced pitching? How will he adjust? The failure rate on guys who look really good in A-ball is very, very high. I guess I’m just a little surprised by the extent to which literally everyone has jumped on his bandwagon as the number one prospect in all of baseball, especially since he still has the biggest developmental hurdles in front of him.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 29, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      A 19 year old with plus defense in CF and a .415 OBP in High A (FSL) is extremely valuable. You’re right that he hasn’t reached AA yet, but he’ll still be really young as a 20 year old in AA in 2014.

      • nolasoxfan2012 - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        “Extremely valuable” doesn’t necessarily equal being the best prospect in baseball. Lots of guys are “extremely valuable.” Being 19 in high-A is really good, but it’s not that exceptional. Again, he’s awesome. But, he’s got a huge developmental hurdle coming up that will likely either enhance or degrade everyone’s perception of him. Doing really well in A-ball, even at a very young age, isn’t a guarantee of success. There’s just too much that can happen along the way.

        If he romps in AA at age 20 that will mean a lot more. Usually the analysts and prognosticators wait at least that long to rank someone at the top of the prospect list. A few recent examples:
        Jurickson Profar had already mashed at AA at age 19 before he was named BA top prospect in 2013.
        Jason Heyward had already mashed at AA at age 19 before he was named BA top prospect in 2010.
        Matt Wieters had already mashed at AA at age 22 before he was named BA top prospect in 2009.
        Jay Bruce had already mashed at AA and AAA at age 20 before he was named BA top prospect in 2008.
        Delmon Young had already mashed at AA at age 19 before he was named BA top prospect in 2006.

        There are a few exceptions there, with Bryce Harper being a big one, but the book is still out on him. In any case, he was in the majors by the time he was 19.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 29, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        Being 19 in high-A is really good, but it’s not that exceptional.

        I didn’t say being in High A at 19 was exceptional, I said a 19 year old CF with plus defense and .415 OBP is exceptional. Per KLaw, he’s got at least 4 plus tools (60 on the 20-80 scale) and plays a premium position. KLaw says he gives more credit to upside than closeness to the majors.

        The BA rankings aren’t equivalent because it’s an entirely different publication. It’s how KLaw has 3 Yankees in his top 100 and most other lists have only 1, maybe 2 (Klaw is the only one that has Austin on the list).

        Also you seem to concentrate on SLG, as Buxton has a significantly higher OBP than everyone you listed at the same age (Profar – .368, Bruce – .355, Young – .386, Heyward – .369 at High A). Wieters was still in college.

    • sawxalicious - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:40 AM

      Not doing a thumbs down, but the whole point of the “Prospect” list is guestimating the value they will have to their organization once they reach the major leagues along with their tools and ceiling. At Buxton’s age, he’s adjusting to pro baseball pretty well. If a 26 year old has the same numbers as Buxton, at the same level, there is less value to the organization because once he reaches the majors and contributes, his productive period will typically last a lot less than a guy that may reach the majors at 20 or 21 years of age. With the pay structure of baseball combined with scarcity of talent, THAT is value.

  6. APBA Guy - Jan 29, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    I’m just staggered that the A’s have a prospect ranked so high (Russell, SS, at # 3). That he hasn’t been traded yet shows how difficult the A’s search for a shortstop has been. Lowrie can hit, but his defense at short is below league average. Russell’s at AAA now, so we might see him by early Summer, with Lowrie moving to second.

  7. historiophiliac - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    Why does everything have to be videos these days? :(

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