Buxton No. 1 on list of Top 100 Prospects
Sano comes in at No. 4; pitchers Meyer, Stewart and Berrios also make cut
MINNEAPOLIS -- The accolades keep coming for Twins prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano.
Buxton was named baseball's top prospect by MLB.com on Thursday, while Sano was ranked as the No. 4 overall prospect. The Twins had five players ranked among the game's Top 100 prospects, as right-handers Alex Meyer (No. 28), Kohl Stewart (No. 40) and J.O. Berrios (No. 90) also cracked the list.
The Twins were also one of just six clubs with at least five players in the Top 100, joining the Red Sox (nine), Cubs (seven), Astros (seven), Pirates (six) and Rangers (five).
The annual ranking of baseball's biggest and brightest young talent is assembled by MLBPipeline.com Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis , who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. The list, which is one of several prospect rankings on MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Watch , only includes players with rookie status in 2014.
Buxton, who turned 20 on Dec. 18, dominated in his first full year in the Minors, hitting a combined .334/.424/.520 with 12 homers, 18 triples, 19 doubles, 55 stolen bases, 77 RBIs and 109 runs in 125 games with Class A Cedar Rapids and Class A Advanced Fort Myers last season.
He started the year ranked as baseball's No. 19 overall prospect, but rocketed all the way to the top of MLB.com's rankings when the midseason rankings were announced in late July. He was also named the Topps Minor League Player of the Year and Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year, while earning comparisons to big league stars such as Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen.
"I got a lot better," Buxton said in December. "My pitch recognition got better. My discipline and patience got better and I drove the ball into the gap. I also got better at situational hitting and drove in some runs when we needed it."
Sano, 20, also had an impressive year in the Minors, hitting a combined .280/.382/.610 with 35 homers, 30 doubles and 103 RBIs in 123 games split between Class A Advanced Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain.
The third baseman is considered the game's premier power prospect, and could make his Major League debut early this summer. He's rehabbing a strained ulnar collateral ligament suffered this offseason, but isn't likely to undergo ligament-replacement surgery.
Meyer, 24, posted a 3.21 ERA with 84 strikeouts in 70 innings at Double-A New Britain last season, missing time with a shoulder strain. But he finished the season healthy and fared well in the Arizona Fall League, posting a 3.12 ERA with 28 strikeouts and seven walks in 26 innings.
Like Buxton and Sano, the 6-foot-9 right-hander will be in big league camp this spring. But Meyer isn't expected to crack the rotation until later in the season, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said in December.
"To say he's going to make my team out of Spring Training, I'll never say no because I don't want any player coming in to Spring Training thinking they don't have a chance," Gardenhire said. "But he's a long shot just because he didn't pitch a lot of innings last year, and we want to make sure we do the right thing. But he has a definite chance sometime throughout the year next year probably to get a chance to pitch."
Stewart, 19, was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft from St. Pius X High School in Houston. The 6-foot-3 right-hander made his professional debut last season, posting a 1.69 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 16 innings in the Gulf Coast League before tossing four scoreless innings with eight strikeouts for Rookie-level Elizabethton.
And Berrios, 19, had another strong showing in the Minors after excelling in his first year of pro ball in 2012, upon being selected as the No. 32 overall selection in '12 Draft. The 6-foot right-hander posted a 3.99 ERA with 100 strikeouts and 40 walks in 103 2/3 innings at Class A Cedar Rapids.
He also pitched for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic and is expected to start the year at Class A Advanced Fort Myers.
Fellow Puerto Rico native Eddie Rosario was ranked among the Top 100 in the midseason prospect rankings but fell off the list this year. He was ranked as the game's No. 8 second baseman prospect in the positional rankings released on Monday, but will start out the season on a 50-game suspension for a second violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.