With the shipment of Justin Morneau to the Pittsburgh Pirates and Joe Mauer‘s increasingly frequent appearances on the disabled list, the Minnesota Twins will be looking to the youth movement in the coming seasons for a much needed breath of fresh air.
The Twins farm system is stocked with not one, but two prospects currently ranked in the top three overall on MLB’s 2013 Prospect Watch List.
Topping the list at number one is 19-year-old Georgia boy Byron Buxton, an all-around talented outfielder with speed that has occasionally allowed him to reach three bases on hits to left field.
Currently playing for the Class A Advanced Fort Myers Miracle, the 6-foot-2 189-pound Buxton boasts a .415 on base percentage and has stolen 105 bases while playing in the minor leagues.
Buxton’s speed will be a welcome addition to the Twins lineup, particularly in center field where the squad has been lacking a dominant outfielder since losing superstar Torii Hunter in 2008.
To complement Buxton’s quickness is 20-year-old power hitter Miguel Sano, currently ranked third on the prospects list.
Hailing from the Dominican Republic, Sano regularly hits balls 400 plus feet to any field with ease. At 6-foot-3 195-pounds, Sano has already knocked 55 out of the park while playing for the Class AA New Britain Rock Cats and carries an impressive .578 slugging percentage.
While Sano is currently stationed at third base for the Rock Cats, his defensive prowess will need to further develop if he hopes to one day find himself as a mainstay infielder in the majors.
Though not gaining the national recognition of Buxton and Sano, there are other players in the Twins system who are not to be overlooked.
Alex Meyer, a 23 year-old Indiana native and teammate of Sano for New Britain, is a towering pitcher who at 6-foot-9 would be the tallest member of the Twins bullpen. Ranked at 33 on the MLB’s prospect list, the hard-throwing Meyer could be just what the Twins need to spark their perpetually struggling pitching rotation.
Twins prospects also making the top 100 list are 18-year-old pitcher Kohl Stewart and 21-year-old second baseman Eddie Rosario, ranked 62 and 64 respectively.
Expected arrival dates for the Twins’ top prospects vary from as early as next season (Meyer) to as far off as 2017 (Stewart).
Buxton, Sano, and Rosario are anticipated to make their major league debuts in the 2015 season, and as their stats continue to rise it will become difficult for Twins management to resist pulling them up early.
However, it would be wise for the Twins to proceed with caution following the disappointment that ensued when they jumped the gun and called up up center fielder Aaron Hicks for the 2013 season. The underdeveloped rookie Hicks floundered on the major league stage and is currently struggling to improve a poor .188 average for the minor league Rochester Red Wings.
It is too soon to say whether the prospect group that is brewing in the Twins farm system will be enough to save the squad in the coming years. But hey, the Twins are in the midst of their third straight under .500 season and it can only go up from here, right?
Caroline Ponessa is a Minnesota Twins writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter @sweetCaro_____