Ranking 21st overall as the fifth-best outfielder on the top 100 prospects list is kind of a big deal, but these two rankings are still incredibly low when considering the work that George Springer has put in for the Houston Astros‘ minor league system.
Springer is a little older (24) than most of the prospects that landed in front of him, but age should not have that much of an effect on a prospect’s ranking. It should depend on who is most likely to produce at the major league level. By that grade, Springer is second to very few.
Let’s compare him to some of the top-rated prospects in the game. Minnesota Twins‘ third base prospect Miguel Sano was referred to as one of the best raw power hitters in all of the minor leagues. In 439 at-bats between advanced-A and double-A ball, Sano hit .280 with 35 home runs and 103 RBIs.
Compare that to Springer, who split the season between double-A and triple-A, managing a .303 average with 37 home runs and 108 RBIs with only 50 more at-bats. Also factor in his 48 stolen bases to Sano’s 11.
Then there’s another Twins prospect, Byron Buxton, the no. one overall prospect in the league. Buxton split time between single-A and advanced-A, putting together a .334 average with 12 home runs and 77 RBIs in 488 at bats while adding 55 steals. The Astros passed over Buxton to draft Carlos Correa first overall in 2012. That’s because the Astros had Springer and didn’t need Buxton.
Again, those two Twins’ prospects are younger and have more time to develop, but when it comes to five tools that are already developed and ready for the majors, no one is better than Springer. If the main criteria of evaluation of a prospect was who could most directly impact their MLB club as soon as possible, Springer would be no. 1.