Even though the weather outside for most of the country doesn’t suggest it, Major League Baseball’s 2015 season is just around the corner. That means MLB Network had to unveil its list of the Top 100 Prospects, which didn’t surprise anyone by naming Minnesota’s Byron Buxton as the No. 1 overall player. 

Jim Callis of MLB.com tweeted out how close the race was between Buxton, Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant and Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa:

The official list was released on a television special Friday night, as the top 25 prospects were unveiled. All week MLB.com has been releasing snippets of the list, including top 10 players at each position, but finally the master list is out for consumption. 

Here’s a look at the top 25:

Full Top 100 can be found on MLB.com


One of the most interesting debates for prospect hounds right now is if you would rather have Kris Bryant or Byron Buxton. A similar question was asked four years ago with Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, who have both gone on to do some decent things in their respective careers. 

Those in the Bryant camp will start by noting his absurd power, like Callis on MLB.com when discussing the top third base prospects:

Since signing for a $6,708,400 bonus, a record for a Cub and for a college position player, Bryant has gone deep 52 times in 174 games and led the Minors in homers (43), extra-base hits (78), total bases (325), slugging (.661) and OPS (1.098) in his first full pro season…Ready for Wrigley Field right now, he should hit for a lot of power, draw plenty of walks and play a capable third base.

When you think of how precious power is in this era of baseball, with 2014 producing the fewest home runs per game since 1992 (h/t Baseball-Reference), Bryant is a rare species to find. It also helps that he projects to hit for average and get on base at a high clip. 

People who prefer Buxton will point out that he plays a more important position (center field) and projects to have plus tools across the board, which is what Sam Dykstra of MiLB.com wrote:

Buxton’s profile didn’t take any steps back — nor should it have, given the freak nature of his injuries last season — as both players earned 70 overall grades. If there’s any tiebreaker, it might be that Buxton got above-average 60 grades or better on each of his five tools while Bryant was given average 50s for running and fielding.

Callis also tweeted out the list of reasons why Buxton remained at No. 1 on the prospect list despite a lost 2014 season:

There are two separating factors for Bryant right now, despite being “only” the No. 2 prospect heading into 2015: MLB readiness and health. 

As Callis wrote, Bryant could step into the Cubs’ lineup out of spring training ready to make an impact. He may not, simply as a way to delay his service time, but the fact that it’s plausible helps make his value. 

While no one thinks that Buxton is injury prone, he was limited to 31 games last season due to a wrist injury early in the year and a concussion suffered in August. Losing those reps set his MLB timetable back, as a healthy 2014 could have led to an appearance in Minnesota at some point this year. 

Whatever side you take in the Bryant vs. Buxton debate, there’s little separating the two in terms of talent. They boast very different skills, but have MVP potential as soon as they arrive in The Show. 

All of the preseason accolades for Bryant could be a prelude to a star-making 2015 season in Chicago. Assuming he gets called up soon enough, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft will be the heavy favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year. 

Given what the Cubs have done in the offseason by hiring Joe Maddon as manager and signing Jon Lester to lead the rotation, adding Bryant and the bevy of talented prospects to the lineup will make playoff talk in Wrigley a reality very soon. 

Buxton just has to remain healthy, and he should have no problem putting those insane tools to good use, though 2016 seems more realistic to see him in a Minnesota uniform. Until then, just sit back and enjoy watching this talented star develop.

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