We all know that the Twins would not be better long-term, from either a cost-control or developmental standpoint, to have Byron Buxton or Miguel Sano in the majors to start the 2014 season, but it would make them better this season, writes Michael Rand of The Minnesota Star-Tribune. This opinion is based on Dan Szymborski’s ZIPS projections that were posted on FanGraphs earlier this week.
That ZIPS projects the prospect pair as two of the Twins more productive players as early this season is a testament both to how talented they are as players as well as the pathetic nature of the Twins roster. Buxton and Sano will together be the centerpiece of the Twins future, and if all goes right, both could be in the majors by the end of the season, but they should both spend the majority of the 2014 season in the minors.
Buxton has yet to play in Double-A and would be making a tremendously difficult jump. Sano spent the second half of 2013 in Double-A and still showed off his tremendous power, but he hit just .236 and struck out a ton. He also has a strained elbow that could require surgery.
I believe in what the ZIPS projections are saying, that Buxton are Sano would be two of the Twins most productive players behind Joe Mauer, but they shouldn't be. The Twins aren't ready to head back in the right direction just yet, and wasting a season of either of their two top prospects on a terrible 2014 season would be a shame. The Twins have one of the better farm systems in the game and some of thei best high-end prospects in baseball. They have the makings of a competitive core of players that could be in the majors for good by 2015.
But in 2014, they will be bad, and there's no amount of production that Buxton and Sano can provide that will change that. The perennially cash-strapped Twins can't afford to call up their top prospects until they are ready to contribute at as close to 100 percent of their potential as possible.