Midseason Top 50: Injury Can’t Knock Buxton From No. 1

It has been a dangerous year to be a top prospect. Injuries happen every year, but the 2014 season has been worse than usual. The top prospect in baseball, Twins outfielder Byron Buxton, has missed all but five games with a wrist injury. Another preseason top 10 prospect, Twins third baseman Miguel Sano, had Tommy John surgery this spring. Injuries are a recurring theme, but the Joey Gallo-Kris Bryant home run race has given fans something more enjoyable to watch.

Note: 2014 draftees, players in the majors as of July 6 and players who had exhausted rookie eligibility were not eligible for this list.

Rk. Player Pos. Team The Skinny
1 Byron Buxton of Twins Wrist injury has ruined his season, but his long-term potential remains unblemished.
2 Kris Bryant 3b Cubs Power has been just as advertised, while his defense has been better than expected.
3 Carlos Correa ss Astros Broken leg has to heal, but he was ready for Double-A when the injury occurred.
4 Joey Gallo 3b Rangers Gallo’s swing and plate discipline have improved while the power has always played.
5 Addison Russell ss Cubs Missed half the year with a hamstring problem; remains an elite all-around shortstop prospect with his new team
6 Francisco Lindor ss Indians Rare safe and elite prospect as a plus defender who can hit at the top of the order.
7 Javier Baez ss Cubs Long-term potential is still as an elite regular, but he has to moderate his swing-from-the-heels approach.
8 Jon Gray rhp Rockies Hasn’t dominated as much as scouts would like, but has refined his changeup.
9 Miguel Sano 3b Twins Won’t play this season due to Tommy John surgery, so he can commiserate with Buxton.
10 Dylan Bundy rhp Orioles Stuff is bouncing back post-Tommy John surgery, and he should be full speed in 2015.
11 Lucas Giolito rhp Nationals Possesses some of the best pure stuff in the minors, just needs to refine it and stay healthy.
12 Archie Bradley rhp Diamondbacks Elbow injury slowed him, but his stuff is back; now he just needs to improve his command.
13 Julio Urias lhp Dodgers Precocious 17-year-old with plus stuff and advanced feel is dominating high Class A hitters.
14 Blake Swihart c Red Sox Better bat potential, improved defense have made Swihart the game’s best catching prospect.
15 Henry Owens lhp Red Sox Pitched a rain-shortened no-hitter on Opening Day, and he has remained nearly unhittable ever since.
16 Corey Seager ss Dodgers He’s not a shortstop, but as a sweet-swinging lefty with power, he’ll be fine at third base.
17 Austin Hedges c Padres Still an excellent catching prospect, but as with many catchers, his bat is catching up to his glove.
18 Joc Pederson of Dodgers Power/speed prospect will force the Dodgers to clear room for him—or trade him—before long.
19 Noah Syndergaard rhp Mets Las Vegas + elbow problems + banged up shoulder have slowed the progress of the Mets’ top prospect.
20 Robert Stephenson rhp Reds Mediocre season for 21-year-old who needs to develop more consistent command.
21 Tyler Glasnow rhp Pirates Will the control get better? Hitters hope it doesn’t because they can’t hit him.
22 Raul A. Mondesi ss Royals At some point production trumps potential, but as an 18-year-old in the Carolina League he oozes potential.
23 J.P. Crawford ss Phillies Four shortstops in the top 10 will be graduating before long, and Crawford looks ready to take their place.
24 Jameson Taillon rhp Pirates Another Tommy John casualty who has to wait till 2015 to return to pitching.
25 Daniel Norris lhp Blue Jays Nice combo: lefty with three potential plus pitches (fastball, slider, change) and an average curve.
26 Kyle Zimmer rhp Royals Scouts around baseball love him when he pitches, but they sure want to see him get on a mound.
27 Jose Berrios rhp Twins Berrios has always had good feel, but his stuff just keeps getting better to go along with it.
28 David Dahl of Rockies Last year’s disciplinary demotion is old news as Dahl shows he can be a power-hitting center fielder.
29 Jesse Winker of Reds Bat-first outfielder is one of the better pure hitters in the minors and has excellent power potential.
30 Kohl Stewart rhp Twins Yes, Stewart has frontline stuff, but his advanced feel and smooth delivery are just as impressive.
31 Hunter Harvey rhp Orioles Hit a June hiccup, but his combination of plus fastball and plus curveball have blitzed the South Atlantic League.
32 Alex Meyer rhp Twins He’ll likely always have command issues, but Meyer’s fastball/slider combo is enough if he just throws strikes.
33 Arismendy Alcantara 2b Cubs Hard not to like an athletic middle infielder who can play short in a pinch and has power and speed.
34 Luis Severino rhp Yankees Yankees’ breakout prospect is a long way from big leagues but has three potential above-average pitches.
35 Josh Bell of Pirates In the year of the prospect injury, Bell is a rare example of a prospect returning to health and improving.
36 Braden Shipley rhp Diamondbacks Athletic pitcher with above-average fastball and changeup has a delivery that allows him to repeat consistently.
37 Nick Kingham rhp Pirates He’s not flashy, but with a repeatable delivery, solid stuff and some feel, he fits as a mid-rotation arm.
38 Jimmy Nelson rhp Brewers There are few healthy pitchers in the upper minors with stuff and results this year, and Nelson leads the way.
39 Hunter Dozier 3b Royals Surprise top-10 pick last year doesn’t look so surprising now, with bat and defense to profile at third base.
40 Kevin Plawecki c Mets Mets might have a tough choice between catchers Travis d’Arnaud and Plawecki down the road.
41 Matt Wisler rhp Padres Improved changeup has helped him against lefties, which was his biggest to-do item.
42 Clint Frazier of Indians Season has been less than one would hope for a top-five draft pick, but he has shown flashes in his first full year.
43 Austin Meadows of Pirates Sound familiar? A Pirates prospect whose season has been ruined by injury.
44 Aaron Blair rhp Diamondbacks Big righthander has improved his curveball to go along with lively fastball and excellent changeup.
45 Jorge Alfaro c Rangers Amazing tools, but he still has a lot of refinement ahead; his receiving in particular is inconsistent.
46 D.J. Peterson 3b/1b Mariners He’s not a third baseman long-term, but Peterson has a short stroke that provides hits and power.
47 Dalton Pompey of Blue Jays Toolsy center fielder’s bat has caught up to rest of his tools in a breakout start in the Florida State League.
48 Brandon Nimmo of Mets Nimmo keeps adding size and strength, and his excellent idea of the strike zone remains his foundation skill.
49 Stephen Piscotty of Cardinals Fast-moving outfielder gets lost in Oscar Taveras’ shadow, but his hit tool is impressive as well.
50 Maikel Franco 3b Phillies As great as Franco’s first half was last year, he has been equally poor this year; long-term outlook remains bright.