Notable Quotables — Thoughts on the Top 100: 1-10
By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com
The Minor League season has come and gone and, sadly, that means Notable Quotables will be heading into hibernation until the games start up again next spring. We’ll still have plenty of regular content, both here on the blog and over at MiLB.com, but to celebrate the end of the 2013 season and the temporary end of this column, we’re going to bring you a “Best Of” from this summer featuring each of MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects.
A quick note: Although we managed to feature just about every Top 100 prospect this season, there are a few who evaded our eyes/tape recorders for one reason or another. In that case, rather than leave you hanging, we’re going to drop in one fun fact or statistical quirk of note that hopefully reveals a little something about the player.
1. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins
Fort Myers manager Doug Mientkiewicz prior to Buxton’s promotion to the FSL:
“I wanted him out of Spring Training, I kept at it at every meeting: ‘You know, he needs some humidity, he needs to come here first.’
“But he maybe spent 10 days with my team in Spring Training and I got to kind of know him on a personal level, a little better. Obviously, the tools are through the roof, but his parents would be proud at how he handles himself, a great kid. He still says, ‘Yes, sir’ and I get mad at him because I’m not that old yet.”
2. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Taveras on the lingering ankle issues that eventually cut his season short:
“I have problems a little when I run on the bases. … I try to get better every day, putting the tape on my ankle and exercising in the training room. I try to get better because that’s hard to play that way. I just want to play. I want to help the team.”
Taveras added that the ankle caused a little manageable discomfort when he swings. “When I try to push too hard, just a little, not too much.”
3. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins
Fort Myers manager Doug Mientkiewicz on Sano’s makeup:
“He’s a phenomenal kid, wise beyond his years. He’s a great teammate, one thing he did was take guys underneath his wing. He was great to kids, great to fans, and the guys really responded to him. He’s a future team leader.
“He wants to do really well. He doesn’t take at-bats off. He understands the importance of being a good teammate. Obviously, the talent speaks for itself, but it’s the other stuff that I was pleasantly surprised at, how well he treated everyone with the team.”
4. Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners
Tacoma manager John Stearns after Walker’s Triple-A debut:
“To think he’s here doing this at age 20, at this level, you can really fantasize about what’s going to happen in the future with him.
“It was really one of the most incredible, really impressive performances and showed the maturity of him; his baseball IQ maturity at a young age was just tremendous.”
5. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
Indians assistant director of player development Carter Hawkins on Lindor’s athleticism:
“He’s extremely well-rounded, instinctual as well. … He has outstanding hands, arms and agility. He’s one of the most agile guys in the organization in the last five to 10 years in terms of pure physical measurements. Given that, he’s able to make almost any play at the shortstop position, and his natural baseball intelligence on top of that makes him a valuable asset.
“His quick feet, decision-making, arm strength, quick hands, his knowledge of the game — all that allows him to lead the infield as a shortstop and be that field general.”
6. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox
Pawtucket manager Gary DiSarcina on his initial impressions of Bogaerts:
“I was around Mike Trout the past couple of years and it doesn’t amaze me what these 20-year-old kids can do these days. … He fits right in with this team and he plays with a lot of energy.
“He’s still learning the game, especially some of the intricacies of the position. He needs to do things better.
“He retains information and he applies it,” DiSarcina said. “You can tell he’s a quick learner and he doesn’t want to make the same mistake twice. He is driven by that. He wants to be successful.”
7. Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona D-backs
Bradley on his Minor League experience to date:
“The one thing people have said coming into pro ball is enjoy the process, understand that what you’re learning here is all to prepare yourself for the big leagues. And that’s the approach I came in with. And with the help of our pitching coach here [in Mobile], Dan Carlson, he’s just helped me tremendously as far as the mental part. … Physically, I felt I was on my way, but mentally, the strides I’ve made are tremendous.
“You know that giving up a run is OK. You never want to give it up, but understanding that there are situations where it’s OK. Giving up one run in a certain situation won’t kill your outing. It’s how you pitch out of jams, do damage control, understanding how to go deeper and controlling the emotions, everything that’s mental about pitching.”
8. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
Quad Cities manager Omar Lopez in May on his instructions for Correa:
“It’s not that he’s chasing the ball or he’s got a bad approach or that he’s overmatched. … Sometimes he’s too anxious. He’s 18 and anxious. He needs to be more under control. I understand. He probably has high expectations and high goals for this season — we don’t.
“We told him, ‘You hit this, you hit this, you’re fine.’ We looked at shortstops in the big leagues and how was their first season in pro ball, and they were hitting .240, 36 errors, but now they’re superstars. It’s a process.”
9. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs
Tennessee hitting coach Desi Wilson on Baez’s development from August 2012 through August 2013:
“Last year, I think everything was speeding up for him. Basically, he was just swinging at everything they threw up to him. Everything was going so fast. He was just trying to do too much. Him going to big league camp, going to Spring Training and the work he’s done, it obviously has paid off because his leg kick is not as high as it was last year.
“Last year, he wasn’t selective at all. He was swinging early in the count. Now, he’s not afraid to fall behind, 0-1, 0-2. That’s the difference I see in Javy. He’s not swinging as early in counts, being a lot more selective in his [at-bats] compared to last year.”
10. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Taillon on returning to Double-A after getting a taste of the level in 2012:
“Coming up here last year and having some success, even a small bit, gives me confidence that I can get guys out at this level. … My last couple of years, I started strong and hit a wall. I think I’ve gotten better with in-game adjustments.
“As a whole, the game is a little cleaner, a little faster [at Double-A]. The hitters don’t miss mistakes. That’s probably No. 1.”