What I’m Hearing: USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale reveals that the San Diego Padres may have been the most shocked party when the news broke that Manny Machado would accept their offer.
Not all minor league prospects, even the most highly regarded ones, have instant success once they reach the majors. With all the hype and sky-high expectations behind them, it’s sometimes easier for players to break out a few years down the road.
The 2019 season could be a coming-out party for two talented 25-year-olds who have seen plenty of time on top prospects lists through the years.
This pair may not have qualified for the USA TODAY Sports 100 Names to Know list for the new season, but both have shown some flashes of greatness in the majors and fans should remember their names from years past.
OF Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins
The second overall pick in the 2012 draft has had more than his share of ups and downs in his career. In fact, he’s split his time between the majors and the minors in each of the four seasons since he made his MLB debut.
He’s shown flashes of brilliance – such as the second half of 2017, when he hit .300/.347/.546 with 11 home runs and 13 stolen bases. But migraines and a broken toe limited him to 94 plate appearances, a .156 average and no homers with the Twins last year.
But now he’s fully healthy entering spring training. Buxton’s elite speed and outstanding defense will keep him in the lineup everyday. And that will give his true talent the opportunity to shine. He proved his 20-homer power in 2017 and his 90.2% career stolen base success rate (46-for-51) hints at 40-steal potential.
SP Tyler Glasnow, Tampa Bay Rays
Glasnow was absolutely dominant in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ minor league system, posting a 1.95 ERA in 245 innings at Class AAA. But the tables turned every time he got a chance in the majors.
However, he showed significant progress last season, making subtle changes to his pitch mix after being dealt to Tampa Bay at the trade deadline. Throwing his 96 mph fastball less frequently made it more effective – and his first-pitch strike rate went from 52% with the Pirates to 65% with the Rays.
His 4.27 ERA doesn’t stand out, but Glasnow’s fastball gained a full 2 mph over 2017 and he held opposing hitters to a .217/.312/.376 slash line, averaging 10.96 strikeouts per nine innings – the best numbers of his career.
These post-hype sleepers are part of an experts roundtable, hosted by FantasyPros.com.
Follow Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner