La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Byron Buxton: A better prospect than Mauer, Trout...Pujols?

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 1, 2013 - 11:38 AM

After a slow start at Class A Fort Myers, Byron Buxton is 5-for-8 over his last two games. He went 3-for-3 on Sunday with three runs scored. He's batting .333 through five games with the Miracle.

He's expected to continue to surge, if you believe everything that's being written about this kid from Georgia. See for yourself on Sunday when he plays for the U.S team at the All-Star Futures Game. The hype is growing and growing. 

Miguel Sano was considered the Twins' top prospect a few months ago. And now he's considered one of the top ten in all of baseball.  But Buxton made mincemeat out of the Midwest League while at Class A Cedar Rapids,  batting .341 in 68 games with 15 double, 10 triples, 8 home runs, 55 RBI and 32 stolen bases.

Now many who follow the minors have Buxton as the top prospect in all of baseball.

Sano is still in the top ten, a terrific power hitting prospect. Buxton and Sano might be in the top five. Baseball America's Jim Callis suggested earlier this year that Buxton and Sano might be like having Mike Trout and Bryce Harper in the same organization.

Think about that.

I just read this story about Buxton at Baseball America. My jaw dropped as the accolades continue to flow for a guy who hasn't reached Class AA yet. The comparison chart at the bottom of the story is very interesting. Take a look.

I was talking with colleague Jim Souhan at Target Field yesterday. We both wondered if Buxton can get off to a fast start at Class AA New Britain next season and earn a second-half promotion to the majors. I wondered if, by September of next season, we could see a Twins lineup that starts: 1. Buxton, 2. Aaron Hicks. 3. Joe Mauer. 4. Sano. A lot of things have to break the right way for that to happen.

But it might not be out of the question.

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