Buxton played just 31 games in 2014 due to wrist and concussion issues and finished with a .240/.313/.405 line along with four home runs, 16 RBI and six stolen bases in 121 at-bats with high Class A Fort Myers. He also went 0 for 3 at the Double-A level. Buxton is making his second straight appearance atop MLB.com's top prospect list.
The rest of MLB.com's top-five prospects (in order) are
"I know Hicks can play, but with Buxton -- I haven't seen video or seen him play, but every word I hear is good about him," Hunter said. "I definitely think when we get to spring training we'll sit down and I'll work out with them and evaluate what they're doing right and what they're doing wrong."
Hicks said he will lean on Hunter this spring, as he competes with Jordan Schafer for the starting job in center field.
"I'll be all in his ear the whole time," Hicks said. "He might get annoyed I'll be in his ear so much. He's definitely a guy I'm going to go to.
"I believe that I have the ability to play center field here for a long time. I've just got to go out there and show people that I can be the center fielder that everybody wants me to be and also that I want myself to be."
"It's probably been one of the more awkward things for me this winter in dealing with that situation," Molitor said, per MLB.com. "Obviously, I have to go in there open-minded about how it will play out. I can't say Santana will be the shortstop because things can change. Escobar deserves an opportunity to play and whether it's spotting around the organization or he has to go back to shortstop, I can't tell you it all will work out."
Escobar started a team-high 86 games at shortstop in 2014 for Minnesota. He made it clear he wants to play every day, but is willing to play where Molitor needs him.
"This season is important for me," Escobar said. "I'm coming in ready to play. I don't know if I'm going to be the starting shortstop or not, but I've been working hard to be ready for spring training. If Molitor wants me to play shortstop, or wherever, I'm ready for it."
Santana said he is excited he is moving back to shortstop after making a team-high 62 starts in center field last year. He's been fielding 200 grounders per day in the Dominican Republic to get ready for the season.
"I'm very happy about playing shortstop. I was waiting for that moment," Santana said. "Shortstop is my natural position. I just need to keep working and I can do the same thing as last year."
Perkins missed the last two weeks of the regular season due to a forearm injury, but said that's no longer a problem. He took two weeks off once the season concluded, and went for a precautionary MRI just to make sure the injury wasn't serious. "I took two weeks off and started doing shoulder stuff as part of the rehab to strengthen it and everything went well," Perkins said. "I started throwing again in mid-December. The way I've been able to ramp up throwing, everything has been good."
The 31-year-old Perkins posted a 3.65 ERA over 61 2/3 innings last season.
Mauer was able to fully participate in an offseason training program after injuries prevented him from doing so last year. Mauer said his left knee, which has given him trouble in the past, feels strong now. :It’s tough to hit when the knee I’ve had problems with isn’t right," Mauer said. "That’s where you get your power from and the ball jumps. I feel good. I’m excited to get out there."
The 31-year-old Mauer is coming off a season in which he hit .277/.361/.371 over 455 at-bats.
|2014 Team Leaders|
|AVG||Kurt Suzuki , C||.288|
|HR||Brian Dozier , 2B||23|
|RBI||Trevor Plouffe , 3B||80|
|OBP||Joe Mauer , 1B||.361|
|SLG||Trevor Plouffe , 3B||.423|
|R||Brian Dozier , 2B||112|
|SB||Jordan Schafer , LF||30|
|W||Phil Hughes , SP||16|
|ERA||Phil Hughes , SP||3.52|
|WHIP||Phil Hughes , SP||1.13|
|K||Phil Hughes , SP||186|
|SV||Glen Perkins , RP||34|
|Full Team Statistics|
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