^^^ Hmm, an assumption made by you that Sano and Buxton will be automatic contributors in 2016. Hopefully so but not a sure thing by quite a long shot I'd say. While just about everyone assumes they will be super stars that may never translate either. Let's take it all one step at a time please.
Well...honestly, I was just going by the averages. I don't even think that's optimism
A little bit of 'Did you know?'
Since 1990 Baseball America has been ranking prospects and since then they've had 18 position players ranked #1. Joe Mauer and Bryce Harper were ranked #1 twice.
Of those 18 position players, all but two made the big leagues that same year. The two? Josh Hamilton, who had a car accident and a sever back injury that kept him from making the pros. And the other was Bryce Harper, who was only 18.
By the 3rd season after being ranked #1 only three
players did not
have a season with a WAR > 4. Jurickson Profar has two more seasons (2014, 2015) to try to get that WAR above 5. I wanna say he does. Cliff Floyd was another, he had injuries and never saw more than 116g in any one season. The last? Delmon Young. He had 0.9 his rookie yer and wouldn't get higher than than the following 2 years.
So to put that in perspective. Byron Buxton is ranked #1 for 2014, his '3rd season' would be 2016. The average high season by a #1 ranked prospect by his 3rd season? 5.4 WAR. That includes the injury shortened years of Cliff Floyd and the incomprable Delmon Young. Take those guys out, the average WAR is 6.0.
13 players had a 5 WAR or better by their 3rd season following being ranked #1. That's 72% of the players had a WAR above 5 by the season I predicted Nolasco would be better off than Garza.
If you want to speculate on Byron Buxton and 2014, try this.
Of the 18 ranked #1, nine broke with the team in Spring Training. All but two of the 18 played in the big leagues the year they were ranked #1. That was an 18 year old by the name of Bryce Harper and the injured/drug suspended Josh Hamilton being the two. But that's 89%. So historically, about a 90% change Buxton makes his debut by September 2014.
Injuries aside, only Delmon Young, Ben Grieve (4.1 WAR), Cliff Floyd (injuries), Jay Bruce (4.8 WAR), and Jurickson Profar (has 2 years on his timeclock yet) have yet to get a 5 WAR season by year three after being ranked #1. So really, only 4 of 17 guys who've played out their 3 years did not get a 5 WAR season. The number #1 prospect thus has a success rate of 76% to get a 5 WAR year by year 3.
Optimism? Meh, I think it's just going with the flow of averages.
Then there's the players who are teenagers and had an OPS higher than Buxton at A+. Only Jesus Montero has struggled out of that bunch.
I should probably just write an article and put it all together. Just been too lazy, honestly.
It's just the history, any one data point (or player) can defy history and history still have a fairly good correlation.
But not many of those #1 prospects by BA were consensus #1. It's hard to find consensus before 1990 as there weren't publications on record. But after that, position players, you have a few. Chipper Jones, Alex Rodriguez, Joe Mauer, and Byron Buxton.
Pretty solid company, and baring steroids for A-Rod, and well, Mauer at least maintaining his current production for another 3-5 years - all would be HOFers.
That's not optimism. Just saying it how it is.
I personally don't quite buy into the peak of 25-30 HR potential that many scouts and prospect gurus (Parks at Prospectus, Callis at MLB) say Buxton has. I'd expect the 15-22 HR range.
I found it amazing that the guy who's going to hit .280 with 25 HR at a premium position (SS) and win ROY in the AL this year wasn't even in consideration
for #1 prospect in baseball (Xander Boegarts) among any of the publications.
That's absurd to me - just as bad as optimism if you ask me.