MLB.com names Byron Buxton as baseball’s best prospect

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MLB.com prospect experts Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis released their top 100 list yesterday and to absolutely no one’s surprise 20-year-old Twins center field prospect Byron Buxton is in the top spot.

Buxton split last year between two levels of Single-A, batting .334 with 49 extra-base hits, 76 walks, and 55 stolen bases in 125 games in his first full pro season. He’s expected to begin this season at Double-A.

Buxton–who also ranked as the No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and basically everywhere else–is followed by infielder Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox, outfielder Oscar Taveras of the Cardinals, third baseman Miguel Sano of the Twins, and right-hander Archie Bradley of the Diamondbacks.

Click here for the entire MLB.com list, which includes write-ups for each player.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.