Let's get this out of the way. This isn't about Spring Training stats.
It can be far too easy to get wrapped up in Cactus and Grapefruit League numbers and declare that X player is primed for a breakout or Y pitcher deserves a larger role based on what is really just a couple dozen games. Case in point: last year's Spring Training home run leader was Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia with six. Arcia, who has slugged over .400 only twice in five Major League seasons, finished the regular season with only five dingers.
So to say any player -- especially a younger player with rookie eligibility remaining -- needs to put up numbers in Arizona or Florida to save face isn't right. Instead, the focus here is on what some of the game's top prospects must show in Spring Training competition. Is a strikeout-prone slugger working to make more contact? Is a player making things work at a new position? Is a pitcher commanding his secondaries better? Did he implement a new pitch?
No matter what the specific focus will be, some of the game's top prospects are working out in the sun with something to prove. These are 11 of them, in alphabetical order by last name:
Joey Bart, C, Giants: The return of Buster Posey to the San Francisco lineup means Bart is likely headed to Triple-A Sacramento. That should relieve some of the pressure. Still, MLB Pipeline's No. 23 overall prospect could use a solid spring to take some of the smarting away from his first taste of Major League action. Bart struck out in 36.9 percent of his plate appearances over 33 games with San Francisco and finished with just a .233/.288/.320 line and no homers. He still draws praise for his work behind the plate and power potential. An improved approach against upper-level arms that includes better recognition of breaking stuff would go a long way in proving that Bart is worth a quick return to the Bay Area whenever the need arises.