When the Twins took Byron Buxton, it represented a step in the right direction for their farm system. Buxton should bring a breath of fresh air to a system that for the most part lacked toolsy, high-ceiling talent.
Buxton is a rare up-the-middle player who could have five average to better tools.
Defensively there is no doubt in my mind that he can stick in CF, using his 70 speed to cover up for his rawness. As his reads and routes improve he should develop into a player that will provide defensive value in center field.
At the plate he is very raw, but actually was a pleasant surprise in his pro-debut this year as he showed a much better approach to hitting than scouts were expecting. He has elite bat speed and because of that has a chance to hit for some power, as well as cover for other deficiencies. His strong wrists should also help him hit for power as well.
Buxton has a small bat load, but has good hand positioning despite the small load. He has a wide stance, which may be closed a little bit so that he doesn't have as much pre-pitch movement. This could help him be more balanced at the plate and not have to lunge occasionally.
In terms of his athleticism and raw movements, he reminds me of former number one overall pick Tim Beckham, although I would hardly compare the two as prospects.
Also worth noting that John Sickels shared his thoughts on Buxton recently, you can find that here.
Not a lot to look at here, as 189 PAs spread across the GCL and the Appalachian League is hardly a sample to draw any conclusions from, but here are a few interesting things on Buxton in bullet-point form (table below):
- He didn't show the worst plate discipline, posting an OBP of .344 despite an AVG of .248. Worth noting that in the Appalachian League and GCL you aren't going to find the highest quality of pitchers.
- He went 11/14 on stolen base attempts, including 7/7 in the more advanced Appalachian League.
- Four errors in 73 chances for Buxton in CF, which may be SSS noise or a sign of his rawness in center. Something to watch moving forward.
|2012||18||2 Teams||2 Lgs||Rk||MIN||48||189||33||41||10||4||5||11||3||19||41||0.248||0.344||0.448||0.792|
Buxton's ceiling is that of a plus defensive centerfielder that can hit for average and power; that's a damn good player. He could be a star, but still is a long way off.