The Curious Case of Twins Prospect Byron Buxton
Byron Buxton has waited his turn. In 2012, the Minnesota Twins took the speedy, raw talent out of Appling County High School (GA) with the second overall pick. Pressure was put on Buxton as comparisons to the best at his position were made a plenty. Big household names like Andrew McCutchen, Matt Kemp and Justin Upton were just some of the uber talents the youngster was compared to by prognosticators. Buxton’s brief MLB stint in 2015 proved the outfielder may be further away from those projections than everyone in the industry had forecasted.
The 22-year old has featured for 14 different teams in the Twins’ organization, with different tenures fairing better than others. On the highest level however, the Georgia native struggled in Minnesota. A .209 batting average with almost twice as many strikeouts as hits, and only two stolen bases is not going to cut it. His 129 at-bats fell one short of qualifying for a rookie in 2015, something Twins fans will appreciate as they look for 2016 to be his breakout rookie season.
Taking a look at the 2012 draft class, the Twins’ first round pick is largely behind in terms of progress. First overall pick Carlos Correa has made a name for himself with the Houston Astros, helping them to a playoff berth the fan base so desperately needed. Mike Zunino has spent the past three seasons in the big leagues, drafted one spot behind Buxton by the Seattle Mariners. The fourth pick was used to take Kevin Gausman, a starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles. There are other 2012 draftees who have thrived at the big league level, such as Michael Wacha and Kevin Plawecki.
It’s Spring Training and promise runs wild through each team’s camp. Twins manager Paul Molitor encouragingly said, “he’s going to be an impact player, I believe, for a long time. We’re just going to see when that clock really starts ticking”.
The pressure is on Byron Buxton to finally break through and find success at the major league level.