As a Twins fan, there’s nothing more refreshing than watching homegrown talent develop into a major league star. That’s exactly what we’re seeing with Buxton’s dominant week exhibiting his 5-tool skill-set that scouts raved about years ago.
There’s something about Byron’s charm that makes you want to root for him. It’s a scary thought for the rest of the league that he’s found his confidence and swagger at the plate. Also, props to everyone who’s stuck with him throughout his dreadful first half struggles; especially Minnesota’s front office.
We’ve constantly heard talking heads in the media discuss how hitting .250 would put him amongst the highest WAR (Wins Above Replacement) players in the MLB. I’ve always thought a .250 average from him wouldn’t be a bad outcome, but apparently he’s capable of much more than that (Season BA: .249 / Current WAR: 4.31 – T28 in MLB). During the 2012 MLB Draft, experts compared Buxton to Mike Trout, which immediately sounded like the ultimate kiss of death. Expectations flowed way overboard for the young high school Georgia native.
BaseballAmerica.com (2013): Deja Vu?: Byron Buxton Stirs Echoes Of Mike Trout In Cedar Rapids
Bleacher Report (2012): MLB Prospects: 10 Prospects Who Could Be the Next Mike Trout
Instead of flying under the radar, Byron has faced an uphill battle living up to those crazy comparisons. Struggling mightily for two seasons didn’t help his cause either. His glove has always been upper echelon amongst other major league competition. I mean really, really good. He’s got the most range out of any outfielder I’ve ever seen and that includes Torii Hunter who compiled nine (!) gold glove awards. It’s literally like a video game back there.
Buxton joined Giancarlo Stanton, representing the AL for Player of the Week honors, hitting 5 dingers, 10 RBI, 9 runs, a .333 average, and 1.161 OPS. Not to mention, he continued his consecutive stolen base total that is nearing a Twins record. He looks like he’s finally enjoying himself and reaping the benefits of his unique array of skills.
5-tool players come around once a decade, typically, and we might be watching Byron develop into the next great one right before our eyes. The Twins unexpected success along with Byron Buxton’s evident stardom has made for one hell of a summer following the team. Enjoy the ride.
Dane Mosher @DaneMosher7
Minnesota Sports Fam @RealMNSportsFan