When I look at how fortunate the Twins were last June in the draft, it’s hard to imagine this organization not returning to some level of major league competency soon. The organization picked up two teenagers with high ceilings with their first two picks of 2012, and both showed extreme promise after signing quickly and making their pro debuts. Byron Buxton
was somewhat of a surprise to be available to the Twins at #2 overall. I feel the need to analyze what kind of player landed in the Twins lap with Buxton.
The real Georgia Peach was Ty Cobb, who was a “snarling wildcat” by his own admission. Cobb was a true gem of a player, and posted a career .367/.433/.512 during a legacy played mostly in the “dead ball” era. Buxton is a gem of a prospect
, and the fact that both Ty and Byron are from Georgia and play centerfield is where the comparison ends. But we all know the Twins have a 5-tool-potential guy here that was called a hybrid of the talented Upton brothers. So its safe to say, Minnesota got a “peach” of a player in the Georgia high-school senior.
Buxton was named the
top prospect (by Baseball America
) in the Gulf Coast League last summer. After he “graduated” and played a lil bit in Elizabethton (with our other gem J.O. Berrios), Buxton was awarded with the #1 prospect billing in the Appalachian League as well! How did he accomplish that after hitting just .248 in 48 games at both levels, and struggling mightily out-the-gate? Look closer, and we see that he had a .344 OB% and a .448 SLG%. Not bad at all for a guy that is supposed to be more speedy than powerful on offense (he also stole 11 of 14 bases). No wonder he was BA’s top pick in every league he played in 2012.
I saw a grading scale that was out before the last draft that had each player's current rating/potential rating listed in the following categories: Hit, Power, Speed, Field, Arm (the five tools on a 20-80 scale). Buxton was rated the following: 45/60, 45/60, 70/75, 55/70, 70/75. Those projections sound a lot more like B.J. than Justin Upton to me. Let’s just conclude that his upside is outstanding.
If you haven't already, check out a nice video of the prize of the 2012 draft taking some BP for the E-Twins here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWNgAUT0xSY
I predict Buxton is going to have more power than B.J. (like Justin), but be able to cover ground and stick in center field the way B.J. has. I earlier predicted
that Buxton would hit 10-15 home-runs in a full season at Cedar Rapids next season, but I just have this feeling that he could mature into power quickly. Maybe he hits 20 HR’s during a full season at the low-A level, or at least keeps his SLG% near .500.
Anyhow, Bux should continue to be productive and maintain his status as the “best of the best” prospect at every level he graces within the Minor Leagues. What are the chances he uses those tools to be a 20 HR/50 SB guy with Gold-Glove style CF defense in Minnesota? He most certainly will not get a look until 2015 or later. Your thoughts…