Twins prospect Byron Buxton is the next big thing

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 2, 2013 - 9:56 AM

Rarely, if ever, in Twins history has a draft pick gotten such immediate rave reviews.

 

 

When the son was 4, the father, playing softball with friends, sent him to right field. “A fly ball came my way,” the son says now, “and hit me in the head.”

When the son was 5, the father sent him back to the outfield. “I learned to put my glove up,” the son says. “Next time a ball came my way, I caught it.”

For little Byron Buxton of Baxley, Ga., day care was a day game. He hasn’t stopped looking precocious on the diamond since he learned to close a glove around a ball.

Chosen with the second pick in the 2012 draft by the Twins out of Appling County High School, Buxton, 19, is dominating the Midwest League for Class A Cedar Rapids, becoming the rare Twins prospect who prompts the organization’s most cautious voices to one-up each other with superlatives.

“I could see him becoming a 30-30 guy,” said his manager, Jake Mauer, of the magical 30-home run, 30-steal major league season. “He has all of the tools to do it, and he’s a very smart man.”

“He’s in a class by himself, athletically,” said Perry Castellano, the Twins strength and conditioning coach. “If you want to talk about power and explosiveness, you’d have to look at a Rickey Henderson in terms of a comparison.”

“The comparable player, in my eyes, at this point, would be Andrew McCutchen,” said Twins assistant GM Rob Antony, referring to the Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder who finished third in National League MVP voting last year.

“Once he figures a few things out, I’d have to put him, in terms of speed, right up there with Willie Wilson and Devon White,” said former Twins manager Tom Kelly, mentioning two famous speedsters of the 1980s. “My goodness gracious, I know we’re putting the cart before the horse here, but oh, boy, is he going to be entertaining.”

“Honestly, I think he has a chance to be better than those two, White and Wilson,” said Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, who works with Twins minor leaguers. “It’s fun for our people to go down and see players like Byron and say he’s not only going to be a good everyday player, but he’s going to be one of the best players in the game.”

“He has reminded me of the way Mike Trout played here,” said Cedar Rapids coach Tommy Watkins, who saw the Angels phenom play in the Midwest League before putting together one of the best rookie seasons in major league history. “They have different styles, but they’ve dominated the league in the same way.”

“You know who he reminds me of, in terms of approach?” Jake Mauer said. “My brother Joe. They’re quiet, but they know they’re good.”

Asked whether comparisons to Henderson, White, Wilson, McCutchen and Trout are legitimate, Twins Vice President of Player Personnel Mike Radcliff said: “Any and all of the above. I wouldn’t limit Byron to any mold. He could be a leadoff hitter, could be a No. 3 hitter, could hit a lot of homers, could steal a lot of bases. I wouldn’t limit what he’s capable of doing when he arrives in the major leagues.”

Until they drafted Buxton and signed power-hitting third baseman Miguel Sano, who is playing at Class A Fort Myers, the Twins hadn’t raved about prospects with such enthusiasm since they used the first pick in the 2001 draft on a high school catcher named Mauer.

Before Mauer, they hadn’t raved about a prospect like this, in terms of superstar potential and personality, since the franchise moved to Minnesota.

“We legitimately thought Byron was the best player in the draft last year,” Antony said. “That’s why you pass on pitching, some people who are pretty darn good and could have helped us soon: Because we didn’t want to take somebody who might turn out to be a third starter, and then you’re watching this guy play in All-Star Games every year for somebody else.”

  • related content

  • Photo gallery: Twins prospect Byron Buxton

    Saturday June 1, 2013

    Chosen with the second pick in the 2012 draft by the Twins, Byron Buxton, 19, is dominating the Midwest...

  • Chart: How Buxton's tools measure up

    Saturday June 1, 2013

    buxton: how his tools measure upBaseball scouts use a rating scale ranging from 20 to 80. An 80 translates to...

  • Chart: Coverage of this week's baseball amateur draft

    Saturday June 1, 2013

    coming this week on the draftThe Star Tribune will have daily coverage previewing the baseball amateur draft, which starts Thursday....

  • Nineteen-year-old Byron Buxton, playing for the Cedar Rapids Kernels of the Class A Midwest League, has speed and smarts in the outfield.

  • The Twins made Buxton the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft, behind another teen: Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa, who was taken by Houston.

  • numbersSome of Buxton’s offensive statistics in 52 games this season:.333Batting avg..545Slugging pct..435On-base pct.11Doubles5Triples7Home runs26Stolen bases

  • Byron Buxton’s speed and unique gait are his most obvious attributes. He has drawn comparisons to current Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen.

  • The Twins have another popular No. 7 in their organization, as evidenced by autograph seekers before a Cedar Rapids Kernels game last week.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final(10)2345678910RHE
Chicago WSox «3000000036102
Minnesota100000000390
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Webb(6-4) L:L.Oliveros(0-1) S:J.Petricka (11)
HR: CWS- T.Flowers 2 (12), D.Viciedo (18) MIN- K.Vargas (5)

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - LP: M. Latos 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 5
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 9 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Greene 4
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 4 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 8 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Penny 6
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 0
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 2
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 7
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: B. Peacock 8
Chicago WSox - WP: D. Webb 6 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: L. Oliveros 3
Texas - LP: M. Kirkman 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 2
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Locke 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 6
San Francisco - WP: G. Kontos 12 FINAL
Colorado - LP: M. Belisle 7
Seattle - WP: J. Paxton 6 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 5
Washington 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Arizona - LP: B. Ziegler 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: K. Quackenbush 2
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
NY Giants 9/8/14 6:10 PM
Detroit
San Diego 9/8/14 9:20 PM
Arizona
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
(25) Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(19) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(18) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(23) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Washington
(14) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(13) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(15) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(7) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(17) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(21) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(12) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(16) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(9) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(21) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(8) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 13 FINAL
Calgary 28
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 78 FINAL
Phoenix 96
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close