One year after being selected with the number two overall pick in the June amateur draft, Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton set the baseball world afire. Buxton, who flashed five-tool potential during his 48-game debut in 2012, began this season by batting .341/.431/.559 with 15 doubles, ten triples, eight homeruns, and stealing 32 bases as one of the youngest players in the Midwest League.
His total offensive production at the level, according to Weighted Runs Created Plus, was a staggering 76% better than the league average, the highest mark for any player with at least 300 plate appearances.
The Twins’ front office pushed the 19-year-old center fielder to high Class A where he continued to dominate the older competition.
In 57 games with Fort Myers, Buxton hit .326/.415/.472 with four doubles, eight triples, four homeruns, and 23 stolen bases. His total production was 55% better than the league average.
The Georgia-born outfielder finished the year with a .334/.424/.520 line, showing a well-rounded offensive package. He walked in more than 13% of his plate appearances while striking out just 18% of the time. He flashed plus-plus speed (55 SB in 74 attempts). And his power – .186 ISO – is just starting to scratch the surface.
A reasonable comp is a young Barry Bonds circa the Pittsburgh Pirate years, with a ceiling of Bonds’ 1992 season when he hit .311/.456/.624 with 36 doubles, five triples, 34 homeruns, and 39 stolen bases.
Other position players worth noting include fellow Twins prospect Miguel Sano (.280/.382/.610) and Houston’s George Springer (.303/.411/.600).
Photo of Byron Buxton Courtesy of MILB.com