There hasn’t been much talk about Byron Buxton, and it’s actually a good thing. There are no complaints that he isn’t healthy or isn’t performing. While he’s not lighting it up, he’s having a good season for a Twins team that is 32-16 and leading the American League Central.
The Twins outfielder had a torrid spring that saw him shoot up draft boards, but many people have been burned by him and shied away. While Buxton has hit last in the order most of the season, he has produced solid numbers.
The 25-year-old Buxton is batting .262 with .325 on-base percentage and .490 slugging percentage. He has scored 25 runs, with four home runs, 24 RBIs and eight stolen bases in 11 attempts in 149 at-bats. Buxton was around 30-percent with his strikeout rate before this season and has cut it to 23.3 percent in 2019. The eight-percent walk rate is a slight improvement.
Looking Back on Buxton
Buxton had 18 barrels on 319 batted balls in 2017, and he already has ten barrels on 111 batted balls this season. His exit velocity is a career-best 90.7 miles per hour, and his launch angle has improved significantly to 20.1 degrees. The hard-hit rate of 41.4 percent is above his career average of 34.2 percent.
Buxton was regarded as one of the top prospects for many years as the second overall pick in 2012, but it has been a bumpy ride. He had a nightmare season in 2018. He had migraines that cost him time early in the season and a fractured big toe. The Twins decided not to bring him up when he was ready and went to the minor leagues and missed more time with a hand injury. The Twins decided not to bring him up at the end of the season when rosters expanded, delaying his free agency until 2023.
Buxton came to the Twins in 2015 and didn’t show much in 46 games. He struggled in 2016 until a hot September and struck out a lot then he started slowly in 2017 and finished strong with a slash line of .253/.314/.413 with 69 runs, 16 home runs, 51 RBIs and 29 stolen bases in 462 at-bats. He only had 94 at-bats over 28 games with the Twins last season and batted .156.
Rest of the Season Outlook
It’s surprising Buxton hasn’t hit for much power since he’s hitting more fly balls, has an above average exit velocity and hard-hit rate, but he has three home runs over his last seven games. If he can stay healthy, Buxton can hit 15 home runs and steal 20-25 bases. It might not meet the lofty expectations many had for him, but it’s a handy stat line for fantasy.
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