Buxton or Berríos: Who Is More Important to the Twins’ Long-Term Success?
Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY SportsBuxton and Berríos were part of a young core of players that were tasked with digging the Twins out of their losing ways. Both were considered among baseball’s best prospects, but now Minnesota might be faced with looking into the future and deciding which player is a better fit for the long-term.
Many fans have become frustrated with Buxton and what seems to be consistent trips to the injured list. There was so much hype surrounding him from prior to the 2012 Draft through his debut and subsequent big-league career. It would be tough for any player to live up to those expectations, but there have certainly been signs of the five-tool player Buxton was touted to be.
So far in his career, Buxton has been worth 11.7 WAR according to Baseball Reference and 9.0 WAR according to FanGraphs. Almost half of his WAR total came during the 2017 season when he won a Platinum Glove and hit .253/.314/.413 with 36 extra-base hits in 140 games. Last year, he played in 39 games and batted .254/.267/.577 with 13 home runs and three doubles. It’s clear that he can be the team’s most valuable player when he is on the field.
Frustration has also been part of the story for Berríos, but most of this ire has been directed at his inconsistent performance. He’s been a two-time All-Star and much of that is due to some strong first half performances. Throughout his career, he has posted a 3.64 ERA and held batters to a .226/.285/.385 slash line in the first half. In the second half, his ERA rose to 4.84 and batter’s OPS jumped to .756.
According to Baseball Reference, Berríos has been worth a 7.3 WAR, while FanGraphs has him listed at 11.4 WAR. Unlike Buxton, there isn’t a clear best season in his big-league career. Baseball Reference places his 2018 season (3.4 WAR) at the top as he posted a 3.84 ERA with 202 strikeouts in just over 192 innings. FanGraphs ranks his 2019 season (4.3 WAR) as the best when he had a 3.68 ERA with 195 strikeouts in 200 1/3 innings.
Buxton and Berríos are both off to tremendous starts to the 2021 campaign but is tasked with looking into the future and figuring out which player will provide the most value in the years to come. Berríos is going to be paid like a top-tier starter either by the Twins or through the free agency process. It’s clear that his representation has been set on that as he has gotten closer to hitting the open market. This likely means he will be earning $100 million or more.
Minnesota’s previous record for a free agent starting pitcher was Ervin Santana who signed for four-years and $55 million back in 2015. Before Santana, the Twins signed Ricky Nolasco to a four-year, $49 million deal and fans are well aware of how that turned out. Berríos would become the highest paid pitcher in Twins’ history and expectations of him evolving into an “ace” level pitcher would only increase.
Buxton’s future value is a little harder to predict, but that also means an extension would be for less money than Berríos. According to Buxton, he feels like he is in the best spot he has been in as a baseball player. His power surge over the last two years is looking more legit and that only helps his potential future earnings. That being said, speed is part of his game and he will lose a step or two as he continues to age.
Minnesota has the option to resign both players and there is nothing stopping the team from making this a reality. However, Berríos and his importance to the rotation seem to be more important to the team’s long-term success.
Who do you think is more important moving forward? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
- dbminn and ToddlerHarmon like this