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Other Baseball Today, 11:23 AM
Hi gang!     Had a whale of a busy August-September, so couldn't spend much time on the threads. But things now leveling o...
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Article: Supplementing the Twins: Tyler Chatwood

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:53 AM
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Cubs Pitching Coach fired. Buddy of Molitor.

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Go get Verlander

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:55 AM
http://www.espn.com/...astros-audition   Best possible combination of help in 2017 and help in the next couple years, right where th...
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Twins to hire John Manuel

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 06:47 AM
Didn't see that coming.
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Byron Buxton: From Broken To Booming

Lofty expectations surrounded a young, high school outfielder when the Twins drafted Byron Buxton with the second overall pick in 2012. Most national entities ranked him as the best player in the draft class. His run to the big leagues included some ups and downs but there was still hope, even at the beginning of this year, for all of his tools to turn him into a star player.

This season has been full of some of the same ups and downs that he saw in his minor league career. However, might Buxton have finally turned the corner? Can he live up to those lofty expectations from five years ago?
Image courtesy of Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Broken
It's no secret how bad Buxton looked at the plate during the early part of this year. Through the season's first 15 games, he hit .082/.135/.122 with 24 strikeouts. Things started to get a little better in May as he was hitting .171 through May 21 while getting on base over 26% of the time. He was averaging more than a strikeout per game and he could hardly use his speed on the bases because he wasn't getting on base frequently enough.

Buxton had dug himself quite the hole. Even as the calendar was flipping to July, his offensive numbers were struggling to recover. He had a .552 OPS, 0.88 ISO, 47 wRC+, and a 31.8 percent strikeout rate. Something needed to click and Twins hitting coach James Rowson may have been the man with the cure.

Booming
Rowson explained Buxton's revamped approach at the plate in simple terms. "Plate discipline comes from being aggressive, not from being passive at the plate," he said. "We're looking to hit, not take. If I don't think that's a pitch I can drive, I want to take it. I think that he's starting to come into his own to distinguish the difference between those two pitches."

Buxton needed to stop worrying about his overall numbers and start focusing on each at-bat. He's now starting to use his lower body to generate more power and the results have been clear. Buxton has a 1.003 OPS since July 1 with nine home runs, two triples and four doubles. His speed has become a factor as he's swiped 11 bases in that time without being caught.

Golden Future
Athleticism will always be a key part of Buxton's game. As I wrote last week, he could be well on his way to his first Gold Glove. His 23 defensive runs saved ranks second among AL outfielders. According to Statcast's Catch Probability, he's made more four star catches (26-50% chance of being caught) than anyone in baseball and he's caught the highest percentage of those opportunities as well.

Buxton might not be the Paul Bunyan-like slugger that fans saw in Toronto this weekend but he seems to have found something special in the season's second half. The Twins are in the hunt of the playoffs and a 23-year old Buxton is living up to some lofty expectations.

Do you think Buxton has turned the corner for good? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.


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40 Comments

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AlwaysinModeration
Aug 28 2017 09:52 PM
I don't know if the corner has turned for good, but he looks more relaxed and less anxious. Each time he advanced a level in the minors he had an adjustment period. The majors adjustment was just a bit longer.

Interesting comment by Rowson about hitting coming from aggressiveness, too.
    • bluechipper likes this
The kid is for real. Saw him play in Chattanooga a couple years ago. And again in Birmingham. If he has truly figured things out he's going to put up gaudy numbers and play like a HOF-type player for years (as long as he continues to toake care of his body). Special, special talent.
    • matthew0211, bluechipper, nytwinsfan and 1 other like this
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mickeymental
Aug 29 2017 12:36 AM
twins deserve credit for playing buxton every day. course, like with willie mays and leo durocher, buxton deserves credit too. long may it last.
    • bluechipper, mikelink45 and Respy like this

A talent like this should just improve yearly.  I think we have a long term greatness that will be pleasure for the fans and the team.   

    • bluechipper likes this

I'm just happy to see that he's learning how to make adjustments. Playing the bigs is all about making adjustments. Now pitchers will adjust to him, and he'll have to adjust again, but if he keeps his head on straight, which I think he will, he'll be fine.

 

Better than fine, actually.

    • bluechipper and PDX Twin like this
A lot of people still talk about him in hypotheticals.

A 1.000 OPS (since July 1) combined with historically good defense is MVP caliber baseball. He's sustained that for 2+ months now. It's getting real. Throw in the baserunning/steals.

Oh, and he's 23.

It really is too bad that some people refuse to enjoy this. This guy is special, and he'll be a Twin for a long time.
    • alarp33, Twins33, bluechipper and 10 others like this

 

A lot of people still talk about him in hypotheticals.

A 1.000 OPS (since July 1) combined with historically good defense is MVP caliber baseball. He's sustained that for 2+ months now. It's getting real. Throw in the baserunning/steals.

Oh, and he's 23.

It really is too bad that some people refuse to enjoy this. This guy is special, and he'll be a Twin for a long time.

 

The amount of people on this site who overreacted last year to how a 22 year old began his career shocked me at the time, and continues to shock me today.  

 

I think its the Mike Trout / Bryce Harper affect.  They are the rare exceptions, not the rules

    • ChiTownTwinsFan, bluechipper, DocBauer and 1 other like this

Probably too late now to tempt him to sign a cheap 8 year contract, I think.  

    • Dantes929, Danchat, bluechipper and 2 others like this

As long as he doesn't get power hungry and pull happy I think he will do well. He has obviously worked on his bunting skills which should keep him somewhat slump proof.  Keep using all fields and avoid over swinging and he will hit plenty of doubles, triples and home runs. If you look at his three home runs they were all pulled but they were all solid swings with great balance and stepping toward the pitcher.  I think he has natural pull to him which is fine as long as he is still able to go with the pitch when they throw him that way..

    • ashburyjohn, bluechipper, David HK and 1 other like this

 

A lot of people still talk about him in hypotheticals.

A 1.000 OPS (since July 1) combined with historically good defense is MVP caliber baseball. He's sustained that for 2+ months now. It's getting real. Throw in the baserunning/steals.

Oh, and he's 23.

It really is too bad that some people refuse to enjoy this. This guy is special, and he'll be a Twin for a long time.


Who's not enjoying this?  Blue Jays fans?

    • ashburyjohn, USAFChief, DJSim22 and 4 others like this

I think what he has been doing is why people on this site said they wouldn't trade him for pitching. You don't trade a young possible generational talent because he is struggling at age 22/23. 

 

    • birdwatcher, 70charger and bluechipper like this

We won't know if he's turned the corner for good" until we see how he starts next season, I suppose, but the signs are really encouraging.

 

I'm especially pleased that's he's gotten himself into this great run now, before things like roster expansion and you have more teams packing it in for next year. Chris Parmelee fooled me with a September run that he couldn't carry over, but Buxton is raking in July-Aug. That's really good.

 

Everything is on the upswing and it's wonderful to watch. The power we all hoped might be there is coming through good ABs, not him chasing it. He's still bunting for hits to keep the INF tight and how many times have you seen a fielder rush a play because they were worried about his speed beating something out or taking an extra base? I love it.

 

And the defense...oh, my the defense. Absolutely spectacular. here's the best part: it can still get better: with more experience, he's going to get better at making his break on the ball, taking the best possible route, honing his arm and decision-making. This is some of the finest CF play we've ever had in MN, and we've had a lot of really terrific CF D over the years. I'm not ready to call him the best ever defensively in a Twins uniform...yet. but that's the sort of thing we're talking about. Best in the game, potentially one of the best all-time.

    • Dantes929, bluechipper, dgwills and 1 other like this
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Bill Brown69
Aug 29 2017 09:18 AM

 

Probably too late now to tempt him to sign a cheap 8 year contract, I think.  

 

Then tempt him with a 10 year expensive contract. While you are at it tempt Kepler, Rosario, Polonco, Sano and Berrios with long term contracts just to see who would bite. I understand that it is highly doubtful all sign but get 3 over the next 2 years locked up.

    • 70charger likes this


Who's not enjoying this? Blue Jays fans?

exactly
    • David HK likes this
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yarnivek1972
Aug 29 2017 09:30 AM
I vaguely recall many on this site getting into an organizational bashing frenzy when Buxton's new hitting approach (shorter stride designed to make better contact) was featured in an article. I would pull it up, but am WAY too lazy today. So far the results are pretty good I would say. Who is going to belly up for the first serving of crow?
    • dgwills, dbminn and ToddlerHarmon like this
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Bill Brown69
Aug 29 2017 09:37 AM

And the defense...oh, my the defense. Absolutely spectacular. here's the best part: it can still get better: with more experience, he's going to get better at making his break on the ball, taking the best possible route, honing his arm and decision-making. This is some of the finest CF play we've ever had in MN, and we've had a lot of really terrific CF D over the years. I'm not ready to call him the best ever defensively in a Twins uniform...yet. but that's the sort of thing we're talking about. Best in the game, potentially one of the best all-time

 

Right now I would put him a 3 man argument over the best defensive CF ever to wear a Twins uniform and IF HE STAYS HEALTHY over a 12+ year career I have no doubt that he will be regarded as #1 defensively of all time. 

 

Edit to add on. Buck is right now 91st on the career active list for Defensive war, in 3 partial years!!!!!!!!!

    • bluechipper likes this
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bluechipper
Aug 29 2017 10:06 AM

Buxton's progression has been awesome to watch. The turnaround in July started with a bunch of singles, which was fine, but we've seen him take it to another level with all of the power lately.

 

Buxton is also such an easy guy to root for, and I look forward to what he can do if he gets into a groove earlier on in a season.

    • Dantes929 and 70charger like this

I'm really glad to see the young man's perseverance finally bearing some fruit.  What a joy he is to watch!

 

If there's a hole in his all around game right now, I have to think it's those wispy chin whiskers... those have got to go....

    • Kevin, Dantes929, 70charger and 2 others like this
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mickeymental
Aug 29 2017 10:23 AM

 

If there's a hole in his all around game right now, I have to think it's those wispy chin whiskers... those have got to go....

good company:


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  • Attached Image: thelonious-monk.jpg
    • dbminn and David HK like this

Buxton was never "Broken." He was (and is) young and dealing with extreme expectations.

 

His talent was always going to shine through eventually.

    • dbminn and Dozier's Glorious Hair like this

Lock him up before he does this for a whole season at a time!

    • nytwinsfan likes this

 

Lock him up before he does this for a whole season at a time!

 

The Twins have him locked up until 2022, assuming they want him that long.

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theBOMisthebomb
Aug 29 2017 10:59 AM
There may still be some bumps in the road n

I vaguely recall many on this site getting into an organizational bashing frenzy when Buxton's new hitting approach (shorter stride designed to make better contact) was featured in an article. I would pull it up, but am WAY too lazy today. So far the results are pretty good I would say. Who is going to belly up for the first serving of crow?


I had suggested that the org was trying to "Molitorize" his swing. I liked the leg kick for timing and to keep his weight back. I still don't love that he hits a lot with a soft front leg which encourages lunging and head movement, but it appears to give him better contact and coverage. I LOVE that he closed down his stance. Better coverage, and Better use of his long lanky torso. Ultimately, I predict he goes back to the leg kick. His swing is still a lot of arms. His success is a testament to hard work, better recognition/plan, plate coverage and quick wrists. His upside at this point is pretty ridic.
    • dbminn likes this

 

I had suggested that the org was trying to "Molitorize" his swing. I liked the leg kick for timing and to keep his weight back. I still don't love that he hits a lot with a soft front leg which encourages lunging and head movement, but it appears to give him better contact and coverage. I LOVE that he closed down his stance. Better coverage, and Better use of his long lanky torso. Ultimately, I predict he goes back to the leg kick. His swing is still a lot of arms. His success is a testament to hard work, better recognition/plan, plate coverage and quick wrists. His upside at this point is pretty ridic.

 

I like your response. Just one comment: Buxton may go back to a leg kick but it isn't necessary. Check out this link at 1:30 (Stanton's new closed stance). Kris Bryant is another with a quiet front foot. Like you said, Buxton is lanky, so less movement might be better for him.


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