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  • The Killer Speed Of Byron Buxton


    World came out on Tuesday morning that Byron Buxton had been named by Baseball America as the top prospect in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

    Last year's first round pick for the Twins didn't spend the entire season in the GCL but it was long enough to make his mark on the league. In 27 games for the GCL Twins, Buxton hit .216/.324/.466 with 11 extra-base hits including four home runs. He spent the rest of the season with the Elizabethton Twins as they made their march to an Appalachian League Championship. It had to be a memorable year for Buxton as he graduated high school, became the second pick in the MLB Draft, and started his professional baseball career.

    Terry Ryan was asked about Buxton in an interview after Baseball America announced their pick for outstanding prospect in the GCL. He had nothing but glowing remarks for Buxton. One of the quotes included, "He's a great teammate, he cares, he tries to pay attention to detail-- all those things you can't scout." It sounds like the Twins are happy with the make-up of their blooming prospect but what about the rest of his game?

    "The only thing I was worried about was how much power he had. He's got power. He can hit the ball a long way," Ryan said later in the interview. As an 18-year old, Buxton had five home runs and 10 doubles across both levels he played at with the Twins organization.

    When Buxton was in the Twin Cities to finalize his deal with the club, he got the opportunity to take batting practice at Target Field. There were reports of him putting at least one or two balls into the bullpen in deep center field so his power seems to be legit. As a teenager, he is tall and lanky so there is room for him to continue to grow into his frame in the coming years. This should only add more power to an already powerful swing.

    One of the more interesting quotes in the article stated that Buxton is the faster player in the Twins system "by far," and he is faster than the current speedy outfielder for the Twins, Ben Revere. Buxton showed some of his speed in the GCL by stealing four bases in seven chances, which isn't the greatest steal percentage in the world. When he shifted to the Appalachian League, he racked up seven steals and he was never thrown out in any of those opportunities. The art of the steal can be something a player develops in the minor leagues. Fans of the Twins have been spoiled with Revere's speed in the last two seasons and it's fun to imagine Buxton being a faster version of Revere with plenty of more pop in his bat.

    Cincinnati Reds prospect Billy Hamilton set the minor league stolen base record this season by swiping 155 bases between two different levels. The thoughts of Buxton trying to break this record in the future might not be at the top of the wish list for fans of the Twins. Hamilton is more of a light-hitting middle infielder so he doesn't hit for a lot of power. This gives him the opportunity to steal more bases because he is on first a lot of the time when he gets on base. In his four seasons in the minors, Hamilton has seven home runs and Buxton already has five in his first season. It's nice for Buxton to have the speed but hopefully it will translate into turning doubles into triples over stealing second base.

    The outfield of the future for the Twins could be a conglomerate of some very talented and speedy defensive players. Ben Revere is still under team control for multiple seasons so he might have to be the player to mentor Buxton into the big leagues. Prospects Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia are going to be knocking on the door to the big leagues in 2013 and there's hope they can stay in the team's long-term plans. An outfield with Revere, Hicks, and Buxton manning all three positions might be one of the best defensive line-ups in the game and their speed on the bases could be exciting to watch.

    These happy thoughts of top prospects turning into wonderful major league players are still a couple of years away. Until then, we will have to be happy with facing the Yankees and Tigers and impacting the postseason race.
    This article was originally published in blog: The killer speed of Byron Buxton started by Cody Christie
    Comments 20 Comments
    1. Twins Twerp's Avatar
      Twins Twerp -
      When I read this story I salivated like Pavlov's dog. An outfield of Hicks, Revere, and Buxton would be one of the fastest in history (assuming all kids reach most of their potential). Throw in Arcia as a fourth of/dh, and that is a something we can all get excited about. These are guys that could make our "pitch to contact" philosophy actually work. Go Twins!!
    1. lightfoot789's Avatar
      lightfoot789 -
      What will be the concerns when (Top Prospects) Sano and / or Rosario have to move to OF or when Kepler proves he is MLB ready? What about an improved Nate Roberts? What about Adam Walker if he learns to hit to contact better (Major HR Power)? What kind of OF would most of you want then -
      *Power 35+ HRs /
      *.300+ Hitters for Average/
      *Pure Speed - 30+ SBs and .275 averages)
      What combination makes us contenders and who will have to be traded down the road? TOP 5 Keepers?
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by lightfoot789 View Post
      What will be the concerns when (Top Prospects) Sano and / or Rosario have to move to OF or when Kepler proves he is MLB ready? What about an improved Nate Roberts? What about Adam Walker if he learns to hit to contact better (Major HR Power)?
      It'll be a nice problem to have, if and when the day comes, and probably the answers to those questions will sort themselves out on their own; if it's a difficult decision the ones not making the cut can be traded for younger prospects. I don't see a lot of purpose trying to guess now, though IMO you have room for just one table-setter in that scenario and power matters for everyone else.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      I don't know about Buxton being faster than Revere. Maybe he is, but I could have swore Buxton ran a 5.40 60 yard dash and Revere a 5.28.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Very interesting. I cannot imagine that Ben Revere is in the long-term plans for the Twins. He shouldn't be given that Hicks, Arcia, and Benson are better by 2014 and then Roberts, Kepler, and Morales. Then Adam Walker . . .

      As I made clear in a blog post, the OF depth is there and these guys need to be dealt.
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      Right now the only two that are knocking on the door are Arcia and Hicks. I wouldn't worry about anyone else. Things tend to work themselves out.
    1. kirbyelway's Avatar
      kirbyelway -
      To me I don't understand why Span is on the trading block. I would trade Revere, who's upside is a Juan Pierre clone.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Quote Originally Posted by lightfoot789 View Post
      What will be the concerns when (Top Prospects) Sano and / or Rosario have to move to OF or when Kepler proves he is MLB ready?
      I won't have concerns about the outfield -- they'll figure that out. We can only pray that they continue to develop an excess of outfielders that they can somehow flip for pitching and middle infielders.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      Quote Originally Posted by kirbyelway View Post
      To me I don't understand why Span is on the trading block. I would trade Revere, who's upside is a Juan Pierre clone.
      You just explained it yourself. Revere isn't worth nearly as much as Span in a trade. If you want good pitching in a trade, you have to give something of good value up too.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      and FYI - Buxton was also named the Appalachian League top prospect: http://www.baseballamerica.com/today...2/2614085.html
    1. Sssuperdave's Avatar
      Sssuperdave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Very interesting. I cannot imagine that Ben Revere is in the long-term plans for the Twins. He shouldn't be given that Hicks, Arcia, and Benson are better by 2014 and then Roberts, Kepler, and Morales. Then Adam Walker . . .

      As I made clear in a blog post, the OF depth is there and these guys need to be dealt.
      It seems to me like there is some counting chickens before they're hatched going on here. Seth had a post not so long ago that showed players the Twins had in the Baseball America top 100, over the past 10 years or so, and it seemed like half of them ended up not being impact players in the big leagus - guys like Michael Restovich and Adam Johnson. I would be surprised if more than half of Hicks, Arica, Benson, Roberts, Keplar, Morales, Sano, Rosario and Walker pan out as above average big league regulars. Luckily though all we need is half of them in order to field a good OF + DH.
    1. Forever34's Avatar
      Forever34 -
      Great news about Buxton. For all the problems this franchise has, "too many awesome OF prospects" is one ones I'm okay with.

      The real question though is "Why isn't J.O. Berrios on either of those lists?" His numbers were ridiculous and everything I've read indicates that he has the "stuff" for him to not be a statistical anomaly.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Very interesting. I cannot imagine that Ben Revere is in the long-term plans for the Twins. He shouldn't be given that Hicks, Arcia, and Benson are better by 2014 and then Roberts, Kepler, and Morales. Then Adam Walker . . .

      As I made clear in a blog post, the OF depth is there and these guys need to be dealt.
      Benson is actually a few months older than Revere and hasn't shown any ability to hit above AA ball. Roberts and Morales will not make the majors. Kepler and Walker are 4 years away. Revere will stay with the Twins at least through his arbitration years and, frankly, he should. He's a 3 WAR player right now as a RF and only 24. He'll continue to get better.
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      I know the Revere/Span thing has been beaten to death, but Revere has nearly two full seasons of moderate success at the MLB level. At the same age, Span was still in the minors. Right now, Span is definitely a better player and worth much more in a trade. That said Revere's upside is not as great as some of the prospects coming up, but if he continues to steadily improve there is no reason to think that Revere can't bridge the gap between he and Span in the next couple of years.

      And as far as being called a "Juan Pierre" clone. Do you actually remember Juan Pierre in his prime? The guy was an absolutely GREAT leadoff hitter that drove pitchers crazy at the plate and on the basepaths. If that was supposed to be durogatory you may need a better comparison, because even this year Juan Pierre showed how productive he can be in his middle 30's.

      Span for a good starting pitcher improves the Twins more than any other trade probably would, partly because the drop off from Span to Revere is bearable and because the need for a solid starter is so desperate.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      To clarify, I meant long term as in past 2014. I mean if Hicks and Arcia are mlb-ready by then, would anyone seriously consider playing Revere ahead of those two or Willingham?

      I am not saying I don't value Revere as a Juan Pierre with much better defense. I am saying, however, that the Twins have similarly capable OF defenders who are going to be all-around better batters.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Also, when Buxton was in town for BP, why the hell didn't they have those two race!?
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      To clarify, I meant long term as in past 2014. I mean if Hicks and Arcia are mlb-ready by then, would anyone seriously consider playing Revere ahead of those two or Willingham?

      I am not saying I don't value Revere as a Juan Pierre with much better defense. I am saying, however, that the Twins have similarly capable OF defenders who are going to be all-around better batters.
      I think this is a problem that you worry about when it happens.

      If Revere does become Juan Pierre in his prime then you find a place for him because that is a really good player. I'm hoping that by 2014 both Willingham and Span have been traded to add pitching to the system (MLB or MiLB) so that problem is solved. It's also likely that one of Hicks or Arcia become a bust based on prospects historically.
    1. James's Avatar
      James -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Also, when Buxton was in town for BP, why the hell didn't they have those two race!?
      He was in town when they were finishing up his contract earlier in the summer. You're right though, Buxton and Revere should have raced each other.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Seriously... It's driving me nuts... This Revere Pierre comp presented as a negative has shown up on these pages multiple times this year.

      Is Revere comparable to Pierre... Sure he is... Is that bad... Hell No... Anyone who posts Revere projecting to Pierre in an effort to Dog Ben's upside is gonna have to come up with something really smart on another topic quickly to make up for it.

      Give me a young Pierre every day of the week.

      On the subject of the potential of the outfield in this organization. It's exciting... but for now... A bird in hand is worth two in Randy Bush.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Yeah, I am not sure why Pierre would be problematic at all. I would say that if other prospects have more than what a Pierre-type would offer, then I would say he loses his place.

      Pierre, THIS YEAR, has been very good. Anyway, Revere is also a better defender than Pierre.

      And I am also not saying that Revere as the 4th OF (but rotated in significantly) after 2014 would be a bad thing either.
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