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  • Twins Select Byron Buxton #2 Overall In MLB Draft

    With the second overall pick in the 2012, the Minnesota Twins selected high school outfielder Byron Buxton out of Appling County High School in Baxley, Georgia. In doing so, they chose one of the consensus most talented prospects, but one with his share of risks.

    Buxton’s athleticism has earned comparisons to Eric Davis, Matt Kemp and even Willie Mays. (Read that last sentence again.) He is blessed with speed that is among the top seen in a prospect and an arm that has hit 97 miles per hour when throwing from a mound. He projects to stay in center field. He’s dominated his competition, and shows all the physical traits of a natural hitter who should add power.

    Like most first round picks, he is not without risks. Even again sub-standard competition, he only hit three home runs in his senior year. But he shows significantly more power in BP and in a home run Derby in Wrigley he hit the last row of the left field bleachers with one blast., finishing second in that competition. He is obviously far away from contributing to a big league club and the Twins as an organization are more starved for pitching talent than hitting talent.

    Opinions vary slightly on the top talent at the draft, but nearly everybody had him listed as a top three position player and most listed him at #1. Also, there is almost nobody who doesn’t believe he has the highest upside of anyone in the draft. At the very least, the Twins chose one of the most interesting players available.

    For more on Buxton, check out this summary of him by the Houston Astros blog Crawfish Boxes. For a more entertaining read, including a few mind-blowing non-baseball examples of Buxton’s athletic ability, check out this Sports Illustrated story.
    Comments 33 Comments
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Everything I've heard about Buxton sounds eerily close to everything I heard about Hicks when the Twins selected him.

      Hopefully Buxton progresses more quickly than Hicks has.
    1. deanlambrecht's Avatar
      deanlambrecht -
      Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
      So, if we sign him (and I assume we do), it is GCL. Then extended Spring Training and Elizabethton. Then Beloit, and maybe a promotion to Ft Myers. Then Ft Myers. Then New Britain.

      At a minimum this guy will help us in four fn years. WHO IS GOING TO PITCH FOR THIS TEAM IN THOSE FOUR YEARS? Nick Blackburn, Cole DeVries, Scott Diamond, PJ Walter, and Liam Hendricks, with absolutely zero quality bullpen pitchers? Compounding the problem is then selecting another HS player with the first comp selection.

      THeir one college arm is coming off an injury, Luke Bard, projects as a setup man in the majors. We do need quality relief pitchers, but not getting an established college starting pitcher is just ridiculous.

      Sorry, this is extremely poor management and the team is being run "The Twins Way" even though that model is past its expiration date.
      Don't look now, mlhouse, but the Twins bullpen is 14th in mlb, 8th in the AL, and 3rd in the ALC, waaaayyyy ahead of the Tigers and Cleveland. http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/team/_/...hing/split/128

      Great? No. But a long shot from your claim of "zero quality bullpen pitchers." If a starting or bullpen pitcher who projected as one who could help us very soon, that would be one thing. But that wasn't the case.

      Buxton was the top ranked player available when we got the pick. The pitchers nearby weren't considered by anyone to have a ton of upside, so we picked Buxton. It's kind of hard to argue with that logic, frankly.
    1. mlhouse's Avatar
      mlhouse -
      Saying the criticism of the Buxton pick is "short sighted" is actually short sighted. HEre are the facts. The Twins are a rebuilding team and most of their minor league talent is concentrated in the low minors. Based on the Twins methodology (not mine), Sano and Rosario are still several years away from the big leagues. Drafting Buxton essentially means that all of the talent is 4-5 years away from just BEGINNING their major league careers.

      THe problem is that we have very little talent in the upper end of the organization and this pick dooms the major league team to many years of terrible play. Taking the "upside is great", but taking the best college starting pitcher means that within 2 years we could have a guy getting innings at the major league level.

      The "Twins Way" always was an obsolete notion and despite its press clippings was not the most successful way of running an organization. We had decent seasons and made some playoffs, but if we would not have been in the weakest division in MLB, we would have missed the playoffs almost every year, and much of the success we had was from players who really did not play the "Twins Way".

      We are now in a rebuilding mode, and the step by step process of moving prospects really needs to be discarded. The coaching staff needs to be replaced by a manager that can work and develop young talent, because this staff clearly does not have the ability to do so. As long as they pretend that we are "contenders", the longer this process is going to drag on.
    1. mlhouse's Avatar
      mlhouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by deanlambrecht View Post
      Don't look now, mlhouse, but the Twins bullpen is 14th in mlb, 8th in the AL, and 3rd in the ALC, waaaayyyy ahead of the Tigers and Cleveland. http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/team/_/...hing/split/128

      Great? No. But a long shot from your claim of "zero quality bullpen pitchers." If a starting or bullpen pitcher who projected as one who could help us very soon, that would be one thing. But that wasn't the case.

      Buxton was the top ranked player available when we got the pick. The pitchers nearby weren't considered by anyone to have a ton of upside, so we picked Buxton. It's kind of hard to argue with that logic, frankly.
      14th in the MLB....wow. How many wins does that translate to?

      As far as pitchers with "tons of upside", that is really a crock. Gausman, Appel, and Zimmer amy not project to being #1 starters (whatever that term means) but they clearly project into #2 starters (whatever that means) that have all the pitches and could be major inning eaters in the MLB. Looking at our rotation we don't have a #1, or a #2, or a #3, or a 4 or 5 either. Gausman, who would have been my pick, could easily be in the starting rotation for this team the day he signs. If we could have concentrated on college arms we could have potentially got 2 starters to the big leagues within 2 years and let them develop at that level. Then if we could have got lucky with another pitcher currently int he minors like Hendricks, Gibson, Wimmer, Hermesen we could have 60% of a rotation up and getting experience.

      THere is nothing the matter with acknowledging we are a terrible team that is in a rebuilding mode. Pretending otherwise just adds to the misery as a bad team creates bad results with little to show for the losses. Do what the Twins did in 1982 and get the younger talent up, take your lumps, and let them develop at the major league level.
    1. Harrison Greeley III's Avatar
      Harrison Greeley III -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      His sentiment may have missed the target, but when the main adjective for the #2 overall pick is "projectable" there is room for concern. Projectable is basically and optimistic way of saying maybe. Are we really so certain that the Twins are going to develop power in a guy who as of now does not posess it? There is no track record to show this organization has the knowledge and instructors to do this. Skeptics have the right to think his true upside may be closer to Michael Brantely.

      I'm just playing devil's advocate, I'm going to back this guy until he proves undefendable, but there is plenty of room for doubt, I'm not going to bash anyone who disagrees with the pick.
      No one is saying there isn't doubt because ultimately it's a bet on the future which can't be predicted. But the main thing is that he was coming from a 'Twins have to draft for need' angle which is not how this particular sport works like it does in the NFL or NBA. I personally wanted Zunnino. I just want this pick to flourish, it would hurt too much for this pick not to. Zunnino is so much clearer of a picture of what you're getting that he seemed like the more appropriate investment, though I know Buxton's ceiling is significantly higher. If Buxton is the next Matt Kemp, that's fine by me. But you're right there is a much higher variance of possible outcomes with a supremely talented 19 year old than a guy who has spent a lot of time already developing on a college's watch versus the organization's.
    1. drb07's Avatar
      drb07 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
      14th in the MLB....wow. How many wins does that translate to?

      As far as pitchers with "tons of upside", that is really a crock. Gausman, Appel, and Zimmer amy not project to being #1 starters (whatever that term means) but they clearly project into #2 starters (whatever that means) that have all the pitches and could be major inning eaters in the MLB. Looking at our rotation we don't have a #1, or a #2, or a #3, or a 4 or 5 either. Gausman, who would have been my pick, could easily be in the starting rotation for this team the day he signs. If we could have concentrated on college arms we could have potentially got 2 starters to the big leagues within 2 years and let them develop at that level. Then if we could have got lucky with another pitcher currently int he minors like Hendricks, Gibson, Wimmer, Hermesen we could have 60% of a rotation up and getting experience.

      THere is nothing the matter with acknowledging we are a terrible team that is in a rebuilding mode. Pretending otherwise just adds to the misery as a bad team creates bad results with little to show for the losses. Do what the Twins did in 1982 and get the younger talent up, take your lumps, and let them develop at the major league level.
      The Twins have won 6 of 7. They may not be a great team, but we should give the boys some credit as they are working their tails off to get the organization out of the basement. An optimistic fan base never hurt an organization.
    1. TheMix's Avatar
      TheMix -
      Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
      Saying the criticism of the Buxton pick is "short sighted" is actually short sighted. HEre are the facts. The Twins are a rebuilding team and most of their minor league talent is concentrated in the low minors. Based on the Twins methodology (not mine), Sano and Rosario are still several years away from the big leagues. Drafting Buxton essentially means that all of the talent is 4-5 years away from just BEGINNING their major league careers.

      THe problem is that we have very little talent in the upper end of the organization and this pick dooms the major league team to many years of terrible play. Taking the "upside is great", but taking the best college starting pitcher means that within 2 years we could have a guy getting innings at the major league level.

      The "Twins Way" always was an obsolete notion and despite its press clippings was not the most successful way of running an organization. We had decent seasons and made some playoffs, but if we would not have been in the weakest division in MLB, we would have missed the playoffs almost every year, and much of the success we had was from players who really did not play the "Twins Way".

      We are now in a rebuilding mode, and the step by step process of moving prospects really needs to be discarded. The coaching staff needs to be replaced by a manager that can work and develop young talent, because this staff clearly does not have the ability to do so. As long as they pretend that we are "contenders", the longer this process is going to drag on.
      You seriously completely disregarded my whole point.....and just made the point for me in the same post.

      So if we get a close to major league ready (#2) pitcher at #2, what exactly does it do for us when most of our talent is in the low minors?

      Nothing. A #2 pitcher doesn't suddenly drag us out of the cellar.

      Simple. Done. End of argument. I understand your point, but the logic is completely faulty.
    1. DaTwins's Avatar
      DaTwins -
      It's way too early to get into this, but whatever. Do you guys think Buxton ascends to #1 on the Twins' prospects lists or will he be #2, after Sano? Does anybody think he could even be below Rosario or Arcia??

      FWIW, I'd slot him right behind Sano.

      EDIT: Just realized this discussion is already taking place in a different thread. See y'all there.
    1. mlhouse's Avatar
      mlhouse -
      A #2 pitcher gets us to a team taht is worth following. Simple, Done, End of Argument. Pushing the "upside" 6 years down the road does not. By the time the postion players are ready, then a pitcher like Gausman will have been pitching in the majors for a couple of years and, hopefully, developed.
    1. DK's Avatar
      DK -
      Ok, so we think Buxton is at least 4 yrs out. Who in this draft will be the first to play in a twins uniform?
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by DK View Post
      Ok, so we think Buxton is at least 4 yrs out. Who in this draft will be the first to play in a twins uniform?
      Buxton.

      Mhouse, "Hopefully" is the operative word in your last post, it's pretty hopeful that any of those arms will ever become a number 2, let alone in 2-3 years. It's far more hopeful Buxton projects as well as he's expected to, which either brings us a fine player in 4-5 years or some pitching depth if his prospect status stays high in 2-3. I think a player like Buxton can get us better pitching down the road than what we could have drafted this year.
    1. TheMix's Avatar
      TheMix -
      Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
      A #2 pitcher gets us to a team taht is worth following. Simple, Done, End of Argument. Pushing the "upside" 6 years down the road does not. By the time the postion players are ready, then a pitcher like Gausman will have been pitching in the majors for a couple of years and, hopefully, developed.
      How? You're already following the team....

      You aren't making any sense. Let's say Gausman makes it to the majors. He's not Verlander, he's not a threat to throw a no-hitter every time out. And he's not a major-league ready starter right now. So what you wanted was a guy that helps one out of every five days that won't make the team all that much more exciting, that you says will make the team worth following, when you're obviously already following them, even after a 99 loss season, that looks to be about the same this season.....when we might have just the same options of drafting (if not better) the next draft.

      Again, your argument makes absolutely zero sense.
    1. Bark's Lounge's Avatar
      Bark's Lounge -
      Has anybody heard or read any rumblings as to how long it will take the Twins to sign Byron Buxton and the amount of moola it will cost?
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