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  • Twins, Buxton Agree to Terms

    The Twins save $200,000 by locking up their number two overall draft pick, Byron Buxton, to a $6 million dollar bonus, slightly under Major League Baseball’s new slot recommendations, reports Baseball America’s Jim Callis.

    As Callis mentions, Buxton’s signing represents a 25% increase over this year’s first pick of the draft, Houston’s Carlos Correa, who signed with the Astros on June 7 for a reported sum of $4.8 million.

    Buxton, 18, is a significant investment over last year’s selection, UNC’s Levi Michael, who the Twins inked for just $1.175 million. Also, unlike last year’s selection, the Twins saved themselves two months of lost development time by signing Buxton in June rather than August as they did for Michael. Michael, who was two years older than Buxton when drafted, has just begun his professional career at High-A Fort Myers and is scuffling against the competition, hitting .214/.308/.286 in 226 plate appearances. Meanwhile, Buxton will likely have the opportunity to experience his first season as a professional in 2012 at one of the two Rookie level teams, potentially starting with GCL Twins and then progressing to Elizabethton.

    Prior to his signing, Buxton was on-hand at Target Field after his physical and took some batting practice with the team. MLB.com correspondent Jordan Garretson witnessed his round in the cages and tweeted that his performance was “not really blowing anyone away”, noting that he was “spraying line drives around the field.” Now, this is obviously a premature assessment of Buxton’s true talents, particularly given the whirlwind the past few weeks must have been. What’s more is given Buxton’s lack of home run power in high school not having upper deck power at this point should be expected. Nevertheless, FSN did mention he eventually dropped a shot into the bullpen in left-center field which is clearly distance reserved for those wearing big-boy pants.

    In short, the raw power is not quite there. As ESPN.com’s Keith Law noted, his current power on a 20-80 scale rates at 35 while his potential is closer to 60. So obviously there is room to grow.

    With potential that has been regularly compared to Arizona’s Justin Upton and the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp, Buxton’s developmental path looks like it will be more similar to Kemp’s than Upton’s. The Diamondback’s took a rather aggressive approach with their number one overall pick in 2005. They inserted the 18 year old into the Midwest League (Low-A) a year after his selection and Upton crushed immediately, hitting 12 home runs and posting a .263/.343/.413 batting line. Meanwhile, Kemp, who was a sixth round pick out of high school, was sent to the Gulf Coast League immediately after the draft and hit just one home run with a .270/.298/.346 batting line. It was not until his first full season in the minors that his true power talents began to emerge.

    Offensively, Buxton feels more like a Kemp who eventually obtained power versus an Upton who hit for power out of the gates. Fortunately for the Twins - who moved quickly to lock up their highest selection since Joe Mauer in 2001 - they will have the opportunity to start his development right away and put him on the path to hopeful reach his comparables.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins, Buxton Agree to Terms started by Parker Hageman
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Great article. If he can produce even 75% of Kemp's power, I will be thrilled.
    1. Land Of 10,000 Beasts's Avatar
      Land Of 10,000 Beasts -
      The thing that has been kinda bugging me is that Bryce Harper has set up a precedent upon which top prospects are going to be judged. This Jordan Garretson is a clear example of that. What, did he think that just because he was drafted 2nd overall that he was going to be hitting bombs left and right like Harper? First, Buxton is only 18! Most 18 year old prospects are still eating their graduation cake. Second, Bryce Harper is a freak of nature. You can't really compare the two. Besides, I don't know about you, but spraying line drives around the field sounds good to me given this guy's circumstances.

      Byron Buxton has a very, very high ceiling. Higher than most prospects out there. But he is just that right now, a prospect. They require time, in his case at least a few years.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Land Of 10,000 Beasts View Post
      Second, Bryce Harper is a freak of nature.
      He's also the chosen one, looks like a future Hall of Famer, and hit a 450ft. HR yesterday. When it comes to Bryce Harper, every rule that goes along with prospect development gets thrown out the window (19, .943OPS in 150 ABs....*jaw drops*). Sad thing is, I guarantee that he would be in the minors for this year and the year following (at least) if he were a Twin.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Isn't Buxton 18.5, old for a senior? I am not worried about batting practice on day zero of his career.
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Isn't Buxton 18.5, old for a senior? I am not worried about batting practice on day zero of his career.
      I don't think so. At least where I went to school, people (generally speaking) turned 18 during their senior year anywhere from September of the prior year (beginning of school year) to the end of August just after graduation (just before the following school year). So he was born in December and turned 18 in December of his senior year, which seems normal to what I've known, anyway.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Good point CDOG, not sure what I was thinking....
    1. Jack Torse's Avatar
      Jack Torse -
      What was his WAR in high school?
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jack Torse View Post
      What was his WAR in high school?
      Man, you do NOT want to think about what replacement level means at a high school. Ninth grader, thick glasses, no signs of puberty yet ... geesh.
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