Everything was in place. Coming into this season, Sano and Buxton were both 24 years old, established as successful major-league players. One was coming off an All Star appearance, the other an MVP-caliber second half.
The bolded words have no reason being grouped into the same sentence at this point. The
"glass half-full""overflowing" approach with a Buxton outlook is ridiculous now. He caught fire for two months last year and suddenly he is an established MVP-caliber talent. Let's just forget the 2-1/2 seasons of crappiness that preceded last year's second half.
Any other player with the same track record and the performance over August and September last year would have been met with a fair share of skepticism. But in the Twins world, Buxton's inevitable rise to stardom is for some reason accepted as a given.
I mean, there's getting hot, and then there is what Buxton did. He was literally one of the most impactful players in the game over the final eight weeks last year, and probably THE single biggest reason for MIN's run to the playoffs.
Also, this isn't some fantasy held by Twins fans. He was the unanimous #1 prospect in the game for multiple years. He's been hailed as a rising superstar by pretty much everyone. His K-rate progressively dropped month by month last season as he started to really straighten things out. To claim this is some narrative manufactured out of thin air ignores the reality of the matter.
And even with all the streakiness, he IS an established successful big-leaguer. 1.4 WAR in 2016 and 3.5 WAR last year.
The Twins need him to be a competent hitter, not a world beater (though that'd be nice). Shouldn't really be that much to ask.