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TwinsTakes on Buxton Not Being Recalled for September Call-ups



The Minnesota Twins have had a strange season in 2018. Unfortunately, that doesn’t compare to the nightmare season their center fielder, Byron Buxton, has gone through so far. A myriad of injuries and struggles at the plate have made the Twins front office of CBO Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine decide to not have Byron Buxton be a part of their September call-ups so his season will end tomorrow when the AAA Rochester Red Wings season ends.


The GM gave us three reasons why they made this decision:

  1. A wrist injury that is “still lingering”
  2. On-field performance that goes beyond his raw statistics in the minors
  3. A lack of playing time for him in the majors.

You can probably add a 4th reason, which is that Byron Buxton is only 13 days away from accruing his 3rd year of Major League service. This means the Twins would gain another year of service and Buxton wouldn’t hit Free Agency until the year 2022.


Everyone is up in arms about this because Buxton is supposed to be the Twins center fielder for the next 5-10 years and the reasoning behind it is somewhat questionable. If Byron’s wrist injury is still lingering, why is he playing at AAA and if he’s playing with it at AAA, why couldn’t he play with it with the Twins, too? His on-field performance might have been affected by the injuries he's had through the season. A lack of playing time? So, they’d rather give at-bats to Jake Cave, Robbie Grossman (Jake & the Gross Man?) & Johnny Field? Jake Cave is understandable because I’m sure they’d like to see if he can be a part of their future although Eddie Rosario & Max Kepler are already in the outfield and it’s hard to believe they want to replace either of them. Robbie Grossman & Johnny Field, on the other hand, are two players that you would assume Buxton should easily get at-bats over.


Byron Buxton needs at-bats at the major league level to get better with the bat and, hopefully, reach the high potential that has been put on him. It looks like he’s figured out AAA:

Byron Buxton Career at AAA(Over 4 Seasons)


100 429 393 77 122 25 5 18 49 13 2 28 115.310/.364/.537




35 148 136 22 37 11 1 4 14 4 1 9 42 .272/.331/.456


Those are pretty good stats over his career and this season’s aren’t terrible except for the strikeouts. The strikeouts stick out especially for a guy who can steal 2nd with relative ease if he can reach first base. Now, with only 100 games played in AAA over 4 seasons and 49 games being the high mark for most AAA games played in one season, it is kind of difficult to say he’s mastered that level but he also has a very good stretch of production in the majors on his resume from the 2nd half of 2017.


All of this being said, maybe we should evaluate this decision like we should evaluate trades, give it some time and see if it’s the right call or not in a few years.


We’ve focused on the fans perspective of the front office making a mistake with this decision. Let’s look at it from their point of view, now. Last week, Derek Falvey said the Twins will be "taking the long-term view about our players...Any player we bring up, we're thinking about what's the benefit to the September experience -- whether it's hitting, pitching, defense or an opportunity that's here in terms of at-bats and playing time. … Our focus should exclusively be what we think is the best for Byron long term, and that's where it's going to be."


Byron Buxton has had a nightmare season. Look at everything he’s gone through so far this season:

  • Hit .195/.233/.244 (AVG/OBP/SLG) in the season’s first 12 games
  • April 13th - Came down with migraine headaches when the team went to Puerto Rico
  • April 22nd - Sent on a 1-game rehab assignment with the Fort Myers Miracle, fouls a ball off his big toe, breaking it
  • May 10th - Missed 20 games - Activated from the Disabled List (DL) but played through the pain of his broken toe - hits .122/.140/.163 in 17 games (17 strikeouts)
  • May 30th - Placed back on the DL to let the broken big toe heal
  • June 19th - Sent to AAA on a rehab assignment
  • July 2nd - Activated off DL/Optioned to AAA
  • July 12th - Injures wrist on a check swing - Left wrist strain
    • Hit .224/.298/.355 in 20 games at AAA

    [*]July 14th - Placed on AAA DL retroactive to July 13th

    [*]July 27th - Activated off DL

    [*]August 1st - Placed back on DL after left wrist soreness comes back

    [*]Hit .143/.250/.571 in 3 games at AAA (8 PAs 2 Rs 1 H 1 HR 1 RBI 1 BB 5 K)

    [*]Has hit .385/.400/.596 in the 12 games since

    • (19-for-52-12 Rs 19 Hs 7 2Bs 1 3B 1 HR 7 RBI 1 BB & 13 K)

    [*]August 14th - Activated off DL

WOW! Now, look at all of that and put yourself in the shoes of the person in charge. Do you shut him down and end Byron’s season so nothing else happens to him this season? Do you think, “If we shut him down now, we get another season from him in 2022 and we can consider 2018 almost a throwaway/redshirt type of season?”


It’s easy for fans and bloggers to look at the stats since Byron was activated on August 14th and say it looks like he’s finally turning things around with the bat but we’re just looking at the stats. We’re not seeing those at-bats. The front office is getting reports from the AAA Coaching Staff on how those at-bats are going? Is Byron taking good at-bats? Are they worried about how he’s dealing with everything that’s happened this season? Is he trying too hard to be productive?


We’ll leave you with this. This decision wasn’t made on a whim. The front office knows what kind of talent Byron Buxton possesses both defensively and offensively. In the end, they think this is what’s best for Byron Buxton. Yes, that might also help the big club because they get another year of control out of it but, if Byron Buxton turns his career around in the next 1-3 seasons, is that extra year of control going to matter? Or, will the front office give him an extension and buy out those free agent years?


THANKS for reading Our ‘Takes!!! We’d love to hear Your Takes on social media and/or in the comments. That’s why we say….


Our 'Takes, Your 'Takes, TwinsTakes.com!!!


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I don't have the most recent stretch of his AAA stats in front of me, and frankly don't feel like doing the research at the moment, b7t I recall something like only 1 or 2 BB to go along with numerous SO. Meaning that despite a few nice looking numbers since his most recent activation, doesn't appear the contact is there, which also could indicate an approach still being worked on.

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I posted those stats in the article:

Has hit .385/.400/.596 in the 12 games since

(19-for-52-12 Rs 19 Hs 7 2Bs 1 3B 1 HR 7 RBI 1 BB & 13 K)

Appeared to be on a bit of a tear.

Here's a link to his Game Log - https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=buxton000byr&type=bgl&year=2018


In this stretch, the contact appears to be there but, it's also AAA, a stretch of 12 games and that's why there's an argument for getting him Major League ABs.


I don't have the most recent stretch of his AAA stats in front of me, and frankly don't feel like doing the research at the moment, b7t I recall something like only 1 or 2 BB to go along with numerous SO. Meaning that despite a few nice looking numbers since his most recent activation, doesn't appear the contact is there, which also could indicate an approach still being worked on.


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For me its really not about this One thing. I love Buxton but I am thinking that he is what he is. As I have stated before I am an old school fan. I believe that analytics are a great tool in evaluating players, a tool. A keen eye to spot a "winner" is always going to trump a computer print out. I am sure even Billy Beane would agree. Rarely will you find a player that doesn't have some drawbacks in one phase or the other.

I would rather have a player like Danny Gladden who is a scrapper and a clutch player than a 5-tool prospect that strikes out way too much and gets hurt all the time. Maybe its not fair to say this but Jeeze...at what point does something like Durability come into play. Is it time to say who cares about an extra year of 10 trips to the 10 day disabled list. Now we are screwing up the continuity and chemistry of the line up and no doubt paying close to 20 million a year for a part time player who strikes out way too much and is hurting more than he is healthy. His body of work is what it is. They should have brought him up. And here is why.

This is just another thing that the FO has FUBARed all this season. We can all see they better get some damn quality free agents in here next year. I hear all the promises about how much money they have to spend and blah, blah, bull$hit. Let him play and see that we either have our centerfielder, or not. Byron, get on base however T.F. you can. that is your job. Nothing else. Succeed or Fail. Now we move on. Falvey and Levine dug themselves by this elitist secret plan b.s. game they play with the fans, players and yes..Molitor too. I feel like there is no transparency in their real agenda and they dont have enough quality experience to act that way. in my opinion hiring them was a big mistake. One of them should have had lifelong ties to the Twins organization. Personally i dont care about this Buxton. What i care about is the perception the rest of the league gets from this kind of crap. If you are banking everything on signing some blue chip free agents(with the money you saved tanking 2018 way ahead if time) then why publicly admit you are intentionally screwing players over. The MLBPA, and Buxton wont forget this. The other players wont either,especially the ones in the Twins clubhouse. They F-¢ked up big this time. They should have thought thus one through. But then again after this year, Im not sure they have spent much time thinking. Their focus should have been on 2019 at this point, not 2022. Minnesota Twins fans dont wanna watch two outsiders play fantasy baseball with their franchise. Unless they have the second coming waiting to burst through the door you guys better do something now to fix this and put winners on the field Next Year! Not in 3 or 5 or even 2 years. Good luck Derek, and Thad. You are gonna need it. I for one, hope you can succeed.

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How do you know if a player is durable? Buxton has been out from migraines, a broken toe & a strained wrist this season. Are there players that wouldn't have been injured on those plays? Maybe. Do they track that? Who knows? Maybe they should or even already do. Injuries are part of the game. 


That being said, the front office might just be doing their due diligence in trying to find a replacement for Buxton if they need to rather than trying to fill that spot as it happens next season. 


The bottom line for me is this. A lot of people thought this team was ready to compete/contend for the playoffs and they might have been but so many things happened this season that didn't go according to plan (Santana injury, FAs didn't pan out at all, Polanco suspended, Buxton/Sano having rough seasons, Dozier was bad, etc...) They have a plan all offseason and then they're trying to fix things on the fly. (Maybe they should've just kept Anibal Sanchez in the first place.)


They weren't ready to have to deal with all of that because they are still building this team. They don't yet have the depth to sustain all of that. Then, they had little choice but to sell at the deadline and build for the future. 


Is this the right move? I don't know. It'd be nice to see what Buxton could've done a month full of MLB at-bats and they are available if Grossman and Field are getting them instead. He's done well in September before so did that factor into their decision. 


Will the extra season even mean anything? They'll already know by then what he is and if they'll re-sign, trade or give up on him. I still think this a wait and see what happens in 2019 thing. Until then, we'll continue to speculate about it. 


THANKS for taking the time to comment. 

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Next year's Free Agent List from MLB Trade Rumors


Assuming they exercise Ervin Santana's $14M option because they'd probably have to pay more in Free Agency for a pitcher to replace him,


If they kept Santana, they'd have:

Berrios, Santana, Gibson, Odorizzi, Pineda/May/Mejia/Romero/Gonsalves/Stewart/etc... for the rotation

Hildy, Reed, May, Rogers, Moya, Magill, Drake, Busenitz, Curtiss, Duffey, Slegers...for the bullpen


And in the field:

C-Jason Castro, Mitch Garver

1B-Mauer(?), Grossman, Sano, Austin

2B-Forsythe(?), Adrianza, Gordon

SS-Polanco, Adrianza, Gordon

3B-Sano, Adrianza

LF-Rosario, Granite

CF-Buxton, Cave, Granite

RF-Kepler, Granite


Who do they go after?

2B (keep Forsythe? Descalso, Dozier, Esco, LeMahieu, Murphy, Iglesias)

SS (Galvis, Machado, Esco (KC))

3B (Moustakas)

SP (Corbin, Eovaldi, Cahill, Ryu, Tillman)

RP (Familia, Herrera, Rodney, Kelly, Kimbrel, Norris, Ottavino, Britton, Duke, Wilson)


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