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Byron Buxton Isn’t Winning the Triple Crown


Byron Buxton is off to a tremendous start to the season and national media outlets are going to start taking notice. However, thoughts of him contending for the Triple-Crown seem to be a little far fetched this early in the season.Two weeks have already passed in this young season and there are plenty of trends to keep an eye on, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg in a 162-game campaign. Sports Illustrated thinks Byron Buxton will make a run at the first offensive Triple Crown since Miguel Cabrera back in 2012. Buxton is up near the top of all three categories (batting average, home runs, and RBI) so let’s examine his chances in each category.

 

Batting Average

Buxton’s hot start has resulted in a .469 batting average, which ranked seventh in the AL entering play on Sunday. No player can continue to hit at that rate for an entire season. Ted Williams was the last player to post a batting average over .400 for an entire season and that was in 1941. There have been players that made a run at .400 include Minnesota’s Rod Carew. However, there may be some positive signs in Buxton’s numbers so far this year.

 

Buxton leads all of baseball in barrels per plate appearance (19.4%) and only two players have a higher average exit velocity. For his career, Buxton is a .244/.295/.445 hitter so his numbers this season are significantly higher than any other season in his career. If he can stay healthy, he might be able to post some eye-popping numbers. Batting average seems like it might be the hardest area of the Triple-Crown for him to win.

 

Home Runs

Buxton ranks second in the AL in home runs, and he’s missed multiple games with a hamstring issue and the team’s COVID problems. His career high in home runs came back in 2017 when he hit 16 homers in 140 games. He’s well on his way to setting a personal best, but he will probably need to triple his best to be in the conversation for most AL home runs.

 

In the last decade, the fewest amount of home runs to lead the AL was 40 from Nelson Cruz back in 2014. The last under 40 home run leader was in 2009 when Carlos Pena and Mark Teixeira tied with 39 longballs. Buxton has focused on adding strength in recent off-seasons and he might be seeing the fruits of his labor. Buxton had a 12 game stretch last season where he hit eight home runs in 12 games. Back in 2017, he hit 11 home runs in 34 games including a three-homer game in Toronto.

 

RBI

Out of the three categories, RBI is the one area that Buxton has little control over. He’s only had over 50 RBI once in his career and that was back in 2017. In previous seasons, he has typically been batting in the ninth spot in the batting order, which isn’t exactly a spot known for driving in a lot of runs.

 

His hot bat this season has seen him batting more regularly in the heart of the order. He has multiple games batting third or fourth in the line-up and the lowest he has batted is sixth. As a team, the Twins have struggled with runners in scoring position this season. Buxton has gone 2-for7 with RISP including a home run and a double. Other Twins players at the top of the line-up will need to get in position for Buxton to drive them in.

 

A healthy Buxton hitting at a torrid pace has a chance to make baseball history, but a Triple Crown takes a lot of things working in a batter’s favor. Buxton might be the early frontrunner for AL MVP, but a Triple Crown doesn’t seem likely.

 

Do you think Buxton has a shot at the Triple Crown? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

 

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Yes, plate appearances make this conversation moot.  He's been in the bigs now in his 7th year?

 It's not a crime to miss games in a 162 game season, so I can hope he plays 135 games (which he has done once), but SI's hot take is outrageously premature.  

 

Let's have this post again at the end of June if he's healthy and raking.

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The baseball card triple crown is interesting, but batting average is not as telling as on-base percentage and RBIs are one of the most overrated stats in baseball.  

So, I don't really care one way or the other. 

 

JcS

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Hamstrings & Wisdom teeth proves Byron doesn't have to smash into walls to find the DL. Which stands for discouragement list or disappointment list. No shortage of ways - he finds this list repeatedly. Please drop Garlick and add Broxton. Bux is on pace to play in 116 games. I'll take the under.

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Way to take one of the few positives so far this season and put a negative spin on it.

Pointing out the fact that Byron has already missed 5 of the first 14 games isn't negative spin. It is a real negative. If he continues to miss 35% of our games he has no chance at the triple crown. Simple. I think it is a valid point, not negative spin considering the history on Buxton and his playing time, or lackthereof. We'll all believe it when we see it (Byron on the field for 150 games) - and if we saw it, then hell yes he'd have a chance at the triple crown. He looks like a monster this year. 

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Maybe not literally winning the triple crown as others have more home runs, runs batted in, and at bats.

 

And he is neither a horse nor a jockey for that matter, so isn't he winning that triple crown either.

 

But he is playing his heart out, knocking the snot out of the ball, and avoiding the actual DL (knock on wood) so he's winning my tertiatary definition of a triple crown.

 

And i look forward to checking in at the quarter season markers to see how he is fairing against the triple crown field...

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Pointing out the fact that Byron has already missed 5 of the first 14 games isn't negative spin. It is a real negative. If he continues to miss 35% of our games he has no chance at the triple crown. Simple. I think it is a valid point, not negative spin considering the history on Buxton and his playing time, or lackthereof. We'll all believe it when we see it (Byron on the field for 150 games) - and if we saw it, then hell yes he'd have a chance at the triple crown. He looks like a monster this year.

That’s not the point. Article should be about his break out year and how he can improve on it. To say “well he still won’t win this award” that 99.999% of baseball players will never win is moving the goal posts and putting negative spin on a bright spot for our team

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Buxton is more likely to be struck by lightning.

With his luck, I have him at 50-50 to get struck by lightning, so maybe that triple crown thing isn't so far-fetched.

 

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