1. Is Buxton healthy?
For Byron Buxton, this seems to be the eternal question. Buxton has been out of action since late June with a fractured hand. This injury came on the heels of a trip to the IL for a hip injury. However, his most recent injury may have been a blessing in disguise because it allowed his hip injury to heal fully. He certainly still looked hobbled the last time he was in a big-league lineup, now those worries may be behind him.
2. Can Buxton return to an MVP level?
There’s no question that Buxton has been playing at an elite level this season. Even during his limited action this season (27 games), he ranks second on the team in fWAR. That may be more of an indictment of the team, but in 110 plate appearances, Buxton has hit .369/.409/.767 with ten home runs and 11 doubles. His swing also looked healthy during his rehab stint with the St. Paul Saints.
Since 2019, Buxton has seen a noticeable increase in his power numbers even as he has missed time due to injury. During his last 153 games, he has hit .282/.322/.581 (.903) with a 139 OPS+ to go along with 21 steals. Add in his Gold Glove caliber defense, and he certainly fills out the five-tool scouting report that started when the Twins drafted him.
3. Will the Twins still consider trading him this winter?
Buxton is among a group of veteran players the Twins can consider trading this winter. Minnesota made multiple contract offers to Buxton in the weeks before the trade deadline. When Buxton and his representation declined those offers, Minnesota said they would look to trade Buxton at some point before his team control expires at the end of 2022. Buxton’s trade value will only increase if he is healthy and playing at an MVP level.
The Twins also have the opportunity to revisit contract discussions with Buxton this winter. From the team’s perspective, Buxton makes the offense better with his powerful swing, and the pitching staff improves with him roaming the outfield. Minnesota is a better team with Buxton on the field, as the team’s record with him in the lineup is significantly better than when he is absent.
Following a disappointing 2021, the Twins winning window may have shifted a few years into the future. Will Buxton be part of the next winning Twins team? That may be a question for another day…
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email