Jump to content
Sorry for the server instability, we're seeing some growing pains while migrating to a new platform. We will resolve this as soon as possible, thank you for your patience. ×
Twins Daily
  • Create Account
  • Keeping the Rolls Royce in the Garage


    Alex Boxwell

    Byron Buxton is the most talented player I have ever played against. I was fortunate enough to share the field with many talented players in my playing days, but seeing Byron up close in 2015 was a treat as a fan of the game. The raw ability was undeniable if you watched him as a young player. It applies even more today. Seeing his confidence at the dish almost makes you emotional after his early struggles.

    Image courtesy of © Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Twins Video

    Advanced analytics love Byron Buxton . The eye test screams even louder. If you sit down next to a random person in Target Field who has never watched baseball on a day Lord Byron is in center field, ask them in the 5th inning, “Hey, who do you think the best player on the field is?” Anyone that can focus on the game will see the undeniability of Buxton’s baseball ability. 

    Inconsistent playing time will never equal a .300 batting average at the Major League level with the stuff guys are throwing now. I felt it myself as a player dealing with wrist and hamstring issues. Being in one day and out the next, a week on and a week off, hitting big-league caliber stuff is based on comfort, rhythm, and timing. 

    That comfort, rhythm, and timing are so fragile at the highest levels, and we saw what happened last year to a player with all-world ability. Byron looked like the MVP front-runner, but then the knee injury led to sporadic playing time, a strange playing time structure, and a dip in his performance at the plate. 

    We got a flaccid Buxton last year. An ambivalent playing schedule alternating center field, designated hitter, and off-days isn’t suitable for Byron Buxton or his performance. The less time he spends in the outfield, the more it feels like we’re declawing a jungle cat. He was born to roam the outfield and steal bases, so why deny it? 

    The one glaring thing that can and has denied Buxton and his ability is injury. Buxton is well worth his contract if he plays 80-90 games a season. So why not write him in the lineup every day? 

    The risk is worth the reward, and 80 games of linear playing time in center field is more valuable than 90 of intermittent playing time. Baseball is not a dangerous sport. Some of his injury history can be attributed to happenstance. If the baseball gods smile on us, he will keep pace and play those 145-150 games, likely leading to an MVP or, at the least, a top-five finish.

    We will get a much better Buxton if he stays on pace for 150 games and plays center field. If he gets hurt at the all-star break after playing 80 games, or plays 90 games sporadically and gets shut down in August, what’s the difference? I want us to unleash the glass cannon that is Byron Buxton. Even if it’s just by sheer good fortune, he will stay healthy eventually. 

    Luxury is meant to be lived in. Keeping the Rolls Royce in the garage isn’t good for the engine. We have to let Buck buck!

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    — Become a Twins Daily Caretaker

     Share


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    Featured Comments

    Love your article & metaphors, Alex.

    "We got a flaccid Buxton last year. An ambivalent playing schedule alternating center field, designated hitter, and off-days isn’t suitable for Byron Buxton or his performance. The less time he spends in the outfield, the more it feels like we’re declawing a jungle cat. He was born to roam the outfield and steal bases, so why deny it?" 

    Couldn't agree you more. I've advocated against Buxton at DH all last season. If Buxton is healthy, play him in CF if he isn't, rest him or put him on the IL. Our focus shouldn't be to  see how many games we can squeeze out of him during the regular season but  to have him healthy for the post season. I'd love to see him healthy & let loose in the post season & see what this tiger can do. I'd love to see Buxton & Correa play off each other. That kind of electricity is catchy, I can see this team explode (rather than implode)

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Interesting how the author himself states he had inconsistent playing time due to injuries and doesn't mention the multiple injuries Buxton dealt with last year, that left him being UNABLE TO RUN some days. I mean, honestly. Of course Buxton would be out there every day if he was healthy. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    38 minutes ago, walkstar89 said:

    Interesting how the author himself states he had inconsistent playing time due to injuries and doesn't mention the multiple injuries Buxton dealt with last year, that left him being UNABLE TO RUN some days. I mean, honestly. Of course Buxton would be out there every day if he was healthy. 

    I'm pretty sure Buxton, Baldelli, and Falvey each confirmed that Buxton had many "healthy scratch" days for rest last year

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    22 minutes ago, walkstar89 said:

    Interesting how the author himself states he had inconsistent playing time due to injuries and doesn't mention the multiple injuries Buxton dealt with last year, that left him being UNABLE TO RUN some days. I mean, honestly. Of course Buxton would be out there every day if he was healthy. 

    Is this Rocco Baldelli? Am I being punked? Seriously though, yes, I was that player in college. I played through various injuries to try and help my team and play the game I love, I get it more than you probably realize and that's ok. Like you said he was unable to run some days, I think most people that followed baseball were aware of that. In the instance of last year, the conversation should have been let's get it fixed so you can run and/or manage this so the at-bats can be consistent. A competitor will always want to take the field, it's the organizations job to protect them. Protecting them isn't a weird on again off again schedule where we watch a players batting average disintegrate. There's a great article on this at the top of the page.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    A well run FO and Manager would have done exactly what you wish for, last year. Unfortunately they think differently. I'm sure, as you are writing and we are reading articles here on Twins Daily, Rocco is already going over his schedule and penciling in off days for Buxton, Correa and others thinking his "Plan" will work this year. In fact he will likely doubledown on giving off days thinking he didn't give enough last year due to all of the injuries. From his constant lineup changes to the misuse of his starters and over use of the bullpen, the "Plan" will undoubtably fail again. Rocco, the FO and Ownership doesn't understand that if they want fans in the stands you need to play your best players every day, especially at home. If you want the best chance at winning games, you need to play your best players every day, and if you want your best players to perform at their highest level they need to play every day. If they are hurt or come to you saying they need a day off are the only times they shouldn't be in the lineup at their usual position. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Rocco and his spreadsheets. Rocco and his spreadsheets. Rocco and his spreadsheets.

    Rocco played baseball. At the highest level.  And he excelled (third in Rookie of the Year voting at age 22) until injuries took their toll.

    Derek Falvey played college ball, on the field and not just the video game version.  Thad Levine played college ball.  To insinuate, as some do, that management is oblivious to the realities of dealing with injury is just beyond the pale.  Rocco could correct any misapprehensions that the FalVine duo might have, except I doubt it's been necessary.

    The author of this article played baseball at the college level. too.  All these points of view come from direct experience of what works and what doesn't when injuries occur.  Such POV may differ because humans differ and because experiences differ and because no one has the full picture.  I would love a panel discussion of the topic among these four (or of course many others equally well positioned to talk about it).

    It's dangerous to slice and dice batting records too much (small sample sizes become smaller) but in 2022 Buxton's OPS as a DH was above .800 while the DH performance of the rest of the team was under .750.  He did better as DH than the sainted Luis Arraez.  No one prefers that Buxton DH, but it's a strategy that isn't doomed to failure when he's not 100% physically. 

    I don't think the strategy especially "worked" for him in 2022, partly because the injuries weren't confined to playing defense, but that doesn't mean it was wrong-headed and conceived by idiots.  Tweaking the approach may pay off.  But there's a lot of nuance where injuries are involved - "let's get it fixed" is nice in principle but 1) it's not like taking a car to the shop and having the mechanic's diagnostics tell you it has low compression in cylinder #2, and 2) getting it fixed may mean season-ending surgery versus letting him limp (no pun intended) through the season if he can.

    I'll add that to me it does matter when in the season Buxton plays.  If they are on track for a playoff appearance, it can be worth some sacrifice during the regular season to have him be as close to his peak as possible in October.  Of course, if resting him results in closely missing those playoffs.... maybe it all just wasn't meant to be that season.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    6 minutes ago, ashbury said:

    Rocco and his spreadsheets. Rocco and his spreadsheets. Rocco and his spreadsheets.

    Rocco played baseball on the field, not just the video game version. At the highest level.  And he excelled (third in Rookie of the Year voting at age 22) until injuries took their toll.

    The author of this article played baseball at the college level.  Derek Falvey played college ball.  Thad Levine played college ball.

    All these points of view come from direct experience of what works and what doesn't when injuries occur.  Such POV may differ because humans differ and because experiences differ and because no one has the full picture.  But to insinuate that management is oblivious to the realities of dealing with injury is just beyond the pale.

    It's dangerous to slice and dice batting records too much (small sample sizes become smaller) but in 2022 Buxton's OPS as a DH was above .800 while the DH performance of the rest of the team was under .750.  He did better as DH than the sainted Luis Arraez.  No one prefers that Buxton DH, but it's a strategy that isn't doomed to failure when he's not 100% physically.

    I don't think the strategy especially "worked" for him in 2022, partly because the injuries weren't confined to playing defense, but that doesn't mean it was wrong-headed and conceived by idiots.

    It sounds like you may have the full picture, though? I look forward to your future in counseling big league teams. I will drink from the fountain that is your wisdom as often as possible. However, it is a matter of fact that Buxton will be better if the at-bats can be strung together. The level my play, Rocco's or the FO's, has no bearing on that fact. I have no doubt if he was just a DH for 140 games his offensive numbers would be excellent. If you peek at his fielding metrics in a year where he was hurt the whole season you might see the value in sacrificing some weird playing structure to have Buck on the field in all his glory. I also do not think anyone was an idiot for how they handled him last year. Now that he is, in theory, healthy my whole point was he should be written in CF everyday (by today's standard) with no restrictions on his play style.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    17 minutes ago, ashbury said:

    Rocco and his spreadsheets. Rocco and his spreadsheets. Rocco and his spreadsheets.

    Rocco played baseball on the field, not just the video game version. At the highest level.  And he excelled (third in Rookie of the Year voting at age 22) until injuries took their toll.

    The author of this article played baseball at the college level.  Derek Falvey played college ball.  Thad Levine played college ball.

    All these points of view come from direct experience of what works and what doesn't when injuries occur.  Such POV may differ because humans differ and because experiences differ and because no one has the full picture.  But to insinuate that management is oblivious to the realities of dealing with injury is just beyond the pale.

    It's dangerous to slice and dice batting records too much (small sample sizes become smaller) but in 2022 Buxton's OPS as a DH was above .800 while the DH performance of the rest of the team was under .750.  He did better as DH than the sainted Luis Arraez.  No one prefers that Buxton DH, but it's a strategy that isn't doomed to failure when he's not 100% physically.

    I don't think the strategy especially "worked" for him in 2022, partly because the injuries weren't confined to playing defense, but that doesn't mean it was wrong-headed and conceived by idiots.

    I don't think the author was saying the decision was idiotic, but that instead of the plan used last year we should just let the dude play. That being said, I am in between on this issue (only an issue if he isn't 100%, fingers crossed he is). As a twins fan I do want to turn on the game and see him everyday, if he can't physically do that by playing CF everyday, then fine. Just forgo CF entirely at that point and DH him 162 and tell him to never run. Not quite the laser light show you want but hey you probably get close to 40 jacks and at least a ,250 average from the guy and most likely he will never get hurt unless he gets plunked in the head or hand/wrist. DHs have been worse.

    However, I think that route would be a crime against his talent and I think Rocco should just tell the guy, "Hey you're in CF everyday hitting 3rd or 4th. You need a day off, you tell me."

    Let Buck buck.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    19 minutes ago, Alex Boxwell said:

    It sounds like you may have the full picture, though?

    90ec72b8f7c698442d9c5d6715accc9d--classi

     

    In my defense, I dashed off a few thoughts in response both to the comments below the article, and to the article itself.  After a few minutes I decided I didn't arrange it very carefully, and my point may have been missed.  While you were writing your reply, I was revising the organization.  See if you find it a bit more coherent now.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    2 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

    Good reflection and I agree - he is a CF star, an okay DH.  Play him until he needs a day off, don't do it by some formula.

     

    I think he seemed only like an okay DH due to the lack of consistent ABs. I think if he DHd every day he would put up same insane numbers. But, I am in agreement with the author as well. Let him rip.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    3 hours ago, GKuehl said:

    Based on the title, I really thought this piece was going to be about giving Royce Lewis plenty of time to recover to avoid rushing him back. 

    That would make sense! …….planned days off & days at DH need to come before he gets hurt not after. We want at bats from Buck!! It’s fun to see him run around in CF but we need his AB’s & production.

    Taking the rolls out on Friday night & to Church on Sunday morning & Bingo on Wednesday evening every week is better than having a fun spring & then keeping it in the garage the rest of the summer!

    We have plenty of OF - gotta have him around in the playoffs!!!

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    1 minute ago, JD-TWINS said:

    That would make sense! …….planned days off & days at DH need to come before he gets hurt not after. We want at bats from Buck!! It’s fun to see him run around in CF but we need his AB’s & production.

    Taking the rolls out on Friday night & to Church on Sunday morning & Bingo on Wednesday evening every week is better than having a fun spring & then keeping it in the garage the rest of the summer!

    We have plenty of OF - gotta have him around in the playoffs!!!

    My comments were about Buxton & nothing to do with Mr. Lewis.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Each part  makes a decision at a particular time that attempts to maximize production. Sometimes this works and sometimes it does not. 

    2023 is a new season and Byron Buxton is healthy once again. Let him play his game. It was reasonable to make numerous accommodations with how and when Buxton played last year due to injuries and availability on any given day. There isn't any reason today to repeat that practice. I doubt Falvey and Baldelli are going into the season with plans based on Buxton being injured and needing to be sat down on a frequent basis. 

     

     

     

     

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    1 hour ago, ashbury said:

    Rocco and his spreadsheets. Rocco and his spreadsheets. Rocco and his spreadsheets.

    Rocco played baseball. At the highest level.  And he excelled (third in Rookie of the Year voting at age 22) until injuries took their toll.

    Derek Falvey played college ball, on the field and not just the video game version.  Thad Levine played college ball.  To insinuate, as some do, that management is oblivious to the realities of dealing with injury is just beyond the pale.  Rocco could correct any misapprehensions that the FalVine duo might have, except I doubt it's been necessary.

    The author of this article played baseball at the college level. too.  All these points of view come from direct experience of what works and what doesn't when injuries occur.  Such POV may differ because humans differ and because experiences differ and because no one has the full picture.  I would love a panel discussion of the topic among these four (or of course many others equally well positioned to talk about it).

     

    Nobody wants to hear this Ash.  Ever since the Falvey FO and Rocco were hired, the mob has been screaming robots and spreadsheets.  The blame for every wrong decision... well... for every decision that people don't agree with goes back to this mantra.

    In a perfect world Buxton plays every day.  This isn't perfect.  Decisions are being made to mitigate risk and injuries.  That doesn't mean they will always work out.

    Buxton is a pro.  He should understand what is going on and should work to mentally prepare for those days when he is DHing

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    4 hours ago, ashbury said:

    Rocco and his spreadsheets. Rocco and his spreadsheets. Rocco and his spreadsheets.

    Rocco played baseball. At the highest level.  And he excelled (third in Rookie of the Year voting at age 22) until injuries took their toll.

    Derek Falvey played college ball, on the field and not just the video game version.  Thad Levine played college ball.  To insinuate, as some do, that management is oblivious to the realities of dealing with injury is just beyond the pale.  Rocco could correct any misapprehensions that the FalVine duo might have, except I doubt it's been necessary.

    The author of this article played baseball at the college level. too.  All these points of view come from direct experience of what works and what doesn't when injuries occur.  Such POV may differ because humans differ and because experiences differ and because no one has the full picture.  I would love a panel discussion of the topic among these four (or of course many others equally well positioned to talk about it).

    It's dangerous to slice and dice batting records too much (small sample sizes become smaller) but in 2022 Buxton's OPS as a DH was above .800 while the DH performance of the rest of the team was under .750.  He did better as DH than the sainted Luis Arraez.  No one prefers that Buxton DH, but it's a strategy that isn't doomed to failure when he's not 100% physically. 

    I don't think the strategy especially "worked" for him in 2022, partly because the injuries weren't confined to playing defense, but that doesn't mean it was wrong-headed and conceived by idiots.  Tweaking the approach may pay off.  But there's a lot of nuance where injuries are involved - "let's get it fixed" is nice in principle but 1) it's not like taking a car to the shop and having the mechanic's diagnostics tell you it has low compression in cylinder #2, and 2) getting it fixed may mean season-ending surgery versus letting him limp (no pun intended) through the season if he can.

    I'll add that to me it does matter when in the season Buxton plays.  If they are on track for a playoff appearance, it can be worth some sacrifice during the regular season to have him be as close to his peak as possible in October.  Of course, if resting him results in closely missing those playoffs.... maybe it all just wasn't meant to be that season.

    Great post Ash.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Outstanding article Alex. I always listen when someone who has actually played on a relatively high level writes or speaks. It gives credibility to the author. For example, when I was playing baseball in high school, I set records for the most home runs at my school. But then, I was the pitcher and it was a school record for home runs allowed...the amazing part of this record is that I rarely could pitch the ball over the plate. The batters were salivating to get to swing at my pitches before my coach could take me out of the game. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I do like the addition of Michael A. Taylor. Great defender that provides a solid insurance policy. My day dream of Buxton in center for 140 is not going to happen. The key piece now is keeping Buxton's at-bats consistent. If we get 90-100 of Byron in center and 40-50 DHing I think we can all agree with that body of work, it will end up being very impressive. 500+ ABs, speak it into existence.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    57 minutes ago, Alex Boxwell said:

    I do like the addition of Michael A. Taylor. Great defender that provides a solid insurance policy. My day dream of Buxton in center for 140 is not going to happen. The key piece now is keeping Buxton's at-bats consistent. If we get 90-100 of Byron in center and 40-50 DHing I think we can all agree with that body of work, it will end up being very impressive. 500+ ABs, speak it into existence.

    This is the best plan I have read about for Buck. It seems to be the most reasonable.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    14 hours ago, ashbury said:

    Rocco and his spreadsheets. Rocco and his spreadsheets. Rocco and his spreadsheets.

    Rocco played baseball. At the highest level.  And he excelled (third in Rookie of the Year voting at age 22) until injuries took their toll.

    Derek Falvey played college ball, on the field and not just the video game version.  Thad Levine played college ball.  To insinuate, as some do, that management is oblivious to the realities of dealing with injury is just beyond the pale.  Rocco could correct any misapprehensions that the FalVine duo might have, except I doubt it's been necessary.

    The author of this article played baseball at the college level. too.  All these points of view come from direct experience of what works and what doesn't when injuries occur.  Such POV may differ because humans differ and because experiences differ and because no one has the full picture.  I would love a panel discussion of the topic among these four (or of course many others equally well positioned to talk about it).

    It's dangerous to slice and dice batting records too much (small sample sizes become smaller) but in 2022 Buxton's OPS as a DH was above .800 while the DH performance of the rest of the team was under .750.  He did better as DH than the sainted Luis Arraez.  No one prefers that Buxton DH, but it's a strategy that isn't doomed to failure when he's not 100% physically. 

    I don't think the strategy especially "worked" for him in 2022, partly because the injuries weren't confined to playing defense, but that doesn't mean it was wrong-headed and conceived by idiots.  Tweaking the approach may pay off.  But there's a lot of nuance where injuries are involved - "let's get it fixed" is nice in principle but 1) it's not like taking a car to the shop and having the mechanic's diagnostics tell you it has low compression in cylinder #2, and 2) getting it fixed may mean season-ending surgery versus letting him limp (no pun intended) through the season if he can.

    I'll add that to me it does matter when in the season Buxton plays.  If they are on track for a playoff appearance, it can be worth some sacrifice during the regular season to have him be as close to his peak as possible in October.  Of course, if resting him results in closely missing those playoffs.... maybe it all just wasn't meant to be that season.

    Like you, I tire of reading and hearing comments insinuating that Rocco and Falvine rely too much on analytics and don't truly know baseball. (And some of those comments originate in my own home.) Regarding Buxton in particular, Twins insiders know way more than we fans do about his health. I have every confidence that their strategy has always been to have him in games, especially in CF, as much as possible. And I don't agree with those who say he should be given days off only in road games. Of course I want to see him on the field when I am at Target Field--who doesn't?--but what I want more is to have him (and for that matter all players) contributing optimally. If what works best is to give him a day off for a home game then I support that.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    19 hours ago, Alex Boxwell said:

    Inconsistent playing time will never equal a .300 batting average at the Major League level with the stuff guys are throwing now. I felt it myself as a player dealing with wrist and hamstring issues. Being in one day and out the next, a week on and a week off, hitting big-league caliber stuff is based on comfort, rhythm, and timing. 

    That comfort, rhythm, and timing are so fragile at the highest levels, and we saw what happened last year to a player with all-world ability. Byron looked like the MVP front-runner, but then the knee injury led to sporadic playing time, a strange playing time structure, and a dip in his performance at the plate. 

    In hindsight it looks like he should have been placed on the D.L and then maybe we have him for September. 

    I was sleeping during med school but I agree with you because whatever they tried with Buxton last year... didn't work. They were careful and he still ended up being out for the stretch run. I heard Rocco say that Buxton was giving it everything he had but he could barely walk into the locker room some days. 

    Was it the inconsistent playing time... or was it the knee injury itself?

    I often hear about the importance of consistent playing time and it makes all the sense in the world when you hear it. Rhythm... Timing has to be important... it passes the common sense test. Boras was telling everybody that Gallo's struggles were playing time related. If only Gallo could get regular playing time. 

    However, it only seemingly applies to certain players. Buxton it applies to because his numbers were not what we expected. Rob Refsnyder it does not apply to. Rob is that .300 hitter that you said can't happen. 

    https://www.espn.com/mlb/player/gamelog/_/id/33411/rob-refsnyder

    It applies to Joey Gallo but it doesn't apply to Kyle Garlick and all of the short side platoon guys. Garlick is expected to mash lefties with 28% playing time. 

    It applies to the chosen starting 9 on all 30 teams but it doesn't apply to the 4 bench guys. If you rest them, they will lose that comfort/rhythm/timing and those 4 bench guys will be expected to perform on a Sunday afternoon after sitting Monday through Saturday. 

    Of course... we would never see a player perform worse in August and September or in the playoffs with regular playing time as a cure all but yet we do.

    We would never see a player go on a hot streak after returning from injury and yet we do. 

    It makes all the sense in the world when it is expressed. Real life? I'm not so sure. But, if it is important... with the injuries that occur, we better make sure that all 26 players are getting that comfort rhythm and timing. 

     

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    AMEN Alex!!!!!!!!  I've been saying this for years and couldn't agree with you more.  This feeble attempt to somehow "protect" him is a fools errand.  Just. Let. Him. Play.  You cannot "guarantee" an injury won't occur by trying to play Buxton in 80 games when the season is 162 plus playoffs.  And with the new rules on pickoffs, a pitch clock and larger bases can we finally unleash him and let him steal 40-50 bases???  I firmly believe that the only way the Twins overcome their plague of injuries is to stop walking on egg shells with worry when the next injury will occur and just play the game, all out, with fierce abandon.  When I saw your "headline" with Rolls "Royce" in it, I thought it was an article about Royce Lewis.  I feel the same way about this talented young kid as I do Buxton.  Just play him.  SS, LF, 3B, CF, 2B, RF?  I don't care.  Thinking one position is more risky than another is just adopting a mindset that something "bad" is going to happen.  Just. Let. The. Play.  And let them play all-out, with no restrictions or caution.  

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites




    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

    Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...