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  1. Minnesota locked up Byron Buxton to a long-term deal this winter, and it looks like the Twins made a brilliant investment. After a torrid start to the season, is he in the conversation to be baseball's best player? Fans have seen this game changing ability before from Byron Buxton. Last April, he started hot in the season's first month as he hit .427/.466/.897 (1.363) with eight doubles and eight home runs in 18 games. MLB named Buxton the American League Player of the Month, and he had arguably the best offensive month in team history. It was hard to imagine him playing at a higher level, and then the 2022 season began. Over the weekend, Buxton showed his value across multiple games, including some dramatic moments. On Saturday, he went 4-for-4 and reached base in all five plate appearances as the Twins won a blowout. Sunday's game was a nail-biter, and Buxton left the fans happy as he tied the game with a home run in the 7th before a massive three-run walk-off shot in extra-innings. One weekend series doesn't qualify someone to be baseball's best player, but plenty of other signs point to Buxton's greatness. His six home runs tie him for the MLB lead, and he has over 20 fewer at-bats than the other players at the top. His 1.361 OPS would lead all of baseball by close to 200 points, but he doesn't have enough plate appearances to appear on the leaderboard. Baseball's leaders in slugging percentage are tied at .727, but Buxton's OPS is .946 through Sunday's game. At the season's start, MLB Network counted down baseball's top-100 players right now. Buxton ranked as baseball's 39th best player on that countdown, a 52-spot jump from the beginning of the 2021 season. At that time, he was directly behind players like Nick Castellanos, Shane Bieber, and Brandon Woodruff. With his start to the season, he has to move up the list, but would it be enough to get to the top? Players at the top of the list include multiple former MVPs and other budding superstars. Shohei Ohtani, the reigning AL MVP, is coming off a season where he did amazing things as a two-way player. Mike Trout is widely considered the best player of this generation and a perennial MVP candidate. Bryce Harper is the reigning NL MVP, and he continues to live up to the hype surrounding him as an amateur. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Juan Soto are two of the other highly ranked players that have achieved a lot at a young age. So far this season, many of these top players haven't been able to do what Buxton has done on the field. Ohtani is hitting .206/.265/.397 (.662), and he's posted a 4.40 ERA in three starts. Trout was limited to 36 games last season, but he is back to his old ways so far in 2022. Out of qualified players, he leads the AL in OPS and SLG. Harper has posted an OPS of over 1.000 in his two MVP seasons, but this year he has a .766 OPS while still leading the NL in runs. As expected, Soto leads baseball in walks and gets on base nearly 43% of the time. All of these players are great, but none may be able to impact the game quite like Buxton. At this early juncture, Trout is the lone top player producing at his expected level. Other players off to hot starts include Manny Machado, Nolan Arenado, and Wander Franco. There is a lot of season left to separate one player from another, but it's clear that Buxton is playing at an otherworldly level. Do you think he is baseball's best player? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  2. Fans have seen this game changing ability before from Byron Buxton. Last April, he started hot in the season's first month as he hit .427/.466/.897 (1.363) with eight doubles and eight home runs in 18 games. MLB named Buxton the American League Player of the Month, and he had arguably the best offensive month in team history. It was hard to imagine him playing at a higher level, and then the 2022 season began. Over the weekend, Buxton showed his value across multiple games, including some dramatic moments. On Saturday, he went 4-for-4 and reached base in all five plate appearances as the Twins won a blowout. Sunday's game was a nail-biter, and Buxton left the fans happy as he tied the game with a home run in the 7th before a massive three-run walk-off shot in extra-innings. One weekend series doesn't qualify someone to be baseball's best player, but plenty of other signs point to Buxton's greatness. His six home runs tie him for the MLB lead, and he has over 20 fewer at-bats than the other players at the top. His 1.361 OPS would lead all of baseball by close to 200 points, but he doesn't have enough plate appearances to appear on the leaderboard. Baseball's leaders in slugging percentage are tied at .727, but Buxton's OPS is .946 through Sunday's game. At the season's start, MLB Network counted down baseball's top-100 players right now. Buxton ranked as baseball's 39th best player on that countdown, a 52-spot jump from the beginning of the 2021 season. At that time, he was directly behind players like Nick Castellanos, Shane Bieber, and Brandon Woodruff. With his start to the season, he has to move up the list, but would it be enough to get to the top? Players at the top of the list include multiple former MVPs and other budding superstars. Shohei Ohtani, the reigning AL MVP, is coming off a season where he did amazing things as a two-way player. Mike Trout is widely considered the best player of this generation and a perennial MVP candidate. Bryce Harper is the reigning NL MVP, and he continues to live up to the hype surrounding him as an amateur. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Juan Soto are two of the other highly ranked players that have achieved a lot at a young age. So far this season, many of these top players haven't been able to do what Buxton has done on the field. Ohtani is hitting .206/.265/.397 (.662), and he's posted a 4.40 ERA in three starts. Trout was limited to 36 games last season, but he is back to his old ways so far in 2022. Out of qualified players, he leads the AL in OPS and SLG. Harper has posted an OPS of over 1.000 in his two MVP seasons, but this year he has a .766 OPS while still leading the NL in runs. As expected, Soto leads baseball in walks and gets on base nearly 43% of the time. All of these players are great, but none may be able to impact the game quite like Buxton. At this early juncture, Trout is the lone top player producing at his expected level. Other players off to hot starts include Manny Machado, Nolan Arenado, and Wander Franco. There is a lot of season left to separate one player from another, but it's clear that Buxton is playing at an otherworldly level. Do you think he is baseball's best player? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  3. Who is Misael Urbina? Minnesota is considered the favorites to sign Misael Urbina. To give a brief answer to the question above, he is a 15-year old outfielder from Venezuela. Scouts have called him an advanced hitter with an above-average hit tool and plus speed. MLB.com ranks him as the third overall prospect in their international class and they have plenty of positive things to say about him. He is a “line-drive hitter with a high baseball IQ.” They went on to say, “he’s already an advanced defender for his age.” They praised his instincts and makeup. One of the reasons he has been able to vault to the top of the class is because of his international experience. He has been taking part in the Venezuelan Winter League’s parallel program. This allows the young outfielder to to compete against professional players with more experience than he has. Baseball America has been following Urbina for some time. In February, MLB held a Venezuelan Showcase and Urbina was the only player to hit the ball over the fence during batting practice. At 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds, there is room for him to grow into his frame. However, BA said “his swing gets in and out of the hitting zone quickly, but he has good bat speed.” In one of the games being scouted, Urbina beat out an infield single in 4.20 seconds. Other Baseball America scouts said, his “athleticism sticks out in center field. A plus runner, Urbina showed a quick first step, gliding around the outfield with good instincts.” The same person went on to say, he “isn’t a pure hitter, but he has good bat speed and drove the ball for hard contact to all fields during BP.” Baseball America has video of him hitting at an Expected to Be Aggressive MLB.com believes the Twins are one of a handful of teams that will “be aggressive” during this signing period. Minnesota’s bonus pool for the current year is $6,025,400. That total ties them with other clubs like Miami, Milwaukee, and Tampa Bay. Team can also trade for an additional 75 percent of their bonus pool allotment. Since the Twins have just over $6 million, they could trade and end up with $10,544,450 in their final pool amount. During the Shoehi Ohtani sweepstakes last winter, the Twins missed out on the big prize. However, they were able to make multiple deals to send some of their international bonus pool money to other teams. Minnesota acquired catcher David Banuelos from the Mariners in exchange for $1 million in international bonus pool cap space. They also acquired outfielder Jacob Pearson from the Angels for the same amount of space. Banuelos has played 12 games for Cedar Rapids, where he is four months younger than the competition. So far this season, he’s hit .143/.234/.214 with 16 strikeouts and 4 walks. His only extra-base hit was a home run. Jacob Pearson is in extended spring training and has yet to appear in a game for the Twins system. Are you excited about the Twins adding a highly ranked prospect like Urbina? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Around Twins Daily Week in Review: Down in the Dumps Twins Minor League Report (4/29): Diaz Delivers Walk-Off Home Run On Ryan Pressly’s Release Point, Pitch Mix
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