Hyped by some publications as the top prospect in baseball two years in a row, Byron Buxton became a victim of expectations last year. He was rushed to the majors as an injury fill-in for a surprisingly competitive Twins team even though an assortment of injuries had cost him a year of development and he hadn't fully mastered Double-A yet. Not surprisingly, the then-21-year-old struggled to adapt to the majors and ended up losing more developmental time to a sprained thumb. He did finish with good numbers in the minors, making a return trip there after the injury, and he remains a multi-talented player whose skills have been compared to Andrew McCutchen and even Mike Trout. But is he ready? The Twins will give him long look this spring with center field open, and the mere possibility of everything clicking makes him worth a middle-round pick.
Butxon could begin the 2016 season in the minors, manager Paul Molitor told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "There will be a question about whether Triple-A at-bats are needed for him to start the season or will he make an impression that will be so favorable that we will lean to go with him right out of the chute," Molitor said in remarks to the media at the MLB winter meetings. It seems unlikely that Buxton would begin the season in the minors given that the Twins traded away Aaron Hicks this winter, but he did struggle in his first exposure to the majors last season. Buxton hit just .209 with a .576 OPS in the majors and looked overmatched as he was often lost and free swinging at the plate. He had an ugly 6:44 K:BB ratio in stark contrast to his minor league career where he showed impressive control of the strike zone. Eddie Rosario could begin the season in center field, but the odds are still high that Buxton wins the job in spring training as the organization's top prospect.
Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks is not in the lineup for Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader with the Angels, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. The 25-year-old has been atop the order for each of the Twins' last 15 games (including Game 1), but will head to the bench following an 0-for-5 showing in Saturday's matinee. Byron Buxton will take over in center while Brian Dozier leads off against right-hander Garrett Richards.
Twins outfielder Byron Buxton is not in the lineup Friday against the Angels. Whereas some other top prospects like Carlos Correa and Corey Seager have hit the ground running following their promotions to the majors, Buxton has been slow to get up to speed at the highest level. Since his return to Minnesota in mid-August, Buxton has gone just 16-for-78 (.205 average) with five doubles, three walks and 24 strikeouts. His absence Friday marks his third straight.
Struggling Byron Buxton is the odd man out of the Twins lineup Friday in Houston after the activation of Aaron Hicks off the disabled list. Buxton has just one hit in his last 23 at-bats and has fanned 11 times during that stretch. His average has fallen to .189. It remans to be seen if his absence from the Minnesota lineup is permanent as the team seeks to remain in the playoff race.
The Twins have recalled outfielder Byron Buxton from Triple-A. Buxton was up earlier this year wtih the Twins, going 7 for 39 with a double and a triple in the first 11 games of his career. But he went down with a thumb injury at the end of June, and was sent to Triple-A following the end of his rehab assignment. His return was necessitated by fellow outfielder Aaron Hicks landing on the DL on Wednesday.