Baseball America, the foremost authority on all things prospects, has named Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton their Minor League Player of the Year. He was the second overall pick in last year's draft out of Georgia high school.
"Buxton was by far the best I have seen in a long, long time other than [Mike Trout],” said an opposing minor league manager. “Trout has more power, but Buxton probably does more (things). He has a better arm. He is a better defender than Trout, with better range and jumps ... They're both so explosive, and Buxton probably is a better hitter. He has fewer holes than Trout had. That's what is so amazing, Buxton has very loose hands and has such bat speed, he just sits back on the ball and then explodes through it.”
Buxton, 19, hit .334/.424/.520 with 19 doubles, 18 triples, 12 home runs, and 51 stolen bases in 125 games split between two levels of Single-A this summer. He led the minors in triples, was second in runs scored (109), sixth in batting average, seventh in on-base percentage, 10th in hits (163) and 12th in steals.
The Twins paid Buxton a $6 million signing bonus last year, the largest bonus handed out in the draft. The Astros opted to take Puerto Rico high school shortstop Carlos Correa -- who had an excellent season himself -- with the first overall pick. Buxton ranked atop Baseball America's list of the game's best prospects back in July.
Previous winners of the Minor League Player of the Year award include Wil Myers, Trout, Joe Mauer, Derek Jeter, Manny Ramirez and Frank Thomas. With the caveat that things can still go wrong for the most recent winners, the last player to be given the award by Baseball America and not become at least an average MLB player is Delmon Young (2005).