Even though Buxton was not called up from Triple-A in September, the Twins don't envision an open competition for the starting center field job this spring, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. "We don't view it that way. He's our starting center fielder. That's who Byron Buxton is. That's clear to us moving forward," said Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey.
Buxton looked like a budding superstar after a breakout 2017 season only to endure basically a lost season in 2018. Buxton went on the DL in early April due to a recurring migraine issue and then broke his toe while on a rehab assignment. He tried to play through a hairline fracture in his left big toe but hit just .188 in 17 games and was sent to the minors. He then missed several weeks with a wrist injury. When finally healthy he hit .313 with three homers and an .897 OPS over 27 games at Triple-A. However, he wasn't called up in September despite being fully healthy in a thinly-veiled move by the Twins to gain an extra year of service time. It looks like the Twins will re-establish him as the starter next spring. The jury is out on if he'll become a star at the plate or if he can stay healthy given his injury history, but he may also have as much upside for fantasy baseball as any player in the game.
Buxton will not be called up from Triple-A Rochester this season, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
The Twins announced Saturday that they will not activate the talented but embattled outfielder for the remainder of this lost season. This will work toward controlling his service time so that he won't become a free agent after the 2022 season. Those holding Buxton in redraft leagues on the hope that he might provide a late-season boost can cut bait, but keeper-league players looking toward the future who can still make trades could benefit by asking Buxton's shareholder whether he's available.
Even though Buxton is hitting 18-for-48 (.375) with nine extra-base hits since being activated from the DL at Triple-A Rochester, he may not be called up to the majors when rosters expand in September. "Our focus should exclusively be on what we think is the best for Byron long-term, and that's where it's going to be," Derek Falvey, the Twins' chief baseball officer, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Buxton has had an injury-plagued season that included missing time due to migraines, a broken toe and a wrist injury. He's finally starting to play better at Triple-A and the Twins may want him to finish the season on a run of success. Keeping Buxton in the minors would keep his service time below the threshold where he'd be a free agent after the 2022 season rather than 2021. Falvey said service time was not a consideration for calling him up, however. Buxton could be an impact fantasy player in September due to his speed on the bases, but it's not a given he'll be with the Twins.
Buxton has gone 8-for-20 with a home run, three doubles and a walk in four games since returning from Triple-A Rochester's 7-day disabled list.
Buxton was sidelined for about two weeks with a sore wrist before being activated Aug. 14. The outfielder's recent form at the dish suggests that the wrist is no longer presenting any issues, but the Twins will presumably want to see Buxton log more at-bats in the minors before considering a promotion to the big club. Expect him to get the call to Minnesota when rosters expand at September, at which point he could poach at-bats from the likes of Jake Cave and Robbie Grossman.
Buxton went 3-for-5 with a home run Tuesday for Triple-A Rochester. He was activated from the DL after missing time with a wrist injury.
If Buxton can stay hot at the plate and stay healthy (which has been his issue this season), he could be in line for a promotion in September or earlier. The Twins would likely love to see him in the majors again to figure out where he fits into the team's plans in 2019.
|9/30/2018 vs Chicago|
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|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2013||AFX-Cedar Rapids Kernels||68||270||68||92||15||10||8||55||44||56||32||11||.431||.559||.341|
|2013||AFA-Fort Myers Miracle||57||218||41||71||4||8||4||22||32||49||23||8||.415||.472||.326|
|2014||AA-New Britain Rock Cat||1||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||--||3||0||0||.000||.000||.000|
|2014||AFA-Fort Myers Miracle||30||121||19||29||4||2||4||16||10||33||6||2||.313||.405||.240|
|2015||AAA-Rochester Red Wings||13||55||11||22||3||1||1||8||4||12||2||1||.441||.545||.400|
|2017||AAA-Rochester Red Wings||3||12||3||5||0||0||2||3||1||3||0||0||.462||.917||.417|