Baseball America Names Byron Buxton Minor League Player of the Year

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Outfield phenom joins Joe Mauer as the only Twins players to win the accolade.

When you look at the performances of prospects throughout baseball, was there really a chance that somebody else would be named the Minor League Player of the Year? Probably not, although it sounds like Baseball America gave second place to 23-year old center fielder George Springer, who split his time between Double-A and Triple-A for the AstrosAs Aaron Gleeman notes, Buxton has been one of the most successful teenagers that the Florida State League has seen in the last 30 years. Which was more than enough to push him over the top.


Byron Buxton G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG

Cedar Rapids

Fort Myers

68

57

270

218

68

41

92

71

15

4

10

8

8

4

55

22

44

32

56

49

32

23

11

8

.341

.326

.431

.415

.559

.472


That's 49 extra-base hits, 55 stolen bases, an advanced approach at the plate, and brilliant defense for a 19 year old.

Did I mention his speed? Check out this infield hit versus the Snappers earlier this year. Start watching at the 3:45 mark.

On this hit, I think he was timed from home to third base in about four and a half seconds.

Seriously though, it was less than 11 seconds.

Comparisons to Mike Trout have swelled over the summer, as Buxton's season went from "great start" to "how long can he keep this going" to "um, guys, I think we're watching something special here". In a report filed by CBS Sports, one minor league manager had this to say:

"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."

Similarly, Baseball America's article lists projected grades on the 20-80 scale for both players.

Player Hit Power Run Arm Field Overall
Byron Buxton 70 60 80 70 70 70
Mike Trout 70 60 80 50 70 70

None of these accolades will necessarily translate to success. It's important to keep that in mind, since there have certainly been other players who have had the honor of Baseball America's award while turning in less than stellar careers. As a word of caution, Delmon Young (2005), Jeff Francis (2004), and Rick Ankiel (1999) are all players who have fallen short of expectations.

Buxton, of course, profiles like none of those players. Although Young was considered a five tool prospect at one time, it quickly became apparent that some of those tools were the equivalent of plastic sporks instead of actual cutlery. In terms of ceiling and how he projects, Buxton also has better plate discipline, speed, and defensive aptitudes other than his arm when compared to Young. Buxton also differentiates himself in terms of work ethic and attitude, because while there was an incident this summer you're not going to see Buxton doing anything like this.

Taking home Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year award is great, because it shows that no matter how excited we get about Buxton and his future, we're not the only ones. Some of the game's foremost experts think he's special, in a way that few players before him have been. Terry Ryan agrees that Buxton was so successful this season that he's accelerated his own timetable.

"I think he has [accelerated his timetable]; I think that's fair. I don't think in my wildest dreams I would have thought he'd reach Fort Myers this year."

Congratulations on your award, Byron. We can't wait to see what you have in store for next season and beyond, and hopefully we get to see you flash your skills in spring training.

SB Nation Featured Video
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Twinkie Town

You must be a member of Twinkie Town to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Twinkie Town. You should read them.

Join Twinkie Town

You must be a member of Twinkie Town to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Twinkie Town. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker