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Twins Warn Buxton: Triples Are "Showing Off"

The #1 prospect in the minors may have to grow up by slowing down.

It's perfectly okay if he hits triples, guys.  The Twins are pretty okay with it.
It's perfectly okay if he hits triples, guys. The Twins are pretty okay with it.

(12/27/13: Hi, everyone.  It's Stu.  I'm at my mom and stepdad's house for the holidays, so I'm running a RandBall's Stu "Best Of" today.  This is the one non-Punto Oral History piece I've done this year that had the most positive feedback, plus a fair amount of people who were genuinely outraged that the Twins were mad at Byron Buxton for hitting triples.  So sit back and enjoy this from the halcyon days of August 2013.  You're not working that hard today anyway.)

The Minnesota Twins, who have already disciplined highly-regarded prospects like Miguel SanoEddie Rosarioand Oswaldo Arcia, are rumored to be contemplating a similar move with Byron Buxton, Baseball America's #1 overall prospect.

Although no one would speak on the record, multiple organization sources confirm that the issue is Buxton's 15 triples between low-A Cedar Rapids and high-A Fort Myers this season.

"We call them 'showoff doubles,'" said a front office source who asked to remain anonymous. "Once or twice, heck, even three times we'd probably let it go. Young guys get excited and want to take that extra base. But 15? Criminy, it's unprofessional. You don't show up the other team like that. It's not the way we do things around here."

By contrast, the Twins have only 10 triples as a team through 105 games. Rookie Aaron Hicks, a former top prospect himself, leads the team with three.

"Hicks having three is just part of the learning curve," said the source. "The field staff is working with him and they'll get it straightened out. Pretty soon, stopping at second and setting up a sacrifice bunt will be second nature to him. Gotta get those runners moving."

Buxton, whose speed is considered by some observers to be his most outstanding attribute, may find that slowing down quickens his run through the minors.

"Doubles are good enough for Joe Mauer," said another source close to the team. "They were good enough for Kirby Puckett. If this young man thinks he's better than them? Then we have a real problem."

When the source was reminded that Kirby Puckett hit 13 triples in 1985, he laughed and responded, "We dispute Baseball Reference's numbers on this. You saw how pudgy Kirby was, and we all know Kirby played the game the right way. That never happened. Typo, probably."