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Grading the 2020 Twins: Byron Buxton

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Here’s to a continued rise and less falling.

Wild Card Round - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game One
Keep going up.
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

As we did last offseason, Twinkie Town writers are grading player who appeared in a game for the 2020 Minnesota Twins. (Last year’s grades can be found here, this year’s here.) Players will be graded individually on an A-F scale based on their hitting, fielding, and whatever else the author wants to consider. Today, we have a player whom Twins fans have been waiting to see put a full season together for a long time.

On the field, Byron Buxton looks more and more like a star. If only he can stay there.

Building off a 2019 where he put up career highs in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS, Buxton built on most of those numbers in a truncated 2020. Although his OBP dropped from .314 to .267 thanks to worsening strikeout (23.1 pct. to 26.7 pct.) and walk (6.4 pct. to 1.5 pct.) rates, Buxton’s slugging percentage jumped over 60 points, from .513 to .577. His career-best slugging and OBP (.844) marks ranked second to Nelson Cruz among Twins who played in at least 10 games, as did his 13 home runs, which paced to a much greater rate than his 16 over 140 games in 2017.

And in the field, while Buxton’s metrics weren’t graded as highly as in his Gold Glove seasons, he still ranked well on the positive side of the spectrum with a 2.5 range runs above average and 2.5 UZR.

Unfortunately, Buxton’s career weakness — injuries — reared up again. Aside from an August stint on the injured list, an end-of-season injury led to questions over Buxton’s playoff status, and he was left out of the lineup for Game 2 of the Wild Card Series. Injuries limited Buxton to 39 games played out of a possible 60, and it can be easily argued that Buxton’s absence played a role in the Twins’ playoff dustpanning.

But, when on the field, Buxton looks more and more like a star.

Grade: A-

Poll

How would you grade Byron Buxton’s 2020 season?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    A
    (49 votes)
  • 54%
    B
    (101 votes)
  • 13%
    C
    (25 votes)
  • 3%
    D
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    F
    (2 votes)
184 votes total Vote Now