As the 2nd player taken in the 2012 MLB Draft, Minnesota Twins CF prospect Byron Buxton entered the 2013 season with a plenty of hype and attention placed on his shoulders. Baseball America (#10) and MLB.com (#19) both included the 19-year old among baseball’s elite prospects in their preseason rankings.
Though it seemed unlikely at the time those rankings came out, Buxton has not only met those expectations, he has surpassed them. As the month of July comes to a close he is now almost universally regarded as the top prospect in the game. He torched Midwest League pitching to the tune of 0.341/.431/.559 with 15 2B, 10 3B, 8 HR, 32 SB, 44 BB and 56 SO in 68 games with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. On June 25th, almost exactly a year after he made his professional debut, Buxton was promoted to Fort Myers. A significant achievement for a teenager in an organization that prefers to move prospects along at a slower pace than most.
He hasn’t torn through the Florida State League with the same force, but he’s more than held his own with a 0.277/.336/.479 line in 28 games overall. If you’d prefer his slash line with the Miracle to be more impressive, rest assured Buxton is working on it.
In fact, he’s been white hot of late.
On July 23rd he went 2-4 with a triple and a home run and filled up the box score further with three runs scored, one driven in, a walk, a strike out and a stolen base. It was the kind of day he’s forcing fans to expect from him, but that game last Tuesday was just the start of things.
Counting today, he’s had two hits in six of his last seven games. That’s 12 hits in his last 30 at bats with six of those (3 3B, 3 HR) going for extra bases. Even with an 0-5 performance on Saturday his slash line is an impressive 0.400/.486/.900 in his latest stretch of dominance. Part of his recent multi-hit run is what earned him the mantle of Florida State League Offensive Player of the Week for the week that ended on July 28th.
Buxton is hitting for average and hitting for power. He’s scoring and driving in runs, stealing bases, drawing walks and playing outstanding defense. In short he’s doing it all for the Miracle, just like he did for the Kernels earlier this season. At this point it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he could be patrolling CF for the Rock Cats in Double-A this year with a 2014 MLB debut in the cards. That would be a tall order, even for a player so supremely talented but he’s already accelerated his timetable significantly and it would appear that he’s not done.