On June 13, 2015, the Minnesota Twins announced the call-up of top prospect Byron Buxton — a date Twins fans should remember for a long time. Buxton made his Major League debut on June 14 on the road against the Texas Rangers, signaling the start of something new in the Twin Cities. Since that time however, Buxton has collected just two hits as he is off to a slow start.
Prior to his call-up, Buxton was playing for the Double-A affiliate Chattanooga Lookouts. In 59 games played, Buxton slashed at a line of .283/.351/.489 with seven doubles, 12 triples, six home runs, 26 walks and 37 RBI’s. Not to mention, Buxton stole 20 bases while getting caught just twice.
Buxton’s start to the 2015 season was reassuring in a way, after suffering a couple of injuries to his wrist and head, Buxton hit just .240/.313/.405 in High-A ball for the Fort Myers Miracle. Also, Buxton’s speed makes him a legit threat both in the box and on the bases. Here’s more from FanGraphs:
"Buxton’s done some nice things with the bat this year, but his offensive ability is only one part of the total package. Thanks to his 80-grade speed, he’s also a huge asset both defensively and on the base paths. Buxton swiped 20 bases in 22 attempts in Double-A this year, which gave him the eight most steals — and the highest wSB — in Double-A this year. He ran wild in prior years, as well. He went 102 for 131 over his entire minor league career. Not only is that a lot of steals, but he’s stolen them at a solid 78% success rate."
Meanwhile, Buxton is just slashing at a line of .125/.125/.250 with just two hits in 16 at-bats for the Twins. Buxton recorded his first Major League hit Monday night on the road in St. Louis, collecting that hit against Cardinals veteran right-hander John Lackey. Since that game, Buxton has collected just one hit to his credit, looking a little lost at the plate if you will.
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In 16 plate appearances so far this season at the Major League level, Buxton has struck out six times — 38% of the time. In comparison to Double-A, Buxton struck out 51 times in 237 at-bats — 22% of the time. Perhaps Buxton is experiencing what every rookie goes through during his first time at the show, but expect Buxton to start picking it up in the next week or so.
Buxton and the Twins resume play Friday night as Kris Bryant and the Chicago Cubs come to town. Phil Hughes (4-6, 4.79 ERA) takes the hill for Minnesota as Chicago counters with Kyle Hendricks (2-2, 3.80 ERA). First-pitch from Target Field is scheduled for 8:10 PM EST, 6:10 PM MST.