Minnesota Twins Must Keep Byron Buxton Hitting Leadoff
The Minnesota Twins called up baseballs top prospect, Byron Buxton, on June 14 in hopes of the youngster to make a quick impression with the bat. That didn’t happen as the 21-year-old collected just three hits in 25 plate appearances. Paul Molitor then switched up the lineup Monday night, bating Buxton leadoff and the kid made the most of it.
Prior to Monday nights game against the Chicago White Sox, Byron Buxton batted leadoff for the majority of his Minor League career, which amounted to 124 total games. Batting first in the lineup, Buxton hit 137-for-442, good for a .309 average. Not bad, right? Well, outside of the leadoff spot (29 games) Buxton struggled with the stick, which Minnesota has seen early on in Buxton’s Major League career.
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Although 29 games outside of the leadoff spot in the Minors is a pretty small sample size, the numbers still added up. During his first year in rookie ball for the Elizabethton Twins, Buxton spent time hitting first, fifth, sixth and even seventh in the order. Outside of the leadoff spot, Buxton hit just 10-for-46 — .217 average. Batting first however, Buxton slashed at a line of .387/.472/.645 (12-for-31) with fifth extra-base hits in 8 games.
In 2013, Buxton was utilized in both the leadoff spot and batting third for the Fort Myers Miracle — Minnesota’s Advanced A team. In 57 total games, Buxton was batting first for Fort Myers in 41 of those contests. During that time, he hit .339/.409/.491 with 13 extra-base hits — four of which were triples. However, in 16 games batting third, Buxton hit just .277/.433/.404 with just three extra base hits (all triples).
Buxton was hurt during the majority of the 2014 season, in which he batted just three times, failing to record a hit. Moving ahead to 2015, Buxton spent the entirety of his time batting leadoff. Buxton batted .283/.351/.480 in 58 games, recording 25 extra-base hits. Not to mention, the 21-year-old led the league in triples with 12.
Now to his current team, the Minnesota Twins. Buxton spent his first eight games batting ninth, which didn’t bode to well. Buxton notched just three hits in 25 at-bats, worrying Twins’ fans everywhere. Like I mentioned in the introduction, Twins skipper Paul Molitor thought the timing was right to place Buxton in the leadoff spot and he was right.
Buxton erupted for three hits in five at-bats Monday night against Chicago, collecting a double while scoring three times. Sometimes, patience is a virtue when it comes to easing top prospects along, but Minnesota made the right move by moving Buxton into the leadoff spot, a place in which he is more comfortable hitting.
The stats speak for itself, Byron Buxton is a prototypical leadoff hitter and nothing else. Batting leadoff, Buxton hit .309 in the Minors. Everywhere else, he hit just .247 (23-for-93). Your move, Minnesota.