Byron Buxton Continues to Struggle
As Byron Buxton continues his struggles at the plate, Twins’ fans are wondering if it’s time to let him go.
Byron Buxton is a speedy and hard-working centerfielder. He is a top prospect. He is young with lots of potential. So why is he struggling so much at the plate? It actually all boils down to one simple answer: nobody knows.
Buxton may not even know what’s wrong with his swing. The truth is, though, Twins’ fans shouldn’t have expected much at the plate from Buxton. His career batting average in the Majors is .211 with only 12 homeruns and 44 RBI’s in 456 at-bats. His stats are far from gaudy.
So, why are his stats even worse at the beginning of this year? This answer is a bit more complex. It begins simplistic: it’s early in the season. Statistics show that eventually Buxton will break out of his slump and get up to his normal above-.200 average. But that’s not all that is wrong with Buxton.
Buxton, who is used to hitting towards the bottom of the lineup, was shoved in at the 3 spot on opening day. While that may show a player that their club has confidence in them, it also puts quite a bit of pressure on said player. And when Buxton is at the plate, that pressure can most definitely be seen. He looks flat out uncomfortable.
Image by BrooksBaseball.net
If you look at the table above, you’ll see the amount of whiffs per swing Buxton brings to the plate. Just study that for a minute and realize how bad that truly is. In 9 different locations, Buxton has a greater than 50% whiff percentage. And in 3 of those, it’s above 75%. You’ll also see that he is not being very selective at the plate, swinging at 453 pitches out of the strikezone, compared to 494 in the strikezone. Patience is extremely valuable in the art of hitting a baseball, and Buxton needs to work on patience more than anything else.
The question now is, is he really worth the hassle?
Twins’ fans still love Buxton, even though he haunts their worst nightmares with his strikeouts and impatience at the plate. The stats say that he will get back on track to being a decent hitter; and honestly, that’s all Twins’ fans want. He is a monster in Center Field and can cover any area between Minneapolis and St. Cloud. The fact is, his hitting can be excused.
Brian Dozier said it best when he said the Twins wouldn’t be where they are today without Buxton. His hitting may be atrocious, but his fielding is miraculous. Byron Buxton is definitely worth keeping around if you’re the Twins; his hitting will improve and us fans will continue to enjoy his antics in Center Field.