Minnesota Twins: Patience paying off for those waiting on Byron Buxton
Byron Buxton‘s 2017 season is finally worth the wait for the impatient crowd.
On Sunday, amid the Minnesota Twins recent road trip, the conversation regarding Byron Buxton reached a climax. The Twins’ best defensive player had an offensive output so great, it all but ended the “bust” movement.
All summer long, fans have raved about Buxton’s defensive ability – the spectacular diving catches and speed to cover the outfield gaps since opening day. Despite this, a large number of Twins observers continued the notion he’s a “bust” due to his lack of offensive output.
However, Buxton has been on the rise since May 2, Sunday just insured it’s time to remove the label.
Buxton’s Promising Statistics
Let’s consider a few stats.
Since May 2, Buxton is slashing .273/.325/.458 while collecting 13 home runs and stole 21 bases as well.
Quite encouraging after a dreadful month of April in which he slashed .147/.256/.176 and recorded no home runs and just 3 stolen bases.
For the statistically advanced crowd, Buxton’s wRC+ (weighted runs created plus) since May 2 is 105, which is five percentage points better than league average.
In April, his 21 wRC+ was well below what is considered “awful.”
Even with all the strikeouts early on in the season, Buxton’s SO% is down 6.9 percent from last season. His BB% hasn’t changed as drastically but nonetheless is headed in the right direction, up 1 percent from 2016.
The decrease in strikeouts and increase in walks is due in large part to Buxton’s increase in contact on pitches out of the strike zone.
Last season Buxton made contact with pitches out of the strike zone (O-Contact%) 47.8 percent of the time. This season he’s up to 53.8 percent, an increase of 6 percent.
This could be due to his 0.9 percent increase in Swing% or his 2.1 percent decrease in swing and miss percentage (SwStr%).
Whatever the case, Buxton has the stats to back up any anti bust argument. He simply had a bad month of April, and by the numbers, has had a productive overall season at the plate up to this point.
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The vocabulary used in the seats at Target Field has shifted 180 degrees since opening day.
Once popular phrases such as, “He just can’t/won’t hit” or “I don’t think he’ll hit for much moving forward” have died off. In August, Buxton’s hottest month at the plate, fans are noticing and have begun saying remarks like, “Boy has he really figured it out” or “I’m glad he’s finally starting to hit.”
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To those who were patient enough, the reward of watching Buxton hit the last two months is well worth the wait.
Those who were quick to label Buxton might want to change course or risk watching him prove how capable he is at the plate.