Minnesota Twins top 2017 moments: Byron Buxton’s defensive brilliance
The Minnesota Twins had an incredible run to the playoffs in 2017. Let’s remember some of the best moments of the year!
The Minnesota Twins had an incredibly fun season to follow as a fan. To close out the calendar year of 2017, we will take a look back at some of the biggest moments of the season!
Our next moment was the one that began on opening day, but really continued throughout the season, time after time, game after game – the brilliance of the glove in center field.
Byron Buxton‘s season in center field in 2017
From the day the Twins drafted Buxton 2nd overall in the 2012 draft, his exceptional athleticism has been one of his primary traits as a ballplayer. That comes through the most for him on defense.
After an explosive last month of the 2016 season, fans had high hopes for Buxton’s 2017, and while in the end, they got what they were hoping for, his bat took some time to get there. The glove, on the other hand, was never in question.
Buxton led all center fielders with 24 defensive runs saved in 2017, and his range rating was nearly double the next closest qualified center fielder.
Buxton wasted no time flashing the leather, either. The Twins seemed to draw the short straw on opening day, facing the Kansas City Royals, though at least at their home venue in Target Field.
The Royals had been to the World Series in 2014 and 2015, winning it in 2015. The team had fallen back in 2016, but they still had not had a losing record since 2012, and this was to be the swan song for many of the core players on that Royals team who won it all in 2015 as many of them were free agents after the 2017 season. In other words, the Royals team was expecting big things.
Ervin Santana and Danny Duffy were locked in a tough pitcher’s duel until the 7th inning, but that duel wouldn’t have been there without Buxton:
His second catch, when he slipped and then recovered to make a diving catch, was an impressive display of Buxton’s athleticism and kept the game tight, allowing the Twins to eventually blow the game open in the 7th inning with 6 runs for a 7-1 victory.
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Buxton would go 0-5 in the game at the plate with three strikeouts, which was the start to what would be a rough opening to the season at the plate, sending Buxton and his elite glove to the minor leagues in July to recover from “injury”.
However, you cannot keep a brilliance like that down for long, and Buxton was back up at the beginning of August, which spurred a Twins offensive explosion…but that’s another article.
Buxton ended up the season with a Gold Glove along with being selected as the Wilson Defensive player of the year, a very prestigious accomplishment.
Next: How offseason deals affect the Twins' plans
This is the first in our series of 2017 highlights. Which games or moments would you like to see us highlight next? Comment below!