It’s official! After one month of play, Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton was selected as the best player in the Junior Circuit. We expected this, but it’s nice to actually see him take home the award and not have it stolen from him by an east coast player or a more established star.
Buxton is the first Minnesota Twins player to win the award since July of 2010, when Delmon Young took home the award after slashing .434/.455/.736 with six homers and 30 RBI. While Buxton didn’t have that many RBI, hitting .426/.466/.897 with eight homers and two more stolen bases is probably a better overall line.
Young is hardly the first Twin to win the award. Sixteen Twins have been named player of the month, including two others (Kirby Puckett in 1986 and Torii Hunter in 2002) winning the Player of the Month in April as well.
On the National League side, Ronald Acuña picked up the player of the month win with a .333/.431/.708 slashline and a league-leading nine homers and a league leading 26 runs. Both Acuña and Buxton had very stiff competition to take home the awards.
Mike Trout slashed .425/.523/.781 with six homers and 14 RBI, and had his team scored a little more, this may have been Trout’s award. J.D. Martinez slashed .351/.430/.745, but also had nine homers and 25 RBI. Acuña had to fend off Jesse Winker, who’s currently hitting .365 and has six homers of his own.
While both of the awards are well deserved,. Buxton’s in particular has to feel especially good. The consistent success over a full month is just a glimpse at the lofty ceiling Buxton still has. The former No. 2 overall pick and No. 1 prospect has always flashed his ability before, but we haven’t seen anything like this.
If Buxton can keep anything close to this level of success throughout the season, he will smash the team’s records for WAR, fWAR, earn his first All-Star bid and fight his way into the MVP discussion, and that’s something we can all be proud of.