Is Minnesota Twins Phenom Prospect Byron Buxton Baseball's Next Mike Trout?
Byron Buxton is baseball's next big thing.
No, that's not the newest ad campaign from Samsung to promote one of their phones. It's not a Brock Lesnar clone set to dominate the WWE either. Buxton has enjoyed a metoric rise in 2013 that not only has him on top of the Minnesota Twins' farm system.
He's also regarded as one of the best prospects in baseball.
The proof is everywhere just one year after Buxton was selected with the second-overall pick in last June's MLB entry draft. Bleacher Report's Mike Rosenbaum listed him as Major League Baseball's second-best prospect behind Oscar Tarvares of the St. Louis Cardinals in his June post-draft rankings.
It's a lofty status for a 19-year-old, but his performance at Low-A Cedar Rapids backs it up. In 68 games with the Kernels, he dominated the Midwest League to the tune of a .341/.431/.553 line with 33 extra-base hits (eight home runs), and 32 stolen bases in 44 attempts.
The performance has left analysts gasping for words to describe Buxton as Baseball Prospectus' Jason Parks relayed a message from one scout via Twitter on June 3:
@ChrisMellen Every scout source so far has basically said some form of this: "Um.. this isn't normal. This is special."—Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks) June 3, 2013
That led to a discussion with fellow BP prospect writer Chris Mellen that you can read at the "Kevin Slowey Was Framed" blog.
All of these things enabled Buxton to breeze through Low-A and be promoted to High-A Fort Myers on June 23. While he has a ways to go until he makes his major league debut at Target Field, it's fun to predict how scary the new Twins phenom is going to be once he arrives.
The gold standard for rookie impact was set last year when Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout breezed through the American League to win the American League Rookie of the Year award (and he almost took the AL Most Valuable Player award with it).
But is there a chance that Buxton could be better than Trout?
To do that, you must compare Buxton's numbers with those of Trout when he played at Low-A Cedar Rapids in the summer of 2010 in the Angels system.
In the boxscore, Buxton and Trout look like similar players. However, there's a difference between reading the box score and actually seeing players play. Jim Crikkett of the Cedar Rapids-based MetroSportsReport.com has seen both during his time following the team.
@crishad We saw Trout in CR too and I honestly think Buxton is slightly more advanced at this level. Cant point to one thing he cant do.—JimCrikket (@JimCrikket) May 18, 2013
Parks' ranking seems to not only agree, but take it to a new level.
@ChrisMellen While researching upcoming piece, had one source go 7/7 on hit/power with 8 run and 7 glove. I took a nap after the call.— Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks) June 3, 2013
Parks even went as far to include another scouts' opinion that couldn't find one comparison to Buxton due to his complete awesomeness. (WARNING: Link includes vulgar language.)
It's possible that we could be overreacting to one prospect's amazing three-month stretch, but it's also possible we are looking at the next young MLB superstar who can do it all.
It will be interesting to see how Buxton continues to develop in the Twins system and hopefully he will be coming to a major league city near you by the middle of the 2015 season...or sooner.
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