Buxton Struggling in the Big Leagues
In the 2012 MLB draft the Minnesota Twins took 18-year-old Byron Buxton, from Baxley, Georgia, with the second overall pick. The center fielder came out of high school with more draft buzz than anyone in the country, and to baseball experts he was the clear choice to go first overall in that year's draft. In an effort to save future money, the Houston Astros took Puerto Rico born shortstop, Carlos Correa first overall, resulting in Buxton falling right into the Twins lap at pick number 2.
Buxton did not disappoint the following season in single-A. In 68 games of low-A ball, Buxton hit .341 with 8 homers and 32 stolen bases. He then spent the second half of the 2013 season in advanced-A where he again thrived. Buxton hit .326 in 57 games in advanced-A, and continued to swipe bases with great regularity.
Experts were quick to notice Buxton's dominance in the minors as a 19-year-old, and the buzz surrounding him only grew larger. Buxton came into the 2014 campaign as MLB.com's top-ranked prospect in all of baseball, and had moved up the ranks faster than anyone expected. Buxton's season was cut short, however, when he suffered a head injury just 31 games into the season. In his first game in double-A and 31st minor league game of the year, Buxton was involved in a horrific head to head collision in right center field. Buxton was diagnosed with a severe concussion, and would sit out the remainder of the season.
Again this season, MLB.com had Byron Buxton ranked the top prospect in baseball and last week, the 21-year-old center fielder got the call to come to Minneapolis and make his debut for the Minnesota Twins. Though he went game one without a hit, Buxton was the talk of the game as he scored the game-winning run in his first major league game. He followed that performance by getting his first big league hit, a stand-up triple into left center, but has been struggling ever since.
In his first eight games as a Twin, Buxton is hitting just .120 with 3 hits in 25 at-bats, and has nine strike outs. Fans hope that Buxton is just in a slump and taking time to adjust to big league ball, and that Buxton will not be a bust in the league. Buxton has shown everyone what they hoped to see in the field and on the base paths; an above average fielder with incredible speed and great burst on the base paths. Hopefully Buxton is able to turn his plate struggles around before it's too late.
The Twins are still very much in the playoff hunt, and if he is not helping them win games, Twins fans will have to wait another year before getting to see Buxton being the Twins every day center fielder.