Legends On Deck

Can Buxton Remain Injury Free In 2015?

In 2012, the Minnesota twins signed Byron Buxton as their first round pick (2nd overall) in the June Amateur draft out of Appling County HS in Baxley, GA.

In Buxton’s first season in Rookie ball between the Gulf Coast and the Appalachian leagues he batted .248, with five home runs and 20 RBI’s in 165 at bats.

The 2013 season was his biggest in his brief minor league career, as he moved from Class A ball to Class A Advanced and batted a combined .334, with 19 doubles, 18 triples, 12 home runs, 77 RBI’s and 55 stolen bases in 488 at bats. Buxton pretty much put himself on the map and was rewarded as the Top Prospect in the country starting the 2014 season and with the numbers he put on the board, there was no doubt that he would be poised for a quick rise to the majors.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to watch Buxton play in person here in Fort Myers while he was a member of the Class A Advanced Miracle in 2013. He caught me by surprise with his speed, great jump on the ball and his bat. At the time I was not as familiar with him, but he changed that thinking real quick when he ran down a ball in the left field gap and slammed into the fence at the same time the ball was falling into his glove. He came away unscathed after that collision and then used his bat to showcase his power and speed on the bases.  He turned a double into an easy triple, just flying around the bases.  I walked away from that game just in awe of his talent and hoping to witness his rise to the majors.

But unfortunately a rash of set backs from a wrist injury that he suffered in Spring Training, re-aggravating it five games into the Florida State League season, caused him to be out til July. Then in the very game that he debuted for the New Britain Rock Cats’ (AA), Buxton suffered a concussion after a violent collision in the outfield with teammate Mike Kvasnicka after diving for the ball. The final blow to his season came recently while playing in the Arizona Fall League, when he suffered a small fracture in his middle finger on his left hand (non-throwing) while attempting a diving catch. The good news is that he had surgery to repair the broken finger and the Twins expect him back for Spring Training.

Overall, Buxton finished the season batting .234, with four home runs, and 16 RBI’s in 124 at bats.

After his injury during spring training, the Minnesota Twins 2014 Prospect Watch updated their scouting report on Buxton:

“Assuming Buxton doesn’t have any lingering effects upon his return, he’ll get back to showing he’s a legitimate five-tool player. He has a simple, direct swing and creates excellent bat speed. Buxton’s power has already been better than expected, and scouts expect it to improve more as he grows. His speed grades out at the top of the scale and he knows how to use it on the base paths. Defensively, Buxton covers plenty of ground in center field and has good instincts in the outfield.”

The scouting report on Buxton sounds like a player that should be in big league camp next spring and competing for a chance to leave with the big club. That may sound foolish to some, especially with what Buxton endured this past season, but  I am sure if Buxton can avoid any further set backs and regain his top form, he should be ready for another breakout season, maybe even a major league debut. Also after witnessing Dilson Herrera‘s sudden rise to the top this past summer from Class A Advanced straight to the Mets, there is not much doubt that Buxton can be on the same track.

The rash of injuries may have affected his Top Prospect status going into the 2015 season, but after what I witnessed back in 2013, if he does regain that form, the new season should be a special one for the Top Prospect.

(Feature Photo – Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas / USA TODAY Sports)

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David is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Legends On Deck®, as well as a Co-Host on Legends On Deck Podcast. David was a Senior Editor for MetsMerizedOnline.com, MetsMinors.net and Contributor for Hardballchat.com that spanned from 2010 to 2014. David made his MLB Debut as a writer in June 2014, while covering the NY Mets at Citi Field, for MetsmerizedOnline.com. David also coaches baseball for ages 13-15, a Babe Ruth League team in his local community. David's passion is coaching the game he loves to the future Legends of Tomorrow as well as making available a website that people can have fun sharing and reading. David is also passionate about his career as a Mortgage Loan Officer which allows him to help many families reach their dreams of owning a home. Connect with David via his Social Media pages as he loves to chat all about baseball.

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