Results tagged ‘ Byron Buxton ’
By Ashley Marshall
The first month of the Minor League season has been everything but dull.
With up to 120 teams on the field on any given day, there’s always something to see. At every level and in every league, interesting stats are abundant.
The Indianapolis Indians, for example, are a perfect 15-0 when leading after five innings, while the Toledo Mud Hens are 3-11 in one-run games. Elsewhere, both Bowie and Mississippi have won three games when trailing after eight innings and 15 teams have yet to score in double digits at least once this season, led by the trio of Columbus, Charlotte and Jupiter (highs of seven).
April has seen 57 grand slams, 19 players with at least five hits in one game, five cycles (Negrych, Triunfel, Lambo, Almonte, Lipka) two three-homer performances (Romak and Murphy), a one-hitter and a no-no.
A total of 913 players have hit 2,005 homers, and San Jose’s Devin Harris has more longballs in the past week (seven) than 2,081 other players have hit in the first 27 days of the new season.
Here’s a word cloud showing what has been happening across more than 300 game recaps, league notebooks and promo previews on MiLB.com over the past 30 days.
It’s no surprise to see “prospect(s)” mentioned more than 700 times, although I wasn’t expecting to see “Walker” pop up 70 times.
I suppose when Taijuan Walker – baseball’s No. 5 prospect — has a 1.55 ERA, 32 Ks in 29 innings and two runs allowed in his past three starts, his name appears a lot. Also, Cedar Rapids’ Adam Brett Walker is batting .284 with six homers and 26 RBIs in 22 games.
April All-MiLB Team
It includes nine batters — eight position players and one DH — assembled into a batting order. Like real-life lineups, mine includes players with high on-base percentages and good speed at the top of the order, the most productive hitters in the heart of the lineup and a mixture of power, discipline and speed in the lower third.
1. Thomas Coyle, 2B
2. Byron Buxton, CF
3. Scott Van Slyke, 1B
4. Miguel Sano, 3B
5. Nick Franklin, DH
6. Stephen Vogt, C
7. Nolan Fontana, SS
8. Brian Bogusevic, LF
9. Kyle Johnson, RF
- Thomas Coyle is off to a hot start with Class A Bowling Green. He’s hitting .349 with 11 extra-base hits (including two homers) in 23 contests. Don’t let his 5-foot-7 frame fool you, he has some thunder in that bat. A prototypical leadoff hitter, the UNC product has a .471 OBP and he is a perfect 12-for-12 in stolen base attempts. He has walked more times (19) than he has struck out (12) and he has scored 20 Midwest League runs.
- Teenage outfielder Byron Buxton has 31 hits in 22 games, good for a .392 clip with Cedar Rapids. The Twins prospect has the ability to hit for average and power (four homers, five doubles). He’s no slouch on the basepaths, as evidenced by nine steals, and he’s averaged almost one RBI per game (21 in 22 contests). He also has a 19-17 walks-to-strikeouts ratio and a 1.194 OPS.
- Scott Van Slyke is crushing the ball at Triple-A Albuquerque. The 26-year-old has eight homers, one off the Minors lead — and 26 RBIs in 25 games. Not just a power hitter, the 6-foot-5 first baseman is also batting a ridiculous .419. Van Slyke hit a career-high 23 homers across two levels in 2009 and there’s no reason to think he can’t replicate his 100-RBI effort from four years ago.
- It’s no surprise to see Miguel Sano in the cleanup spot. His nine homers for Fort Myers are tied for the Minors lead, and he’s complemented the power game with a .368 average and 21 runs scored. He’s struck out more than twice as often (28) as he’s walked (11), but with the kind of run production he’s given the Twins’ Florida State League affiliate, that’s not a real concern. He’s slugging .747 with a 1.183 OPS through 25 Class A Advanced games and his 17 extra-base hits are tied for second.
- Nick Franklin is another hitter feasting in the friendly PCL environment. He’s hitting .410 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 17 games and has a 2-1 walk-to-strikeout ratio with Tacoma. The first-rounder made 64 Triple-A appearances last year and the indication is that he’ll continue to make giant strides in the Mariners system. His .538 OBP leads all Minor Leaguers.
- Backstop Stephen Vogt is 35-for-80 (.438) in 19 games with Triple-A Sacramento. Among those 35 hits are six homers, six doubles and two triples, producing to a .788 slugging percentage. He has 19 RBIs and 19 runs scored, and while he wasn’t walked a whole lot (nine times), he’s only whiffed nine times. With a .494 OBP and 1.282 OPS, Vogt is among the elite catchers in the opening month.
- Shortstop Nolan Fontana has better production that you’d ordinarily see out of a No. 7 hitter. He’s batting .360 with 19 RBIs in 25 games for Class A Advanced Lancaster and has drawn a Minors-best 27 walks compared with 20 strikeouts. The second-rounder reached base in more than half of his plate appearances and has provided the JetHawks with 24 runs, 19 RBIs and four stolen bases.
- Veteran outfielder Brian Bogusevic spent all of 2012 in the Majors, and considering his red-hot start, he likely won’t be hanging around in Iowa too long. He’s hitting .420 in 24 games and he has seven doubles, 10 RBIs and five steals in six tries. His plate discipline numbers (13 walks, 14 strikeouts) in the PCL are much better than they were in the big leagues (41 walks, 96 strikeouts), and while he won’t hit for a ton of power, he’s spraying balls all over the place.
- Kyle Johnson is one of those players who’d serve the purpose of a secondary leadoff hitter in a fictional lineup. He has a .347 average with Burlington and has yet to be thrown out in 16 stolen base attempts. He’s drawn 15 walks in 21 Midwest League games and he has plated 10 runs from the top of the order.
What do you think of the lineup? Who would you add or exclude? Share your thoughts in the comments below. With hundreds of possible candidates, it’s impossible to please everyone, but hopefully this is a pretty good start.
By Brendon Desrochers
We’re barely a week into the season, but let’s take a brief look at which prospects (those ranked in MLB.com club top-20s) are leading statistical categories (through games of Thursday, April 11):
Total Bases, Home Runs, RBIs and Slugging: Mike Zunino (SEA) with 27, 4, 17 and 1.038
Albuquerque’s Scott Van Slyke is the Minors’ leader in total bases with 32 and slugging at 1.143 (and the venerable Mike Hessman leads with five homers), but Zunino, the Mariners’ No. 3 prospect and No. 23 overall, is off to a strong start with three doubles a triple and the four home runs in six games (and he is the Minors overall leader with those 17 RBIs). As noted in the first Fantasy Focus, the Florida product and 2012 Golden Spikes Award winner may not be long for the Minors. His bat may be ready already.
Batting Average and On-base Percentage: Byron Buxton (MIN) at .500 and .565
Van Slyke also leads the Minors in average at .570, but the precocious Buxton, MLB.com’s No. 19 overall prospect, is 10-for-20 with a double, triple, two home runs and two stolen bases in five games. His three walks give him the edge in OBP at .565 (Billy Burns of Potomac leads the Minors among all players at .640). Like Zunino, Buxton too was featured in the first Fantasy Focus, and though the second overall pick from the 2012 Draft won’t turn 20 until December, the potential five-tool center fielder already has Twins fans drooling.
Runs Scored: Travis d’Arnaud (NYM) with 10
His 51s teammate Josh Satin and Tacoma’s Alex Liddi have 11, but it’s still been a strong start for the Minors’ top catching prospect. He’s drawn seven walks and reached base six times via base hit, which has given him the chance to score those 10 runs. With the way John Buck has been hitting for the Mets, though, d’Arnaud may be in Vegas for a few months longer.
Doubles: Maikel Franco (PHI) with 5
Eleven Minor Leaguers share the doubles lead with five, but Clearwater’s Maikel Franco is the only one of the 11 to rank in his organization’s top 20 prospects. The 20-year-old Dominican third baseman is rated 11th in the Phillies organization, and he’s had four doubles in his last three games (plus two homers and seven RBIs in his last two games). Perhaps this is the year that the raw pop Franco’s always showcased in batting practice will consistently make appearances in live action.
Hits: Xavier Avery (BAL) with 13
Avery is three hits behind High Desert’s Kevin Rivers plus Satin and Van Slyke overall, but his start is impressive nonetheless. He has four doubles and two steals to go with the 13 hits and .351 average for Double-A Bowie. The 23-year-old outfielder got into 32 games with the postseason-bound Orioles last year but still qualifies as a prospect and ranks seventh on the Orioles’ list. Avery continues to strike out a bit too much for a player without much power — he has 10 in 37 at-bats — but at least the Atlanta native has shown a consistent ability to draw walks, even earning a free pass in 10.3 percent of 107 plate appearances in Baltimore.
Profar, as we know, is the complete package as a prospect. Despite starting just 6-for-24 with a double, his eight walks show a mature approach and respect from PCL pitchers and managers. How and where Profar becomes a Ranger for good — especially with the big deal Texas just handed Elvis Andrus — is one of the season’s intriguing subplots.
Grossman came to the Astros from Pittsburgh when Wandy Rodriguez was sent north. The outfielder is known almost entirely for his patience. He became the first player since Nick Swisher to have 100 walks and 100 runs scored in a Minor League season when he achieved the feat with Bradenton in 2011. He has more power and less speed than Reggie Willits, but he profiles similarly to the Angels’ fourth outfielder of years past.
Strikeouts: Jared Mitchell (CWS) with 15
Mitchell is another patient hitter, but he hasn’t been able to battle out of deep counts this season as his 5-for-34 (.147) performance and strikeout total indicate. He does have five walks and three steals this season, but Mitchell’s .213 average in 155 at-bats for Charlotte between this season and last is poor. Though it’s early in this season, at age 24, time is running out for Mitchell to live up to his 2009 first-round billing.
Stolen Bases: Cory Spangenberg (SD) with 9
Another first-round pick (No. 10 overall in 2011), the second baseman has enjoyed his time with Lake Elsinore of the California League, batting .323 and stealing those nine bases without being caught. He has three more than you-know-who and has shown he’s completely recovered from the concussions he suffered last season. His speed will play at any level, and his doubles power could work in PETCO Park, even post-reconfiguration.
My first Prospect Q&A of the offseason — the Q&As are a staff-wide effort that I detailed here not too long ago — focuses on Twins prospect Byron Buxton and was just published on MiLB.com (link here).
Most of the good stuff from the interview is in that story. Below are some leftovers. His answers might strike you as terse or shallow, but consider that Buxton is an 18-year-old kid who is baseball, baseball, baseball all the time. I came away from my chat with him thinking this kid has the kind of mindset that will prepare him for the growing pains of the Minor Leagues.
Me: Did you make any fun, even extravagant purchases after receiving your $6 million signing bonus last summer?
Buxton: Nah, just saving my money.
Me: I was sort of intrigued by the season of one of your Elizabethton teammates, Max Kepler. Impressions of him?
Buxton: He hit the ball as far as I can possibly think of.
Me: What do you have to do on the diamond to improve?
Buxton: Just work hard, keep swinging the bat well, take advice, listen and my performance, hopefully, will take me where I want.
Me: Do you have goals stated for the 2013 season?
Buxton: Not really. I’m just trying to get myself to the big leagues.
Me: What’s your timetable?
Buxton: I want to get there as fast as I can.