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Byron Buxton 2021 Outlook


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It's so common for players to arrive at Spring Training camps with optimism regarding their physique that the phrase "in the best shape of his life" tends to become a punchline this time of year. Even in that context, Buxton is turning heads.

 

"Physically watching Buck walk into the ballpark was kind of a ... it was a 'wow' moment in a lot of ways," manager Rocco Baldelli said. "I mean, he's obviously a great athlete and we know him very well. We know what we're getting physically and with the things he can do. But you know, seeing him come in after putting on, you know, 10 or 15 pounds of -- I mean, there's just muscle there."

The skinny speedster who debuted in 2015 has been replaced by a filled-out, muscular frame over the past three seasons. Before the '19 season, Buxton arrived in camp having added 21 pounds of muscle in an effort to better cushion his body from the impact of collisions with the outfield wall.

Buxton only appeared in 39 games last season as he dealt with aggravation of his surgically repaired left shoulder and a hit-by-pitch in the helmet, and though neither injury was the direct result of a collision, the added muscle should only help that durability. Perhaps it will also help him continue the power show that included five homers in August and eight in September, coupled with the best hard-hit rate (47.9%) and average exit velocity (91.2 mph) of his career.

 

As for concerns that all that muscle could slow Buxton down? Don't worry about that.

"I know he also spent a lot of time with his track coach back home," Baldelli said. "It wasn't just putting on size and leaving it at that. He spent the offseason really, really working to help better himself. And it was obvious when he walked in the door."

MLB.com article

 

Maybe this is his year...👀

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Is the upside even worth chasing? Yeah he'll give you some SB, but he's not single handedly winning the category. He's a career 87 wRC+ hitter with problems staying healthy. Even if he plays 140+, you're getting S.Marte without a hit tool. 

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I like him and am always rooting for him, for a long while I had wanted the Rockies to trade for him (Jon Gray?), but at this point don't see how you could trust him to stay on the field enough to be worth it. If he's available when I am looking for my bench bats that would be one thing, but he won't be.

Edited by colorado2013
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This guy is just too incredibly talented to ignore .  Had like 13 hrs in around 150 plate appearances. Also the fastest regular player in baseball. Doesn’t walk much and gets hurt a lot. But I think, given some of the Twins other injury prone guys and a few losses, he’s not batting 9th anymore.  For a dollar why wouldn’t I bite?

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Just now, KingJoffrey said:

This guy is just too incredibly talented to ignore .  Had like 13 hrs in around 150 plate appearances. Also the fastest regular player in baseball. Doesn’t walk much and gets hurt a lot. But I think, given some of the Twins other injury prone guys and a few losses, he’s not batting 9th anymore.  For a dollar why wouldn’t I bite?

For a buck, he’s always worth a flyer. The caveat to that is last season was essentially a full season for him.

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1 hour ago, UberRebel said:

Anyone know why his SBs were down last year? Has he decided to run less, or was just the weird short season?

Just a guess but I have a feeling it was a conscious decision to protect his left shoulder, which he had of history of dislocation and subsequent labral surgery the prior September. He did end up aggravating it sliding head first in August: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/sports/mlb/twins-place-buxton-garver-on-growing-injured-list/2020/08/20/83bac960-e331-11ea-82d8-5e55d47e90ca_story.html%3foutputType=amp

His sprint speed remains elite so I’d bet on more aggressiveness on the base paths this year if his shoulder is 100%.

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2 hours ago, UberRebel said:

Anyone know why his SBs were down last year? Has he decided to run less, or was just the weird short season?

Well keep in mind he barely walked an hit a ton of hrs and doubles,  I think he only had like 15 non extra base hits and still stole 2 bases.

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Buxton really impressed with his power last year. 13 HR in 135 PA is a crazy pace. His BABIP was also crazy low last year at .241. He barely walked, but I doubt we see as low as 1.5% BB again this year, he has to make even minor improvement there. It will once again all be about health for Buxton. In a league with a deep benches and IL spots, I'd be willing to pay to get him. If you get 80 games and he plays up to his potential, its probably overall a profit when you combine that with 80 games of replacement level play.

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6 hours ago, jb_power said:

but the deeper the league the tougher it is to draft Buxton.  in NFBC with 15 teams and 5 starting OF per team the replacement level OFs are guys that aren't even rostered in your typical 12 teamer

Agreed, that's why I specified by saying deep bench, not just deep roster in general. 

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4 hours ago, Overlord said:

I don't know why I can't quit this guy ...

 Because the first year you move on, he stays healthy and plays to that potential, and all you can do is scream and curse into your pillow.

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I've traded for and away numerous times.  I just traded him away again last week ... I'll probably trade for him again in 1 of my leagues.

Such a high ceiling and the lowest of floors (injuries)

 

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