Twins prospect Buxton earns high praise
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins took speedy high school outfielder Byron Buxton with the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft. On Tuesday, Buxton was named by Baseball America as the top prospect in the Gulf Coast League.
Buxton ranked ahead of Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, who was taken No. 1 overall in the draft by Houston. Blue Jays outfielder D.J. Davis, third baseman Rio Ruiz of the Astros and Pirates catcher Wyatt Mathisen rounded out Baseball America's list of top five GCL prospects.
The 18-year-old Buxton made his professional baseball debut in the Gulf Coast League before moving up to play with the Elizabethton Twins in the Appalachian League. With the GCL Twins, Buxton batted just .216 but drove in 14 runs and posted a .466 slugging percentage in 27 games. In 21 games with Elizabethton, Buxton hit .286 with seven stolen bases and six RBI. When the Twins drafted Buxton in June, they raved about the five-tool talent from Baxley, Ga.
On Tuesday, Twins general manager Terry Ryan was beaming about the year Buxton had in the minors after he was drafted by Minnesota.
"You watch him run, he can really run. He can really throw. He can really cover ground," Ryan said of Buxton. "He's got a great frame. He's got surprising power."
It remains to be seen where Buxton will begin the 2013 season, but what is clear is that the Twins see Buxton as a center fielder because of his speed. Ryan said Buxton is the fastest player in Minnesota's organization, "way faster" than speedy outfielder Ben Revere.
"He can fly," Ryan said. "From home to first, Ben runs 4.0 flat. That's great. Buxton runs faster."
While Ryan admires the skills Buxton has on the baseball field, he also lauded the type of player Buxton has been off the field.
"The thing that's come out now that we've gotten to know him, he's a great teammate; he's a great worker," Ryan said. "He tries to pay attention to detail, all those things that you can't scout, really. I would say we're very happy with Buxton. I think he knows that he's supposed to be the guy. That's a good thing, too. He doesn't want to mesh back into a crowd and not be noticed. … I'm hearing some very good things down there about Buxton."
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