The recipient of the Baseball America’s 2013 Minor League Player of the Year Award, centerfielder Byron Buxton is quickly making a name for himself as the top up-and-coming prospect in baseball.
The hype is growing so rapidly that, according to some, Buxton could be even better than Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout.
“Buxton was by far the best I have seen in a long, long time other than Trout,” Class-A Palm Beach manager Johnny Rodriguez said. “Trout has more power, but Buxton probably does more. He has a better arm. He is a better defender than Trout, with better range and jumps… Buxton probably is a better hitter. He has fewer holes than Trout had.”
Now that’s a bold statement, especially comparing a player who hasn’t seen an MLB pitch to the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year and runner-up for the 2012 AL MVP Award. Still, it does make you wonder just how good Buxton can be if he’s already being compared to Trout.
The No. 2 pick of the 2012 MLB Draft, Buxton spent the 2013 season playing with Class-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers while working his way through the Minnesota Twins’ farm system. During that time, he batted .334/.424/.520 with 12 homeruns, 77 RBIs, 55 stolen bases and 109 runs in 488 at-bats. To top it off, he did all of this while playing his first season of professional baseball at the ripe age of 19.
At the beginning of the season, Buxton sat at No. 10 on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list, but didn’t take long to elevate himself to the top spot. Now the winner of the 2013 Minor League Player of the Year Award, he joins Trout as one of the most recent recipients.
Will Buxton have what it takes to surpass Trout in the long run, though?
All of the physical tools appear to be there – Buxton can hit, run, throw, field. As you all know, though, Trout can do all of those things as well, and he’s pretty darn good.
Despite the Angels’ lack of recent success, Trout has been a huge bright spot for them since bursting onto the scene last season. Even though the team is still chugging through the final stages of a majorly disappointing campaign, the Angels have enjoyed having Trout to provide fans with excitement while giving them a spark at any given moment.
As far as we’ve seen through two years, Trout is the whole package. Meanwhile, there are still plenty of unknowns about Buxton and his future in the MLB.
Sooner rather than later, Buxton will take the field for the Twins, who have their tails between their legs as they head into the final stretch of the 2013 season. While they still have plenty of work to do this offseason, injecting a dynamic player like Buxton into the mix could be just what the doctor ordered for Minnesota in 2014.
As for the question of whether or not Buxton is better than Trout? We’ll have to wait and see what the 19-year-old can do in the majors. The potential is definitely there…