In the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft the Minnesota Twins drafted Byron Buxton second overall and handed him the highest signing bonus of any player in the entire draft. In limited action after signing he posted a solid, but unspectacular line of .248/.344/.448 with 19 walks and 41 strikeouts to go along with 11 steals as he split time between the Gulf Coast Twins and the Elizabethton Twins of the Appalachian League.
Sent out to Cedar Rapids to play for the Kernels in the Low-A Midwest League in 2013, Buxton has destroyed the competition so far. Through June 10th, the center fielder has posted a line of .350/.444/.578 with 39 walks, 44 strikeouts and 26 steals. And while it doesn't quite apply to this post, he can also make incredible defensive plays. With the season he has put up and the tools he has shown, he may very well be the top prospect in the game right now.
It is clear that Byron Buxton is getting things done at the plate in just about every way possible. He has a high batting average, a high walk rate and a high slugging percentage. But let's look deeper into how and where his production is coming from.
First, let's take a simple look at a spray chart to see where he is hitting the ball.
Buxton spreads the ball around well, particularly in the outfield where he goes up the middle more than he is pulling the ball or going the opposite way. He does pull the ball a little more when he hits it on the ground.
Now that we have seen that he spreads the ball around everywhere, let's look at how often he gets hits to each position on the field.
Every player is going to have a high batting average when the ball gets to the outfield, so the numbers out there aren't completely surprising when compared to other players. However, when you look around the infield you can see some big numbers for balls that happened to be fielded. Of course, Buxton has plus-plus speed and that mixed in with Low-A fielder and you may expect plenty of hits. Still, the season is not to the half way point yet and Buxton has 21 infield hits. His speed is a difference maker.
Batting average of course is only one part of offensive production. Power matters as well and overall, Buxton is showing it off. But where is he hitting for the power to? Let's look at his Isolated Power (IsoP) chart. Isolated Power is simply Slugging Percentage - Batting Average.
While it isn't impossible to have extra-base hits to the infield (bloop doubles that are first touched by infielders), we may have found the one thing that Byron Buxton hasn't been able to do this season. Looking at the outfield though, we can see that he is showing the most power to his pull side to left field. His power to center has been good so far, but not off of the charts either. His power to right field has been impressive with nearly a .600 isolated power number.
Buxton has shown power to all fields this season, but of his seven home runs only one each has gone to center and right, with the other five all being pulled. He has hit eight doubles to left field as well, with four of his triples going to center and another four of them going to right field. For now, his home run power may be mostly to the pull side but his extra-base power goes from foul line to foul line.
The Minnesota Twins have a complete package in Byron Buxton. He has hit for average and power to all fields this season, he is drawing plenty of walks, showing off his plus-plus speed and playing outstanding defense. He may be promoted soon and leave the Midwest League in his rear-view window, but he has left his mark on the league with what he has been able to do in the 2013 season.