- August 18, 2017: Byron went 3-for-4 with a triple, double, and inside the park home run.
Afterward, Buxton said regarding his home run that he usually takes anywhere from five to seven strides between bases. "My strides got messed up [rounding third]," Buxton said. "I usually try to count my strides out as I'm running. I took a wide turn at second and think it kind of pushed me out to stutter step at third."
Buxton now owns two of the five fastest home-to-home times in Statcast™ history. According to Statcast™, Buxton went from home-to-home in 13.85 seconds, which is the fastest such time tracked by Statcast™. In fact, Buxton broke his own record of 14.05 on his previous inside-the-park homer, last Oct. 2 at the White Sox. Dee Gordon (14.24), Kevin Kiermaier (14.63) and Jarrod Dyson (14.72) round out the Top 5. (Jackson - mlb.com)
|Birth City:||Baxley, GA|
|Draft:||Twins #1 - 2012 - Out of high school (GA)|
- Buxton is from Baxley, Georgia, a Deep South town, population 4,509. Baxley is bisected by U.S. 341 about 100 miles southwest of Savannah, Georgia, a 30-minute drive from the middle of nowhere. The nearest major airport is two hours south—in Jacksonville, Fla. The nearest lodging is 15 miles away.
Byron began playing when he was 6 years old and played multiple sports for several years. He gave up basketball as a high school sophomore but continued playing football as a quarterback and wide receiver through his senior season. Still, he always knew his future was in baseball.
“I have a lot more fun in baseball,” Buxton says. “I have a passion for it.”
Appling County's baseball field features an open layout with bleachers, room for fans to set their lawn chairs right up against a stone wall backstop, and an expansive concession area complete with a large grill. It could easily be mistaken for a game at a large suburban high school, but the hospitality and fan atmosphere is that of smaller communities—intimate friendliness among the spectators and a strong passion for their team and players.
Buxton grew up three hours southeast of Atlanta in a house off a dirt road and he remains a country boy. His idea of a well-spent Saturday is cutting grass while listening to country music on his headphones, and he tends to put everything into simple terms.
"Just got to hope for the best and work as hard as you can," Byron says.
- Buxton's father, father, Felton, is a truck driver, and his mother, Carrie, runs her own day care. Felton Jr., Byron’s older brother, is an engineer in the Navy. They have a younger sister, Keva, who was born in 2004.
Byron is quiet and speaks slowly as he chooses his words carefully—almost the opposite of the way he plays. He has a real feel for the game.
He has a high-waisted, projectable body with plenty of quick-twitch athleticism.
In 2012, Buxton graduated from Appling County High School in Georgia, after hitting .513 with 36 stolen bases. He was also quarterback, cornerback, and punter on the football team. He had a scholarship to play wide receiver at the University of Georgia.
And then, the Twins chose Byron as the second player taken overall in the draft, with their first round pick.
And they signed Buxton, via scout Jack Powell, on June 13, 2012 for a $6 million bonus.
Powell, the Twins scout who inked Byron, gave him an 80—the highest grade on the 20-80 scale—on every skill except power. He has given only one other player such high marks in his 37 years of evaluating player: Josh Hamilton.
- After the 2012 season, Baseball America rated Buxton as the top prospect in the Gulf Coast League.
- In 2013, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Buxton as the 2nd-best prospect in the Twins organization. They moved him to #1 in the winter before 2014 spring camps opened; and he stayed #1 through the spring of 2016.
It's highly unlikely anyone will hear Buxton, known to all as "Bucks," complain about the work needed to succeed at the highest level. Some of that is because he's a quiet young man. Most of it is because Buxton's role model for work ethic has been his father, a big-rig driver who got up in the middle of the night so he could be done with work in time to take his kids to their after-school activities.
"My dad gets up at 1," Buxton said. "My alarm goes off and I think, 'My dad gets up at 1, so I shouldn't complain.' That keeps me motivated to do better."
- March 27, 2013: Buxton coincidentally made his debut in a Twins uniform in an exhibition game late in Spring Training. It was against the player he's most compared to in Pirates star Andrew McCutchen. Twins general manager Terry Ryan said the two players have a similar skill set and so it made sense for Buxton to see McCutchen play in person.
"One of the things we've talked about with him is that he reminds a lot of us of McCutchen,' Ryan said. "So I thought that was ironic. So he'll get a chance to watch McCutchen. It's not like he can't learn from some of our guys like [Aaron] Hicks, but this is an opportunity for him to get some Major League time and at-bats. There is no downside."
Byron has impressed the Twins with his makeup more than anything—just the way he goes about his business, with his maturity on the field and off the field. He's a man on a mission.
He receives coaching info and applies it quickly. He impresses you with his demeanor as much as with his outstanding tools, all of which rate at least a 60 (power) with the rest being 70 or 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale. (2013 thru 2016)
Buxton was named the 2013 Most Valuable Player and Prospect of the Year by the Midwest League.
Byron also was named the 2013 Sherry Robertson Award winner as the Twins Minor League Player of the Year.
And, he was named Baseball America's 2013 Minor League Player of the Year.
October 2013: Minor League Baseball and Topps Company announced that Minnesota Twins top prospect and member of the 2013 Fort Myers Miracle, Byron Buxton, was the winner of the 54th annual J.G. Taylor Spinks Award as Topps/Minor League Player of the Year.
Buxton, age 19 at the time, joined Mike Trout (2010), Delmon Young (2005) and Andruw Jones (1996) as the only teenagers to who have won the award.
Quiet and still somewhat shy, Buxton is unfailingly polite and has a deep-seated work ethic that is second to none. Byron shows initiative and works hard to improve his overall game.
December 6, 2013: Brix Scott Buxton was born to Lindsey Tillery, Byron's girlfriend of 18 months. Lindsey, a former softball star at Appling County High School, was three years ahead of Buxton at the same school.
"She was pretty popular," he recalled.
The two didn't begin dating until some mutual friends stopped by Buxton's home and made the introduction. A nursing student at Valdosta State University, Lindsey is the one who keeps Buxton focused.
- As a grade schooler, Buxton would rise early and light out on the trails surrounding his family’s small house in tiny Graham, Georgia, imitating another country runner—Forrest Gump, the namesake of his favorite movie.
"He’s the best athlete I ever coached,” said Appling County High athletic director and football coach J.T. Pollock. “He made one all-state team as a receiver, made another as a defensive back, and punted for us. There wasn’t anything on the field he couldn’t do. In baseball, I once saw him score from second on a sacrifice fly.
"His junior year, he was playing quarterback for us and we walked out on the field for practice. He was standing on the goal line and somebody said, ‘Hey, Bux, see how far you can throw it.’ He said, ‘OK,’ took a step and cut loose. It went 82 yards. I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it myself.
“Just one day, I want to wake up and be Byron Buxton. I’d hit a baseball 450 feet, throw a fastball 97 miles per hour, go to the gym and dunk any way I wanted to dunk, then go over to the football field and make some great catches, punt the ball 50 or 60 yards, throw it 80 yards, and just see how all of that felt.”
When Byron Buxton is on the field, he's the most dynamic player in the Minor Leagues, the top prospect in all of baseball in 2014. He proved that in 2013, surpassing even the highest expectations placed upon the second overall pick in the 2012 draft.
But 2014 brought a new set of challenges for Buxton. He has been injured, re-injured, and set back for four months. Buxton felt lost at the plate, a symptom of the rust he'd accumulated on the disabled list.
"He's the most level-headed kid I've ever been around, and he's the most talented person I've ever been around. He's handling it as good as he possibly can," Fort Myers Miracle manager Doug Mientkiewicz said. "We do everything we can to make him feel as protected as we can, but at the same time, when you're the No. 1 prospect in baseball, there's only so much you can do to keep him away from everything."
Mientkiewicz is mindful of making sure Buxton feels like one of the guys, no easy task given his elite prospect status and the exaggerated media/fan attention that comes with it. (Berry - mlb.com - 7/28/14)
June 2012: The Twins chose Buxton in the first round, out of Appling County High School in Georgia.
In 2014, Byron spent more time wielding a fishing pole than a baseball bat, when a slew of hard-luck injuries turned into a lost season.
After mornings in rehab at Minnesota's minor league complex in Fort Myers, Florida, he would get into his red pickup, drive a few miles, park along the side of a road, and find a suitable spot next to an irrigation ditch where he'd pursue catfish until the sun set.
Often Buxton's fishing partner was fellow Twins prospect Miguel Sano, a third baseman whose season was cut short with an elbow injury and was also looking for way to while away the hours.
"One day Miguel showed up with four buckets, and I was like, 'What is all that for?" recalled Buxton. "And Miguel went out and caught 35 fish! Man, I'll never forget that day. Of course," Byron added, "we'd have had a lot more fun if we were healthy and at the ballpark.
June 14, 2015: The wait is over. Buxton had his contract purchased by the Twins from Double-A Chattanooga before the game against the Rangers. Buxton who put on uni No. 25, said he found out during a team meeting held by Lookouts manager Doug Mientkiewicz.
"Doug brought everybody in the clubhouse and talked to us a little bit and told me I was coming up, and everyone got wild a little bit and excited," Buxton said. "It was an unbelievable moment. It was definitely unexpected. It caught me by surprise and shock. When I heard my name, just a lot of joy and happiness went through me. I'm just blessed to get the opportunity to get called up to The Show."
Buxton said his fiancée, Lindsey, his son, Brix, and his parents will be in attendance at the game at Globe Life Park. Buxton added that he's more excited than anxious to make his Major League debut. (R. Bollinger - MLb.com - June 13, 2015)
Byron didn't even arrive in the Twins' clubhouse until less than four hours before first pitch after his recall from Triple-A Rochester. His car got a flat tire on his way to the airport, and he had to walk three miles to get it serviced.
The Twins are thankful that Buxton got back to Minneapolis in time, because he swatted a three-run homer that capped a five-run rally in the second inning, putting Minnesota ahead for good, as they topped the White Sox, 8-5, at Target Field, finally snapping a season-high 13-game losing streak. (Merkin - MLB.com - 9/2/16)
Despite going on countless trips across the country with his dad growing up, Byron's most memorable drive came when he was barely awake. Buxton, then 7 years old, pleaded with his mother to let him join Felton Buxton one Sunday evening for one of his many trips as a truck driver. The three of them then loaded up the truck and set off for Tennessee from Baxley, Ga., at 8 p.m.
The family returned the following morning after a 12-hour roundabout trip, with his dad driving the whole way and not sleeping for a second. Meanwhile, Buxton slept for approximately eight of those 12 hours.
For Buxton, it exemplified the hard work and determination that is necessary. Especially in a sport like baseball. His dad also taught him to never get too high or low, another key piece of advice in such a fluid game.
"The biggest thing he taught me is staying humble," Buxton said. "I think that allows me to come in here every day, if I had a bad game that allows me to put it behind me and focus on what I have to do to get better that day."Buxton's father has been a big influence on his baseball career, but Buxton says it's the parenting skills he learned that have had an even bigger impact.
Buxton's son Brixton, who is now 3 years old, was born about 18 months after Buxton was selected by the Twins in the 2012 MLB Draft. It practically forced the then-young talented prospect to grow up in a hurry. "It's overwhelming at first," Buxton admitted. "But once you slow down and relax, you realize that you have somebody to take care of. That puts it into perspective, to take things a little more seriously."
The stretches and early work in the batting cages that once seemed monotonous suddenly took precedence. It allowed him to propel through the farm system and finally make a positive impact with the big league club in September 2016. (Jackson - mlb.com - 6/15/17)
Through some of the struggles in 2017, Buxton is consistently one of the first players to participate in early work on the field every day. He has improved his batting average after starting the season with just two hits in his first 29 at-bats.
And even if he does have a bad game from time to time, his harshest critic is also his biggest fan. "If I strike out in a game, when I get home my son, Brixton will say, 'Daddy you struck out today,'" Buxton said. "That allows me to laugh it off. I think that allows me to take pressure off of trying to be somebody that I'm not."
However, when Buxton gets home, his most pressing questions aren't even about his own play. Brixton will often ask how outfielder Max Kepler did on that given day, as the two have grown close during his visits to the clubhouse.
Brixton will make sure to say hello to just about anyone in the clubhouse, even if he doesn't know them. Buxton admitted he sees a lot of himself in his son, but with a more outgoing personality, which is something he stressed to him from day one.
Still, Buxton knows the importance of letting his son be himself, something his father always allowed him to do. He doesn't feel the need to force baseball on him, even though Brixton has already shown the interest. In fact, the two of them will usually go to a local park with a baseball field after day games or any other time that Buxton is free -- an all-too-familiar scene for Buxton, who made frequent trips with to the local ballpark with his dad growing up.
"Most of the credit would go to him for taking me to the ball field every day to put in the work," Buxton said. "Just the small things that he could have been doing something else, he chose to go with me to the baseball field and help me reach my goal." (Jackson - mlb.com - 6/15/17)
Buxton can be a true five-tool player if his bat develops. He has a line-drive swing with power to the gaps. And that will develop into a few more homers about every season. His quick hands and strong hands
The ball jumps off Byron's bat at times. He has blazing bat speed that allows him to just sit back on the ball and then explode through it. He peppers the field with hard line drives. He should develop into an impact player—a 60 hitter with 60 (present) power on the 20-80 scouting scale. And 70 grade power might be on the way.
He could hit 25-30 home runs once he matures as a hitter. (Spring, 2017)
Byron generates tremendous bat speed and has the ability to drive the ball out to all fields.
A disciplined hitter early in his career, he has proven susceptible to chasing offspeed stuff in the upper levels and his strikeout totals have climbed as a result. But in 2016, he brought back the leg kick from his youth and finally looked like the player he was projected to be when he returned to Minnesota in September, hitting .287/357/.687 with nine home runs in 29 games.
But Buxton's general lack of plate discipline continued to be an issue with 118 strikeouts against just 23 walks, but his September showing was a promising glimpse of what he can be. (Spring, 2017)
Buxton has loose hands and an easy, simple swing with good plane, lightning fast bat speed, strong wrists and a nice idea of the strike zone, along with good pitch recognition. His swing path keeps the bat in the hitting zone a long time. His hands are super-fast and the barrel goes so directly to the ball
He is learning to backspin balls so that he can manifest his plus power. It is easy power to all parts of the park.
Byron has the speed to leg out infield hits and the power for extra-base hits. He shows a willingness to bunt for hits.
In 2015, Buxton was singled out by Southern League managers as the circuit’s fastest baserunner, best defensive outfielder, and most exciting player. Buxton has all-star potential.
Byron has a whippy swing that produces excellent bat speed. He’s skinny with plenty of muscle definition, but not a whole lot of size yet. His chest and biceps don’t betray him as a power hitter. Because of his bat speed he can drive the ball to all fields, and when he really connects, the ball carries.
Buxton recognizes pitches so quickly, scouts said they had to see him for multiple days to make sure he wasn’t just making pre-pitch decisions to swing or not swing. Buxton’s swing is short and direct to the ball. It’s helped immensely by his massive strong hands that generate excellent bat speed.
But critics point out Byron's susceptibility vs. good sliders.
- Byron has good bat speed that helps generate power from his 6-foot-2 frame.
- June 15, 2015: Buxton's first Major League hit was a triple.
- As of the start of the 2017 season, Byron's career Major League stats were: .220 batting average, 12 home runs with 44 RBI in 427 at-bats.
- Byron has developed into an excellent outfielder. A pure center fielder, he glides to the ball and covers a lot of ground. He now habitually makes the difficult play look effortless.
Buxton makes some jaw-dropping defensive plays in center field.
Buxton has a strong right arm. He has everything needed to be a Gold Glover, including a top-shelf arm that delivered 94 mph fastballs off the mound in high school.
That arm struck out 18 batters in the deciding game of the Georgia 2-A playoff championship series last year by firing 92-93 mph fastballs.
His defense gets a superb 80, with his arm a fine 70 on the 20-80 scout's scale.
His arm shows the accuracy to hit the cutoff man and the arm strength to throw on a line to third base or home with excellent carry.
Byron's speed assures he can cover plenty of ground, and he pairs it with good jumps, good technique and excellent routes to make the gaps closed off to opposing hitters.
Buxton is fearless going back to get balls at the wall and understands both positioning and reading balls off the bat.
- Byron makes highlight-reel plays in center field on a regular basis. In fact, during the 2013 season, a diving catch he made in Cedar Rapids was the SportsCenter play of the day.
- When asked where he learn to play the outfield like that? "At TwinsFest," Buxton explained, "The only reason I started catching fly balls was because I got hit in the head with a fly ball."
So it's not that Buxton wants to make the catch—it's that he needs to. Nothing like a good whack on the noggin that'll make you catch everything that comes your way.
- Byron's made his biggest impact in the outfield, possessing a unique blend of instincts and physical ability. "[Byron's} got tremendous instincts, but that's not everything," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "There's guys who have great instincts but then aren't able to do the same things he does because he has superior speed and quickness, the ability to analyze and read balls, and he can throw like that." (Ardaya - MLB.com - 6/15/16)
Byron's best tool is his speed. Scouts give him at least a 70—many even a 75 or 80 on the 20-80 scale. And he is still improving his reading of pitcher's moves.
Buxton gets to first base in 3.90 to 4.02 seconds down the line from the right side of home to first base. He can leg out plenty of infield and bunt hits to boost his batting average.
Buxton glides from first to third with massive, fluid strides that seem to eat up 90 feet in just a few steps. Same thing with second to home.
Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Byron, "He might be the fastest player I’ve ever seen going home-to-third." Molitor smiled, then added: “Or home to home.”
October 2, 2016: Buxton wasted little time in his first game at leadoff hitter this year, smacking the first pitch from White Sox ace Chris Sale over the head of center fielder Leury Garcia for an inside-the-park homer in the Twins' 6-3 win in the season finale.
Buxton showed off his elite speed, as he made it to home in 14.05 seconds, which was the fastest time recorded by Statcast™ on an inside-the-parker over the last two seasons.
Some of the most exciting plays in baseball are the results of a fast runner using his speed to apply pressure to the defense. In celebration of the joy that comes from watching speedsters race around the basepaths, let's take a look at a few of the fastest baserunning plays of 2016.
Using Statcast data, we isolated the fastest recorded times during the season for five different baserunning feats and compared the times to the league average marks. It likely won't come as a surprise that two names dominate the list below: the Reds' Billy Hamilton and the Twins' Byron Buxton.
Home to 1st (non-bunt) -- right-handed batter -- 2016 Record: Byron Buxton, 3.72 seconds against the Indians on July 15, 2016 MLB average time: 4.62 seconds. The outcome of this particular play ensured that it was unlikely to be remembered, but with the season fully in the rearview mirror, it is absolutely worth looking looking at again.Leading off the third inning, Buxton rolled over a fastball to short and then busted it down the line with tremendous speed: Unfortunately for Buxton, this event ended with an out in no small part because the shortstop fielding the ball was Cleveland's defensive wizard and Gold Glove Award winner Francisco Lindor.
Home to 1st (non-bunt) -- left-handed batter -- 2016 Record: Billy Hamilton, 3.61 seconds against the Cubs on June 27, 2016 MLB average time: 4.58 seconds. The fastest sprint down the first-base line by a lefty ended with him reaching base on what looked like a routine grounder to second. Elite speed can buy base hits, and Hamilton's speed is nothing if not elite. Just watch how he flys down the first-base line and beat the pitcher covering:
First to Third -- 2016 Record: Billy Hamilton, 5.24 seconds against the Brewers on May 7. 2016 MLB average: 7.92 seconds. What can a tremendous jump get you? A first-to-third time that beats the MLB average by more than two and a half seconds!In a game against the Brewers, the Reds' Joey Votto was at the plate with Hamilton on first base. Hamilton went on the pitch and was nearly to second base by the time the ball scooted through the infield. It was a single to left field, but with Hamilton's tremendous jump and speed, he was able to get all the way around the bases and score.
Scoring from first on a single to left field doesn't seem like it should be possible, but leave it to Hamilton to prove the impossible possible.
Home to Third -- 2016 Record: Billy Hamilton, 10.45 seconds against the Brewers on Aug. 13, 2016 -- MLB Average: 12.01A line drive hit to right field is a double for most hitters. If it gets to the wall, faster runners may be able to stretch it into a triple. Hamilton doesn't even need that.Here he is taking a cleanly fielded line drive hit to right, turning on the jets and recording the fastest triple of the year.
Inside-The-Park Homer -- 2016 Record: Byron Buxton, 14.05 seconds against the White Sox on Oct. 2, 2016 MLB average: 16.03, There were just nine inside-the-park homers in MLB in 2016, but surprisingly, only one of them happened to come off the bat of one of the two fastest men in baseball. Leading off the first inning in the last game of the Twins' season, Buxton took a pitch from the White Sox's Chris Sale to deep center field. One misstep by Leury Garcia was all it took to set the stage for Buxton to fly around the bases.
Before you know it, the watch will begin to see if Hamilton or Buxton (or someone else?!) can top these times in 2017. (Corinne Landrey - Nov. 2016)
Running: In 2017 MLB added a new Statcast™ metric, "Sprint Speed," which measures runner foot speed in feet per second (in their fastest one-second window). We report the average of a player's qualified maximum effort runs, so we end up with a number where 27 feet per second is league average, and the slowest catchers and designated hitters are down around 23 feet per second. You can see the entire leaderboard here.
Sprint Speed leaders in 2017: 30 feet per second -- Billy Hamilton, Byron Buxton 29.7 feet per second -- Bradley Zimmer 29.6 feet per second -- Dee Gordon, Raimel Tapia followed in the "standings."
- August 19, 2017: Buxton’s hit a home run. But this wasn’t just any home run. It was an inside-the-park home run with some Buxton sizzle added to it.
According to Statcast, Buxton went home-to-home in 13.85 seconds, which is the fastest home run trot or sprint they’ve clocked since debuting their metric system in 2015. Yet he still needed to make a pretty nifty slide to avoid the tag of Diamondbacks’ catcher Chris Iannetta.
- October 16, 2013: Buxton was held out of the lineup for Glendale of the Arizona Fall League because of a left shoulder strain.
March 17-May 4, 2014: Byron injured his wrist while diving for a fly ball. He was feeling soreness in the wrist when swinging a bat, though an MRI revealed no structural damage to the wrist.
He was diagnosed with a sprain of the pisotriquetral joint, which can be slow to heal. So he began the season on the D.L.
May 11-July 6, 2014: Buxton was placed right back on the seven-day Minor League disabled list with a sprained left wrist. He re-injured it while sliding home.
August 13-end of 2014 season: Buxton, baseball's top prospect in 2014, was hospitalized with a concussion after colliding with Double-A New Britain teammate Mike Kvasnicka in right-center field.
The collision occurred on a fly ball in the top of the fifth inning, when Kvasnicka's knee appeared to hit Buxton near his left shoulder. Buxton was playing in his first game at Double-A New Britain after being promoted from Single-A Fort Myers.
Play was suspended for more than 30 minutes as Buxton was stabilized on a stretcher and carried into an ambulance at New Britain Stadium. Buxton laid on the ground for several minutes and did not appear to be moving. Kvasnicka left the field under his own power but went with Buxton to the hospital.
Twins general manager Terry Ryan was at the game and accompanied Buxton in the ambulance. "I don't know if I've seen a collision that severe inrecent memory," said Ryan. "But Byron Buxton's fine. He's alert. He has a concussion, so we'll have to take the normal procedure and protocol for concussion symptoms. He'll certainly be watched."
Ryan said Buxton was unconscious for 10 minutes but had no broken bones, neck, or shoulder injuries. RockCats manager Jeff Smith said Buxton returned to the team after the game. "It could have been a lot worse, we all know after watching that thing," said Ryan. "So we're grateful for just the concussion."
Buxton was held out of action for the rest of the season.
October 27, 2014: Byron dislocated his left middle finger while diving for a ball in the Arizona Fall League.
October 30, 2014: Buxton underwent surgery to repair the finger. A pin was placed inside that middle finger on his left knee.
June 25-Aug. 10, 2015: Byron was on the D.L. after his hand got underneath his body during a head-first slide. Buxton played through the injury the day, striking out in all four at-bats. He was put on the D.L. the next day with a badly sprained left thumb.
- July 15-Aug 1, 2017: Buxton was on the DL with left groin strain