Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Is There Any Hope For Byron Buxton, Either In 2016 Or Beyond?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Long considered an elite prospect, the Twins’ Byron Buxton continues to struggle in the Majors. Over 182 PA this season he’s hitting just .199 with 1 HR and 7 SB. There are numerous issues that are currently plaguing him, making us wonder if there’s any hope for a turn around in 2016.

 

Fly Balls:

  • 44.7% fly ball rate
  • 19.0% IFFB

For a player with little power who wants to utilize his speed, those are obviously crippling numbers. We would’ve hoped that he had shown signs of improvement, but he simply hasn’t.  Prior to taking a seat yesterday he owned a 50.0% fly ball rate and 20.0% IFFB in July.

He should be putting the ball on the ground and trying to beat it out…  He should be trying to hit line drives…  Instead the ball is consistently in the air, making it impossible for him to maintain an elevated BABIP.

 

Strikeouts:

  • 15.4% SwStr%
  • 38.5% Strikeout Rate

He’s been especially susceptible to breaking balls (22.36% Whiff%) and offspeed pitches (25.00% Whiff%), though the pitch type hasn’t made much of a difference.  At the end of the day he simply hasn’t shown that he’s capable of making consistent contact against Major League pitching.

 

Other Thoughts:

It’s also extremely concerning that he’s hitting .136 against fourseam fastballs.  In fact the only pitch he’s hitting above .250 against is change ups, which he has a .429 mark against. It simply appears that he’s over matched.  Maybe he needs more exposure to top level pitching, but at the same time the Twins don’t want to watch him continue to struggle and eliminate his confidence.

The Twins aren’t going anywhere this season, so they can afford to be patient and figure out where the best place is for him to work out his issues.  He was hitting .333 in 116 AB at Triple-A this season, including a 20.2% strikeout rate and 8.5% walk rate.  He also does have 21 doubles, 6 triples and 7 home runs between the two levels, showing there is promise in his bat.  Long-term there’s obviously still hope that he figures it out and realizes his full potential.  Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 offered a similar outlook prior to the season, as he said:

“The hit-tool still needs work as he can still be fooled by good off speed pitches but after seeing him numerous times in the minor leagues, I think it will come.  It could still take another season or two, but it’s all there.”

In 2016, though?  He’s simply not going to get there.  In redraft formats feel free to move on.

Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com, Prospect 361

One comment

  1. Chris says:

    Pretty sad as he’s excelled at every other level.

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