Byron Buxton is an absurd athlete. His potential has been plainly obvious since he came into the league in 2015. He's been a bit inconsistent yet has put together two seasons that earned him noticeable MVP consideration, finishing 18th in 2017 and 16th last year. Through 17 games this year, it's looking like the Minnesota Twins center fielder has his eyes set on bigger things this year, as he's come out of the gates absolutely on fire.
Buxton had five hits in a victory yesterday to run his average to .438. He leads the American League with eight home runs. He's slugging .938 and has an OPS of 1.408. His OPS+ is north of 300.
With Buxton, though, the numbers don't tell the full story. He is one of the most enjoyable pupils to give an eye test, thanks to his incredible and effortless speed. Which was on full display yesterday in Cleveland as he legged out a double and an infield single while covering more than 30 feet per second.
As brain-bending as the sprint to first is to process, the hustle double might be more impressive. Reader, when the outfielder threw the ball back to the infield and Buxton was already picking himself up from a headfirst slide at second, there was an audible gasp in this breakfast nook. It's just an obscene pace out of the right-handed batter's box.
Sixty-eight plate appearances is a small sample size. Yet there's nothing fake about the five tools, which are being honed. Buxton is an above-average defender capable of tracking down any and every ball.
The one fly in the ointment is his disinterest in drawing walks. He's already matched his 2020 total this year by drawing ... two. And that's particularly disappointing because of his ability to turn a walk into a triple via the stolen base.
We've seen Buxton figure it out from time to time. But if he ever fully figures it out, good Lord, what an unstoppable weapon the Twins may have.