Gemini Byron Buxton “World’s Best Player”

Baltimore – This is the experience of Byron Buxton, who was crushed in a four-game series last week between the Minnesota Twins and the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.

On Monday, Buxton left the first base when Luis Ares fired the first ball. Orioles’s Ryan Mountcastle stepped into the bag, finished second for a double game – and gave up. No way. Buxton was already skating.

“It was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen,” Mountcastle said. “I was saying, ‘Did he steal there?’ I was shocked. I just grabbed the ball like “ahhh, well, I do not know what happened.” But he is very fast. ”

Carlos Correa then ruled alone with a win over Buxton. The next night they teamed up for an elegant double play: Buxton spotted a fly ball in the center of the box on a warning track and threw it to Korea, who jumped to the other to catch a runner trying to score. The twins won again.

In the third game, Buxton did not play and the twins lost. He was healthy, but the twins continue to keep him in the new season for a good long time.

In the fourth game, Buxton returned to the starting lineup. The twins lost again, but Buxton managed all three miles. In the fifth innings, he scored 3-0 and started a 452-foot-long home run at the back of the upper bore.

So you had it: speed, defense, strength – and caution. Buxton is at best a spectacular watch. The twins want to see her as much as possible.

“He’s the best player in the world, I have no doubt about that,” said Korea, a shortstop who left Houston for a three-year, $ 105.3 million contract with the Twins in spring training.

“Speaking of talent, he’s the best. He has to stay on the pitch and show it, but I know the talent when I see it. Playing in the same division with Mike Trout, playing with big players on the Astros – no one has more talent than him. “Better defense. No one throws harder. No one runs faster. So when you talk about talent and you talk about tools, it’s the most talented of them all.”

Buxton is also the best player overall, claimed Korea, and he could follow traditional statistics: as of Friday, Buxton was the leader of the Homers’s major league, at nine, while at .290. Its combined base and slang percentage was 1,109.

Instead, Korea introduced Weighted Runs Created Plus, a metric that measures the total number of races created, taking into account Balpark factors. Buxton has topped this category for the last two seasons, with 181, according to the Fangraphs. He is second only to Mike Trout and Juan Soto in 2020.

To find Buxton on these leaderboards, you need to adjust your playing time thresholds. Since making his debut in 2015 – three years after the Twins put him in the second draft, Korea lags behind – Buxton has missed time with injuries to his left thumb, groin, left big toe, left wrist, right wrist, left arm, right thigh. left hand. He also lost time due to migraines and concussions. He left Saturday’s victory over Auckland with a thigh pain.

When people call him prone to injury, Buxton said he doesn’t care. When they call him the best player in the world, it gets a little more enjoyable, but it has the same effect.

“It doesn’t matter to me either,” Buxton said. “In order to do that, I have to go and prove it. I know I have not played enough games, but I know I can be that way, which is fun for me. This is what keeps me on my toes – something will always happen. Is this anxiety. This is a challenge for me and I love challenges. “

As a free agent last season, his challenge was to find a way to stay in Minnesota. Both sides hoped to continue the relationship; When Buxton was drafted to Buxley High School in Appling County, he told his parents that he wanted to spend his entire career on one team. But his profile was a puzzle.

When Buxton plays, the team is Jognernaut. From 2019 (inclusive Friday), the twins were 96-110 without Buxton. At the same time, they were 130-75 with him – .634 win percentage, better than the best team in Minnesota history, the 1965 title winner (.630). Such an impact required great pay, but a health history required prudence.

“We were trying to find an intersection between the two, and it took years – at least, really, at least two years,” said Derek Falvi, the twins’ baseball operations president. “We were looking for comparisons and we really could not find them. But he really wanted to be here and I think it was outstanding.

Shortly before the lockout, Buxton signed a seven-year, $ 100 million contract with a full non-trading point for the first five years and a bonus structure that could generate an additional $ 10.5 million each season to reach the maximum level: 625 plates. Exit and finish first place when voting for the Most Valuable Player Award. It just might happen.

“He can do anything as a top player,” said Justin Moreno, now the Twins broadcaster, who won the MVP of the American League as their first base player in 2006. “When you are on the field, even as an athlete, you can. Look around and go: this guy is better than the others.

Manager Rocco Baldell fights Buxton for a fundamental reason: he wants his best player to have the most chances of hitting. Buxton rarely steals bases, mainly because he is often already in the scoring position. Since 2019, he has 116 extra base hits and only 113 combined singles and walks, relying on his identity as a striker.

“I played against him in the high A and I just have never seen anyone run so fast in my life,” said David Popkins, the twins’ shooting coach. “Then he was a completely different striker, he just put in the game, ran and used his speed. But this version of him is crazy. “

This version, Buxton said, is authentic to him. Over the years he has tried very hard to be pleasant, diligently using the advice of every coach who has seen him. During his first four major league seasons, he reached 0.230 with a .387 slug percentage, much happier on the pitch than on the plate.

“I was focused on defense, where I preferred to play 27 outs for the twins and 27 outs for those of us who were playing,” Buxton said. “I would rather play in defense than go on the plate and it was all because I had no plan. I did not have a routine. I did not have something that I was. ”

With the help of former Gemini coach James Rawson, Buxton learned to simplify his mechanical marks and rely on his instincts as a striker. He does not play many pitches because he knows he can climb almost anything near the strike zone.

“And that’s what makes it fun again, because I’m not going up there thinking about what you’re going to do for me,” Buxton said. “I’m the first guy to attack.”

Hall of Fame kicked Kirby Phuket, who led Minnesota to just two championships in 1987 and 1991, with an excessive kick. Buxton barely lifts his foot out of the dirt, generating force from the ground and moving it through the bat. It’s a sophisticated skill, but Popkins said it makes Buxton the most incredible striker he has ever seen.

“He’s always waiting for you there, for example, ‘Whatever you do, I’m in the ground, good luck,'” Popkins said. “It’s as if his feet are his hands; they’re holding the ground and just turning it.”

No matter how awesome he is in the box of batteries, Buxton said he still gets his biggest thrill in defense. Removing the shot, he said, is a way to shift the momentum of the game, raising the pitcher and all the fields.

Buxton did a lot in 2017, when Wilson named him the best defensive player, he took the twins to the playoffs. It was his only season with 100 games played, however, a reminder of the weakness of greatness.

Some of Buxton’s further injuries were imminent – a collision with the center wall of the pitch, which injured his shoulder, a rough ball that broke his toe, an incorrect pitch that broke his wrist. His luck is back and the twins want to keep him on the pitch, away from him from time to time. They will enjoy the show, though it will last a long time.

“I think we got the philosophy: just appreciate what it is,” Morno said. “We do not know what the future holds. Just look over there today and watch the ball run out of the abyss and appreciate it. Watch how he turns a single into a double as no one can do it and appreciate it. You hope he stays healthy, but no one knows what will happen. So just watch and appreciate the most electric player in today’s game. “

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