After a few false starts, it appears as though we finally are seeing the arrival of Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton if his 2017 production can be believed. The former number 2 overall pick in 2012 has been a fantasy baseball sleeper hound’s obsession since right after his name was called in the MLB Draft; with some early projections predicting he would be the next Mike Trout-like superstar five-tool player. As almost always happens in overhyped situations such as this, Buxton disappointed his loyal followers when given a chance to stick with the Twins both in 2015 and 2016. Clearly being rushed to the majors, Buxton showed he was far from ready to tackle top tier pitching as he batted just .209 and .225 during those first two forays into the big leagues. The holes in Buxton’s swing were gaping as he topped the horrid 30.0 K/9 mark in both of those campaigns as well (31.9 and 35.6 respectively). While no one was ready to give up on Buxton just yet, all was quiet on the sleeper front as 2017 drafts got underway. It was at this point where the always profitable post-hype sleeper theme took center stage and the talent began to bubble to the surface. The much-ballyhooed tools that earned Buxton such hype in the first place began accumulating as well since he went on to hit 16 home runs, steal 29 bases, and batted .253 in 511 at-bats. We all need to be reminded that Buxton will be just 24 when the 2018 season gets going and so there can be no surprise that it took him awhile to get his game in order given the lack of minor league seasoning. Be that as it may, Buxton’s potential as a 20/30 guy could very well be in the cards this season and a graduation to OF 2 status would then result. Now Buxton still needs to do a ton of work on the strikeouts as his 29.4 K/9 a year ago remained hideous and the batting average will never become a help if he doesn’t start making inroads there. Overall the elevator is rising steadily here and so Buxton can be put down as just the latest post-hype sleeper to make good on their talent.
2018 PROJECTION: .267 19 HR 63 RBI 79 R 34 SB