State of the Farm: “If you put your trust in me I'll make bright your day. Look into these eyes now, tell me what you see.”
Prospect rankings primer
The Top Ten
1. Byron Buxton
Height/Weight: 6’1’’ 188 lbs.
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2012 draft, Appling County High School (Baxley, GA)
2012 Stats: .216/.324/.466 in rookie GCL (27 games); .286/.368/.429 at rookie-level Elizabethton (21 games)
The Tools: All of them; 8 run; 7+ arm; 6+ raw power; 6+ hit (potential)
What Happened in 2012: Drafted second overall and viewed by many as the top talent in the entire class, Buxton didn’t disappoint in small-sample professional viewing, flashing all the tools that helped secure him a $6 million signing bonus.
Strengths: Massive potential on both sides of the ball; elite run; uses speed well in game action; hit tool has plus projection (at least); impressive bat speed; strength in swing; big raw power that should at least achieve average utility; arm is a 7; overall defense package could be high-6/low 7; strong work ethic.
Weaknesses: Mixed opinion on future of hit/power tools; some only see average game utility at maturity; wide gap between present/future; limited professional sample; swing has some length; hasn’t faced enough quality velocity; approach is still immature.
Overall Future Potential: 7; all-star.
Explanation of Risk: Extreme risk; massive toolshed with makeup, but has boom or bust potential because of wide gap between present and future hit/power tools.
Fantasy Future: One of the best players in the game if he reaches his potential; could hit for high average, show high-end secondary skills (SB, HR, OBP) while playing a premium position at a high level. He has MVP-level raw tools.
The Year Ahead: With high ceilings come high expectations, so Buxton will be expected to rise to the challenges of full-season ball and emerge as one of the premier prospects in the game. While its possible that he explodes in 2013 and becomes a top-10 player in the minors, it's more likely that the tools need a few seasons to develop their game function, and as a result, Buxton will flash his promise more often than sets fire to it. He will be facing the best pitching of his life, and if the swing isn’t ready for the spotlight, he could struggle at the plate. Just be patient. If he develops to his potential, it’s a game changer.
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