19. Byron Buxton
OF, Minnesota Twins
- Birthday: December 18, 1993 (Age: 23)
- Career Statistics: .220/.274/.398, 12 HR, 44 RBI, 60 R, 12 SB, 2.1 WAR
- 2016 Statistics: .225/.284/.430, 10 HR, 38 RBI, 44 R, 10 SB, 1.9 WAR
Over the past two seasons, Byron Buxton’s stock has been more volatile than (insert the name of some particularly unstable publicly traded company here). A can’t miss prospect with every tool in the game at his disposal, Buxton made his major league debut as a 21-year old in 2015 and flopped.
Buxton hit .209/.250/.326 through his first 46 games, and struck out in 31.9 percent of his plate appearances. He displayed speed and terrific defensive ability, but didn’t hit well enough to stay in Minnesota. Last season was more of the same as he bounced between Triple-A and the big leagues, until Buxton finally broke through with a .297/.357/.653 stretch in September in which he quadrupled his career home run total from three to 12 in 29 games.
Unlike several of the 24-and-under hitters on this list, Buxton didn’t hit a home run on Opening Day. But he did record the first five-star catch of the 2017 season in center field.
We don’t yet know if he’ll be able to carry over his September power surge, and put together productive season at the plate – or a full season in the big leagues for that matter – but Buxton has the potential to be a superstar.