The Minnesota Twins bottomed out in the 2021 season, finishing dead last in the American League Central division.
The Twins’ performance was considered a major disappointment considering the back-to-back American League Central crowns in the two seasons prior.
Byron Buxton Is Key
A key factor for the Twins to contend again is sure to be the continuation of the breakout performance fans began to witness at the beginning of the 2021 MLB season by Twins’ CF Byron “Buck” Buxton.
Buxton opened the 2021 campaign in April batting an excellent .426 along with 8 home runs, earning the title of American League Player of the Month for April 2021.
This was the impact the Twins had been waiting for from their star centerfielder, but a theme that has been too far too present in his career would shortly arise.
No stranger to injury, Buck’s season would ultimately be derailed once again due to hamstring issues and a fractured hand.
The Minnesota Twins still believe in the special talent that Buxton has. The organization made this evident when the decision was made to extend him this past December.
The reasons are not hard to see why they would want to retain a special talent like Buxton. When healthy, he has exemplified the dynamic ability to be one of the league’s top five-tool players. Already a former Gold Glove winner (2017), Buck’s defense in center field has proven to be elite as a result of his lightning speed and rocket arm strength to match.
He has flashed tools at the plate that allow him to hit for both power and contact, making him a rare dual threat. A terror on the base paths, he is also one of the prominent bag snipers in the game. The threat of his speed has terrorized pitchers into mistakes.
Considering Buxton’s hot start last year was not enough to convince the team, he also will benefit from the addition of newly signed Carlos Correa. There has already been evidence of that impact in Spring Training as Buxton showed the same vigor as last April with a .469 batting average, 5 HRs, and 13 RBI. With a proven All-Star caliber slugger now behind him in the lineup, Buxton is even better positioned to finally have a true breakout season.
Buxton is a home grown talent that has long been the choice to be the Twin’s clubhouse leader. Minnesota has not had a true long-term superstar since Joe Mauer, and Buxton has the charisma, talent, and clubhouse presence to be the city’s next star.
Injuries aside, nothing stands between Buxton and a real shot at the AL MVP award in the 2022 MLB season. With a unique power speed combination, only few players in the sport can match such an exceptional skillset.
Good Money, Good Faith
The 2022 season is poised to be the best in Buxton’s young career. The extension given to Buxton was beneficial to both player and team.
The seven-year $100 million extension gives Buxton longstanding security and stability.
He will contend for AL Comeback Player of the Year and AL MVP awards, and helping the Twins return to the playoffs can propel him in the pursuit of those awards.