This is looking like the season that 7-year veteran outfielder Byron Buxton finally puts it all together for Minnesota. The multi-tooled player has never lived up to his offensive potential in the eyes of most baseball fans. He’s fast, he has power, but his wicked web game has kept him in the league. Winning a Platinum Glove is no joke.

Two games is not a season make, but after homering in back-to-back games to start the 2021 season, Buxton has certainly built a fan base of respected baseball voices.

“He’s now put power onto his game,” said Joel Sherman on the MLB Network, following Buxton’s clutch jack. “The only thing that was missing last year was patience behind the plate. I think he drew like one or two walks all of last season. If he never draws a walk and gives you power and perhaps the best defense in the game in centerfield, then that combination makes him incredibly valuable. Staying healthy and the ability to get on base a little more turns him into an MVP candidate.”

On Opening Day, Buxton launched a 465-foot moon blast off the scoreboard. It was a “look at me now” flex that raised some eyebrows.

On Saturday night, he smacked another one out that broke up a no-hitter in a 0-0- pitchers duel, giving Minnesota a 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh inning and chasing the Milwaukee Brewers starter into the showers.

Buxton has never hit more than 16 homers in a season and has never had a batting average higher than .262, but he always seems one hot streak away from pulling it all together and becoming a next-level force on the field. He did slug a career-high .577 in the 60-game COVID season and finished 16th in the MVP voting, so his performance showed us he was coming.

Maybe this is the year he ascends to an elite level.


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