The Twins didn’t get to see a lot of Baseball America’s No. 1 prospect Byron Buxton in the AFL, but what they saw, they liked.
The center fielder got into only 12 games because of a right shoulder strain sustained just a week after he got to Glendale, Ariz., and he batted just .212 in that time.
But GM Terry Ryan said he felt the 19-year-old was ready for the hurdle.
“He’s adapted to everything we’ve put in front of him, so OK, here’s another big challenge for you,” Ryan told Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “These pitchers know how to pitch a little bit more than what (Buxton has) seen so far. They’re experienced. Let’s see how you deal with that.”
Buxton did hit three homers in his brief playing time, but says he was disappointed he didn’t do more.
“I see the pitches I didn’t hit, the (fly) balls I didn’t get to. Bad jumps, getting fooled by pitches, bad throws,” Buxton told Miller.
Asked what he’d improve upon, he said, ”I’d say everything. I can be better at everything.”
Still, Mike Radcliff, the Twins vice president for player personnel, was pleased.
“He looks like he’s in pretty deep right at first, but he starts soaking in the pitching, getting used to what they’re doing, taking good at-bats. And pretty soon, he’s passed them,” Radcliff told the newspaper.