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Mere hours after smacking his first home run of the spring, #1 MLB.com prospect CF Byron Buxton was sent across the way to minor league camp by the Minnesota Twins.
Making Minnesota’s Opening Day 25-man roster just wasn’t going to happen. Buxton topped out at Single-A last year, where he was named Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America. He slashed .334/.424/.520 with Single-A Fort Myers of the generally pitcher-friendly Florida State League. He will likely start 2014 with the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats. But you have to think the 20 year-old won’t spend too much more time down in the minors before making his first big league splash.
In his second Spring Training with the Twins, Buxton hit .158/.158/.368 in 19 place appearances. His two-run home run Saturday off Blue Jays’ pitcher Drew Hutchison represented his first — and only — two RBI of the spring.
For now, there just isn’t a spot in the Twins’ lineup for Buxton. Alex Presley projects to man center field in 2014. A serviceable five-year MLB veteran, Presley OPS’d .686 over 185 PA between the Twins and Pirates in 2013.
But as Buxton drills his way up the minor league ladder, the Twins might be forced to play their hand sooner rather than later. After a 66-96 performance in 2013 — good for 4th in the AL Central — the Twins could use the help when their star prospect is deemed major league-ready.
Along with Buxton, the Twins also reassigned top RHP prospect Alex Meyer to minors camp on Sunday.