Considered the top prospect in many circles in and around baseball, Byron Buxton appears to have all the tools necessary to succeed in the big leagues. But he can’t seem to stay healthy long enough to prove it.
According to Jake Seiner of MiLB.com, Buxton dislocated his left middle finger while diving for a ball on Monday in an Arizona Fall League game. There also appears to be a minor fracture in the same finger. He left the game, and he is expected to miss the rest of the short season, which concludes in mid-November.
Because of Buxton’s injured finger, he only managed to play in 13 games for Salt River, where he batted .263.
Oct. 14, 2014; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton plays for the Salt River Rafters during an Arizona Fall League game against the Surprise Saguaros at Salt River Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
What is also documented in Seiner’s article is the number of injuries Buxton has had this season. It’s obviously been a difficult one for him. He suffered a wrist injury in Spring Training that kept him out of action until early May. Then later this year, in Buxton’s first game at Double-A, he got a concussion after colliding with a teammate in the outfield. It wasn’t until the start of the Arizona Fall League when Buxton finally returned since his concussion.
The Minnesota Twins’ prized 20-year-old center fielder not only suffered three injuries, but he missed a significant amount of playing time, which only stunted his development. Had he played a healthy full season in the Twins’ system, Buxton could’ve easily been on track to start the 2015 season with Minnesota. Granted, injuries happen, but it’s not good right now for Buxton and the Twins.
Of all the injuries Buxton has had this season, the finger is the least worrisome. The concussion is scary and the wrist is something that has to worry the Twins, because that could be a lingering injury.
Buxton expects to head into Spring Training healthy and ready to perform. But I don’t see him joining the Twins until at least July or August, if that. He needs to get a lot of plate appearances at Double-A and then do the same in Triple-A. Unless he tears through the upper echelon of the minor leagues next season, he probably won’t join Minnesota until late in the summer, possibly not even until September call-ups.
The Twins are a struggling franchise in need of Buxton. But they need him healthy first and foremost.