Buxton begins to show flashes of future stardom

Buxton begins to show flashes of future stardom

ANAHEIM -- Byron Buxton may only be 22 years old, but the Twins center fielder appears that he's starting to figure some things out in the Major Leagues.

Buxton, who was on the Opening Day roster this season after making his big league debut on June 14, 2015, has caught the eye of manager Paul Molitor in recent games.

Buxton's made his biggest impact in the outfield, possessing a unique blend of instincts and physical ability.

"[Byron's} got tremendous instincts, but that's not everything," Molitor said. "There's guys who have great instincts but then aren't able to do the same things he does because of the fact that he does have superior speed and quickness, the ability to analyze and read balls and he can throw like that."

Buxton's arm was on full display in Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the Angels, as he became the first player in baseball this season to throw out Mike Trout on the basepaths with a 99.4 mph laser to record the out at home in the first inning. He nearly got Trout just before the play, taking his double perfectly off the wall and rifling the throw to second base.

His issues have been on offense, where he produced a slash line of .156/.208/.289 with two RBIs through the opening month before being optioned to Triple-A Rochester. He's been better since being recalled on May 31, however, slapping a double that day against the Angels and hitting .255/.280/.426 in the month of June through Tuesday. On Monday against the Angels, he hit his first home run of the season and just the third of his career.

Buxton's solo home run

"Everything he's been doing on the defensive side has been efficient and above-average," Molitor said. "Offensively, we're seeing flashes. I don't think the results have been great as of yet, but the at-bat mentality has been pretty good."

Molitor is both encouraged and excited by what Buxton could bring.

"[Byron's] moving closer to the player that we all know potentially he'll become," Molitor said. "When you talk about how young he is and how much of this game is still out in front of him, that could be a while."

Worth noting

• The Twins have signed sixth-round Draft selection Alex Schick, according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. The Cal right-hander, who possesses a "very good" breaking ball, signed for $400,000. The slot value on the pick was $267,800.

• The Twins' rotation has had massive struggles this season, posting a 5.58 ERA entering play Wednesday, the worst in the Major Leagues. Molitor said much of the rotation's struggles have been due to a pressure to overachieve.

"It's a fine line that, when you're losing a lot of games, everyone tries to be the guy to pick the team up and try to get some momentum going," Molitor said. "Sometimes it's just getting outside of yourself and trying to do more than you need to."

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Anaheim. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.