Is Byron Buxton The Best Fantasy Prospect In Baseball?
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Byron Buxton is having a decent season so far in Single-A.
Last year’s second overall selection boasts a modest .333/.435/.545 line through 240 PA, good for a wRC+ of 174. He’s walking and striking out nearly equally, which is remarkable for a player previously believed to need work on his approach. Yes, his BABIP is .386, but Buxton also has 26 stolen bases, and his speed is likely to lift his BABIP for much of his career. He’s already hit 7 homers and 12 doubles.
Buxton is beating on Single-A as a 19-year-old, and the hype train is picking up plenty of speed.
There’s perhaps no better example of that than this recent piece by Jason Parks (subscription required), in which 18 of 20 scouts pick Buxton over Miguel Sano when asked who they believe is the superior prospect. When you consider how good Sano is – and that the two were largely considered interchangeable atop the Twins list in preseason rankings – that’s actually a pretty surprising result.
“Sano could change the fortunes of a team, Buxton could change the fortunes of the league. I think he could be that special,” read one scout’s review. “Potential to be the best player in the game. Elite.”Buxton’s comps in that piece were about who you’d expect. Mike Trout was thrown around a few times, while one scout called him “Eric Davis” with a better bat. In the past, we’ve all seen comparisons ranging from Matt Kemp to Andrew McCutchen to Jacoby Ellsbury to Drew Stubbs.
Many believed Buxton to be the best overall player in the 2012 draft, so perhaps his dominance shouldn’t come as such a surprise. But now that we’ve seen Buxton truly start to put his tools on display, what does this do for his Fantasy value. As my title asks in non-rhetorical fashion, is Buxton the best Fantasy prospect in the game?
If you say yes, I think you’re a little crazy, but not entirely crazy. I’d still take Oscar Taveras, Xander Bogaerts and Jurickson Profar over him, and considering all that could go wrong with Buxton over the next two-three years, you wouldn’t be crazy for taking some nearly MLB-ready studs such as Gerrit Cole or Taijuan Walker over him either. You can also make a strong case for probability and argue for Wil Myers, despite his mixed start to the season.
Rather than insist that Buxton is the best overall Fantasy prospect now, I think it’s more appropriate to say he might have the highest Fantasy upside of any minor leaguer.
I’m not quite sure where I’d slot Buxton now, who came in at No. 24 on my preseason Top 130 but would certainly be at least 10, and probably at least 15, spots higher if I published a new list today.
But I am curious, faithful TDG readers. How has Buxton’s hot start impacted your rankings