The 2018 season for Byron Buxton went pretty much as bad as it possibly could have. We’re not going to discuss that season where he only played 28 games, instead let’s focus on 2017 where he played 140 games.
People forget Buxton received a platinum glove as well as MVP votes in 2017. He had a line of .253/.314/.413 in 2017 and by no means would those numbers give you an 18th place finish in MVP unless you are exceptional everywhere else. Buxton is just so electric on the bases and in the field that he made up for the mediocre hitting.
Byron is possibly the fastest runner and the best fielder in all of baseball and his stats backed him up. I’m going to be showing six graphs where Byron ranked exceptionally well.
First we will be taking a look at the fielding leaderboards from 2017 and moving to Baserunning soon.
The first graph is percentage of catches made that had a catch probability of 1-10%. Byron was first on the leaderboard and 2.8% above second place. If you look on the board you’ll notice he also had the second most opportunities.
The second graph I’m showing accounts for UZR which is ultimate zone rating (Arm+DPR+RngR+ErrR). Buxton ranked fifth on this list even without a great arm rating. I don’t know how Betts got a 21 so yeah that’s insane.
The third graph examined DRS (defensive runs saved). This accounts for all the runs above average a player was able to stop from scoring. Buxton came in third behind two proven studs. This is the defensive metric looked at the most by me and it shows just how impactful the player was.
Moving on to baserunning.
First stat: he set the record for fastest ever inside the park home run so yeah that’s pretty cool.
This first board judged UBR (ultimate baserunning) UBR – Base running runs above average, does not include SB or CS. Byron again proves how good he is with a 7th place on this board. He’s lethal on the bases.
This board measures the speed score of a player running the bases. Buxton finished behind two players who were considered the fastest in the league for the past years. If Byron gets on base more he could increase this.
The final graph wSB measures runs above average considering stolen bases and caught stealing. Buxton finished second on this list, finishing the season going 29/30 on stolen bases which is just crazy.
Those are the six most impactful graphs I found for how amazing buxton can be on the bases and in the field. That speed can definitely transfer to more hits and I could see buxton getting his BABIP to around .350 this season. He ranked 29th in 2017 in BABIP. All he has to do is reduce strikeout rate and everything else for hitting will get better.
Why do I think he will get better? He spent the offseason being closely monitored by the Twins. He put on 29 pounds of muscle reportedly. It will be key for him to have a great spring where he can really get on a groove.
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