Buxton led all major league outfielders in outs above average with 25 with the second place finisher finishing with 19. There is no doubt what Buxton is able to do defensively, but sadly in most fantasy leagues fielding statistics don’t count. The real question concerning him is his offensive, and to be more specific his high strikeout rate.
Buxton started the season off horrifically in 2017. He was only hitting .218/.292/.311 from April to July, but then something happened around the start of August. From the months of August through October he was hitting .298/.342/.541 with 11 home runs. The most promising stats in during that time period may be the fact that he cut his strikeout rate down to 27.6%. Now I know that is still not very good, but it is a lot better than the 30% he had in the months prior. Now I don’t believe he will ever reach what many predicted him to do back in 2013, but he will be a top fantasy option going into 2018.
Buxton has taken the #1 spot on Statcast’s Sprint Speed with a 30.2 ft/sec, so it is reasonable to project 35-40 stolen base season from the youngster. He should also hit for a decent batting average come 2018. I am not gonna project him hitting .300, but a .260-.270 is very probable for the young speedster. Lastly we have his power output. In those last two months of the season he had a 39.6 fly ball rate and made hard contact just 29.7% of the time. With that I am not going to project a 30 home runs coming from him, but a 20 home run season seems very achievable for him.
So what should we expect from 24 year old in 2018? Well he seems to have changed his approach at the plate, so it seems very probable to predict a breakout season from the Twins’ outfielder. Basically Buxton has done the same thing that Judge did last season, and that is to go back to their high school/college swings. When they did this they seemed to be a lot more comfortable at the plate, and started to produce at very high levels. Don’t believe me? Take it from Harold Reynolds as he goes over Buxton’s changes at the plate.