The Minnesota Twins announced today that they have signed centerfielder Byron Buxton to a seven-year contract extension through the 2028 season.
Buxton, 27, hit .306 (72-for-235) with 23 doubles, 19 home runs, 32 RBI, 13 walks, 50 runs scored, nine stolen bases and a 1.005 OPS this past season, despite being limited to just 61 games due to two separate stints on the 10-day Injured List. His OPS led American League hitters with at least 200 at-bats and ranked second in baseball, trailing only National League Most Valuable Player Bryce Harper (1.044) of Philadelphia. Buxton’s 19 homers also set a single-season career high, while his 23 doubles and 50 runs scored both marked the second-highest single-season totals of his career.
The centerfielder’s 4.5 WAR (per Baseball Reference) in 2021 led the Twins and is the highest single-season mark in AL/NL history (1901-present) by a player who appeared in 70 games-or-fewer. Despite playing just 509.2 outfield innings in 2021, Buxton’s 10 defensive runs saved (per The Fielding Bible) ranked fifth among all centerfielders.
The reigning AL Player of the Month for April, Buxton became the 16th Twins player to earn a monthly honor from the league after hitting .426 (29-for-68) with eight doubles, eight home runs, 14 RBI, 15 runs scored, a .466 on-base percentage, an .897 slugging percentage and a 1.363 OPS in 18 games. He set Twins records for March/April in batting average, slugging percentage and OPS (min. 60 plate appearances), while his OPS also set a new club standard for any month, surpassing Joe Mauer’s 1.338 mark in May 2009.
The Baxley, GA native was selected by the Twins in the first round (second overall) of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Appling County (GA) High School. He won the Sherry Robertson Award as Twins Minor League Player of the Year and the J.G. Taylor Spink Award as the TOPPS/Minor League Baseball Player of the Year in 2013.
Buxton made his major league debut in 2015 and has been on the Twins’ Opening Day roster each season since 2016. He has hit .248 (401-for-1615) with 100 doubles, 17 triples, 70 home runs, 204 RBI, 104 walks, 254 runs scored and a .761 OPS in 493 career games. He won a 2017 Rawlings Gold Glove Award in the outfield and the 2017 AL Platinum Glove Award, given annually to the best overall defender in each league. Buxton has also been successful in 71 of 81 career stolen base attempts, good for an 87.7 stolen base percentage that leads the majors since his debut (minimum 80 steal attempts).
Since 2016, he also leads all players (minimum 250 opportunities) with an elite 30.6 feet-per-second average sprint speed, per Baseball Savant. In 187 games since Opening Day 2019, Buxton has hit .277 (176-for-636) with 56 doubles, four triples, 42 home runs, 105 RBI, 117 runs scored, 25 stolen bases and an .897 OPS. The Twins have posted a 118-69 (.631) record in those games, including a 104-68 (.605) mark when he is in the starting lineup.
(info courtesy of Twins)