Byron Buxton: Twins get Georgia star with No. 2 pick

The Minnesota Twins had Georgia on their minds with the No. 2 pick of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft.

Byron Buxton, an outfielder from Appling County High School who has signed a baseball scholarship with Georgia, was selected second overall in Monday night’s draft. Carlos Correa, a 17-year-old shortstop from Puerto Rico, was drafted No. 1.

“It really went down to the wire for No. 1, from what I understand,” said Appling County coach Jeremy Smith. “Houston decided in the last 10 seconds to go with the kid from Puerto Rico, from what I was told by some people in the know. It was OK, though. Byron’s [advisor] told us that he wasn’t going past the Twins at the next pick.”

When Buxton’s name was announced next, there was a big celebration among the 1,000 family members and friends who had gathered for the draft party in the small South Georgia town of Baxley, located 200 miles southeast of Atlanta. Meanwhile, Buxton, with cameras focused upon him, appeared calm and relaxed.

“He was smiling some but didn’t have much emotion,” Smith said with a laugh. “A lot of kids would’ve been bouncing around or crying, and that was [Buxton] being cool under pressure. He always has the same demeanor, no matter what’s going on. He’s a great kid who does a good job of keeping everything in perspective.”

Said Buxton, “It was great to be picked so high; It’s good to be a Twin. I don’t know too much about the organization but I will get to know them better … I was relaxed about the whole [draft]. I was just ready to be picked by somebody and go play ball somewhere.”

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Buxton was praised for his high ceiling of potential as five-tool prospect and for leading his high school to the Class AA state championship. Buxton, who has been clocked at 99 mph, struck out 18 batters in last week’s clinching game. He will play centerfield in the professional ranks.

There was speculation that the Twins, which sorely need pitching, might take Stanford University’s Mark Appel with the second pick. However, Minnesota Director of Scouting Deron Johnson told reporters that Buxton was “absolutely” the prospect they wanted all along.

“We targeted Byron since last summer. … He’s a five-tool player [with a] tremendous ceiling,” Johnson said. “He’s a really good kid, hard worker, [and a] two-sport athlete. Everybody talks about his athleticism. He’s got a really good swing. We think he’s going to hit. We think he’ll hit anywhere from No. 1 in the order to No. 3. Tremendous, tremendous upside.”

Buxton, who said he expects to sign well before the July 13 deadline, comes from a middle-class background. His father drives a truck for a living, while his mother works at a school cafeteria.  This year’s No. 2 pick has a slotted bonus of $6.2 million.

24 comments Add your comment

homeboy

June 4th, 2012
8:52 pm

GOOD for Him and his home town.

BobDawg

June 4th, 2012
9:23 pm

Awesome, hopefully he will play a lot of years with Mauer and Co. and be an All-Star.

Paul in NH

June 4th, 2012
9:25 pm

Good luck to Buxton. Looks like UGA will have a scholarship opening up.

nh gamecock

June 4th, 2012
9:28 pm

Hey nh Paul… Good luck to buxton .

gt4ever

June 4th, 2012
9:45 pm

Good luck Buck….

padre

June 4th, 2012
9:48 pm

please come to uga

BBQ Pigskin

June 4th, 2012
9:56 pm

Nothing but congrats goes out to the kid! He obviously earned this honor, and I wish nothing but the best for him!

However, this format is the reason I cannot get into college baseball. In football, players HAVE to make a name for themselves at the college level, an play their guts out doing it. I am not a fan of the baseball format, where kids turn pro at the age of 17 or 18, and in many cases in Latin America, even younger.

There is NO WAY to transition to a system that requires kids to play a little at the college level, especially with the ultra-competitive developmental programs in the Caribbean. But it would sure be nice to have the chance to see some of the local talent compete for the programs we love before they disappear into the farm systems of MLB teams for 3-5 years before getting the call to the bigs.

Congrats, and best of luck Byron!!

YoungerThan ThatNow

June 4th, 2012
10:13 pm

Congratulations to Byron Buxton! It is my understanding that Byron is an even better person than he is a ballplayer! It’s good to see when a good kid’s hard work pays off for himself and for his family. No doubt that he will be an asset to the Minnesota Twins organization and will make his family and his community very proud!

Old Violin

June 4th, 2012
11:09 pm

Went to see Byron play the week before the state championship and came away a fan. This guy can play baseball, and seems to have his head screwed on right. Comes from a family who believes and lives good values, and have raised this young man to do the right thing. I look forward to watching him play in the pros, and wish he and his family all the great things they deserve….

sports

June 4th, 2012
11:21 pm

Good luck kid. Appling Co is my old school, graduate ‘65. I know everyone there is very proud of you. Went to see this kid play is the state finals against Blackshear…he is the real deal…speed, big arm, and a great bat. Congratulations to you and your family.

sports

June 4th, 2012
11:22 pm

Enter your comments here

sports

June 4th, 2012
11:28 pm

Congratulations to you and your family kid. What a great accomplishment. I went to see this kid play in the Class AA finals against Blackshear…he is the real deal. Great speed, big arm, and a great bat. I know all the people in Baxley are very proud for you.

Thomas46400

June 4th, 2012
11:38 pm

Maybe the Twins will finally get another homerun hitter like Kilabrew.

Natureboy809

June 5th, 2012
12:19 am

Good luck to him. We’d love to have him in Athens, but understand and can’t blame the kid one bit for taking the money.
Recruiting college baseball is a lot like recruiting IAA football- you might as well not even go after the studs, because you aren’t going to get them. You have to recruit that 2nd tier player and develop him.

homeboy

June 5th, 2012
6:36 am

Thomas 46400– good like Kirby Puckett is another

Free Market

June 5th, 2012
7:29 am

@ BBQ… I understand your comments but am of the opposite view. The athletes involved have made a name for themselves. Of course drafting at a young age is hit or miss. I really don’t like the NFL system where an athlete has to 3 years removed from his high school graduation to be eligible. To me in a free market economy why should an 18 year old not be allowed to make money in a skill that he is blessed to have? With the signing bonus Mr. Buxton will receive he will be able to afford his education when his playing days are over.

Kingdaddy

June 5th, 2012
7:58 am

@Free Market
You said It just right …

Ivan R.

June 5th, 2012
8:27 am

You guys are full of it. He was so pissed off that he could not stand the fact that the PR kid beat him to the #1 spot.

Stank Wren

June 5th, 2012
9:11 am

Hate that we won’t see the kid in Athens but wish him nothing but the best. Congrats and way to make Georgia proud

Anna Garner

June 5th, 2012
10:37 am

Way to go Byron Buxton! You have worked so hard, and you deserve this! Baxley, GA is so very proud of you! God Bless!

GT Alum

June 5th, 2012
1:25 pm

@FreeMarket

Actually, these kids go to college or the minor leagues because they have talent/ability, not skill. College football players go to college for the same reason other students go to college, to develop the skills to take advantage of their talent. Well, and an additional reason, to give their bodies time to finish growing, because even though they’re legally adults, they don’t have full adult bodies. It’s the same reason most high school graduates, no matter how bright they might be, have to go to college to get further education.

Baseball’s system is obviously much better for the athletes, because top draft picks get paid without ever having to produce. Football’s system is better for the league and more closely mirrors the path for other professions.

The NBA, however, has the worst of both worlds. They draft unskilled players, giving high picks lots of money, but don’t have a professional infrastructure for player development like baseball’s minor leagues, so often either the team tanks while they develop talent or talent development is a secondary concern to winning. There are some players who are ready to play in the NBA straight out of high school or after just one year of college, but there are many others who aren’t.

bitter//dawgs insider

June 5th, 2012
3:06 pm

bUY YOUR FOLKS A HOME—–good luck—-be the next, GEORGIA PEACH, HIT, STEAL,

————————————PLAY ALL OUT—–24/7

advice

June 5th, 2012
3:45 pm

Kid, NEVER forget your roots and pay visits when you can to your hometown. Heck, drop in to your old school during the off season every now and then when time allows. In other words, do the exact opposite of Jason Heyward and you’ll go far!

jj

June 6th, 2012
12:36 am

Son you better sign now before they get rid of unions and do to the majors like they are doing to middle America and the poor.Only the owners will make mony and everybody else work for chickenfeed!Get your money while you can,because things are changing in The USA!