The Twins started their Winter Caravan tour on a day that felt decidedly winter-like.
But while center fielder Byron Buxton treks through Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes, and Bemidji on Tuesday, he can bask in the warm reception he's getting from big league executives who consider him the best defensive prospect in baseball.
The MLB Pipeline blog polled general managers, scouting directors, and other execs. The responses that came back mentioned more than a dozen different players but none more often that Buxton, who received five votes.
The Pipeline notes that while there's been an explosion of new stats to measure offensive production, judging a ballplayer's defensive skills remains pretty subjective.
And while some are still skeptical about Buxton's hitting, there's a consensus that he can do it all in center field "...with plus range and excellent instincts to go along with fearlessness and a cannon for an arm," the Pipeline says.
The Pipeline poll results come less than two weeks after an ESPN analyst – in a column of "2016 Bold Predictions" – made this forecast:
"Center fielder Byron Buxton is going to win the American League's Rookie of the Year Award after putting up an electrifying All-Star-caliber season to beat out teammate Jose Berrios for the honor."
Indeed, the Byron Buxton caravan seems to be picking up steam, even during a mid-January cold snap.