Player: Byron Buxton Rank: 1 Pre-Season Rank: 17 Team: Minnesota Twins
The five-tool player might be the most overused label in baseball. Just about any player who has a good power-speed package and can do something else decently well is dubbed "a five-tooler". But in reality, the real thing hardly ever exists. The closet thing we have in the big leagues is a guy like Mike Trout who possess four great tools in his arsenal, but has one, in Trout's case his arm, that lags behind. But Byron Buxton is scary because he is a legitimate five tool player (you can see what I gave him for grades at the bottom of the page) While I always knew he could flash these tools, I highly doubted he would develop them all. I was even more surprised that he developed them so quickly. I thought for sure that Buxton would go through an adjustment period and struggle in his first full big league season. After all, he is still fairly raw and hit just three home runs during his senior year at Appling County High School. But boy was I wrong.
In his first full professional season Buxton has .posted a slash line of .341/.431/.559 for the Cedar Rapids Kernals. He has also stolen 32 bases through his first 68 games. And while Buxton is tearing off the cover of ball right now, he is a guy who can make a difference even when he is slumping at the plate. He can just as easily win you a game with his arm, glove, or speed as he can with his bat. Before being drafted by Minnesota second overall in last year's draft, ridiculous comps like Matt Kemp and Torri Hunter were being thrown at him. Some evaluators even called him "the hybrid of the Upton brothers." At his current trajectory though, it might be possible that those comps are actually selling him short. He has completely blown away just about everybody in baseball, and his combination of of talent and performance is unrivaled by any player in the minor leagues.