Twins center fielder Byron Buxton was slated to begin this season at Double-A and perhaps be knocking on the door to the majors right now, but instead the consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball missed the first two-plus months of the year with a spring training wrist injury.
When he finally returned from the disabled list the Twins decided to send Buxton back to high Single-A, where he dominated at the end of last season by hitting .326 as a teenager. But this time around he got off to a slow start there, caught fire for a couple weeks, and then struggled again lately.
Overall he hit .240 with a .718 OPS and 33 strikeouts in 30 games, but the Twins have decided Buxton is ready for Double-A. He’s been promoted to the Eastern League four months before his 21st birthday and will finish the season playing for a New Britain team on which the average player is 25.5 years old.
Buxton is still viewed as the best prospect in baseball by most prominent sources and remains on track for stardom, but the wrist injury cost him a bunch of development time and probably erased whatever chance he had of debuting for the Twins this season as a 20-year-old.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.