Top prospect Buxton makes spring debut

Top prospect Buxton makes spring debut

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton, who was the No. 2 overall pick in last year's First-Year Player Draft, made his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday against the Pirates.

Buxton, 19, made an immediate impression, singling in his first at-bat against Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett before stealing second and advancing to third on the throw, which went into center field. He then scored the first run of the game on an RBI groundout from Joe Mauer.

"It was pretty awesome," said Buxton, who went 1-for-4 with a walk, two stolen bases and three runs scored. "The first at-bat, I got it out of the way and just relaxed. I was able to hit the ball and just have a good time."

"He's a stud," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's a five-tool guy. He has all the baseball intangibles. So now we just to need to get him some experience."

Buxton, ranked as the No. 19 overall prospect according to, coincidentally made his debut against the player he's most compared to in Pirates star Andrew McCutchen.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan said the two players have a similar skill set and so it made sense for Buxton to see McCutchen play in person.

"One of the things we've talked about with him is that he reminds a lot of us of McCutchen,' Ryan said. "So I thought that was ironic. So he'll get a chance to watch McCutchen. It's not like he can't learn from some of our guys like [Aaron] Hicks, but this is an opportunity for him to get some Major League time and at-bats. There is no downside."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.