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Updated: September 11th, 2013 11:52pm
Twins GM 'as positive as you could be' after Buxton's latest award

Twins GM 'as positive as you could be' after Buxton's latest award

by Brandon Warne
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan spoke at length about prospect outfielder Byron Buxton Wednesday evening. Earlier in the day, Buxton was named Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year.

Here are some of the excerpts of what Ryan had to say:

On his thoughts and regard for Baseball America's award...

"My thoughts are about as positive as you could be. It's a tremendous honor. Baseball America has a lot of credibility when it comes to prospects in minor league baseball and lists and all that type of stuff. Byron had a tremendous year at two different levels, there's no doubt about it."

On Buxton winning the award despite not playing at Double-A yet...

"He's only 19; you don't get those awards too many times down at that level."

On Buxton's personality and reaction to the announcement...

"He's soft-spoken. He's very humble. I think he's very appreciative. All that good stuff. We couldn't be more proud of the kid, it's quite a year he's had."

On the company Buxton's keeping with previous recipients, including Joe Mauer ...

"Guys that have gotten those types of awards, well, those guys have fared pretty well. Hopefully it'll just be a springboard up to the next level, and he'll do well in the fall league, and carry that on to ultimately do some of those things up here."

On a timetable for a big league promotion for Buxton ...

"I never have, and I never will (put a timetable on his arrival in the majors). He'll dictate how fast he moves, just like this year. There were people a little concerned we held him back -- he was doing so well in Cedar Rapids -- but when the time was right, we moved him up. He didn't have too many concerns when we got him up there. He held his own, and started to flourish. Next year, we'll see exactly how he wants to progress. If he moves along, we aren't going to hold him back."

On if Buxton's play has accelerated his timetable based on his play ...

"I think he has; I think that's fair. I don't think in my wildest dreams I would have thought he'd reach Fort Myers this year. Because I know what I saw last year in the Gulf Coast League, and then what he did in Elizabethton...I think you guys would even assess that -- if you look at his line -- as a struggle. He didn't put up the numbers he put up this year in any way, shape, or form. He was rusty when he went down there, I've got to give him credit."

"Some of it was a little bit of the baserunning -- jumps, reads, the ability to steal a bag at will -- and some of it was the ability to handle breaking balls. That's something you always concern yourself with about young hitters. Right-handers throwing legitimate, major league-type sliders...you always wonder if a kid can handle those. He started to show that. Hitting the ball to opposite field with authority...he started doing all that stuff. We wanted that club to win, and we wanted them to qualify (for the playoffs). Right around the time they qualified, we moved him. It wasn't just that, though."

On what's next for Buxton in his development ...

"The baseball speed is the next piece that has to come in his game. To be a guy that can steal 50-60-70 up here, whatever number you want to put on him. Because he can really run. I mean he can fly. You guys saw it in the game they televised; when he went to get balls, there aren't a lot of guys in the game that can go get them like he can. He's an absolute burner, an 8 runner. There are 8s running around the game, and he's up in there with guys like Kirby Puckett back when he was 185 lbs."

"Buxton can do a lot of things on the baseball field. Now we just have to turn that raw, sprinters speed into baseball speed"

On the responsibility Ryan takes in making Buxton become the player he's expected to become ...

"I take total responsibility. I certainly don't want to have any people go backwards. We talk about (Aaron) Hicks, I take responsibility. Maybe I moved him too quick. I don't want that to happen, and certainly with a kid that's still a teenager who isn't out of A-ball, it'll be interesting. We'll all watch with interest how he does in the fall league, because there will certainly be people out there that are higher quality than what he saw in Low- and High-A. He's going to get an opportunity to see that out there, and we'll see how he responds. We'll see whether he shows progress, and if he answers some of those questions."

On Buxton's rank among the best prospects Ryan has seen ...

"He's certainly up there. You don't that type of accolade without being one of the best prospects we've had. Mauer's been up there. Matt Garza was up in there. Miguel Sano is up in there; he's no slouch. And I think we'd be talking about Alex Meyer up in there if he hadn't been hurt. The reason he's getting this attention nationally is not only does he have the skills, but he's putting up the numbers. He's coachable, and he's a tremendous kid. All that good stuff. There's a complete package here. He's going to be tested wherever he lands."

Brandon Warne covers the Minnesota Twins for 1500ESPN.com. He has also contributed as a baseball analyst for Fangraphs.com and BaseballProspectus.com
Email Brandon | @Brandon_Warne
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