Scouting Byron Buxton:
The grades listed below are based on the 20-80 scouting scale; 50 is considered Major League average. Prospects generally come up short on this scale as they are years from the big leagues, so the first grade is at present, the second a projected final grade once development is complete.
Buxton has a good idea of what pitches he can handle and does a good job getting to balls on the outer half. His swing is consistent, his wrists strong and his hands explosive, allowing him to let pitches get deep before he unleashes. This helps him recognize breaking balls, though he's still refining his plate discipline. He's synced up well in his swing mechanics and starts with an open stance. He stride can get aggressive at time, but hasn't been much of a hindrance in high school.
Buxton's strength is not limited to his hands and wrists as he's sturdily built from head to toe. He generates plus bat speed that could develop into well above-average power down the road, though the swing plane will need to mature to best take advantage of the natural physical tools. He already reaches the gaps with searing line drives and when he gets the bat head out shows good pull power.
Speed that plays on both the gridiron and the baseball diamond, Buxton has a smooth running stride and accelerates quickly to top speed, much like that of a premium running back. The two-sport star regularly posts home-to-first times between 3.9 and 4.1 seconds, landing under four seconds about half the time on the summer circuits. He may lose a half step as he fills out into his early 20s, but this is speed rarely matched in baseball.
Buxton has a strong arm - he's touched 94 mph from the mound - and his throwing mechanics have improved since early in his junior season. He serves as Appling County High School's starting quarterback thanks in part to that arm strength. If he has to move to left field long term, his arm will play well there, too.
Buxton has the speed and arm to become a supreme defender in center field, but his jumps and routes need work in order for him to maximize his potential in the field. He's made significant progress throughout his prep days and more improvement is sure to come.
Buxton is a five-tool athlete with two plus tools - speed and arm strength - and the potential for another - power. He's a rare high-energy player that wastes no movements as he performs, making it look easy and effortless. He's committed to the University of Georgia but his tremendous all-around upside and elite athleticism are certain to earn him early first-day consideration and if those raw skills turn up polished next spring, the top half of the first round is not out of the question. One area scout compared Buxton to Detroit Tigers centerfielder Austin Jackson and called him a "potential future star," despite the risk involved in dreaming on the kid's high-ceiling tools.
Univ. of Georgia Release, Nov. 16, 2011
A 6-2, 170-pound right-handed hitting outfielder from Baxley, Ga., Byron is the son of Carrie and Felton Buxton. He is the number one ranked high school prospect in the country by Baseball America. The newspaper's top 100 is based on future pro potential after getting input from dozens of scouts and college coaches.
Buxton attends Appling County where he plays for coach Jeremy Smith and summer baseball with Round Trip coached by Braxton Jeffers. Buxton also plays quarterback for the Pirates. He has participated in various showcase events and been named an All-American by Baseball America and Under Armour.
"Byron is a five-tool prospect and the top-rated recruit in the country," said (Georgia head coach David) Perno. "His speed and arm strength are exceptional and his power is developing plus he is throwing 93-94 miles per hour. He will be one to watch in the pro draft."