Centerfielder Byron Buxton wasn’t even one of the three Twins named to the 2017 American League All-Star team at midseason. But after returning from a groin injury at the start of August, he emerged as a true star-in-the-making with his improved hitting (thanks, in part, to adjusted swing mechanics), defense (he won his first Gold Glove award), and speed (he’s the second-fastest outfielder in baseball, according to MLB.com). Buxton was also responsible for some of the most memorable highlights of the Twins’ season, whether setting the MLB record for fastest inside-the-park home run (13.85 seconds!) or hitting three home runs in a game just nine days later. Selected by the Twins as the MLB’s second overall draft pick in 2012, Buxton is finally ready to bloom into one of the league’s most exciting players.
Readers’ Choice: Brian Dozier