Alright, so we know Byron Buxton has struggled to start his career in the big leagues. Yesterday, I wrote about his minor league numbers and compared them to a hyped prospect that panned out, Mike Trout. Today, I want to look at Buxton's first 500 plate appearances and put them in context. Why 500? Well, Buxton just reached that threshold on Wednesday and it's also the number you have to reach before qualifying for the batting title in a season (3.1 x number of games).
Those numbers don't look very good, obviously. But, how bad are they? I used the Play Index tool from Baseball-Reference to look at other hitters that reached 500 PA in their first three MLB seasons. I sorted that list by their AB/SO ratio (I couldn't do PA/SO unfortunately). Here is the top 10 (or bottom 10?) of that list.
Of the 2,918 players that have reached 500 PA in their first three MLB seasons, Byron Buxton ranks fourth worst in AB/SO. He has racked up one strikeout for every 2.5 AB. Making matters worse for Twins fans, Miguel Sano comes in ahead of Buxton at number two. Both players can improve that ratio—and probably will—as their third season progresses. Two other names pop off that list; Rob Deer (because of this) and Bo Jackson.
Taking a look at the top 50, here are some other notables.
If you want to be optimistic, there's Jackie Bradley. He struggled mightily in his first couple seasons, before becoming a 5 WAR player in 2016. He still strikes out a lot (3.902 AB/SO in 2016), but uses his speed to get on base and play good defense. If you're curious, the first Hall of Famers on the list check in at 71, Mike Schmidt (3.353), and 82, Reggie Jackson (3.398).
Lastly, I wanted to know who had the best AB to strikeout ratio in his first three seasons. Here is the top 10 since 1980.