Brian Buscher: TCD Player of the Year

As each year ends, I compile grades of each player based on their performance on the field. This year, the top player was Garrett Guzman, with a score of 107.528, followed by Brian Buscher at 106.442, Garrett Jones (97.626), Brock Peterson (95.344), Matt Macri (94.622), Matt Tolbert (94.561), Alexi Casilla (93.092), and Erik Lis (92.946).

Although his final ranking was a close second, the Player of the Year goes to Brian Buscher who had a year most players only dream about.

Brian is a Florida native who attended the University of South Carolina after not being drafted out of high school. The Giants drafted Brian out of college in the third round of the 2003 draft. During four years in the Giants organization, Brian hit for a .268 Average in 391 games with 17 home runs and 183 runs batted in in 1,431 at bats. Last December, the Twins selected Brian in the Minor League Rule V Draft.

Brian began his career as a reserve on the New Britain (AA) roster. Brian got his chance to play regularly shortly after the season began due to an injury to another player. He proceeded to be one of the team's best hitters and never gave up his starting third base job. While at New Britain, Brian hit .308Ave/.391OBP/.478SLG with 19 doubles, 7 home runs and 37 rbi in 247 at bats. Brian also has excellent discipline at the plate as evidenced by his 31 walks compared with 30 strikeouts. His only negative at New Britain would be 12 errors in 63 games.

When the decision was made that former top pick Matt Moses was over matched at Rochester, Brian exchanged spots with Brian being promoted to the Red Wings. To the surprise of some, Brian's hitting had zero effect from the move with his power numbers actually improving as the hit for a .311Ave/.374OBP/523SLG in AAA. In 40 games for the Red Wings, Brian cut down on his errors to only 3 while hitting 7 doubles with 7 home runs and 22 rbi in 132 at bats. He also continued his patient hitting style with 13 walks and only 11 strikeouts.

With the Twins looking for some pop in their lineup, Brian got the call on July 27th. Unfortunately, he had a short stint on the DL and his defense has been a concern resulting in his only getting into 21 games with the Twins. Brian has continued to hit very well however, with a .294Ave/.357OBP/.412SLG in his brief initial exposure to major league pitching. Brian has 2 home runs for the Twins with 5 walks and 7 strikeouts in 51 at bats.

What is Brian's future with the Twins? Will he become the regular third baseman they are looking for or is he more suited to the DH spot with the ability to play some third and first base? No matter what his future holds, this season was so special that Brian is deserving of recognition as the 2008 Player of the Year.

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