Being baseball's No. 1 prospect comes with a degree of pressure, and for Byron Buxton, a quick and simple reminder can go a long way when it comes to staying relaxed.
"My hitting coach watched me in the cages and said, 'Just be calm, be loose and have fun,'" Buxton said of Glendale's Ryan Newman. "I did that and he gave me a fastball in. I happened to get the barrel on the ball."
Buxton, Jared Mitchell and Corey Seager homered for the Desert Dogs on Tuesday afternoon, but Surprise rallied late as the teams battled to a 5-5, 11-inning tie in the Arizona Fall League.
Buxton, the Twins' top propect, slugged his third fall homer in the first off Saguaros starter Will Roberts before Mitchell (White Sox) drilled his third in the second and Seager (Dodgers) hit his first, a go-ahead two-run shot in the sixth.
Orioles designated hitter Henry Urrutia and Brett Nicholas (Rangers) went deep for Surprise before Brewers prospect Adam Weisenburger singled home Tony Wolters (Indians) with the tying run in the eighth.
In the AFL, games do not continue past the 11th inning.
For Buxton, the homer was his third in six games as he continues to work his way back from a shoulder injury he suffered on Oct. 16.
"I feel all right, I'm just trying to take it one day at a time," he said of the setback. "I'm not trying to overdo it."
The 19-year-old outfielder has four hits, including a pair of honmers, in four games since returning to the lineup. The Twins sent their prized prospect to Glendale with the hopes he would build on an outstanding regular season in which he hit .334 with 12 homers, 77 RBIs and 55 stolen bases in 125 games across two levels.
Buxton recently was named Topps' Minor League Player of the Year, but the Georgia native remains modest about his accomplishments since being selected second overall in the 2012 Draft.
"I feel like I played pretty good, I got a lot of accolades and I'm just thankful to be receiving them," he said. "I'm out here having fun. I was fortunate enough to get moved up and did pretty good. I have to keep working hard in the offseason now to get stronger and put on a little weight."
Buxton also said he's optimistic about improving some of the finer points of his game like baserunning and pitch recognition. Seeing a variety of pitchers in Arizona -- typically a different arm every at-bat -- provides a variety of looks.
"I'm just trying to get a little bit better at everything," he said. "Take my at-bats here and then improve on them in the offseason, see what pitches I handled well, what ones I can improve on. Work on baserunning, keep working on my routes [to the ball] and work on my approach and try to keep spreading the ball out in the gaps."
And so far, he believes the experience has been helpful. He went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and a pair of runs scored on Tuesday to raise his AFL average to .231.
"I've picked up a little bit more discipline, a little bit more patience," Buxton said. "The pitching is a whole lot better out here because they have more than two pitches to fall back on. For the most part, I've been hitting pretty good. I've had a few tough games, but it happens. I'm just out here trying to keep it going every day."
Roberts (Indians) was charged with three runs on five hits over five innings, strikin gout three without walking a batter. Marlins No. 2 prospect Andrew Heaney started for Glendale and struck out five while yielding three hits and a pair of walks over four scoreless frames.