It probably stems from my work with the weekly minor league transactions blog or from editing the Super Register, but I find that traditional minor league leaderboards just don’t contain enough information.
They provide only a snapshot: Player, minor league club and league. That’s great, but what organization is the player in, and how did he get there? At which minor league classification is he playing? Which is his primary position? And how old is he?
Well, now that information is available at the tip of your cursor. This time we take a look at the top 10 minor leaguers in four key categories: slugging and on-base average for batters and strikeouts per nine innings for starting or relief pitchers. Stats are through games of Sunday, May 17, and categories are subject to change in future installments. (Send requests via the comments section.) Schools or countries of origin are available by clicking through to our informative Player Finder pages.
The abbreviations are fairly straightforward, but to help you decipher the ACQUIRED column, here’s a handy legend. In all cases, the year represents when the player became a member of his current organization. Numbers in parentheses are draft rounds (D/F is draft-and-follow and the lower case "s" is supplemental round).
The three classes of free agents: MiLB (minor league), Intl (international, usually from Latin America, the Pacific Rim or sometimes Europe) and NDFA (nondrafted free agent, a player subject to the draft who was passed over). In some cases, players have changed teams via a waiver claim processed when the player was removed from his previous organization’s 40-man roster. In other cases, a player has been acquired in the Rule 5 draft (R5) or in a good, old-fashioned trade.
|Fox, Jake, 1B||Iowa||PCL||.959||CHC||AAA||26||2003 (3)|
|Reimold, Nolan, LF||Norfolk||IL||.743||BAL||AAA||25||2005 (2)|
|*Dunigan, Joe, 1B||High Desert||CAL||.738||SEA||HiA||23||2007 (5)|
|Rodriguez, Sean, 2B||Salt Lake||PCL||.683||LAA||AAA||24||2003 (3)|
|Liddi, Alex, 3B||High Desert||CAL||.674||SEA||HiA||20||2005 (Intl FA)|
|Luna, Hector, 3B||Albuquerque||PCL||.664||LAD||AAA||29||2008 (MiLB FA)|
|*Snyder, Brad, RF||Iowa||PCL||.662||CHC||AAA||26||2008 (Waivers)|
|Duncan, Shelley, RF||Scranton/W-B||IL||.661||NYY||AAA||29||2001 (2)|
|Locke, Drew, LF||Corpus Christi||TL||.654||HOU||AA||26||2008 (MiLB R5)|
|*Gaston, Jon, RF||Lancaster||CAL||.650||HOU||HiA||22||2008 (7)|
Just Missed: Prentice Redman, Tacoma (PCL), .647; *Mat Gamel, Nashville (PCL), .647; #Lance Zawadzki, Lake Elsinore (CAL), .641; Ben Lasater, Greensboro (SAL), .636; and *Mitch Moreland, Bakersfield (CAL), .633.
This is about the distribution one would expect. Six of the 10 top sluggers play in Triple-A, while three of the others play in the California League (in High Desert and Lancaster, no less). Special credit goes to Reimold for getting it done in Norfolk’s Harbor Yard, the lowest run-scoring environment in Triple-A. He slugged .818 with three home runs in 11 games there prior to his callup. The youngest player in the top 10, Liddi escaped from two years in the Midwest League to enjoy the high life in High Desert, where he’s smacked eight of his 10 home runs. He’s batted an encouraging .324/.350/.527 on the road to this point. The 18th overall pick by the Indians in the 2003 draft, Snyder joined the Cubs last September via a waiver claim. His younger brother Ben, who also attended Ball State, is a lefthander in the Giants system.
|Fox, Jake, 1B||Iowa||PCL||.510||CHC||AAA||26||2003 (3)|
|*Watts, Kris, C||Lynchburg||CAR||.487||PIT||HiA||24||2006 (16)|
|Reimold, Nolan, LF||Norfolk||IL||.485||BAL||AAA||25||2005 (2)|
|*Carrera, Ezequiel, CF||West Tenn||SL||.477||SEA||AA||21||2008 (Trade)|
|*Whitesell, Josh, 1B||Reno||PCL||.477||ARI||AAA||27||2008 (Waivers)|
|*Lilley, Brett, 2B||Quad Cities||MWL||.471||STL||LoA||23||2008 (29)|
|Forsythe, Logan, 3B||Lake Elsinore||CAL||.470||SD||HiA||22||2008 (1s)|
|*Parra, Gerardo, RF||Mobile||SL||.469||ARI||AA||22||2004 (Intl FA)|
|#Smoak, Justin, 1B||Frisco||TL||.461||TEX||AA||22||2008 (1)|
|Heisey, Chris, CF||Carolina||SL||.460||CIN||AA||24||2006 (17)|
Just Missed: #Beamer Weems, Lake Elsinore (CAL), .459; *Brendan Duffy, South Bend (MWL), .459; Mike McCoy, Colo. Springs (PCL), .458; Ryan Shealy, Omaha (PCL), .454; and Manuel Pina, Frisco (TL), .452.
There’s something about Des Moines. Iowa batters annually post some of the gaudiest batting lines in Triple-A. This year it’s Fox, your minor league on-base and slugging champ for the moment. Last year it was Micah Hoffpauir and Jason Dubois; in 2007 Geovany Soto won an MVP award playing there; and in 2006 Mike Restovich established career highs for home runs (27) and slugging (.560). The Expos’ sixth-round pick in 2003, Whitesell joined Arizona on a waiver claim in March 2008 and has posted a .433 OBP for Tucson and Reno in two Triple-A seasons. Both he and Parra have been called up to help prop up the Diamondbacks’ flagging offense.
|STRIKEOUTS PER NINE INNINGS|
|*Friedrich, Christian||Asheville||SAL||13.50||COL||LoA||21||2008 (1)|
|Carter, Dexter||Kannapolis||SAL||12.68||CWS||LoA||22||2008 (13)|
|Knapp, Jason||Lakewood||SAL||12.66||PHI||LoA||18||2008 (2)|
|Johnson, Steve||Inland Empire||CAL||12.48||LAD||HiA||21||2005 (13)|
|*Robles, Mauricio||West Michigan||MWL||12.42||DET||LoA||20||2006 (Intl FA)|
|Hudson, Dan||Winston-Salem||CAR||12.10||CWS||HiA||22||2008 (5)|
|Hanson, Tommy||Gwinnett||IL||12.08||ATL||AAA||22||2005 (22 D/F)|
|*Surkamp, Eric||Augusta||SAL||11.91||SF||LoA||21||2008 (6)|
|*Fairel, Matt||Dayton||MWL||11.81||CIN||LoA||21||2008 (35)|
|Martin, Ethan||Great Lakes||MWL||11.79||LAD||LoA||19||2008 (1)|
Just Missed: *Brian Matusz, Frederick (CAR), 11.57; David Hernandez, Norfolk (IL), 11.50; Jake Arrieta, Bowie (EL), 11.34; Jeremy Jeffress, Huntsville (SL), 11.20; and Jesus Sanchez, Lakewood (SAL), 11.17.
Here we find the list dominated by 2008 picks carving up young batters, headed by Friedrich, Knapp and Martin, who all have had their way in low Class A. This only makes Hanson’s Triple-A showing all the more impressive. Carter and Hudson not only were 2008 picks by the White Sox, but they also were Old Dominion teammates. Read more about Fairel in last week’s Prospect Hot Sheet.
|STRIKEOUTS PER NINE INNINGS (RELIEVERS)|
|Mulligan, Casey||Quad Cities||MWL||18.00||STL||LoA||21||2006 (22)|
|Bard, Daniel||Pawtucket||IL||16.31||BOS||AAA||23||2006 (1)|
|Andrelczyk, Pete||Greensboro||SAL||15.71||FLA||LoA||23||2008 (5)|
|Boothe, Robert||Great Lakes||MWL||15.50||LAD||LoA||23||2007 (Intl FA)|
|*Runzler, Dan||Augusta||SAL||15.26||SF||LoA||24||2007 (9)|
|Weinhardt, Robbie||Lakeland||FSL||15.15||DET||HiA||23||2008 (10)|
|Samuel, Francisco||Springfield||TL||15.07||STL||AA||22||2006 (Intl FA)|
|*Collins, Tim||Dunedin||FSL||15.00||TOR||HiA||19||2007 (NDFA)|
|Kimbrel, Craig||Rome||SAL||14.88||ATL||LoA||20||2008 (3)|
|*Brauer, Daniel||Clearwater||FSL||14.73||PHI||HiA||25||2006 (6)|
Just Missed: Brent Allar, Delmarva (SAL), 14.44; Santo Hernandez, Lakewood (SAL), 14.26; Adalberto Flores, Bakersfield (CAL), 14.04; Anthony Slama, New Britain (EL), 13.39; and Pat Venditte, Charleston (SAL), 13.76.
Mulligan has emerged seemingly from nowhere to chew up the Midwest League. He’s kind of like this year’s Tim Collins, the diminutive Blue Jays lefty who continues to dominate out of the pen with a high-80s heater and a strong curveball. Actually, Mulligan may be following in the footsteps of power reliever Jason Motte, another Cardinals’ converted position player. Bard graduated to the majors this week with the Red Sox. Boothe, signed out of Tokyo’s Asia University in December 2007, showed strikeout stuff in Rookie ball last year (61 in 64 innings), but his ERA ballooned to 6.89 in the tough Pioneer League. Born in Tokyo to an American father and a Japanese mother, he had been a member of Japan’s traveling college all-star team and reportedly was coveted by as many as five clubs in the Nippon Professional Baseball draft.
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