This feature is designed to provide an informative look at various minor league leaderboards, considering only full-season leagues, while filling in the gaps present in more traditional formats.
This time around we take a look at four unrelated batting categories: home runs and doubles to measure power, stolen bases to reward raw speed and strikeouts to examine contact ability (or, in this case, lack thereof).
Stats are current through games of Wednesday, June 3. Schools or countries of origin are available by clicking through to our Player Finder pages. The previous installment sheds light on the various shorthand found in the Acquired column.
|Duncan, Shelley, RF||Scranton/W-B||IL||18||NYY||AAA||29||2001 (2)|
|Rodriguez, Sean, 2B||Salt Lake||PCL||18||LAA||AAA||24||2003 (3)|
|Fox, Jake, 1B||Iowa||PCL||17||CHC||AAA||26||2003 (3)|
|*Johnson, Cody, LF||Myrtle Beach||CAR||17||ATL||HiA||20||2006 (1)|
|Jones, Mitch, RF||Albuquerque||PCL||16||LAD||AAA||31||2008 (MiLB FA)|
|*Dunigan, Joe, 1B||High Desert||CAL||14||SEA||HiA||23||2007 (5)|
|*Gaston, Jon, RF||Lancaster||CAL||14||HOU||HiA||22||2008 (7)|
|*Hughes, Rhyne, 1B||Montgomery||SL||14||TB||AA||25||2004 (8)|
|*Russell, Kyle, RF||Great Lakes||MWL||14||LAD||LoA||22||2008 (3)|
|Strieby, Ryan, 1B||Erie||EL||14||DET||AA||23||2006 (4)|
|Halman, Greg, CF||West Tenn||SL||13||SEA||AA||21||2004 (Intl FA)|
|Liddi, Alex, 3B||High Desert||CAL||13||SEA||HiA||20||2005 (Intl FA)|
|Vitters, Josh, 3B||Peoria||MWL||13||CHC||LoA||19||2007 (1)|
Josh Vitters, the third overall pick in ’07, is the real story here. To be 19 and to rub shoulders with more veteran sluggers, and to do so while playing in the Midwest League, is a testament to his ability. A recent hot streak included five home runs in a week . . . Not to be outdone, Cody Johnson is on target to break his own single-season record for longballs (26), while also finishing in the money in Carolina League home run race. He finished runner-up in the South Atlantic League last year with those 26 bombs, but he did manage to win the Appalachian League crown in 2007, when he blasted 17. Johnson’s Achilles heel has been, and remains, strikeouts. He has 371 whiffs in 1,007 minor league at-bats (37 percent) . . . Kyle Russell is no stranger to the home run leaderboard. He led NCAA Division I with 28 home runs in 2007, and he owns the Texas career mark with 57 . . . For a player who had to repeat high Class A in his mid-20s, Shelley Duncan has established himself as a top minor league slugger. He has 158 career minor league home runs, with seasonal totals as high as 34 (2005) and 25 (2007). He’s on pace to add another gaudy total to his résumé this season, in what figures be his minor league free agency walk year (assuming the Yankees don’t again add him to the 40-man roster).
|*Baxter, Mike, RF||San Antonio||TL||23||SD||AA||24||2005 (4)|
|Frazier, Todd, LF||Carolina||SL||23||CIN||AA||23||2007 (1s)|
|*Moreland, Mitch, 1B||Frisco||TL||23||TEX||AA||23||2007 (17)|
|Beckham, Gordon, SS||Charlotte||IL||23||CWS||AAA||22||2008 (1)|
|Carter, Chris, 1B||Midland||TL||21||OAK||AA||22||2007 (Trade)|
|Pettit, Chris, LF||Salt Lake||PCL||21||LAA||AAA||24||2006 (19)|
|*Burke, Kyler, LF||Peoria||MWL||20||CHC||LoA||21||2007 (Trade)|
|Lasater, Ben, 1B||Greensboro||SAL||20||FLA||LoA||25||2007 (29)|
|McBride, Matt, 1B||Akron||EL||20||CLE||AA||24||2006 (2s)|
|Adams, David, 2B||Charleston||SAL||19||NYY||LoA||22||2008 (3)|
|Nazario, Radames, 3B||Modesto||CAL||19||COL||HiA||21||2005 (22)|
Mike Baxter’s bat seemed to come alive in Arizona Fall League last year, where he batted .402/.495/.634 with three home runs and eight doubles in 82 at-bats. Up to that point, the Vandebilt product had hit a very ordinary .258/.322/.380 in four minor league seasons. Baxter is off to a great start to the ’09 season—he’s batting .383/.441/.556 through his first 40 games for Double-A San Antonio—suggesting that the Padres may have a difficult decision to make regarding his inclusion on the 40-man roster this winter. They opted to exclude him last November, but no team bit in the Rule 5 draft . . . White Sox veterans don’t hold back in their praise for Gordon Beckham, who was summoned to Chicago last night. The 22-year-old product led the minor leagues in doubles at the time of his promotion (with 23 in 45 games), but last year’s NCAA Division I home run champ had thus far connected for just four home runs this season. A change in venues, from Double-A Birmingham (where he spent most of the season) to U.S. Cellular Field could do wonders for that total . . . A 19th-round pick from Loyola Marymount in ’06, Chris Pettit has caught the Angels’ attention with his fine play over the past year. Like Baxter, he’s built on a strong Arizona Fall League campaign in getting off to a .367/.411/.556 start for Triple-A Salt Lake.
|*Gose, Anthony, CF||Lakewood||SAL||36||PHI||LoA||18||2008 (2)|
|#Young, Eric Jr., 2B||Colo. Springs||PCL||32||COL||AAA||24||2003 (30 D/F)|
|*Gordon, Dee, SS||Great Lakes||MWL||29||LAD||LoA||21||2008 (4)|
|Mastroianni, Darin, CF||Dunedin||FSL||28||TOR||HiA||23||2007 (16)|
|#Robinson, Derrick, CF||Wilmington||CAR||28||KC||HiA||21||2006 (4)|
|De Los Santos, Jose, 2B||Lynchburg||CAR||26||PIT||HiA||24||2004 (Intl FA)|
|#Nunez, Gustavo, SS||West Michigan||MWL||25||DET||LoA||21||2007 (Intl FA)|
|#Durango, Luis, LF||San Antonio||TL||24||SD||AA||23||2003 (Intl FA)|
|Farris, Eric, 2B||Brevard County||FSL||23||MIL||HiA||23||2007 (4)|
|*Stern, Adam, CF||Huntsville||SL||22||MIL||AA||29||2009 (MiLB FA)|
Among stolen base leaders, Anthony Gose has been by far the most aggressive basestealer in the minors . . . Eric Young Jr. slipped to fourth in the Texas League in stolen bases (46) last season after leading the California (73) and South Atlantic (87) leagues in the previous two seasons. He’s on pace to add a third title this season in the Pacific Coast League. His career success rate: 277-for-359 (77 percent) . . . Darin Mastroianni led NCAA Division II with 64 stolen bases in ’07, his draft year, while also helping Southern Indiana to its first-ever D-II College World Series appearance.
|Halman, Greg, CF||West Tenn||SL||91||SEA||AA||21||2004 (Intl FA)|
|Hessman, Mike, 3B||Toledo||IL||78||DET||AAA||31||2005 (MiLB FA)|
|*Hughes, Rhyne, 1B||Montgomery||SL||77||TB||AA||25||2004 (8)|
|*Johnson, Cody, LF||Myrtle Beach||CAR||73||ATL||HiA||20||2006 (1)|
|#Almonte, Denny, RF||Clinton||MWL||70||SEA||LoA||20||2007 (2)|
|#Grossman, Robbie, CF||West Virginia||SAL||69||PIT||LoA||19||2008 (6)|
|*Russell, Kyle, RF||Great Lakes||MWL||65||LAD||LoA||22||2008 (3)|
|*Peguero, Carlos, RF||High Desert||CAL||64||SEA||HiA||22||2005 (Intl FA)|
|Henson, Tyler, 3B||Frederick||CAR||63||BAL||HiA||21||2006 (5)|
|*Mendez, Maximo, CF||Clinton||MWL||63||SEA||LoA||22||2004 (Intl FA)|
Prodigious power often goes hand in hand with prodigious strikeout totals. Witness Greg Halman, Rhyne Hughes, Cody Johnson and Kyle Russell, all of whom appear on the home runs and strikeout leaderboards. Halman and Johnson have a chance to eclipse 200 strikeouts if they continue at this rate over 500 at-bats . . . Mike Hessman turned pro in ’96 and he’s logged 1,472 minor league games over 14 seasons, playing mostly third base, where he’s a strong defender. He’s also struck out 1,732 times, a total that just for perspective, would place him 15th on the all-time major league strikeout list, two whiffs ahead of Lou Brock. Hessman’s off to a slow start this season, batting .187/.272/.412 through 47 games, but then, he may be feeling dispirited after being removed from the Tigers’ 40-man roster this spring. This after he played well (.296/.387/.889 with five home runs) during a September callup last season . . . Robbie Grossman experienced a bit of a down senior season at a Cypress, Texas, high school in ’08 and played in just five Gulf Coast League games after signing at the August deadline last year. He’s not faring poorly for a 19-year-old in low Class A (.268/.369/.345), though his strikeout total bears watching . . . The Mariners placed four batters in the top 10, and two in the top five.
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