In this piece, I will share the offensive lists as well as some observations. Even though I major on the minors for a living, when stepping back to look at the big picture, I discovered surprises along the way and I bet you will, too.
The ground rules
The main overarching decision I needed to make was where to draw the line in terms of minimum at-bats for the rate stats, including batting average, on-base percentage, slugging and OPS. I wanted to not exclude deserving short-season players, but still keep the data meaningful.
I ended up selecting 150 at-bats. For each of the categories shown below, I also made a decision where to stop the listing of names this article. I will call them out along the way.
As you will see in the pitching counterpart article yet to come, I dipped all the way down to 30 innings for the hurlers.
BA and OPS
We will start with two of the most-commonly referenced stats, batting average and on-base plus slugging percentage.
The system had an even 10 hitters who finished the season with a .300 batting average or better. It was interesting from a bookend-view with four Gulf Coast League hitters and three Triple-A ones.
In all fairness, it is difficult to fairly evaluate two proven college hitters, yet undrafted free agent signings in Michael Pritchard and Derek Gibson. One could argue the two should succeed against teenaged pitching.
On the OPS table, I drew the line for display purposes at .850. I wish I knew whether Rowan Wick’s out-of-this-world start at State College or his struggles at Peoria is closer to his reality.
Like Pham, Xavier Scruggs has toiled in the system for a long time and had a very solid season. The two were rewarded with first-time late season call ups to the majors.
|Magneuris Sierra||GCL||0.386||0.444||202||Rowan Wick||SC-Peo||260||0.991|
|Malik Collymore||GCL||0.333||0.430||177||Magneuris Sierra||GCL||202||0.939|
|Michael Pritchard||GCL||0.330||0.339||182||Tommy Pham||Mem||346||0.886|
|Tommy Pham||Mem||0.324||0.397||346||Malik Collymore||GCL||177||0.883|
|Oscar Taveras||Mem||0.318||0.337||239||Derek Gibson||GCL-PB||151||0.880|
|Derek Gibson||GCL-PB||0.318||0.341||151||Casey Turgeon||JC||221||0.876|
|Breyvic Valera||PB-Spr||0.311||0.331||521||Oscar Taveras||Mem||239||0.872|
|Casey Turgeon||JC||0.308||0.346||221||Xavier Scruggs||Mem||472||0.864|
OBP and SLG
11 players appear on each of the on-base and slugging leaderboards. They finished with .380 or better OBP or .460 or better SLG.
Though it could be argued that on-base and slugging skills are quite different, I found it very interesting that six of the 11 names are common to both lists.
Three of the OBP-heavy guys are 2014 draftees – Casey Turgeon and Casey Grayson of Johnson City and Nick Thompson at State College. It was nice to see a veteran reserve in Jermaine Curtis take advantage of his limited opportunities for Memphis. Same for his teammate Ed Easley.
Most of the names on the slugging list were expected, though it bears repeating that Magneuris Sierra and Malik Collymore of the GCL are two of the players on all four rate stats tables. The others are Pham and Gibson.
|Magneuris Sierra||GCL||202||0.434||Rowan Wick||SC-Peo||260||0.608|
|Casey Turgeon||JC||221||0.428||Magneuris Sierra||GCL||202||0.505|
|Michael Pritchard||GCL||182||0.409||Oscar Taveras||Mem||239||0.502|
|Malik Collymore||GCL||177||0.403||Xavier Scruggs||Mem||472||0.494|
|Derek Gibson||GCL-PB||151||0.403||Randal Grichuk||Mem||436||0.493|
|Nick Thompson||SC||227||0.396||Tommy Pham||Mem||346||0.491|
|Tommy Pham||Mem||346||0.395||Malik Collymore||GCL||177||0.480|
|Jermaine Curtis||Mem||225||0.386||Derek Gibson||GCL-PB||151||0.477|
|Rowan Wick||SC-Peo||260||0.383||Ed Easley||Mem||277||0.473|
|Casey Grayson||JC||225||0.382||Jacob Wilson||Spr||252||0.460|
|Shane Robinson||Mem||191||0.380||Alex De Leon||SC||239||0.460|
Home runs and RBI
For the common run production lists, I ended up with top nine names by drawing the lines at 12 home runs or 55 RBI.
Scruggs and Randal Grichuk at the top were expected, as was Wick. Though the latter’s production was in just 260 at-bats, Mason Katz’ totals were close to Wick’s as the other 20-home run hitter in the system.
There is no doubt Patrick Wisdom had a forgettable season at Springfield, yet his 14 long balls were still seventh-most in the organization. Though Stephen Piscotty had a relatively-quiet season for Memphis, his fourth-highest RBI count is worth noticing.
A couple of very interesting names appear at the end of the RBI list. I am guilty of narrowly labeling Breyvic Valera as a .300 hitter only, but that is not fair. Only seven others drove in more runs than the outfielder/second baseman. Notice how often Valera appears on other lists, too.
The other is Juan Herrera, who adds considerable speed and plays a premium defensive position, shortstop.
|Randal Grichuk||Mem||436||25||Xavier Scruggs||Mem||472||87|
|Xavier Scruggs||Mem||472||21||Randal Grichuk||Mem||436||71|
|Rowan Wick||SC-Peo||260||20||Mason Katz||Peo-PB||413||71|
|Mason Katz||Peo-PB||413||20||Stephen Piscotty||Mem||500||69|
|David Washington||PB||327||16||Rowan Wick||SC-Peo||260||60|
|Scott Moore||Mem||416||15||Nick Martini||PB-Spr||454||60|
|Patrick Wisdom||Spr||452||14||Scott Moore||Mem||416||58|
|Cody Stanley||Spr||385||12||Breyvic Valera||PB-Spr||521||57|
|Bruce Caldwell||Peo-PB||369||12||Juan Herrera||Peo-PB||410||56|
Doubles and triples
I am not sure why 11 seems to be such a common number, but that is exactly the quantity of organizational players with 20 or more doubles and with five or more triples during the 2014 season.
One often looks to doubles leaders for young players who may be able to lengthen those hits to home runs later.
On this list, Piscotty, Wilson and Herrera are back and worthy of note, as is another interesting name in Ronald Castillo. The outfielder hit 25 doubles while continuing to tease us as to what he could accomplish if he could just remain healthy for a whole season. Is Castillo becoming the new Tommy Pham?
A well-known prospect in Charlie Tilson was tied at the top of the three-base hits list by an emerging outfielder in Peoria’s Vaughn Bryan. Palm Beach’s Bruce Caldwell is an under-the-radar guy with interesting talents, also having launched a dozen long balls to go with seven triples.
|Stephen Piscotty||Mem||500||32||Vaughn Bryan||Peo||317||9|
|Xavier Scruggs||Mem||472||29||Charlie Tilson||PB-Spr||509||9|
|Nick Martini||PB-Spr||454||26||Malik Collymore||GCL||177||8|
|Ronald Castillo||Peo||353||25||Bruce Caldwell||PB||369||7|
|Jacob Wilson||Spr||252||25||Breyvic Valera||PB-Spr||521||6|
|Randal Grichuk||Mem||436||23||Tommy Pham||Mem||346||6|
|Pete Kozma||Mem||379||23||Richy Pedroza||Peo||254||6|
|Scott Moore||Mem||416||22||Nick Martini||PB-Spr||454||5|
|Juan Herrera||Peo-PB||410||22||Luke Voit||PB||351||5|
|Luke Voit||PB||351||21||Mike ONeill||Spr-Mem||417||5|
|Anthony Garcia||PB||343||20||Edmundo Sosa||GCL-SC||212||5|
Runs and stolen bases
To place on one of these lists, a player must have scored at least 60 runs or swiped at least 15 bags this season.
A new name on the run-scoring and base-stealing leaderboards is C.J. McElroy. The outfielder did his job at the top of the lineup in his return year at Peoria.
Two young players with high steals and especially good success rates are both middle infielders – Johnson City’s Oscar Mercado and State College’s Darren Seferina. Though not reflected in the table below, Mercado added six more stolen bases in the Appalachian League playoffs.
Like many of the less-experienced players mentioned, Mercado and Seferina are among the players currently working in instructional league camp in Florida.
|Xavier Scruggs||Mem||472||82||C.J. McElroy||Peo||490||41||18|
|C.J. McElroy||Peo||490||74||Juan Herrera||Peo-PB||410||28||13|
|Charlie Tilson||PB-Spr||509||73||Oscar Mercado||JC||243||26||7|
|Randal Grichuk||Mem||436||73||Tommy Pham||Mem||346||20||2|
|Stephen Piscotty||Mem||500||70||Rafael Ortega||Spr-Mem||382||19||10|
|Breyvic Valera||PB-Spr||521||66||Darren Seferina||SC||194||19||5|
|Tommy Pham||Mem||346||63||Robelys Reyes||Peo-SC||272||18||10|
|Greg Garcia||Spr-Mem||397||62||Breyvic Valera||PB-Spr||521||17||15|
|Nick Martini||PB-Spr||454||61||Carlos Talavera||DSL||233||15||4|
|Rafael Ortega||Spr-Mem||382||61||Greg Miclat||PB-Spr-Mem||236||15||3|
I have started to prepare a similar analysis for organizational pitchers, but may have to do some splitting of data between relievers and starters to put together a better picture.
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