What Pirates prospects are above average?

Baseball America released a list of minor league averages today, which is an excellent reference to check out if you want to put a minor leaguer’s stats in to perspective. Basically the list has the average stats for each league, along with the average age for the players at each level.

The stats are very telling about the leagues. For example, the average batting average in the PCL is ten points higher than in the International League, despite both leagues being at the AAA level. It also shows that the averages in the New York-Penn League and the Gulf Coast League are much lower than other leagues. This means that Pirates fans should factor that in when considering the good pitching by guys in State College and Bradenton.
Here is a list of players in the Pirates minor league system who fit the following conditions:
1. They are at, or below, the average age at their level
2. They are above average when it comes to the average batting average for their level (how many times can you use the word average in a sentence?)
Players in bold are above average in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.
Indianapolis (International League)
Jose Tabata
Andrew McCutchen
Neil Walker
Lastings Milledge
Pedro Lopez
Brian Bixler
Hector Gimenez
Steve Pearce
Altoona (Eastern League)
Jose Tabata
Gorkys Hernandez
Pedro Alvarez
Brian Friday
Eddie Prasch
Jim Negrych
(These numbers for Gorkys Hernandez are only for the Eastern League. He was above average across the board in the Southern League)
Lynchburg (Carolina League)
Chase d’Arnaud
Josh Harrison
(Ciro Rosero was above average, but only had 17 at-bats. Jordy Mercer was one point below average in batting average. Pedro Alvarez was actually below average for batting average, but above for OBP and SLG).
West Virginia (South Atlantic League)
Robbie Grossman
Starling Marte
Austin McClune
Tony Sanchez
Calvin Anderson
Chase d’Arnaud
State College (New York-Penn League)
Evan Chambers
Aaron Baker
Brock Holt
(Chambers was right at the league average for batting average, with .245. Baker was at .247.)
Bradenton (Gulf Coast League)
Benjamin Gonzalez
Elevys Gonzalez
Gift Ngoepe
Ramon Cabrera
Rogelios Noris
(Gift Ngoepe was right at the league average for batting average, with .238. Benjamin Gonzalez was just three slugging points shy of being above average across the board, not bad for a defensive shortstop who was considered to be poor on offense coming in to the year.)
I’m not making my end of the year prospect lists based solely on this information, but it is something to consider. Then again, Brian Bixler and Steve Pearce are above average across the board, so it’s not like this guarantees major league success. There’s also other factors that I didn’t consider in this, like walk and strikeout rates, which would knock some of these prospects out of the “elite” list (don’t read too much in to the use of “elite”, just for lack of a better word). Bixler would be one of those knocked out, due to the strikeouts.
Overall, it’s a very good reference to consider when looking at the success of prospects in the minor league levels this year.
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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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