Top Pirates Minor League Hitting Performances: Week Ending 8/19
Below are the top Runs Created* totals in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system from the last week. The rankings include every hitter who had an at-bat for a Pirates’ minor league affiliate, not including DSL teams, and with no limitations on whether the hitter has prospect eligibility. Only players with a 3.0 RC or better are included on the list below. Players who spent time at different levels are counted multiple times, once for each level, rather than combining their stats. Notes on the top ten players from the last week can be found below the chart.
*Runs Created is a stat created by Bill James used to estimate how many runs an individual contributes to his team. There are many formulas for runs created. For these purposes the basic formula is used. That formula is ((H + BB) * (1B + (2*2B) + (3*3B) + (4*HR))) / (AB + BB).
|Eric Avila||West Virginia||26||11||4||0||4||4||4||13.50|
|Jose Osuna||West Virginia||31||10||3||0||1||2||5||5.82|
|Alen Hanson||West Virginia||17||7||2||0||0||6||3||5.09|
|Junior Sosa||West Virginia||21||10||0||0||0||1||0||5.00|
|D.J. Crumlich||State College||18||7||4||0||0||2||4||4.95|
|Jesus Vasquez||State College||18||6||0||0||2||0||5||4.00|
|Tyler Gaffney||State College||18||5||1||2||0||3||1||3.81|
|Taylor Lewis||West Virginia||25||8||2||0||0||0||9||3.20|
|Jacob Stallings||State College||17||4||0||1||1||3||9||3.15|
Eric Avila dominated the rankings this week. Avila is currently on an eight game hitting streak, with seven of those games in the last week. He has also homered in each of his last four games, giving him eight on the year. Heading in to the 2011 season, we had Avila as the number 24 prospect in the system, due to his power potential from third base. He didn’t do much last year in West Virginia, hitting for a .216/.275/.289 line with four homers in 380 at-bats. He’s been hot this year in his return to the level, hitting for a .285/.329/.562 line with eight homers in 137 at-bats. Since the All-Star break he has a .299/.349/.590 line in 117 at-bats, with all eight of his homers. The success could be due to Avila repeating the level. It could also be the 22-year-old adjusting to the level. Or it could be a hot streak, since five of his eight homers have come in the last week. At the least, this display puts Avila back on the prospect radar as a candidate who could crack the top 50.
Brock Holt was hitting for a .322 average with Altoona, and looked ready for a promotion. He hit the ground running in Indianapolis, and is currently hitting for a .404/.431/.532 line in 47 at-bats. That includes an eight game hitting streak, with six of those games taking place in the last week. Holt did hit two doubles and a homer, although he doesn’t profile for much power, which makes him more of a utility option down the road.
If you’re looking for candidates to be next year’s Alen Hanson, then Dilson Herrera should be on your list. The Pirates signed Herrera in August 2010 for $220,000. He made the jump to the GCL this year after one year in the VSL. He’s been hitting well so far, with a .287/.342/.483 line and seven homers in 178 at-bats. That comes in a pitcher friendly Gulf Coast League, which makes it a bit more impressive. He did slump a bit in July, hitting for a .238 average and a .670 OPS, but he’s rebounded in August with a .373 average and an .899 OPS, including his hot streak last week, which was part of another eight game hitting streak. For another Hanson breakout candidate, check out Elvis Escobar, who also made this week’s list.
Speaking of Alen Hanson, he returned this past week from a hip flexor injury and went 7-for-17 with two doubles and six walks. One of the impressive things about Hanson this year — aside from his .313 average, 16 homers, and .925 OPS as a 19-year-old in low-A — is his plate patience. Hanson has struck out 20.5% of the time, while walking 9.7% of the time. Typically top international hitters are more free-swingers with high strikeout totals and low walk totals. Hanson could use work in each department, but right now he’s around average, which speaks well for his chances of performing in the upper levels.
Jose Osuna hasn’t had the same breakout numbers that Hanson or Gregory Polanco have seen, but he is doing what he does best: hitting for power. Osuna’s homer last week gave him 16 on the year, which ties Hanson and fellow West Virginia teammate Willy Garcia for the minor league system lead. Osuna also hit three doubles, giving him 34 on the year in 454 at-bats. He has a .280 average and a .786 OPS, with the OPS mostly due to a lack of walks.
Andrew Lambo appeared twice on the list. He finished dominating lower level hitters in the GCL, then returned to Altoona and hit two homers in his first game back. Lambo is recovering from hamate surgery, but obviously hasn’t been told that the procedure usually saps players of their power for a year.
With Gregory Polanco out, Junior Sosa got extra playing time. The speedy outfielder hit for average, but he’s more of an organizational player as he has no power.
2012 draft picks Wyatt Mathisen (2nd round) and Max Moroff (16th round) both had good weeks this week. Moroff hit his first professional home run, while Mathisen continued his hot hitting this year. On the season, Mathisen has a .310/.390/.397 line, which includes today’s game where he hit his first professional home run (not included in the rankings above). Moroff has a .339/.453/.424 line in 59 at-bats, which also includes today’s game where he went 2-for-3 with a walk and his seventh stolen base of the year.
D.J. Crumlich was also taken in the 2012 draft (9th round). He hit well in the last week, but on the season he’s hitting for a .275/.336/.368 line. He was drafted higher to save slot space, and is an organizational player in the lower levels.