Top Performers: Jose Osuna’s Bat is Starting to Come Alive
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. 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).
Jose Osuna started the 2013 season slow for the Bradenton Marauders. He wasn’t making much hard contact, and wasn’t hitting for average. In the last few weeks he’s started to hit the ball harder, and this week that really translated to the stats. Osuna went 9-for-22 with a double and a homer to become the top hitter of the week. He hasn’t been hitting for a lot of power this year, and most of his recent hits have been singles. He has been making strong contact, and if he continues, the power numbers are sure to come. Over his last ten games, Osuna has a .417/.476/.528 line in 36 at-bats.
One surprising hitter this year has been Andy Vasquez. He has been more of a utility player, but has made the jump to Altoona this year and the bat has been looking strong. Vasquez went 8-for-18 this week, with a double and a homer. On the season he has a .354/.392/.521 line in 48 at-bats. The 48 at-bats is key. Last year in Bradenton he had a .264/.290/.389 line in 288 at-bats. The year before he had a .278/.304/.412 line in 417 at-bats. The fact that he hasn’t put up these numbers anywhere in his career is a good reason to remain skeptical.
Matt Hague has started to hit again in Triple-A over the last two weeks. This week he added a few doubles, which is where most of his power has come from throughout his career. Hague has struggled in Triple-A since last season, so it’s good to see his hitting come back around, even if there isn’t an obvious path to the majors for him on the horizon.
Jordy Mercer has continued his hot hitting this year, taking the number four spot on the list this week. Mercer has a .333/.404/.448 line on the season. Matt Bandi brought up some good points on Twitter today about the Pirates’ current situation at second base. Neil Walker is out for a few days, giving Brandon Inge some playing time at second base. Clint Barmes is a free agent at the end of the season, and Mercer is the best replacement. It would be good to have Mercer on the major league roster for times like these. The long-term benefits of giving Mercer that playing time at second base would easily outweigh the benefits of giving Inge the playing time. That would give a better idea of what the Pirates have in Mercer, making their decision over the off-season much easier.
Carlos Paulino rounded out the top five by going 6-for-15 with a triple this week. Paulino’s value is more for his glove and his plus arm. On the season he is hitting for a .204/.306/.259 line in 54 at-bats. His upside is a defensive backup catcher, and likely a depth option out of Triple-A in a few years.
Josh Harrison has been hitting well since returning to Indianapolis. The highlight of his week this week was when he stole home in a 5-1 win against Lehigh Valley.
Oscar Tejeda was sent down to Altoona this week, and went 4-for-8 with two doubles. That would be much more impressive if he was doing this in Indianapolis. Tejeda has spent parts of the last two seasons in the Eastern League.
Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco are both hitting in Bradenton, which is always a good sign. Hanson went 7-for-24 with two doubles to take the number eight spot this week. Polanco was right behind him, going 6-for-24 with two doubles and a homer. The downside for Hanson this year has been his defense, but it is good to see the offense coming around. The downside for Polanco is the lack of power. That wasn’t a huge downside, but it does seem to be turning around.
Ivan De Jesus and Dilson Herrera tied for the tenth spot on the list this week. De Jesus has been limited to a backup role in Indianapolis since the demotion of Josh Harrison. He has still been hitting in his limited at-bats. Herrera showed off some extra-bases power this week, going 6-for-22 with a double and two triples. On the season he has a .266/.359/.405 line in 79 at-bats.