Each week we run our “Top Performers” series, looking at the best pitchers and hitters from the previous week. This year we will also be recapping each month in order to award the Pitcher and Player of the month. Below are the top Runs Created* totals in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system from the month of May. 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.
*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).
Player of the Month
Alex Dickerson had a huge month of July, hitting for a .413/.440/.683 line with six homers in 104 at-bats. Dickerson was the top hitter in two of the four weeks in July, and his performance was enough to earn him the Pirates Prospects Player of the Month award for the month of July.
Dickerson got off to a slow start this season in Altoona. In the month of April he hit for a .185/.241/.346 line in 81 at-bats. He started to heat up in May, hitting for a .264/.312/.417 line in 72 at-bats. However, it wasn’t until June that he started to break out. In the months of June and July, Dickerson combined for a .361/.397/.629 line in 194 at-bats, with 19 doubles and 11 homers. He hasn’t been drawing a lot of walks, with just a 2.9% walk rate, but he’s also not striking out a lot, with a 15.5% strikeout rate.
The added power and the ability to hit for average are both great to see. The Pirates will need to see more of that from Dickerson before penciling him in to a starter role in the majors down the line. He had similar results last year in Bradenton, starting off slow, then heating up in June and July, only to fade a bit in August. One issue for Dickerson to work on going forward is adding more walks. To put his recent walk rates in perspective, Starling Marte had a 3.8% walk rate in Double-A.
The important thing is that Dickerson is hitting, and hitting for power. He didn’t do a great job of that last year in high-A, despite being drafted for his bat and power potential. It’s good to see him putting up results on that front. The Pirates have a long-term hole open at first base in the majors, and with this continued success, and a few small adjustments, Dickerson could be the guy to fill that spot.
The Other Candidates
No one really came close to Dickerson, but there were some other notable hitting performances to point out. Harold Ramirez had a huge month for Jamestown, hitting for a .384/.440/.527 line in 112 at-bats, with six doubles, two triples, and two homers.
Adam Frazier also had a big month for Jamestown, hitting for a .354/.440/.394 line in 99 at-bats. Frazier was mostly a singles hitter this month, with just four of his 35 hits going for extra bases, and nothing more than a double. However, he showed the ability to hit for average and get on base.
Reese McGuire was the GCL Player of the Month, and was also one of the top hitters in the Pirates system. The 2013 first round pick hit for a .369/.424/.476 line in 84 at-bats, with nine doubles.
Andrew Lambo was the Player of the Month last month, and had another big month in July. He hit for a .260/.304/.529 line with seven homers in 104 at-bats. Lambo slumped in the middle of the month, but had a strong finish, including four homers in his last seven games in July.