Top 10 Hitters: Is JaCoby Jones a Candidate For a Mid-Season Promotion?

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, with no limitations on whether the hitter has prospect eligibility. 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).

The Top Ten

1. JaCoby Jones, SS - Jones had a monster week, hitting five homers and going 12-for-24. He’s hitting for a .284/.354/.482 line with 13 homers in 278 at-bats this season. The power is outstanding, and he’s doing a good job of getting on base. One big red flag is his strikeout rate. He’s striking out 26.4% of the time, which isn’t a good rate for a college hitter in low-A ball. Jones could be a candidate to move up to Bradenton this year based on his hitting, although his defense might keep him back. The Pirates have Adam Frazier at shortstop in Bradenton, and Jones needs everyday time at the position. That need could keep him in West Virginia for a little longer.

2. Keon Broxton, OF - Broxton had a horrible month of June, with a .370 OPS. He’s bounce back so far in the first week of July, hitting for a 1.278 OPS in 18 at-bats, with two homers. Broxton had a huge month of May, but a horrible April. He’d be a candidate to move up to Indianapolis if he could show more of the stats he’s had in May.

3. Elias Diaz, C -  Diaz has been a good defensive catcher during his career, but the offense hasn’t clicked. That hasn’t been the case this year, as he has a .328/.373/.440 line in 232 at-bats. Diaz currently has a seven game hitting streak, and a 1.053 OPS in his last ten games. He’s got the defense to at least be a backup in the majors. His offensive surge this year is putting him in line to be a top 30 prospect in the system, and one of the top catching prospects in the organization. He was just named to the Eastern League All-Star game.

4. Eric Wood, 3B - Wood hasn’t been hitting much this year, with his best month being a .763 OPS in the month of April. He’s off to a good start in July, with a 1.233 OPS. He also had a decent month of June, with a .268 average and a .726 OPS. He’s a long way off from being considered a legit third base prospect, as the offense hasn’t been there yet.

5. Matt Hague, 1B - Ryan Palencer wrote over the weekend about how Hague has seen a power spike this year. He hit two homers in the last week, giving him 13 on the year. That’s two shy of his career best, which came in 509 at-bats. This year he is on pace for 24 homers in 509 at-bats.

6. Alen Hanson, SS -  Alen Hanson has been hitting well since returning from his week-long absence at the end of June. He went 10-for-31 this past week, with a double and two homers. That gives him eight homers on the year, already matching his season total from last year. He was just named to the Eastern League All-Star game.

7. Max Moroff, 2B - Moroff has struggled at the plate, with a .664 OPS in April and May, and a .630 OPS in June. He often can look too selective, waiting for the perfect pitch to swing at. This leads to a good walk rate, but doesn’t allow him to hit for average or power on a consistent basis.

8. Enyel Vallejo, OF - Vallejo looked promising last year in the GCL, after getting a shot as a starter in the second half of the season. He moved up to Jamestown for the first week of the season, but was bumped down to Bristol. So far he has a .317/.333/.512 line in 41 at-bats, with three doubles and one homer. One of the doubles and the homer came this week. Vallejo is a very athletic player, and could be a sleeper to watch in the lower levels if he keeps hitting.

9. Chase Simpson, 3B – He’s an older player, and looks more like future organizational depth, but Simpson is off to a good start at the plate in his pro career. He has a .303/.419/.530 line in 66 at-bats, with three homers. This comes with the disclaimer that he’s a college hitter playing in a college league. The big test for him will be his performance next year in a full season league, and eventually, whether he can hit above A-ball.

10. Chris McGuiness, 1B - McGuiness has had decent numbers, doing what he does best by getting on base. He has a .367 OBP this season, and some decent power with a .141 ISO. He’s hitting right-handers at a .799 OPS, and while he doesn’t have much power against lefties, he does have a .371 OBP.

Tim Williams

Author: 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 AccuScore.com, 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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  • Lee Young

    It wouldn’t surprise me if E Diaz passes Tony Sanchez on the Pirates depth chart.

    • Y2JGQ2

      How is that? I suppose in 2016 that’s a possibility, not before

    • S Brooks

      I think he’s a good candidate to be added to the 40-man after the season, since he’ll be Rule 5 eligible and likely to be taken. I think Sanchez will be given every opportunity to fail in Pittsburgh next year, either as the starter or as Martin’s backup, with Diaz at AAA as depth.

  • bmcferren

    Jacoby Jones knows how to play baseball

    Anybody ahead of him on the depth chart is just warming up a place for him!

  • Simon Weaver

    Yes. Get him out of West Va. Maybe they’re waiting to promote Hanson

    • mysonisnamedafterRoberto

      That strikeout rate is alarming, but if Hanson move then Frazier up, it could happen. 2 SS and a Catcher in the top 10. That seems pretty common thing now a days for two positions that were extremely weak just two years ago. Can’t wait to see the depth charts of those two positions at the end of the season.