Top Performers: Do the Pirates Have Anything With Felix Pie?

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).

Felix Pie is the top hitter in the system for the second week in a row.
Felix Pie is the top hitter in the system for the second week in a row.

For the second week in a row Felix Pie is the top hitter in the system. Pie went 10-for-20 with two doubles and two triples in the last week. He’s been on fire in the month of May, hitting for a .368/.463/.649 line in 57 at-bats. When Pie was cut from Major League camp in Spring Training, Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington noted that the team liked him, and saw some similarities to Garrett Jones in 2009. That wasn’t that they’re similar players, but that they both had strong performances in Spring Training, and both had a chance to force their way on the roster by continuing that in Indianapolis. Ironically, Pie is exactly like Jones in that he can only hit right-handers. This year he has a .319/.396/.511 line in 94 at-bats against right-handers. He’s 2-for-27 against lefties. Considering the Pirates have Travis Snider and Jose Tabata in the majors, Pie would look like nothing more than depth at this point. That said, it’s good to see a depth option hitting so well.

Another person who has been hitting well in Indianapolis has been Tony Sanchez. On the season he has a .296/.400/.510 line in 98 at-bats. In the month of May he’s hitting for a .350/.422/.625 line in 40 at-bats. Sanchez was the number two hitter in the system this past week, going 8-for-20 with four doubles and a homer. He’s doubled in seven of his last nine games, and had an eight game hitting streak that was broken Sunday night.

Rounding out the top three is another Indianapolis hitter, Brett Carroll. He’s a 30-year-old outfielder who has been hitting for a lot of power this year. Carroll hit three homers in the last week, going 9-for-28 at the plate. Carroll has eight homers on the season, and an .855 OPS, although he’s probably way down on the depth charts, behind Pie and Alex Presley in Indianapolis.

Carlos Paulino is known for his strong defense behind the plate, highlighted by the best arm in the system. He hasn’t been hitting much, although that changed this week. Paulino went 8-for-17 with a double and a triple. On the season he has a .218/.304/.277 line in 101 at-bats. He has a seven game hitting streak going.

Stetson Allie rounded out the top five. On Friday’s podcast I noted that Allie was on a cold streak, but that he could easily do a 180 and start hitting again. He did exactly that, going 6-for-16 with two doubles and two homers over the weekend to propel him up in the rankings this week.

Ivan De Jesus has been hitting well with Indianapolis since Jordy Mercer was promoted. He continued that this week, going 8-for-20 with a homer. On the season he has a .340/.400/.470 line in 100 at-bats.

Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco both made the top ten this week. Hanson finished seventh, going 7-for-23 with three doubles and a homer. Hanson’s hitting has been great in his last ten games, with a .341/.372/.488 line in 41 at-bats. Gregory Polanco finished with the tenth best score, going 6-for-19 with a homer and three doubles. He missed a few games at the start of the week with a minor wrist injury, but showed no problems after coming back. On the season he is hitting for a .305/.379/.496 line.

Raul Fortunato and Dilson Herrera finished eighth and ninth respectively, with both West Virginia hitters putting up almost identical runs created numbers. Fortunato went 8-for-19 with a double and a triple. He got off to a great start this year, but has since slumped with a poor month of May and is hitting for a .261 average and a .669 OPS. Herrera went 8-for-24 with a double and a homer. He had a somewhat slow start, although it wasn’t bad. In the month of May he’s hitting for a .328/.355/.534 line in 58 at-bats, which is a great sign.

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IC Bob

Pie has been everywhere over the years. As much as I would like him to be good he isn’t and never will be. Nice kid with tools but just isn’t a Major League player. If we have to go to Pie it means a disaster has taken place on our team in Pitts.. Not sure why his name keeps popping up on these reports. My guess is he probably looks good in BP.


Carroll doing well, Sanchez doing well, Mercer doing well, Harrison, Pie, etc. etc.

It’s obvious that Indy is facing terrible pitching or playing in hitter friendly ballparks… or both. The whole team is not ML league ready.

Susanne Klich Langford

Easler was one of my favorites as a kid. Pie is easily good enough to be a 5th outfielder in the majors. He was a decent player in 09-10 struggled in 11 and hasnt gotten another chance. He is in his prime and I think he will help the Bucs at some point this season. Another guy I think of in the late bloomer mold is Raul Ibanez who didnt do much before 30. Ibanez has a 20.4 WAR since age 30 and 22.0 WAR since age 29. Seattle has a reputation for this with them not giving Edgar martinez steady time until he was 27. Guys get lost in the shuffle and forgotten sometimes…but there are guys out there in the cutout bin. They just need a chance and the right situation…and most importantly, they need a little luck to get hot at the right time and capitalize on the opportunity.

Steve Zielinski

Whereas Pie has had many chances to perform in the Major Leagues, Jones did not. Given our outfield depth, Pie may become a component in a mid-season trade, although I’m not sure for what or whom the Pirates would trade him and anyone else.

Jones is a bit like Mike Easler. He did not get his chance till he was at or past his peak. The Hitman had his first full season at age 30. He was a 4-win player that season, by the way, despite the fact that he was a butcher in the field and on the basepaths! Easler was a much better hitter than Jones, though. One can only wonder what Easler would have accomplished if he had become a Major League regular when he was younger.


I remember when there was a lot of hype for Pie when he first came up with the Cubs. I believe he certainly has Major league talent. There has always been a question of attitude/concentration level. As you said, he would only be depth, as the Pirates are pretty much set in the outfield. If someone goes down (let’s hope not), he is a decent defensive player you could plug in.

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