Top Performers: Stetson Allie Mashes His Way to the Top

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).

Stetson Allie had the highest game score in the system this week.
Stetson Allie had the highest game score in the system this week.

For the second time this season, Stetson Allie had a dominant week, posting a 16.76 runs created. That was double the second place score this week, and was also the highest runs created of any player in a given week this season. The previous mark was held by Allie when he posted a 15.88 in the week ending April 14th. Allie showed off his power with three doubles, a triple, and three homers. He has an 11 game hitting streak going, and the best part about his recent stretch is the lack of strikeouts. Allie has 10 strikeouts in 45 at-bats during that 11 game hit streak, which is a positive sign. He’s going to have problems finding upper level success if he’s striking out in a third of his at-bats. This doesn’t necessarily signal a turnaround for Allie, since he’s had other stretches where he’s cut down on strikeouts, only to go back to striking out in a third of his at-bats. However, this is what he needs to do more of to have a good shot at success beyond low-A ball.

Matt Hague saw a drop off in his power numbers last year with Indianapolis, despite strong power during Spring Training in 2012. This year the power has returned in typical Hague fashion: with a lot of doubles. On the season he has 17 doubles after hitting five in the last week. Last year he had 13 doubles in about twice as many at-bats. In 2011 he had 37 doubles in 534 at-bats. He would be on pace for 49 doubles in 534 at-bats this season. He also added two homers this past week, and would be on pace for about 12 homers on the season, which is about his normal pace. Hague has been crushing left-handers this year, with a 1.046 OPS, although his OPS against right-handers is .780 and all four of his homers have come against right-handers.

About a week ago I pointed out how Alen Hanson had turned things around on both sides of his game after being benched in mid-April. This week he was the number three hitter in the system, continuing his strong run at the plate. Since that benching, Hanson has a .324/.384/.471 line in 136 at-bats. In the month of May he has a .326/.378/.494 line in 89 at-bats. He also has five errors in 35 games over that stretch. If that was all you saw this season, you’d think that he was doing a great job following up on his breakout 2012 season. His overall numbers don’t look as good, but it’s also looking more and more likely that the first two weeks weren’t an accurate representation of Hanson’s skill level.

For the third week in a row, Dilson Herrera has ended up in the top ten. Herrera was the most likely choice to be this year’s Hanson/Polanco breakout in West Virginia. He went 9-for-21 with two doubles and a homer this past week. On the season he has a .310/.364/.476 line in 168 at-bats. He’s been improving as the season goes on, with a .274/.361/.405 line in 84 at-bats in April, and a .345/.367/.548 line in 84 at-bats in May.

Mel Rojas has been a streaky hitter throughout his career, with various flashes of his potential that are never sustained. He showed one of those flashes this past week, going 6-for-19 with a double and three triples. Rojas has an .872 OPS in 36 at-bats over his last ten games. He would be a good center field prospect if he could hit consistently, but that hasn’t happened in his three and a half years in the pros.

Alen Hanson’s first two weeks are hiding a good follow-up to his 2012 campaign, but there is nothing hiding Gregory Polanco’s good 2013 numbers. Polanco went 9-for-26 with two doubles and a homer in the last week to take the sixth best score. In the month of May he has a .316/.386/.570 line in 79 at-bats, and on the season he has a .310/.375/.497 line in 171 at-bats.

Jerry Sands has had a horrible month of April, but has been putting up strong numbers in May. He went 6-for-19 with two homers in the last week. A lot of his success has come against left-handers, with an .839 OPS on the season, compared to a .547 OPS against right-handers. The success against lefties matches up with his career numbers. He could be a good platoon option to pair with either Jose Tabata or Travis Snider later in the season if these numbers continue.

West Virginia has another group of breakout prospects this year, and one of the under-rated guys is Max Moroff. He hasn’t hit for a lot of power this year, but is doing a good job of hitting for average lately, and has a great walk rate, leading to a .348 OBP on the season. Moroff went 9-for-22 in the last week with three walks, ending up in the top ten for the second time this month.

Jared Goedert had a rough start to the 2013 season in April, but has been hitting for power in May with a .202 ISO. He added two homers this past week, giving him five on the year. Coming into the season he was better against left-handers, but so far he has a .753 OPS and four of his five homers against right-handers. In 35 at-bats against lefties he has one homer and a .727 OPS.

Walker Gourley was drafted as a prep player in 2009, and is in his first year in full season ball. He’s hitting for average, and adding some power, with a double, triple, and a homer in the last week. He’s a guy who can play anywhere on the field due to his athleticism. However, his bat doesn’t profile well in the upper levels, which will limit his success to the lower levels.

  • Tim…welcome back. I hope you’re time off was rejuvenating.


  • Tim,

    I’m sure you’ve had this question before, but if Allie continues on this pace do you see him being promoted this year or given a full season where he is, given his lack of hitting experience?

  • We worry so much about Allies’ strikeouts, but we never worried about Alvarez’s in the minors, makes me think that we are being overly concerned about something that comes with the long swing.
    In High School Allie was a power hitting 3rd basemen, he did not just start hitting with power, IMO, the Pirates should move him up near the end of the season and see what he can do a little higher, but the strikeouts just don’t bother me at this point.
    One other note: I am not worried about Alvarez’s strikeouts now either, IMO players like Alvarez and Allie have to be mature before I start being concerned about strikeouts and I don’t believe either one is fully mature yet.
    When Alvarez is 29-30 the Pirates won’t be able to sign him with a Brinks truck parked out front.

    • We did worry about the strikeouts from Alvarez. However, Alvarez had the following strikeout rates:

      A+: 28.8%
      AA: 26.6%
      AAA: 28.1%

      Not considerably better than Allie this year (31.9%), but better at higher levels. Also, we’re seeing now why strikeouts are a bad sign. The upside from Alvarez in the majors is very limited right now, and it’s largely because of strikeouts.