Each week we run our “Top Performers” series, looking at the best pitchers and hitters from the previous week. We also recap 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 August. 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.
*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
At the end of Spring Training, the Pittsburgh Pirates made a move that was hardly a blip on the radar. They traded for minor league outfielder Keon Broxton from the Arizona Diamondbacks, sending a PTBNL or cash considerations in the deal. The move looked to be the addition of an organizational player. Broxton was a third round pick in 2009, and ranked as the number 10 prospect in Arizona’s system in 2011, while also finishing in Baseball America’s top 20 in 2010, 2012, and 2013. However, he struggled in his jump to Double-A, and wasn’t even one of the top 30 prospects in Baseball America’s rankings in 2014.
Broxton’s season in Altoona this year was a huge surprise. He ended up hitting for a .275/.369/.484 line in 407 at-bats, with 15 homers and 25 stolen bases. He was our Player of the Month in the minor league system during the month of May. Broxton was also our Altoona Player of the Month in July. And now, after finishing strong over the final month of the season, he is once again our Player of the Month, this time for the month of August.
The outfielder hit for a 1.061 OPS in the month of August, while adding a 2-for-4 performance with a double on September 1st. That was good enough to beat out some very strong performances this month, including seven homers from JaCoby Jones in West Virginia, Austin Meadows posting a .986 OPS, and Jose Osuna and Andrew Lambo catching fire down the stretch.
Broxton led the organization in average (.356), OBP (.458), and finished second in slugging (.611) in August and September. He tied for fourth in homers (4), tied for first in triples (3), ranked third in walks (15), and tied for third in stolen bases (8).
The results for Broxton this year will raise an interesting question about what the Pirates should do with him over the off-season. His upside would still be a strong fourth outfielder, rather than a starter. They certainly don’t need him to be a starter, but could use him as depth. He’s Rule 5 eligible, but so is Mel Rojas, who also had a breakout year, and made it up to Triple-A. I would think Broxton would be a risk to be selected in the Rule 5 draft, based on his numbers and skills, plus the fact that he’s only 24. The Pirates certainly would have room to protect him on the 40-man roster. He could join Rojas as depth out of Triple-A next year.
Minor League Affiliates
Here were the Players of the Month for each minor league affiliate.
Indianapolis Indians (AAA) – Andrew Lambo, OF (.310/.362/.563, 6 HR, 94 PA)
Altoona Curve (AA) – Keon Broxton, OF (.356/.458/.611, 4 HR, 107 PA)
Bradenton Marauders (A+) – Jose Osuna, 1B (.343/.415/.514, 3 HR, 124 PA)
West Virginia Power (A) – Austin Meadows, CF (.325/.408/.578, 3 HR, 100 PA)
Jamestown Jammers (A-) – Chase Simpson, 3B (.315/.354/.517, 3 HR, 96 PA)
Bristol Pirates (RK) – Danny Arribas, C (.324/.390/.456, 1 HR, 77 PA)
GCL Pirates (RK) – Henrry Rosario, OF (.318/.426/.435, 0 HR, 103 PA)