Sometimes, we can just have a little fun with the numbers. And now that our Dark Overlord has been studiously typing away in that basement of his, we that play in the light can have a little more fun. Yes, he gave us Minor League leaderboards that have all sorts of delightful little snippets of knowledge — what they all mean in sum, who knows, but each is a nugget of beauty in baseball.
* Junior Lake was third-fastest player in all of the Minor Leagues by Bill James’ speed score. He even hit 17 out and showed a .175 ISO, so he’s got some tools. If only he could walk, limit the strikeouts or show some defense. The Cubs could move him to the outfield if he can’t handle the infield, but that only solves one of the problems. And let’s not forget this is the team that drafted Corey Patterson, so even center field won’t solve all of his woes.
* Michael Choice was the youngest member of the top ten in home runs (tied for fourth with 36 at 21 years old), so that’s why people are all excited and stuff. His 15.2% strikeout rate in Rookie ball kept his overall strikeout rate decent (23.5%), but that 24.7% in High-A is worth worrying about. Here’s to a year of contact for Choice.
* Speaking of strikeouts, nobody has more to worry about than outfielder and mouthful Seth Schwindenhammer, whose 47.1% strikeout rate might be a problem, especially as a 20-year-old in A-Ball. But there’s only one guy in the top ten in strikeouts that’s above High-A — Jai Miller, recently of the strikeout-prone Athletics, came in seventh on the list with his 37.7% in Triple-A.
The highest-ranked whiffer who still has a whiff of the prospect about him, though, is Jared Mitchell at thirteenth on the list. The White Sox High-A outfielder is 22 and has a chance to figure it out, but 33.8% undoes that decent ISO, those stolen bases, and any work in center field. And it’s been a problem before he hurt himself and missed most of 2010. But with the fact that he does enough of the other things well enough, maybe he can one day grace this leaderboard. (And yeah, thanks to the David Appelman once again for making the Major League leaderboard links sticky like that.)
* Mets rookie-baller Elvis Sanchez led the entire Minor Leagues in walk rate (23%) which would be great if he didn’t also strike out 27% of the time. Amazingly, he had twice as many walks as hits. Talk about two true outcomes — if you add the three home runs he hit, you just barely tip the needle past 50%. Maybe a year of aggressiveness would help. Get him in touch with the Schwindenhammer.
* Jose Iglesias plays a mean shortstop. He also showed the 17th-worst isolated slugging percentage in all of the minor leagues, and was one of three high-minors guys in that particular top 20. It’s a mean glove, though.
* Age is so important. There are some gaudy power numbers in Minor League ball. Luis Terrero ISO’ed .380, and Edgar Quintero was right behind him for second on the list with a .363 number. Both dudes are over 30 and playing in the Mexican League, which has some strange parks. Bryan Lahair was fifth, at 28 years old in Triple-A. Who’s the guy in the top five that’s under 21? Just Miguel Sano, who had a .345 ISO, which might just be enough to ignore the fact that he probably won’t play short or even third and that he struck out in more than a quarter of his at-bats (26.3%) and that he didn’t manage to walk at an average rate (7.8%). Might be.
* Hey look at that. Paul Goldschmidt was tied for tenth on the ISO list (.320), and he had the fourth-best strikeout rate of the top group too.
* Someone hit .400! His name is Oscar Hernandez and he’s in the Rays organization. Hey, he’s only 17 and in Rookie ball and even hit 21 home runs, walked 12.6% of the time and struck out 15% of the time. A catcher, too! No speed, but looks like he’s got the rest of it figured out for now. Bet the Rays are interested in how he does away from the Venezuelan Summer League.
We could do this all day. Hey, why don’t we.
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