Being able to impact the game at the plate and on the bases is what can set apart the regular players from the stars. Going into today, only one player in the MLB has eclipsed 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases. If you guessed Brian Dozier, good for you. A handful of players are close - Charlie Blackmon (12 HR/16 SB), Carlos Gomez (13/14), Cutch (13/13), Todd Frazier (17/13), and Mike Trout (20/10).
In the minor leagues, though, there are three players who have already eclipsed that mark - Michael Taylor (18 HR, 27 SB), Joc Pederson (17/20), and Teoscar Hernandez (16/26), Pederson is a pretty well known commodity at this point, posting his 17 bombs and 20 steals in the AAA Pacific Coast League while being ranked the 40th overall prospect by John pre-season. In BA and BP's midseason updates, Pederson came in at 18th and 17th, respectively. How about Taylor and Hernandez?
Before the year began, John wrote this about Taylor -
He made some progress last year, improving his contact ability while running wild on the bases and showing outstanding defense. His range in center field is excellent and he rang up 19 assists with his strong arm. This is not a guy who is going to hit for average, but his speed, glovework, and occasional power flashes should make him valuable even with a low batting average. If his bat continues to improve, he could be a Mike Cameron-style regular, albeit with less power. Drew Stubbs? I like Taylor enough to gamble a bit with a Grade B-. I have to say that if I were working a trade with the Nationals, I would try to get this guy. His tool base is broad and the skills are coming along.
Nice gamble as he's seen his offense take off, hitting .326 coming into Tuesday with a .405 on base and .551 slugging due in part to the 18 homers, adding 15 doubles and a pair of triples. He's also posted a 163 wRC+ and .424 wOBA so far. Taylor was a 6th round pick in 2009 for Washington and he's walked 41 times, improving his rate 1.5% from last year while striking out 111 times which is up 7.3%. The K's are a red flag but this is what Taylor is capable of doing when he's making hard contact. One red flag to his game this year though is a .447 BABIP so far. If that doesn't scream regression from a bullhorn I don't know what will. As a speed guy, he can get away with a high BABIP, but maintaining what he's done so far is unrealistic. In center he's already gunned down nine runners with just one error and he's been a part of four double plays.
The other guy on the list is Teoscar Hernandez. Playing his home games in Lancaster of the Cal League, Teoscar has racked up 16 homers, 24 doubles, and eight triples for 48 extra base knocks with 26 steals in 79 games. He's running a 293/375/565 slash line to the plate with a 141 wRC+ and .403 wOBA. Before the year this was John's take -
Teoscar Hernandez (awesome name) was signed by the Astros out of the Dominican Republic in 2011. Although listed still at 6-2, 180, he looks stockier than that in person, closer to 200, although he’s quite athletic and has above-average speed. He is a very aggressive hitter who will crush early-count elevated fastballs and launch tape-measure home runs, but has problems with pitches low in the strike zone; breaking balls can give him fits. He runs and throws well and looks like a very good right fielder, but I don’t think his instincts are good enough for long-term usage in center. His upside is quite high, but he needs to figure out those breaking pitches and get more consistent with his swing, which falls apart at times. Grade C+.
While roaming the pastures of center field, Hernandez has committed eight errors and has seven assists. At the plate he's improved almost every aspect of his game, except for strike outs. He's upped his walk rate by 3.5% while the K's have gone up 3.4%. His ISO is up over 100 points, and he's already eclipsed his stolen base total by two and home runs by three from last year in 44 less games. If you haven't seen the profile The Crawfish Boxes did, check it out for a much more in depth take on him.
Now for the guys on the cusp. I went with 15 as the arbitrary cut off for swipes and bombs since most full season leagues are a bit past their half way point. Guys who are close to this are likely to end up as 20/20 guys by seasons end. The most likely to join the list next is Javier Baez who is at 14 HR and 15 SB, despite his rough start to the year. Just since the beginning of June (36 games), Baez is hitting 266/345/508 with seven homers and 10 steals.
Souza has been an absolute monster since June 1, hitting 371/442/669 in the 33 games since then with eight homers and 10 stolen bases with another 11 doubles. It doesn't matter if he's home or away, he's hitting everything everywhere in the more challenging offensive environment of the two AAA leagues. He's 25 and blocked in his organization, so how he gets MLB at bats any time soon if a crap shoot.
Glenn is a member of the Helium Tank and his numbers are tracked daily, but he's managed to knock 15 bombs and steal 12 bags already without anyone really noticing. He's 23 in the Cal League, so there's two knocks on him, but he's climbed the ladder pretty steadily at a level per year. Glenn has been in a bit of a funk since June, hitting just 240/319/385 with three homes and four stolen bases in 27 games over that span. The D-Backs corner outfielder has made nine errors and has six assists while knocking 15 doubles and four triples as well with a 277/341/510 slash line for the year.
Tigers outfield prospect Steven Moya is polarizing to say the least. When he makes contact, it is LOUD with power to spare, but the whole making contact thing is tricky for him. He's batting 259/282/534 with 21 bombs, 23 doubles, another two triples and the 12 steals while he's been in the Eastern League for Erie. His knock has been high K's and low BB's and the knock continues as he's walked 10 times all year with 97 whiffs. He's striking out 28.2 % of the time, up 1% from last year in A+, but has also improved his ISO over 100 points. The intimidating 6'7, 230 pound behemoth is still in his age 22 season and has been mashing as of late, posting a 244/268/548 slash line since the beginning of June with 11 bombs and three steals to go with eight doubles. In right field, he's been credited with four assists and has made a pair of errors.
Rymer Liriano was a well regarded prospect coming into last year, being ranked in the top 60 by MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus, before missing the whole year with a blown out elbow. He did his rehab and is back on track, hitting for more power than before for San Diego's AA affiliate, but without the lofty stolen base totals he showed when he was younger. Over half his home run total came from the month of May, and he's been on a terrible skid the last month plus, hitting just 225/277/325 since June 1 with only two home runs and six steals. For the season Liriano is hitting 255/323/429 with 16 doubles and two triples to go with his 12 home runs. The 23 year old has split the majority of his time between left and center field with 11 assists so far this year and just three errors.
Five more players are well on their way with JaCoby Jones (13 HR/13 SB), and Jared Hoying (15/11), Mike Yastremzski (11/16), all being close but not quite there yet, while Dylan Cozens (11/15) and Chris Dominguez (11/16) are also in the same boat.
Jones is handling short stop duties for Low A West Virginia, a positional switch from center field since his debut season last year. Jones is just two steals and two dingers away from the accomplishment, with the speed coming earlier in the year (12 in April and May) and the power coming very recently. Since June 1st he's hitting 325/360/600 with six bombs, one steal, and four doubles with a concerning 26 K's to one walk. In the field he's made 14 errors for a .956 fielding percentage. The recent power surge is nice but he has just one stolen base since May 23.
Jared Hoying is as under-the-radar as it gets with even the most knowledgeable Ranger's fans being unfamiliar with him. A 10th round pick out of Toledo in 2010, he's been steadily climbing the organizational ladder ever since, holding down center field for AAA Round Rock this year. The 6'3 left handed hitter and right handed thrower has flexed his muscle with 15 homers, 19 doubles, and four triples so far this year, hitting 269/333/508 with 11 steals. Some of the power can be credited to playing in the PCL, though he's slugging the same at home as on the road. His bugaboo is similar to other players on this list, controlling his strike outs and drawing more walks. He's struck out 26.1% of the time while walking 8.4%. Hoying really exploded beginning June 1, hitting 348/429/626 in the 31 games since with six homer, six stolen bases, eight doubles, and three triples. He's made three assists out in center so far with just one error committed.
The grandson of Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski, Mike Yastrzemski has parlayed his bloodlines and four years at Vanderbilt into a monster year for Low A Delmarva and A+ Frederick. Selected in the 14th round by Baltimore last year, the 23 year old right fielder has stolen 16 bases between the two levels while knocking 11 bombs, 18 doubles, and even 11 triples. Most of the damage was done as an older player in the South Atlantic, but he's more than holding his own in a short sample size at a more age-appropriate level. Since the outset of June, he's hit 336/378/598 with five homers and triples, seven doubles, and seven steals in 29 games, 17 of which were at the more advanced level. He's walking 9.2% of the time while striking out 15.8% which are both near league average. Splitting time between all three outfield spots (LF - 12 G, RF - 61 G, CF - 8 G), Yaz has thrown out 13 runners, all in Delmarva, with 10 coming while manning right field.
Phillies outfielder Dylan Cozens was a second round pick in 2012 and has spent the majority of the year manning right field for Low A Lakewood. He's racked up 15 stolen bases already with 11 bombs, 17 doubles, and three triples with a 235/295/405 line so far. He's quicker than you might think when you see him in person as he towers over people with his 6'6, 235 pound frame. The power is legit but his hacking ways have led to 25.9% strike outs while walking just 7.8% of the time. In Cozens' last 32 games which goes back to the start of June, he's only hitting 228/317/382 with four homers and seven steals with five doubles and a triple as well. If he can find tone down his all-or-nothing approach and concentrate on contact, his raw strength will still send balls over the fence.
Chris Dominguez is the elder statesman of this crew, coming in at the ripe age of 27 years old. He was close in 2010 as a 23 year old in Low A, hitting 21 homers with 14 steals, but should have it in the bag this year. He's already stolen 16 bases and has knocked 11 bombs with 14 doubles and three triples with a 266/294/428 line and strike out issues. In his third go round at AAA Fresno, Dominguez has whiffed 28.5% of the time while working a walk just 3.8% of the time. He's played at all corners of the diamond this year, including four at short stop. He's a non-prospect at this point who is organization filler, but no one has said he can't enjoy a solid year.