Every once in awhile, it's good to take a look at things with a broad perspective. So much of my time is spent on day-to-day things that I need to take a step back sometimes and see things from a different angle.
That said, I want to take a few minutes to jot some notes down for you guys on who is leading the minors and respective leagues in certain categories.
- We all know that Yankees SS prospect Jorge Mateo has some serious wheels on him. He leads the minor leagues with 33 stolen bases in 40 attempts so far. He hasn't shown much with the bat though, running a .255/.307/.340 line to the plate and a 12:34 BB:K ratio. For the season, he has 39 base knocks, but only eight of those have been of the extra base variety. While having top of the scale speed is nice, you have to get on base to utilize it. An 89 wRC+ as a 20 year old in the South Atlantic is solid, but for a high end prospect, I'd like to see more.
- Second to Mateo in the stolen base race is Rockies 21 year old outfielder Wes Rogers with 30 in 34 tries. Colorado's 4th round pick from last year came from a smaller school in Spartanburg Methodist, but has shown excellent abilities on the basepaths since turning pro. He's 45-50 over his career for an excellent 90% success rate, but he's only hitting .250/.346/.369 so far this year despite having Asheville as his home park. Unlike Mateo, Rogers has shown a solid approach at the dish, walking 21 times with 38 strike outs. Rogers has also shown more extra base pop with 13 extra base hits (9 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR).
- The most efficient thieves of the year so far have been Indians outfielder Bradley Zimmer and Astros SS Carlos Correa. Zimmer has been successful in 19 of 20 attempts while Correa has gone 18-for-19. Only two other players have been caught once with a minimum of 15 attempts, and they are Braves SS Jose Peraza, and 23 year old Orioles outfielder Jay Gonzalez. Cubs outfielder Trey Martin has the most steals without being caught at 13.
- It's been said many times before that the most exciting play in baseball is the triple. If that's the case, then add that to the list of reasons to watch Twins phenom Byron Buxton play. "Buck" has tripled 11 times already this year, which is four more than the next player. He's also 13-for-14 in stolen bases, and is running a .267/.323/.506 line to the plate with a .371 wOBA and 129 wRC+. He's also worked 15 walks to 37 strike outs this year.
- Second on the list of triples goes to another Rockies outfielder, Jordan Patterson. The 23 year old is finding the California League to be to his liking, hitting .336/.399/.649 in the early going. This includes his seven triples, 16 doubles, and four home runs. His wRC+ sits at an excellent 183, and he's sporting a nice .453 wOBA. The approach needs work as he's only drawn six free passes all year while striking out 31 times.
- Carlos Correa tops the list when it comes to doubles, knocking 19 of them so far between his two stops at Corpus Christi and Fresno. Pair that with 10 homers and two triples and you get the minor league leader in extra base hits as well with 31. Close behind Correa is Angels third baseman Kyle Kubitza with 18. The 24 year old has spent the year with AAA Salt Lake posting a .296/.357/.447 line with three triples and a homer to go with a pretty meh 17:52 BB:K ratio. Despite the offensively charged league, Kubitza has a solid 116 wRC+ so far. Diamondbacks 1B/OF Daniel Palka is in third place with 17 doubles, and the aforementioned Jordan Patterson sits tied for fourth place with 21 year old Rockies first baseman Corelle Prime, 24 year old Mets shortstop Matt Reynolds, Diamondbacks journeyman Nick Evans, and 25 year old Red Sox middle infielder Oscar Tejada.
- If not for an injury giving Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo a late start, many people would have put money that Gallo would be pacing the minors in home runs so far. Not many would have slapped that bet down on Astros first baseman Jon Singleton. The 23 year old struggled mightily in his first taste of the big leagues last year, exhausting his rookie status, but has brought the thunder with Fresno this year. He's launched 14 home runs this year to go with 10 doubles and a pair of triples with a .277/.383/.614 triple slash. The patience is back as well, working 29 walks to 37 punch outs. 26 year old Giants corner infielder Adam Duvall and Royals first baseman Ryan O'Hearn are tied for second with 12 homers a piece. Six players are tied for fourth with 11 bombs, including surprises like Mariners outfielder Tyler O'Neill, Twins outfielder Adam Brett Walker, and Astros first baseman AJ Reed.
- The last of the counting stats I want to look at is the free passes. Who is drawing the most walks? Well that would be the same guy as last year, A's first baseman Matt Olson with 39 of them. The 21 year old is waiting it out more often than anyone else, all while still showing good power with six homers and nine doubles. He's had issues with making contact though, sporting an unsightly .227 batting average. The walks and power help boost his OPS to .786 though.
- Number two on the list goes to 22 year old Astros C/1B Jamie Ritchie. A 13th round pick from Belmont University in 2014, Ritchie has shown an elite eye at the plate since joining the professional ranks. In his career he's drawn 66 walks to 58 strike outs and has been just as good this year, posting a 37:32 BB:K ratio. He's doubled five times with a pair of triples and homers while posting an excellent 153 wRC+ and .402 wOBA. For the year he's hitting .278/.442/.391.
- My favorite of the all-inclusive stats for minor leaguers is wRC+. It does a good job of boiling everything offensively down to one number. The top name on the list is no surprise with Joey Gallo posting a 202 wRC+ so far this year. Second on the list is 27 year old first baseman Dan Black of the Palehosers with a 194 mark on the heels of a .324/.457/.568 line. The bronze medal if you will, goes to Cubs catcher Kyle Schwarber with a 191 wRC+ and .305/.440/.595 triple slash.
- The real surprise here comes in the form of the fourth place hitter, Astros catcher Jacob Nottingham with a 190 wRC+. The 20 year old is splitting time with the previously mentioned Jamie Ritchie as the backstop for Low A Quad Cities. Over 132 at bats, Nottingham is hitting an incredible .333/.397/.614 with 11 doubles, eight home runs, and a 12:27 BB:K ratio.