Monday, August 5, 2013

Best Offensive PreStros Seasons

In light of the monster season George Springer is having, I thought I'd go back and see how it stacks up against other great seasons in PreStros history. For this list, I tried to find every season in which a batter had at least 350 at bats and an OPS of at least 1.000.

George Springer

Springer, between AA Corpus and AAA Oklahoma City, is currently hitting .309/.410/.603 in 401 at bats with 57 extra base hits (25, 3, 29) and 36 stolen bases. He also has 63 walks and 137 strikeouts. He came into the season as Baseball America's #37 prospect and MLB.com's #58 prospect.

Jose Altuve

Altuve received 357 at bats between A+ Lancaster and AA Corpus in 2011 before getting the call to Houston. He hit .389/.426/.591 with 42 extra base hits (22, 10, 10) and 24 stolen bases along with 26 walks and 40 strikeouts. He was not on any preseason prospect lists heading into 2011. For his major league career so far, Altuve is hitting .285/.326/.379 in about two full season worth of at bats.

Koby Clemens

A perfect example of the Lancaster Effect, in 2009 Clemens hit .341/.415/.620 in 440 at bats with 54 walks and 111 strikeouts, including a couple weeks at Corpus at the end of the year. He totaled 73 extra base hits (45, 6, 22 ) with 123 RBI. Clemens was not ranked on any prospect lists coming into that season. Clemens never reached the majors and is currently playing for the independent Atlantic League Sugar Land Skeeters, where he is tied for 5th in the league in home runs with former Astro Daryle Ward.

Jason Lane

In 2001, Lane spent the entire season at AA Round Rock. In 526 at bats, he hit .316/.407/.608 with 76 extra base hits (36, 2, 38) with 61 walks and 98 strikeouts. He also added 14 steals, 103 runs, and 124 RBI. He was not ranked heading into the season, but Baseball American named him their #53 prospect going into the next season. Lane went on to hit .241/.314/.457 in parts of six seasons, all with Houston with the exception of 3 games with San Diego in 2007. He's currently attempting to come back as a pitcher with San Diego.

Keith Ginter

Ginter got 462 at bats with AA Round Rock in 2000 and hit .333/.457/.580 with 59 extra base hits (30, 3, 26). He also had 24 stolen bases and 108 runs to go along with 82 walks and 127 strikeouts. Ginter went on to spend parts of six season in the majors, including two full seasons with Milwaukee, and hit .243/.329/.422 for his major league career.

Mitch Melusky

In 1998, Melusky received 397 at bats with AAA New Orleans and hit .353/.465/.584 with 58 extra base hits (41, 0, 17) and 85 walks with 59 strikeouts. He was not ranked heading into the season, but after the season Baseball America had him as the #43 prospect. He showed promise in the majors before injuries derailed his career. In 414 major league at bats, Melusky hit .283/.368/.449 with 15 home runs and finished fifth in rookie of the year voting in 2000.

Ed Whited

In 1987, his first full minor league season, Whited hit .323/.407/.598 in 440 at bats for A Asheville. He had 65 extra base hits (37, 0, 28) with 12 steals and 128 RBI. In a late season call-up with the Braves in 1990, Whited hit .162/.222/.243 in 36 games, then abruptly disappeared from baseball.

Rich Johnson

Splitting the 1986 season between A Asheville and A Osceola, Johnson hit .341/.424/.581 in 504 at bats with 61 extra base hits (30, 2, 29). He had 72 walks, 105 strikeouts, and 112 RBI.  He never made it above AA and was out of baseball following the 1988 season.

Ty Gainey

Gainey received 359 at bats for AAA Tucson in 1986. He hit .351/.437/.616 with 50 extra base hits (22, 11, 17) with 55 walks, 81 strikeouts, and 19 steals. In 111 major league at bats across three seasons, Gainey hit .216/.293/.288.

Gary Rajsich

Rajsich got 445 at bats for AAA Tucson in 1980 and hit .321/.435/.575 with 57 extra base hits (22, 14, 21) with 87 walks and just 41 strikeouts. In 296 major league at bats across four seasons, Rajsich hit .236/.328/.345.

Honorable Mention

Two others met my criteria, but did so over the age of 30, so I didn't include them here. They were Dave Roberts at AAA Oklahoma City in 1965 and Len Tucker at C Modesto in 1962.

Hunter Pence came as close as you can to meeting my criteria when he hit .327/.400/.598 in 453 at bats between A Lexington and A+ Salem in 2005.

Most of these examples were done at lower minor league levels, and none combine Springer's speed and power combination. This was a fun exercise, but I don't think much can be learned from it, except to say that monster minor league seasons don't have any real correlation to major league success, at least for former PreStros.

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