Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A short history of Texas League domination

Yes and so Carlos Correa's time in Corpus will end with him posting a .385/.459/.726 line in 29 Texas League games (133 PAs). He leads the Texas League in runs (25), hits (45), doubles (15), homers (7 - tied), RBI (32), stolen bases (15), batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS (1.185). Once again, he is 20 years old.

So I got to wondering how other significant players did in their Age 20 seasons in the Texas League. But first, a word of caution: We're talking about 29 games here for Correa. To appear on previous seasons' leaderboards for Baseball-Reference, players needed 139 PAs. Correa is short of that and, to be honest, I'm not interested in delving *that* deeply into Texas League statistics.

Joey Gallo, 2014: Gallo - the hard-hitting Rangers prospect - played 68 games for Frisco in 2014, hitting .232/.334/.524 in his Age 20 season.

Oscar Taveras, 2012: Taveras played 124 games for Springfield in 2012, hitting .321/.380/.572 for a .953 OPS. Impressive, but still over 150 OPS points short of Correa.

Mike Trout, 2011: Trout spent 91 games playing for Arkansas in 2011, his Age 19 season, and hit .326/.414/.544, for a .958 OPS and stealing 13 bases in 23 attempts. Correa was a perfect 15-for-15 in stolen bases.

Mike Moustakas, 2010: Moustakas, playing for NW Arkansas, has a line closest to Correa's in recent history, hitting .347/.413/.687 in 66 games with 25 doubles and 21 homers, for an OPS of 1.100, and he did it in his Age 21 season. Teammate Eric Hosmer was in his Age 20 season that year, and hit .313/.365/.615 for a .980 OPS.

Colby Rasmus, 2007: Age 20 Colby Rasmus played 128 games for Springfield in 2007, hitting .275/.381/.551 for a .932 OPS, with 37 doubles, 29 homers, and 18 stolen bases.

Billy Butler, 2006: 20-year old Billy Butler played 119 games for Wichita in 2006, hitting .331/.388/.499 with 33 doubles and 15 homers.

Daric Barton, 2005: Barton, at Age 19, hit .316/.410/.491 for Midland in 56 games

Adam Jones, 2005: Adam Jones played 63 games for San Antonio - then Seattle's affiliate - before the Mariners lost their minds and traded him for hahahahahahahaha Erik Bedard three years later. In those 63 games, Jones hit .298/.365/.461 for an .826 OPS.

Hank Blalock, 2001: Ahhh, a name that at its very mention will send Rangers fans into a bed-wetting trip down memory lane. In his Age 20 season in 2001, Blalock hit .327/.413/.544 with 18 doubles, 11 homers in 68 games for Tulsa.

Alex Cabrera, 2000: The 28-year old Cabrera is on this list simply for how ridiculous his 2000 season was. In 53 games (239 PAs), Cabrera hit .382/.452/.986. Yeah, .986. He hit 19 doubles, two triples, and 35 home runs...in 53 games. This was the same season that 24-year old Keith Ginter posted a 1.037 OPS and 24-year old Morgan Ensberg hit .300/.416/.545 for Round Rock.

15 years goes back far enough, I think. And the point is that it's rare not just for a 20-year old to play at Double-A, it's rare for a 20-year old to straight dominate Double-A in the way that Correa did for the first month of the season. Are there cautionary tales? Of course there are, but I think we'd all be okay with Carlos Correa turning into Shortstop Adam Jones, much less Shortstop Mike Trout.