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From record-setters to breakout stars: One prospect-related stat from each of the 30 farm systems
Baseball relies on statistics to tell its story, and these numbers are synonymous with the best players in the game. Whether we look at the Majors or the Minors, these stats give us insight into who could become the future record-breakers. Here is one standout statistic from each of the 30 farm systems this year:
Blue Jays: Spencer Horwitz, 1B – .450 OBP
Spencer Horwitz, ranked No. 16 in the Blue Jays farm system, showcased his exceptional on-base ability with a career .407 OBP in the Minors. In 2023, he took it to another level, posting a .450 OBP for the Buffalo team. This impressive mark ranked third among 707 full-season qualifiers.
Orioles: Samuel Basallo, C/1B – 162 wRC+
Despite the Orioles’ surplus of hitting prospects, Samuel Basallo stood out with his 162 wRC+ in 2023. He led the organization in various offensive categories, including OPS (.953), slugging (.551), OBP (.402), and batting average (.313).
Rays: Junior Caminero, 3B/SS – .591 slugging percentage
Junior Caminero’s power numbers were impressive in his age-19 season at High-A and Double-A. His .591 slugging percentage ranked fifth among full-season qualifiers, and he was the only qualified teenager to surpass a .565 slugging percentage. In fact, his .547 SLG at Montgomery was the second-best by a Double-A teenager since 2006.
Red Sox: Wikelman Gonzalez, RHP – 13.6 K/9
Despite a rough August in High-A, Wikelman Gonzalez rebounded in Double-A and led the Minors in strikeout rate and percentage (35%). With three plus pitches, including a mid-90s fastball, Gonzalez’s potential is evident.
Yankees: Drew Thorpe, RHP – 182 K
In his pro debut, Drew Thorpe, a second-round pick from Cal Poly, claimed the top spot for strikeouts in the Minors. His changeup and command were his strong suits, and he also excelled in strikeout minus walk percentage (26.9), wins (14), winning percentage (.875), WHIP (0.98), and strikeout percentage (34%).
Guardians: Will Dion, LHP – 2.86 FIP
Will Dion topped the Minors in Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), a metric that focuses on events pitchers have the most control over. With exceptional deception and command, Dion also ranked second in ERA (2.39).
Royals: Javier Vaz, 2B/OF – 3.3 swinging-strike rate
In an era of increased strikeout rates, Javier Vaz’s ability to make contact sets him apart. With just a 3.3% swinging-strike rate, Vaz ranked third among full-season qualifiers. His contact skills, paired with plus speed, resulted in a .279 batting average and a .373 OBP.
Tigers: Justice Bigbie, OF – .343 average
Justice Bigbie’s breakout season was a highlight in the Tigers’ system. By adjusting his approach and focusing on getting ahead of the ball, Bigbie increased his home run total from three in 2022 to 19. Playing mainly in Double-A Erie, he hit .362 with a 170 wRC+ and only a 12.5% strikeout rate across 63 games.
Twins: Yunior Severino, 2B/3B – 35 homers
Yunior Severino’s power was unmatched in the Minor Leagues during the 2023 season. His 35 home runs tied him with Shay Whitcomb of the Astros. Severino also led the Twins organization in slugging percentage (.546) and isolated power (.274).
White Sox: Colson Montgomery, SS – .939 OPS
Despite missing half the season due to injuries, Colson Montgomery displayed his potential as one of baseball’s top prospects. Comparisons to Corey Seager are not unwarranted when Montgomery is healthy. In 64 games across Rookie ball, High-A, and Double-A, Montgomery batted .287/.455/.484 with eight home runs.
Angels: Nolan Schanuel, 1B – .505 OBP
Although it was only a small sample size of 22 Minor League games, Nolan Schanuel’s pro debut was impressive. The first-round pick drew 21 walks and struck out just 10 times in 97 plate appearances. His phenomenal plate discipline is no surprise considering his .516 OBP in college.
Astros: Shay Whitcomb, INF – 35 homers
Shay Whitcomb, the last pick in the shortened 2020 Draft, tied for the Minor League lead in home runs. Over three pro seasons, Whitcomb has recorded 77 homers and 70 steals in 350 games.
A’s: Mason Miller, RHP – 12.5 K/9
Despite injury setbacks, Mason Miller’s ability to generate strikeouts is undeniable. In just 52 2/3 combined innings between the Minors and the big leagues, Miller struck out 73 batters. His Minor League K/9 stood at an impressive 16.3.
Mariners: Colt Emerson, SS – 1.045 OPS
Colt Emerson wasted no time making an impact in his pro debut after being selected in the first round by the Mariners in 2023. In 24 games, he posted a stellar .374/.496/.550 line, resulting in a remarkable 1.045 OPS. Among high school draftees, Emerson had the highest OPS with a substantial number of plate appearances.
Rangers: Abimelec Ortiz, 1B – .619 SLG
Abimelec Ortiz experienced a breakout season in his second year as a professional. After a tough first full season, Ortiz led the Minors in slugging percentage, ranked fourth in home runs (33), and posted an impressive .990 OPS. His performance earned him the title of South Atlantic League MVP.
Braves: AJ Smith-Shawver, RHP – .169 BAA
AJ Smith-Shawver’s journey from High-A to the big leagues was nothing short of astonishing. The 20-year-old pitcher dominated on the mound, holding opposing batters to a minuscule .169 batting average over 62 Minor League innings. Smith-Shawver’s big league success continued with a .183 batting average against.
Marlins: Troy Johnston, 1B – 116 RBIs
Troy Johnston made a name for himself in the Marlins system, leading the Minors in RBIs. He also ranked high in extra-base hits (67) and total bases (281), while claiming the top spot in slugging percentage (.567) and OPS (.963) in the Double-A Southern League. Johnston’s 20-20 season, with 26 home runs and 24 stolen bases, solidifies his potential as a standout first baseman.
Mets: Jett Williams, SS/OF – 104 walks
Despite being the 14th overall pick in the 2022 Draft, Jett Williams continues to impress. In his pro debut, he showcased his exceptional plate discipline with 104 walks. Williams’ ability to get on base consistently will make him an exciting player to watch.
David Rodriguez brings the excitement of Major League Baseball to readers. With a deep appreciation for America’s pastime, he covers the latest MLB news, scores, and player achievements, keeping fans up to date with their favorite teams and players.