Each week we run our “Top Performers” series, looking at the best pitchers and hitters from the previous week. We also recap each month in order to award the Pitcher and Player of the month. Below are the top Runs Created* totals in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system from the month of April. The rankings include every hitter who had an at-bat for a Pirates’ minor league affiliate, not including DSL teams, and with no limitations on whether the hitter has prospect eligibility. Players who spent time at different levels are counted multiple times, once for each level, rather than combining their stats.
*Runs Created is a stat created by Bill James used to estimate how many runs an individual contributes to his team. There are many formulas for runs created. For these purposes the basic formula is used. That formula is ((H + BB) * (1B + (2*2B) + (3*3B) + (4*HR))) / (AB + BB).
Player of the Month
It’s no surprise that Gregory Polanco is the player of the month for April in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system. He hit for a .400/.457/.632 line in 105 plate appearances, with four homers, six doubles, and two triples. Not only was this the best month out of anyone in the system this year, it was also arguably the best month of Polanco’s career. The only thing close was in 2012 in West Virginia, when he hit for a .406/.474/.604 line during the month of July. Polanco’s OPS this month edged July 2012 out by 11 points. And that’s not considering the difference in talent between Triple-A and Low-A, which makes this month’s performance even more impressive.
Polanco led the Pirates’ system in hits (38), average (.400), OBP (.457), slugging (.632), OPS (1.089), total bases (60), and finished second in home runs (4), and fifth in doubles (6). Looking at the International League leaderboards, Polanco led the league in average, OBP, hits, and total bases.
To get an even better idea of how impressive the month of April was for Polanco, he played in 24 games, and had a hit in 19 of those games. There were only two games this month where he didn’t reach base via a walk or a hit. He reached base at least twice in 15 of his 24 games. He had an extra base hit in 11 of his games.
The monster month from Polanco beat out some other impressive performances, especially from his own teammate, Andrew Lambo. The first baseman/outfielder hit for a .354/.440/.557 line in 91 plate appearances, leading the system and the International League with 11 doubles, and finishing second to Polanco in the system in average, OBP, and OPS. In a normal month, Lambo would have easily been the Player of the Month. Stetson Allie (.959 OPS in Altoona, with six homers) would have also had a shot.
Minor League Affiliates
Here were the Players of the Month for each minor league affiliate.
Indianapolis Indians (AAA) – Gregory Polanco, OF (.400/.437/.632, 4 HR, 105 PA)
Altoona Curve (AA) – Stetson Allie, 1B (.257/.373/.586, 6 HR, 83 PA)
Bradenton Marauders (A+) – Josh Bell, OF (.287/.323/.447, 2 HR, 101 PA)
West Virginia Power (A) – Erich Weiss, 2B (.337/.416/.438, 1 HR, 101 PA)