A little over two months ago, I took a look at the early leaders at each minor league level in walk rate. The aim at the time was to see if there may be some names who are being overlooked, but were off to a great start. Let’s take another look at where each of the previous leaders stand now that we have reached the All-Star break, as well as the current leaders at each level.
Previous Leader: Jordan Patterson, OF, Rockies (21.3% in April, 12.6% currently, ranked 18th in AAA)
Current Leader: Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers (17.5%)
Patterson is still have an excellent season, hitting .316/.415/.473 with a .396 wOBA and wRC+ of 139. His isolated power is actually one of the lower rates in his career (.157), but with 4 HR and 7 SB so far in 70 games, he is showing that he can provide some counting stats to go with a high batting average. The profile is such that he will have to hit to get consistent playing time, and could have a hard time breaking in with regular playing time with David Dahl and Raimel Tapia both coming soon.
Gallo remains known for his power (.308 ISO, 15 HR in 58 games), but an interesting development is the fact that his strikeout rate has dropped to just 28.9%. While it’s still a high rate, it’s the first time in the high minors that he has been below 30%. He’s managed to keep his power production up, and would have been up ages ago to stay with any other team.
Previous Leader: Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Blue Jays (22.9% in April, 13.9% currently, ranked 5th in AA)
Current Leader: Derek Fisher, OF, Astros (17.3%)
Tellez has truly started to show the potential that had him ranked as a top talent in the 2013 draft. After just 35 games at High-A last year, he’s hit very well at AA over 80 games. With 13 home runs and a wRC+ of 150, Tellez could be in Toronto sometime next year as the everyday first baseman or designated hitter.
Fisher is a prospect that gets a bit overlooked in the Astros’ system due to potential defensive deficiencies in the outfield. The profile reminds me a bit of Mike Cameron for fantasy purposes - a huge help with counting stats (he’s on pace for 25+ home runs and 30+ steals), but where the batting average isn’t ideal (.258 so far this year). It’s definitely a valuable prospect, but one that might get overlooked if you’re only checking prospect lists.
Previous Leader: Mike Papi, OF/1B, Indians (23.3% in April, 17.3% in High-A, 16% in AA)
Current Leader: Wynston Sawyer, OF, Orioles (18.8%); Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers (18.5%)
Papi no longer qualifies for the High-A leaderboard now that he’s been in AA for 38 games. His performance there though hasn’t been amazing, hitting just .205 with a .342 slugging percentage.
I actually included two leaders in this case: Sawyer is a 24 year old in his third go-around at the High-A level, and should be posting good numbers given his age to level. The more interesting prospect is the one right behind him on the leaderboard, Christin Stewart of the Tigers. Stewart was known for his power coming out of the draft, and with 21 home runs in the Florida State League in 82 games, you can see why.
Previous Leader: Steve Laurino, 1B, Orioles (21.8% in April, 12.1% currently)
Current Leader: Josh Ockimey, 1B, Red Sox (17.8%)
Ockimey has emerged as an interesting prospect in a system that was already extremely deep. He’s a first base prospect, so he’s going to have to hit, but with 13 home runs, and a wRC+ of 152, he’s clearly on the right path toward fantasy value. He’s an interesting name for deep dynasty leagues.