The major-league regular season rolls on, with three weeks left to play, but for most of the minor-league systems, things have already wrapped up, with teams either competing in the playoffs or putting up shutters for the winter. But let's give a hat-tip to those who put up the best numbers, at the plate or on the mound, in the season just completed.
Notes. I've limited this to the "regular" minor systems, so have excluded those like the Mexican League, or foreign rookie leagues like the Dominican and Venezuelan Summer League. For hitting stats like BA, I've drawn a cutoff at 250 plate-appearances, and for pitching ones, e.g. ERA, at 65 innings of work. For each player mentioned, I've also listed the levels at which they played, and the major-league organization.
- Batting Average: .385. Adam Eaton (Rookie, D-backs)
- On-base %: .500. Eaton
- Slugging %: .717, Nick Akins (Rookie, Dodgers)
- OPS: 1.158, Akins
- Homers: 36, Mike Moustakas (AA/AAA, Royals) + Mark Trumbo (AAA, Angels)
- RBI: 130, Rich Poythress (A+, Mariners)
- Total Bases: 318, Paul Goldschmidt (A+, D-backs)
- Stolen Bases: 71, Delvi Cid (A, Indians)
- Strikeouts: 192, Denny Almonte (A+, Mariners)
Some of those numbers are especially impressive, when you consider the shorter nature of the minor-league season. Moustakes, for example, hit 36 home-runs in only 118 games, which projects to 49 for a full 162-game campaign. The same goes for Poythress's RBI mark: he and Moustakas both drove in more than a run per contest, something not done (min. 100 RBI) in the majors since 2000, when Manny Ramirez had 122 RBI in 118 games.
- Wins: 16, Eric Hacker (AAA, Giants) + Tom Koehler (AA, Marlins)
- Losses: 15, three players
- Saves: 43, Jonathan Albaladejo (AAA, Yankees)
- ERA: 1.07, Chad Bettis (A-/A+, Rockies)
- Strikeouts: 208, Matthew Moore (A+, Rays)
- K/9 IP: 14.3, Miguel De Los Santos (A/A-, Rangers)
- WHIP: 0.837, Liam Hendriks (A+/A, Twins)
- K/BB: 11.0, Craig Heyer (A+, Yankees) + Jacob Petitt (Rk/A-, Orioles)
Koehler had a particular solid season, posting a record of 16-2 and a 2.61 ERA - one wonders why the Marlins didn't try him out in Triple-A. Hacker, on the other hand, won sixteen despite a 4.51 ERA; he must have got all the wins Matt Cain is missing... On the other other hand, despite having 23 more K's than any other minor-leaguer, Moore still ended with a 6-11 record. Wins are meaningless, even in the minors.
Of course, most of these prospects on both sides are still some way from the majors, and anything can happen to them between now and then. But there's no harm in remembering some of the names, so that if they do become superstars down the line... Well, you heard about them here first!