A Minor League Site of Their Own
Sean Forman has done it again. The genius behind Baseball-Reference.com has now created a similar site for the minor leagues. The minor league data goes back to 1992 and is current through September 4, 2007.
You can go to the home page and get the standings and league stats for any league by clicking on the links. You can check out the 2007 Southern League or go back a dozen years and see what took place in the 1995 Pacific Coast League.
Wanna know who led the minors in home runs this year? No problem. Click on this link and you'll get the top 100. For the curious, the answer is Craig Brazell. After studying his player page, I wouldn't place a nickel on his chances of succeeding in the majors. He's played 10 years in the minors and has 161 BB and 741 SO to show for his efforts. The left-handed-hitting first baseman had a cup of coffee with the Mets in 2004 and did little to impress scouts back then. He's a minor league lifer.
While you're at the 2007 Batting Leaders for Home Runs page, be sure to click on any of the column headings to sort your favorite category from top to bottom. The 2007 Batting Leaders for Stolen Bases? None other than Ovandy Suero, a 25-year-old Detroit Tiger farmhand wasting his time playing for Lakeland of the High-A Florida State League.
Do you think Jay Bruce might be a legitimate prospect? Well, go to the 2007 AAA Batting Leaders for Age and check it out for yourself. Not too bad for a 20-year-old, huh? Adam Jones, Billy Butler, Carlos Gomez, Daric Barton, and Evan Longoria stand out as 21-year-olds. Butler and Barton walked more than they struck out. That's always an excellent sign for a youngster, especially for a power hitter like Butler (who is hitting .305/.359/.465 in 281 plate appearances at the MLB level). I've seen him play in person and he reminds me of Greg Luzinski in terms of size, position, poor glove, (lack of) speed, and his ability to hit for average and power.
You can do any and all of the above for pitchers, too. Ever wonder who led the minors in strikeouts this year? Simple. Go to 2007 Pitching Leaders for Strikeouts and there you have it, sorted from 1-100 with all of the other pertinent stats right there at your disposal. Tip: The top 15 are all pretty good prospects. In addition to the rate stats at the far right of the page, be sure to pay attention to age vs. level. Edinson Volquez, Allan Horne, and Jack Egbert are not nearly as special as Clay Buchholz (who, as you know, has already thrown a no-hitter in the majors even though he is two years younger than all three) or Clayton Kershaw (who pitched at the same level despite being FIVE years younger).
Hey, I could go on and on but it would be better if you just let yourself loose inside those pages. Go ahead and indulge. Now. Have fun. But not so much fun that you forget to come back and read Joe P. Sheehan's Command Post article tomorrow. See you then and *here*.