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  • The Century Club (100 RBI minor leaguers)

    Last weekend, Dalton Hicks drove in two runs for the Ft. Myers Miracle and became the second minor leaguer this season to drive in 100 runs. The other? His teammate for the first three months of the season, Kernels outfielder Adam Walker. As of today, Walker leads minor league baseball with 106 RBI while Hicks is second at 103. The only other minor leaguer with 100 RBI this year is Astros slugging prospect George Springer, at 102.

    While Walker has driven in each of his runs for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, Hicks has spent a quarter of his season with the Ft. Myers Miracle. He has 21 RBI with the Miracle after knocking in 82 runs with the Kernels.


    During the first half of the season, the two sluggers benefited from hitting in the middle of a lineup that including Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco setting the table. Walker, the Twins 3rd round pick in 2012 out of Jacksonville Univeristy, has hit 29 doubles, seven triples and 26 home runs. Hicks, a lumbering first baseman drafted in the 17th round of the 2012 draft out of Central Florida, has hit a combined 37 doubles to go with 17 home runs.

    We frequently talk about how RBI are so much dependent upon those hitting in front of the batter. I do believe that RBI can be overrated, but as we watch a Twins team struggling to hit with runners in scoring position, I think it's important to remember that someone needs to drive run in!



    The two become the 33rd and 34th Twins minor leaguers since 1980 to have a 100 RBI season. The list of names below tell us that RBI is certainly not a indicator of future big league success. (However, it is fun at times to go into the Way Back Machine and read about names we may not have thought about in years.)

    2013 Adam Walker 106+ Cedar Rapids
    2013 Dalton Hicks 103+ Cedar Rapids/Ft. Myers
    2012 Miguel Sano 100 Beloit
    2005 David Winfree 101 Beloit
    2004 Kevin West 109 New Britain/Rochester
    2004 Jason Kubel 100 New Britain/Rochester
    2002 Michael Ryan 101 Edmonton
    2002 Todd Sears 100 Edmonton
    2000 Brian Buchanan 103 Salt Lake
    1999 David Ortiz 110 Salt Lake
    1999 Michael Restovich 107 Quad Cities
    1999 Steve Hacker 100 New Britain, Salt Lake
    1998 Tommy Peterman 110 Ft. Myers
    1998 Corey Koskie 105 Salt Lake
    1997 David Ortiz 124 FM/NB/SL
    1996 Todd Walker 101 Salt Lake
    1994 Bernardo Brito 122 Salt Lake
    1992 Marty Cordova 131 Visalia
    1992 Steve Dunn 113 Visalia
    1991 Paul Russo 100 Kenosha
    1990 Ray Ortiz 102 Visalia/Orlando
    1989 Paul Sorrento 112 Orlando
    1989 Terry Jorgenson 101 Orlando
    1986 Gene Larkin 104 Orlando
    1986 Tim Schwarz 101 Visalia
    1985 Mark Funderburk 116 Orlando
    1985 Mark Davidson 106 Orlando
    1985 Gene Larkin 106 Visalia
    1984 Stan Holmes 101 Orlando
    1983 Stan Holmes 115 Visalia
    1983 Tim Teufel 100 Toledo
    1982 Greg Wells 107 Toledo
    1981 Kent Hrbek 111 Visalia
    1981 Tim Laudner 104 Orlando

    There are a few guys on that list that have a couple of World Series rings and tremendous careers. There are several players who never got a taste of the big leagues.

    Miguel Sano is currently at 94 RBI, so there is a chance that he will hit the century mark for a second straight year. Kennys Vargas currently has 86 RBI and would need a torrid stretch to get there, but it's possible. I'm sure people reading this will also be excited to hear that Scott Ullger drove in 108 runs for Visalia.

    Next season, Walker should join Hicks in the Ft. Myers lineup to start the season. However, I would anticipate that both will be up in New Britain by season's end, maybe even by the All Star break.
    This article was originally published in blog: The Century Club (100 RBI minor leaguers) started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. scottsilvi's Avatar
      scottsilvi -
      Perhaps one thing that could be gleaned from this chart... that 7 year gap between Winfree & Sano coincides with some serious dearth of sluggers to man the middle of our lineup, which has really hurt our depth, ability to score runs, drive in runs, help our pitchers relax, etc etc. Yeah, lots of hits & misses from 81-2005. But at least guys were producing in a big way down in the minors. I would imagine a fairly strong correlation between the number of 100 RBI guys you have, the number MLB caliber players you have...even if the MLB players are the ones setting the table.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Kevin West, 2004. I have never heard his name, ever. It seems he would have had a callup sometime--what happened to him?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Interesting stuff, but I think that this chart is a proof that RBIs do not matter

      From all of those players listed who hit 100+ RBI only 2 (Hrbek and Ortiz) were All Stars. Another handful (Koskie, Kubel, Walker) were MLB regulars for more than 5 years, few more were role players (Larkin, Laudner, Teufel, Sorrento, Davidson) and the majority even never made the majors or did for a cup of coffee.

      Just this list is proof that 100+ RBI says zip for a players' future. Slugging percentage, wRC+ and OPS+ (outside the PCL) on the other hand...
    1. jsimssd72's Avatar
      jsimssd72 -
      I have a RC of Kevin West not sure what happened but saw him play against my hometown Northern indy league Sioux Falls Canaries (pheasants at that time) about 3-4 years ago. He was playing for Winnipeg I believe.
    1. Forever34's Avatar
      Forever34 -
      I'm not a big sabermetrics guy but there should be a stat that measures productivity in RBI type situations. Obviously there is BA with RiSP, but is there something more comprehensive?
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      In theory, every player should focus equally every plate appearance on getting a hit, hitting the ball hard, yadda yadda. But over the course of a 140-game minor league season, that's really not practical, imo.

      From talking to Walker and his coaches, I know he takes pride in driving in runs. When there are potential ribbies out there, he's intent on driving them in. Statistically, does that mean he's successful any more frequently than he would be anyway? I dunno. I'm not smart like you stat-guys. But I do know he's been very good in those situations and it has been enjoyable to watch.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by Forever34 View Post
      I'm not a big sabermetrics guy but there should be a stat that measures productivity in RBI type situations. Obviously there is BA with RiSP, but is there something more comprehensive?
      There are a lot of said stats.....it's just that over time, they even out to the "same" number as when guys aren't on base (for the HUGE majority of players).
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by Forever34 View Post
      I'm not a big sabermetrics guy but there should be a stat that measures productivity in RBI type situations. Obviously there is BA with RiSP, but is there something more comprehensive?
      There's a few things out there, but Win Probability Added (WPA) gets pretty close to what you're talking about and weights more to late inning "clutchness".

      It's basically a sum of the probability that a batter added or subtracted towards winning a game over the course of the season. An example: if you hit a double in the bottom of the 9th with guys on to take the lead, you would get a big positive mark. Leave them stranded with a strikeout and you'd get a negative mark. Add up all the ABs over the season and you get your WPA.

      Major League Leaderboards 2013 Batters Win Probability Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball
    1. James's Avatar
      James -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Interesting stuff, but I think that this chart is a proof that RBIs do not matter

      From all of those players listed who hit 100+ RBI only 2 (Hrbek and Ortiz) were All Stars. Another handful (Koskie, Kubel, Walker) were MLB regulars for more than 5 years, few more were role players (Larkin, Laudner, Teufel, Sorrento, Davidson) and the majority even never made the majors or did for a cup of coffee.

      Just this list is proof that 100+ RBI says zip for a players' future. Slugging percentage, wRC+ and OPS+ (outside the PCL) on the other hand...
      You forgot to mention 1995 ROY Marty Cordova. Not that he was that big of a deal besides winning ROY that year.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      When you have good hitters, period, the situational hitting will usually sort itself out over the long term.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I'm fully on board with the concept/theory that RBI are not a good stat to determine how good a baseball player or a prospect is. I used to be a little more vocal about that, but now I'm thinking it's "so overrated that they are underrated." Like I wrote... someone needs to drive in the runs, and when you've got RBI opportunities, find a way to get the run in. I don't think there is a good way to say that statistically. I don't even think that WPA is great because, in my mind, a two-run single in the 1st inning is pretty important too.

      Again, my point wasn't to say that this impacts their prospect rankings. I have Walker in the 11-15 range, and I have Hicks in the low 30s probably. It is to recognize a pretty cool feat and then show the randomness of what it means long-term.
    1. CGNikolic's Avatar
      CGNikolic -
      David Ortiz... Forever he haunts us
    1. Jham's Avatar
      Jham -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Interesting stuff, but I think that this chart is a proof that RBIs do not matter

      From all of those players listed who hit 100+ RBI only 2 (Hrbek and Ortiz) were All Stars. Another handful (Koskie, Kubel, Walker) were MLB regulars for more than 5 years, few more were role players (Larkin, Laudner, Teufel, Sorrento, Davidson) and the majority even never made the majors or did for a cup of coffee.

      Just this list is proof that 100+ RBI says zip for a players' future. Slugging percentage, wRC+ and OPS+ (outside the PCL) on the other hand...

      I believe Laudner was an All Star as well! And I'd consider Sorrento a reg with Twins/Cleveland.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      A prolific poster on the Internet twenty years ago who would annoy me to distraction used to say that RBI are important because they are a measure of celebration. Despite who said it, I think there is a lot to that. No, I wouldn't use RBI as much of a source for assessing a player's future. But a high number does mean the fans got to cheer a lot, and the hitter was the one they were cheering loudest for, and for that I'm happy to add another cheer when a milestone like 100 is reached. It means something; it doesn't mean what we arm-chair analysts might want a number to mean, but it does mean something about what the players are playing for.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      The reverse is also true: Mauer, Morneau and Cuddyer never made the list: Mauer collected 85 RBI in 2003, over 509 at bats--his high in the majors is 96 in 2009. Morneau drove in 97 runs in 471 at-bats in 2001--he went on to have four 100+ RBI seasons in the majors. And Cuddyer had 87 RBI in 2001. He drove in 109 in 2006. Again, OBP, SLG, and RISP are much more significant than RBI.
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