The Twelve Percent Solution?

An article by posted on November 25, 2013

12 percentWith On-Base Percentage being highly coveted, I thought I’d take a look at the Mets minor league system to see who down on the farm was walking at a 12% rate this past season.

Why twelve percent?

Over the course of 502 plate appearances (the minimum number required to qualify for a MLB batting title), walking 12% of the time would yield 60 walks. Over 550 plate appearances, 66 walks. Over 600 appearances, 72 walks.

There were 25 players that walked at least 72 times in MLB in 2013. If a player can develop plate discipline at the minor league level to lay off bad pitches, does that translate to plate discipline in the majors to turn him into a productive Major Leaguer?

There were 18 players in the Mets farm system last year that achieved this 12% walk rate (I am not including 6 players who did this in the minors who spent time in the majors – Andrew Brown, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Josh Satin and Travis d’Arnaud – although I will note that Travis had a walk rate of 22.2% in 108 plate appearances between AA and AAA).

  1. Allan Dykstra – 20.9% walk rate. This is very interesting. Allan is an older prospect (26) that hasn’t played above AA. He also just broke his leg and his having surgery, but the numbers jump out. Allan walked 102 times at Binghamton to go with 21 HR, 22 Doubles, a .274 batting average and a .436 OBP. In his 6 seasons in the minors, his walk rate has been 18.3%. This combination of plate discipline and power suggest a major league future for this former first rounder, but will this first baseman get a chance?
  2. Champ Stuart – 18.1%. This 6th round pick in the 2013 draft just turned 21 and played in the outfield for the Kingsport Mets (Rookie) this past season. He only hit .240, but with his high walk rate, his OBP was .388. His 11 stolen bases in 43 games shows a running threat. He also struck out a lot – 58 times (30.9% of the time).
  3. Branden Kaupe – 17.9%. Second Baseman who will be turning 20 in April and a 2012 4th round pick that will be entering his 3rd season. With the Gulf Coast League Mets in 2013 (Rookie), he demonstrated an ability to walk to get on base. He ability to hit to get on base has been a bit more problematic. In two minor league seasons, he has hit just .194 – but has an OBP of .356 (the result of 20.0% walk rate over two years).
  4. Adrian Abreu – 17.8%. 22 year old Catcher who played for Kingsport in 2013 after three seasons in the Dominican Summer League. While he had a high walk rate, he only hit .182 in 31 games for Kingsport. When factoring in his time with the DSL Mets, his walk rate has been 15.4%.
  5. Chad Zurcher – 17.0%. 25 year old middle infielder who played 2013 with the Savannah Sand Gnats (A). The former 31st round pick in 2011 did not play in 2012, hasn’t hit a minor league home run, and only 13 of his 88 minor league hits have been for extra bases. His 15.1% walk rate over two minor league seasons translates to a career .401 OBP, but he’s a real long shot.
  6. Daniel Muno – 16.4%. This switch hitting middle infielder will be turning 25 before the start of the 2014 season. With AA Binghamton, he hit only .249 – but walked 92 times for a .384 OBP. In his 3 minor league seasons, he’s shown the ability to get on base with a .404 OBP and a career walk rate of 15.7%.
  7. Brandon Brosher – 16.2%. This 2013 36th round pick will be turning 19 in February and only appeared in 22 games in the Gulf Coast League, but he did walk 12 times in 74 appearances. He only hit .180 and 3 of his 11 base hits were home runs. Very small sample size to work with.
  8. Eric Campbell – 15.5%. Eric will be turning 27 at the beginning of the 2014 season and this 1B/3B/LF has consistently reached base over 6 minor league seasons (.376 career OBP). His plate discipline has improved and the 15.5% walk rate with AAA Las Vegas in 2013 is higher than his career 11.9% rate. His lack of power (only 40 minor league home runs) while playing a traditional power position has definitely hindered him.
  9. Zach Mathieu – 14.9%. 16th round pick in the 2013 draft. This 22 year old first baseman played for Kingsport in 2013 and walked more than he hit. He only hit .138 and had more walks (14) than base hits (11).
  10. Brandon Nimmo – 14.8%. The Mets 1st round pick in 2011 played for Savannah in 2013 and walked 71 times, batting .273 with a .397 OBP. In three minor league seasons, his walk rate is 14.6%.
  11. Josh Rodriguez – 13.4%. Josh really isn’t a prospect. He’ll be 29 before the 2014 season and he spent the entire 2013 season at AA Binghamton.
  12. Jared King – 13.3%. 5th round pick in the 2013 draft who spent 2013 with the Brooklyn Cyclones. The outfielder hit .266 with a .347 OBP.
  13. Jeff Glenn – 12.8%. This catcher was a 9th round pick in the 2009 draft and spent 2013 with Savannah. He hit .196 in 2013 and has hit .223 over 4 minor league seasons. Career walk rate of 11.1%.
  14. Victor Cruzado – 12.8%. Outfielder out of the Dominican Republic spent 2013 in Kingsport after the prior two years in the Dominican Summer League. He’ll still be 21 on opening day and hit .328 with a .421 OBP in 2013.
  15. Dominic Smith – 12.6%. The Mets first round pick in 2013 played for the Gulf Coast League Mets and Kingsport in 2013, batting a combined .301 with a .398 OBP. He hit. He got on base. He won’t be turning 19 until the middle of the 2014 season. We’ll see how he progresses.
  16. Patrick Biondi – 12.4%. Mets 9th round pick in 2013. He spent the 2013 season with the Cyclones and the outfielder hit .249 with a .348 OBP and stole 17 bases in 50 games.
  17. Greg Pron – 12.1% 42nd round pick in 2011 and an outfielder that hit .198 with just 1 HR for Savannah. Career .249 batter with 10 HR in three seasons.
  18. Ivan Wilson – 12.0%. 3rd round pick in 2013. This outfielder will turn 19 in May 2014 and played for the Gulf Coast League Mets in 2013. He hit .213 with a .321 OBP. He stole 13 bases in 47 games. We’ll have to see how he progresses.

Obviously, many of these players will not make it. But there are a few interesting players on here to keep an eye on. I’m curious to see what the next couple of seasons bring for Dykstra, Stuart, Muno, Nimmo, King, Cruzado, Smith, Biondi, and Wilson.

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About the Author ()

Roger is a lifelong Mets fan since 1981, now married with kids and still knows that there is no such thing as a bad day at the ballpark with your child. Growing up, he wanted to be either the Second Baseman for the Mets - or their statistician. Follow him at @BigMetsFan1. email him at metsfanontwitter@aol.com

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