Detroit Tigers: Minor-league hitter top 10s

Erie SeaWolves batter Spencer Torkelson reached first base on a fielder’s choice after hitting this ball.
Erie SeaWolves batter Spencer Torkelson reached first base on a fielder’s choice after hitting this ball. /
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The 2021 minor-league season is over, so we thought now would be a good time to take a look back at some of the best statistical performances from hitters in the Detroit Tigers system.

You could certainly look for yourself at FanGraphs or Baseball Reference, but no one else is going to offer you handy packages of the top 10 performers in a variety of categories.

And just as a quick note, these lists are limited to qualified minor leaguers. That is to say, players who had enough plate appearances in the minors to qualify for the batting title. That removes veterans like Renato Núñez, Isaac Paredes, and Christin Stewart, who would have ranked on lists but didn’t play quite enough.

So, let’s begin with power production, because it’s the most fun. In both 2018 and 2019 the Detroit Tigers had just four qualified minor-league players hit 15 or more home runs. This year they had nine:

Detroit Tigers Minor League Home Run Leaders

That’s a solid uptick in power production over recent years, and it features some of the biggest prospect names in the system. But it doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story.

Let’s look at a rate stat, rather than a counting stat, to get some of the younger players in rookie leagues involved. We’ll go with Isolated Power, or ISO, which is just slugging percentage minus batting average — we’re removing those pesky singles to see who really offers the most extra-base pop:

Detroit Tigers Minor League ISO Leaders

So the top three power hitters remain the same, but then things get interesting. Manuel Sequera was one of Detroit’s big international signings in the 2019 class, but he was overshadowed by the number 9 player on this list, Roberto Campos. Sequera ended up leading the Florida Complex League with 11 home runs, and he added another 12 doubles.

Danuerys De La Cruz is an unheralded catcher from the 2018 international class who showed some promise in 2019, but broke out this year to lead the FCL in OPS (.975). Cristian Santana, meanwhile, was Detroit’s big international signing in the 2020 class, and he ended up having a tremendous season in the Dominican Summer League. He tied for 2nd in the league with 9 home runs, and his 161 wRC+ was good for 4th.

Detroit Tigers Minor League Doubles Leaders

Let’s take a look at one more power category. Doubles aren’t always talked about when it comes to power production, but there’s an old saying in minor league baseball about doubles turning into homers as players get older. So we’ll look at this one as a bit of power projection:

Here we see a lot of the usual suspects, but also a handful of interesting new names, led by Gage Workman, who seemingly lapped the field. In fact, Workman’s 37 doubles were just one shy of the overall minor-league lead. Workman also hit 12 home runs and 6 triples this year, so if that old scouting adage holds true, it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see him with 20 homers next season.

Eric De La Rosa and Andre Lipcius are two more interesting names here. De La Rosa is a line-drive machine with excellent speed who turned himself into an interesting prospect this year, while Andre Lipcius is just a steady, solid baseball player who takes advantage of what pitchers give him.

On the next page we’ll take a look at a few more interesting offensive stats.