ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Hickory Crawdads second baseman Ryan Rua has a Minor League-best 28 homers and sits atop the leaderboard for the Joe Bauman Home Run Award, presented by Musco Sports Lighting. The top regular season home run hitter in the domestic-based leagues wins the Joe Bauman Trophy and a check representing $200 for each one he hit.
The 23-year-old Rua has a two-homer cushion over Joey Gallo, his Hickory teammate, and Oklahoma City outfielder George Springer, who hit 19 for Corpus Christi, before being promoted to Triple-A. Buffalo's Mauro Gomez is three back with 25. Chris Colabello (Rochester), Robby Hefflinger (Lynchburg/Mississippi) and Ernesto Mejia (Gwinnett) each have 24 homers.
Classification leaders, provided they are not the overall winner, receive a $500 cash award. Gomez has a one homer lead over Colabello and Mejia in Triple-A. Brock Peterson of Memphis is three behind Gomez with 22. Louisville first baseman Mike Hessman, the active leader in career Minor League home runs with 385, has 21.
Matt Fields of Northwest Arkansas paces Double-A with 23 home runs, one more than Xavier Scruggs of Springfield. Kiel Roling (Tulsa) and Springer each have 19. Brett Nicholas (Frisco) and Ryan Schimpf (New Hampshire) are six behind Fields with 17.
Rua and Gallo, who won the Class A Short-Season/Rookie-level classification prize with 22 home runs last year, are 1-2 in Class A. Hefflinger and Max Muncy, their closest pursuers with 21 homers, are both in Double-A. Inland Empire's Michael Snyder has 20.
Jamestown first baseman Danny Collins leads all Class A Short-Season and Rookie-level players with six home runs, one better than nine other players.