Offensive Players of the Postseason09/18/2013 12:46 PM ET
By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com
Here's a look at the top offensive performers in each league during the 2013 postseason:
Vince Belnome, Durham
(.240/.486/.320, 8 G, 6-for-25, 2 2B, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 11 BB, 6 K)
With an average of 2.8 runs per game per team, the IL playoffs were dominated by pitchers this year, but the Bulls first baseman was one hitter who stood out, if only for his patience at the plate. Belnome's 11 walks and .486 OBP over eight games -- including the Triple-A Baseball National Championship -- were easily tops among IL sluggers this postseason. Jerry Sands of Indianapolis was an early candidate for this spot after homering twice and driving in five in two games, but unfortunately both were Indians' losses in a semifinal sweep.
Pacific Coast League
Efren Navarro, Salt Lake
(.593/.667/.889, 8 G, 16-for-27, 1 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 8 R, 8 BB, 3 K, 1 CS)
The offense was much more plentiful in the PCL -- surprise, surprise -- but even then, it was the Bees first baseman who went above and beyond his fellow competitors. His 16 hits, two triples, nine RBIs, eight walks and .593/.667/.889 slash line were each by far the best among PCL sluggers. Though Salt Lake fell to Omaha in the Finals, you certainly can't place the blame on Navarro, who went 9-for-16 with a homer and six RBIs in the four-game series.
Ali Castillo, Trenton
(.381/.409/.714, 6 G, 8-for-21, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R, 1 BB, 3 K)
The 24-year-old shortstop wasn't exactly a prolific hitter during the regular season. He owned a .218/.289/.282 slash line in 46 games for Trenton between April and June before being sent back down to Class A Advanced Tampa. Then again, sometimes the playoffs are prime times for the unlikeliest of heroes. Castillo's four extra-base hits were just three fewer than his Double-A regular-season total, despite coming in 38 fewer games. Three of his six postseason RBIs came in an 11-4 Finals-clinching win over Harrisburg.
Micah Johnson, Birmingham
(.368/.467/.474, 10 G, 14-for-38, 1 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 12 R, 7 BB, 5 K, 7 SB, 0 CS)
Johnson had one of the Minors' most surprising regular-season campaigns, batting .312 with a Minors-best 84 steals across three levels after being taken in the ninth round by the White Sox last year. Though he put his name on the radar with his speed, he showed he can do a little bit of everything in the playoffs with a homer, seven RBIs, seven walks and a .940 OPS in the playoffs for the champion Barons. Don't worry though; the steals were still there as he went a perfect 7-for-7 on the basepaths.
C.J. Cron, Arkansas
(.303/.324/.758, 8 G, 10-for-33, 3 2B, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 5 R, 1 BB, 6 K)
In a sign that he is indeed a late bloomer, the Angels' No. 2 prospect certainly had a case for the most impressive offensive showing in all of the Minor Leagues this postseason. After hitting a season-best five homers in August, the 23-year-old first baseman slugged a Texas League-high four in the playoffs, two more than teammate and runner-up Randal Grichuk. Like Navarro above, Cron's effort was all for naught, however, as the Travelers fell to San Antonio in five games.
Abel Baker, Inland Empire
(.361/.400/.639, 9 G, 13-for-36, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R, 3 BB, 12 K)
Because of Cal League rules that, for some teams, include two rounds before the Finals, the 66ers had a long road to capturing their first title as an Angels affiliate. Baker was the biggest driver of their success through all three series. The catcher's .361 average, .639 slugging and 1.039 OPS all led the team, and he helped guide an Inland Empire pitching staff that only allowed one run in each of his two starts behind the plate during the three-game Championship Series. The 22-year-old owned a .252/.302/.384 slash line in 87 games during the regular season.
Sean Coyle, Salem
(.417/.500/.833, 3 G, 5-for-12, 3 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K)
Battling injury issues all season, Coyle only appeared in 48 games for Salem this year and then was deactivated for the first round of the playoffs after experiencing elbow problems. But once he was back in the lineup, he sure left an impact. That was no more true than in Game 3 of the Finals, when the second baseman went 2-for-3 with two doubles and four RBIs from the top spot in the order to lead Salem to a 6-4 win and a series sweep. Despite missing the first two games of the playoffs, his seven postseason RBIs were three clear of Potomac's Adrian Nieto and teammate Henry Ramos, who finished in second with four apiece.
Florida State League
Kris Bryant, Daytona
(.350/.458/.450, 6 G, 7-for-20, 2 2B, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 CS)
Talk about a professional debut. After being taken second overall by the Cubs in June, Bryant moved quickly through the Chicago system, jumping to Daytona from Class A Short-Season Boise in mid August. He tore the cover off the ball at both stops, and that type of production continued into the playoffs. The former University of San Diego star and 2013 Golden Spikes winner tied with teammate Dan Vogelbach for the FSL lead with four RBIs and also ranked in the top three in all three slash categories. Fellow Cubs Pin-Chieh Chen (.375 average) and Zeke Devoss (.923 OPS) also deserve mention for leading a Daytona offense that was easily the best in a pitcher-friendly FSL postseason.
Rio Ruiz, Quad Cities
(.370/.469/.778, 8 G, 10-for-27, 2 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 8 R, 5 BB, 6 K, 2 SB)
In an Astros system stacked with talent, the organization's No. 14 prospect enjoyed a solid first full season for the River Bandits. Then, he broke out big time in the playoffs. Half of his 10 hits in 27 at-bats went for extra bases, including a league-best three homers, while he showed good patience with five walks and a .469 OBP. He finished strong, going 4-for-10 with a homer, a double, three RBIs and three runs scored in Quad Cities' three-game sweep in the Championship Series.
South Atlantic League
Isaac Ballou, Hagerstown
(.393/.485/.536, 7 G, 11-for-28, 4 2B, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 6 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 SB, 1 CS)
The Suns couldn't have asked for a much better leadoff man this postseason. The Nationals took Ballou in the 15th round in this year's Draft, and he batted .294 with a .405 OBP in 59 games for Class A Short-Season Auburn before moving up to Hagerstown in time for the playoffs. He became an on-base machine, reaching almost half the time over seven games and coming around to score six times in that span. His 4-for-5 showing on Sept. 7 sent Hagerstown into the Finals. Ballou's impressive performance wasn't enough for the Suns to capture a Sally League title though as Savannah won the Championship Series in four games.
New York-Penn League
Mason Katz, State College
(.435/.458/.739, 6 G, 10-for-23, 1 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB, 5 K)
The Cardinals' fourth-round pick hit only two homers over 56 games for the Spikes during the regular season before breaking out in the playoffs. He homered and drove in all three State College runs in its 4-3 loss to Tri-City in Game 3 of the Finals to conclude a campaign that was impressive individually but not as much on the team end. His .435 average led all New York-Penn postseason hitters.
Mitch Nay, Vancouver
(.381/.381/.619, 5 G, 8-for-21, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, 0 BB, 5 K)
After being selected 58th overall in 2012, the Blue Jays' No. 17 prospect wasn't able to make his pro debut until this year and spent the entire regular season with Rookie-level Bluefield. Toronto moved him up to Vancouver in time for their quest for a three-peat, and the move worked wonders. Nay hit the Canadians' only homer of the playoffs, led the Northwest League with four RBIs and ranked in the top five in average, slugging and OPS. He went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored from the No. 3 spot in the lineup in Vancouver's 5-0 victory in the winner-take-all Game 3.
Aaron Barbosa, Pulaski
(.529/.579/.647, 4 G, 9-for-17, 1 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 SB)
The 21-year-old outfielder went undrafted after his junior year at Northeastern University but signed a pro contract with the Mariners in late July. He batted .356 in 30 games for Rookie-level Pualski -- a number that would have led the league had he put together enough at-bats to qualify -- entering the playoffs. Then, he took his hitting prowess to another level. Barbosa went 4-for-4 with a stolen base and three runs scored in Pulaski's 9-4 win over Bluefield to begin the playoffs. He slowed down only comparatively the rest of the way, going 5-for-13 (.385) in the remaining three games as the Mariners won each of their four games en route to an Appy League title.
Michael Ratterree, Helena
(.563/.696/.938, 5 G, 9-for-16, 3 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 7 R, 7 BB, 3 K, 1 SB, 1 CS)
In case you didn't believe before that Ratterree was the best player in the Pioneer League this season, you better believe it now. The circuit's MVP was nearly unstoppable in the playoffs. He got a hit in more than half his at-bats and reached base almost 70 percent of the time, not to mention his league-best six RBIs and .938 slugging percentage. Still, Ratterree's dominance only got the Brewers so far as they fell in three games to Idaho Falls.