The walk is still, IMO, an underrated aspect of a position players offense. It is sometimes just as good as a single, and it is always better than an out. And strikeouts, IMO, aren’t a bad thing, but it is an indication of a lack of contact.
You can still be a good offensive player if you strikeout a lot and you can still be good when you walk a little. But if you do both at the same time, you’re going to be bad. If you can manage to walk a lot and strikeout a little? You’re probably going to be good.
For reference, if we looked at BB/K ratio for major leaguers, you would have to go all the way down to #20 to get to a guy with an OBP under .337. That’s a pretty good OBP. The bottom 30 guys in BB/K ratio all have an OBP worse than .337.
10 of the worst 15 are under a .300 OBP, while 5 of the best 11 are above .400 (there are only 10 players in baseball with an OBP over .400).
So, a high BB/K ratio is a good thing. A low one is bad. What minor leaguers have the best BB to K ratio?
I limited the list to those about a .6 BB/K ratio. If you can do that in the majors, that’s the top 25%. Only 11 major leaguers have more walks than strikeouts this year. The Cubs have 4 in their minor league system doing so.
I seem to like Adrian Cardenas more than most, mainly due to this number. Ronald Torreyes is another favorite of mine. Although they are close on this list, they are complete different hitters; one with high walk totals, one with low walk totals. We’ve already seen Cardenas in the majors and I think we’ll be seeing Torreyes in another two years.
The highest ceiling players on this list would have to be either Dan Vogelbach or Matt Szczur. One thing you’ll notice on this list is a lack of power, until you get to Vogelbomb’s .648 slugging percentage. Seeing him here makes me feel better about our pre-season ranking of #4 in the system. I was done on Szczur coming into the season, but he has me intrigued now that his approach has improved so much.
I wanted to mention a few other notes. Albert Almora is near the bottom of this and has the lowest walk rate in the system (minimum 100 plate apps). He also has the 2nd lowest strikeout rate, so if his numbers are indicative of anything (they’re not), he’s going to be quite the aggressive hitter.
Joining Almora in the .20 and below range (.20 is bottom 5% of players in MLB!) is stud SS prospect, Javier Baez. These low BB/K rates don’t worry me yet, but they are something to keep an eye on.
Dave Sappelt is 23rd on the list at .51.