Albert Almora is closing in on the 100 Plate Appearance plateau and has yet to draw a walk. He has just ten strikeouts this season, so he’s not swinging and missing a lot, but he apparently isn’t taking too much either.
Believe it or not, though, he isn’t the only player to enter yesterday’s games without a walk and to have collected at least 90 plate appearances this season. Meet Humberto Arteaga, Baseball America’s 2013 number 20 prospect from the Royals farm system and the only other candidate to be the last guy to walk this season.
If either of these two finish the season with a 0.0% walk rate, he won’t be the first accomplish that either. As recently as 2011 Pedro Feliz, at the age of 36, walked to the plate 92 times for the Padres Triple A franchise, and did not earn a free pass once. He also finished that season with an OPS of .587.
One thing missing from the (short) list of minor league players to finish a season with at least 90 PA and no walks is any notable major league player. Even for great contact hitters, some walks are just expected. So, since good prospects should have walks and Almora doesn’t, should we be worried?
Probably not yet. Like I said last week, all he needs to do walk a few times and his BB% climbs back into a more normal range. The percentages look bad, but he’s only four or five walks away from being fairly normal. As we saw from Anthony Rizzo last night, that’s one good game. Granted, Almora isn’t the type of player we expect to ever walk four times in a game, but three or four in a week isn’t out of the question.
In the meantime, we get to enjoy an unexpected, if dubious, race as we enter the month of May. Who will be last guy in the minors to earn a walk? Will it be Arteaga, the lightly built young shortstop playing in Lexington? Or will it be Almora, the slightly younger outfielder playing in Daytona?
Almora’s clearly the better prospect, but he’s facing tougher pitching. Still, I think he can do it. Hopefully soon Almora will take a free pass and leave the Kansas City Royals in possession of the Walkless Wonder of 2014.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa - It isn’t often you see Iowa rainouts two days in a row, but that’s what happened. Yesterday’s game was officially postponed.
Tennessee - A two run seventh gave the Smokies the lead, and they kept that lead for a 4-3 win.
Daytona - They weren’t shut out, but Daytona was clobbered 11-2.
Kane County - Kane County was supposed to play in Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids is in Iowa, Iowa got rained on, and so it not surprising that this game was rained out.
Performances of Note
- [Tennessee] The battle of Kershaw vs Kris Bryant went to Kershaw. Bryant finished 0 for 5 on the night and struck out twice, but he also played the full game after a scary incident at first in the first inning. Bryant went to the ground after tripping over the first baseman, was checked by the trainer, and seemed to be holding his wrist, but he stayed in and played the rest of the game. So that’s probably a good thing.
- [Tennessee] Dustin Geiger had a good night. He finished 2 for 2 with a double and 2 walks.
- [Tennessee] Jae-Hoon Ha and John Andreoli both had a double as part of their two hit games. Andreoli also tripled, walked, and stole 2 bases. He now has 12 steals this season.
- [Tennessee] Ivan Pineyro pitched 5.2 innings and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks while striking out 6. The bullpen of Ryan Searle, Hunter Cervenka, and Armando Rivero didn’t allow much else the rest of the way, though, setting the Smokies up for their come back.
- [Daytona] Dan Vogelbach had 3 more hits, including a double, in this game. It appears his early season struggles are in the past now, and his line over his last ten games is an impressive .429/.512/.600.
- [Daytona] Chadd Krist also finished with 2 hits, including a double.
- Thanks to the rainouts, and weather permitting, Iowa and Kane County will both be playing double headers today.