Presenting the minor league stolen base leaders

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Here’s a list of the current stolen base leaders in the minors, topped by a couple of very good prospects.

1. Billy Hamilton (A- Reds): 52 SB, .233/.294/.325 in 240 AB
2. Gary Brown (A+ Giants): 32 SB, .335/.407/.487 in 269 AB
2. Tyler Graham (AAA Giants): 32 SB, .269/.339/.358 in 201 AB
4. Rymer Liriano (A-, A+ Padres): 31 SB, .267/.338/.428 in 236 AB
5. Daniel Carroll (A+ Mariners): 30 SB, .351/.406/.421 in 235 AB
6. Anthony Gose (AA Blue Jays): 29 SB, .249/.346/.369 in 225 AB
6. Travis Witherspoon (A- Angels): 29 SB, .215/.277/.320 in 247 AB
8. Reymond Fuentes (A+ Padres): 28 SB, .299/.351/.357 in 244 AB
9. Reggie Keen (A- Brewers): 25 SB, .263/.313/.379 in 224 AB
9. Jeff Kobernus (A+ Nationals): 25 SB, .260/.303/.349 in 235 AB
11. Andrew Means (A+ Reds): 24 SB, .265/.328/.374 in 211 AB
11. Felix Sanchez (A- Red Sox): 24 SB, .238/.321/.300 in 210 AB
11. Jonathan Villar (A+, AA Astros): 24 SB, .250/.341/.400 in 220 AB
11. Carlos Willoughby (A- Giants): 24 SB, .276/.374/.344 in 250 AB
15. Mike Trout (AA Angels): 23 SB, .330/.434/.565 in 209 AB
15. Ray Kruml (AA Yankees): 23 SB, .268/.316/.329 in 228 AB

This kind of list is always going to have a lot of non-prospects, but some very good ones make the top 15 here, including the game’s best prospect in the high minors.  Trout has been brilliant as a 19-year-old in Double-A, amassing a .998 OPS through 57 games. About the only flaw in the game is that he’s not hitting a lot of doubles (just nine so far to go along with eight triples and eight homers).  However, he makes up for that by often taking second after his singles and walks.

Hamilton is far out in front despite having a disappointing season to date.  Baseball America rated him as the game’s No. 50 prospect after he hit .318/.383/.456 in Rookie ball in 2010, but the 20-year-old has really struggled since moving up to full-season ball. His 64/20 K/BB ratio is particularly problematic given that he doesn’t have much power at all.  Still, Hamilton is a shortstop, and he’s not going to have to be all that strong of a hitter to turn into a quality regular.

Gary Brown isn’t a fabulous basestealer — he’s been caught 14 times to go with his 32 successes — but he is looking like an excellent prospect.  He looked like something of a project coming out of Cal State Fullerton, so he’s blowing away expectations by hitting .335 in his first full season.

I’m not a Gose fan, and I think Fuentes and Villar are probably the next best prospects here.  Fuentes was the third player to go from Boston to San Diego in the Adrian Gonzalez deal last year. Villar and Gose were both part of the Astros’ haul from the Phillies for Roy Oswalt, but Gose was then shipped to Toronto for Brett Wallace.

Mike Moustakas sets Royals single-season record with 37th home run

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Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.

The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.

Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.

Chris Sale records his 300th strikeout this season

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.

Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.

Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.