Pittsburgh Pirates Minors: Top 5 Performers in May

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Pittsburgh Pirates
Mar 12, 2020; Bradenton, Florida, USA; A general view of LECOM Park during the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Toronto Blue Jays . Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Outfielder Lolo Sanchez

Another season no one has talked about this year belongs to outfielder Lolo Sanchez. He’s completely flown under the radar and despite that, he’s among the organization’s minor league leaders in many statistical categories.

On the season, Sanchez is demolishing pitches at the tune of a .269/.412/.493 line with a .410 wOBA and 159 wRC+ in 85 May plate appearances. Sanchez has been crushing the ball, with 9 of his 18 total hits going for extra bases (3 home runs, 6 doubles). This has led to an outstanding .224 isolated slugging percentage. That’s, by far, a single-season career-high. He has almost matched his own highest single-season home run total when he hit 5 in 2019. Sanchez has always had speed, and he’s stolen 6 bags in 7 attempts so far this season. He’s on pace for 37 across a 500 plate appearance season.

Among the Pirate minor league hitters with at least 60 trips to the plate, he leads them in OPS, strikeout rate is second in on-base percentage, wOBA, wRC+, 5th in slugging percentage, and 7th in isolated slugging. He’s just 1 of 40 minor league players to have more walks than strikeouts this year in at least 60 plate appearances, coming in with a 12/9 BB/K ratio.

Sanchez showing power is very promising. He’s always been more of a light-hitting, on-base speed threat more than a power threat, but he’s still walking at a very strong rate while also throwing some pop into the mix. He’s also been able to increase his power output without having to sell out his strikeout rate, going down on strike three just 11.3% of the time. Sanchez just turned 22 at the later half of April, so he’s still pretty young. But he could quickly move up the minors, and potentially to the majors, between the next two seasons.