Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Greatest Bulls Hitters — Corrections and More Thoughts

A few days ago we posted a table to open a discussion regarding the best AAA Durham Bulls. Unfortunately, there were a couple of mistakes in that table and a few players who deserved mention were missed.

After thinking about it a bit, it also seemed to me that sorting by plate appearances was a better measure of opportunities to contribute to Bulls success than games played. If you limit the table to 1000 plate appearances and sort on that metric, here’s what you get.

AAA Durham Bulls Hitters, Sorted by Plate Appearances, >1000 PA

However, Chris D’s work points out there are other ways to look at these guys, and other rank-orderings can tell you something about “greatness” as well. The same 17 players sorted by OPS look like the next table. What jumps out at me in that ordering are the “Bill Evers era” (1998-2005) players: Notably Bob Smith, Scott McClain, Steve Cox, and Ryan Jackson.

AAA Durham Bulls Hitters, >1000 PA, Sorted by OPS

Looking at numbers this way, it becomes harder and harder to pick out just one player, or even a team of top players, although we do have everything except a catcher on this list. What about trying to pick a Durham Bulls AAA All-Star team with say 4 outfielders, 5 infielders, a catcher, a couple of starters and a couple of relievers?


  1. I had forgotten just how good Bobby Smith was. I believe his numbers would have been even better had he not been bounced back and forth between Tampa and Durham.

    There was another guy from the late 90s by the name of Rich Butler who didn't make this list because his OPS wasn't as strong probably. But to me, I've never seen anyone in person that could hit as hard as he did. I once saw him hit a shot halfway up the Fox 50 Building on the fly.

  2. Agree. Butler only had 564 plate appearances, but a very impressive slash line of .291/.376/.488 over 1998-99. Those teams had some very serious hitters on them. Well before my time, but wonder just how the down-ticket teams were put together as part of an expansion franchise. Not sure how the expansion draft worked. I wasn't a fan back then.

  3. Also the 2006 version of Kevin Witt. He fell short on Pas, but man that was a monster season.

  4. Carl Crawford;

    Yep, Kevin Witt; as long as they threw him fastballs. He had real problems with breaking stuff.