As always the S14 team name is in brackets
A look at the top 5 all-time Hunter SB leaders and how their careers unfolded
1. Zeus Stewart (Currently FA): 499 SB 39 CS
1278 GP 739 R 125 HR 597 RBI.257 AVG .306 OPS .719 OPS
Zeus is known as the Greek god of steals in Hunter. His SB proficiency was an insane 92.7%. Tim Raines generally considered to be the most efficient modern base-stealer of the modern era ONLY stole bases at an 84% clip.
Unfortunately for Zeus the rest of his numbers were pedestrian in comparison, it is clear from his average and OBP he only stuck in the majors as long as he did based on his ridiculous speed.
Stewart spent seasons 1-2 with Sacramento (Honolulu) then the relocated to Vancouver as a result Stewart was sent to the minors where he spent seasons 3-4. It was in season 5 he returned to the majors for Vancouver (Hon) and posted his best SB numbers from season 5-8, topping out with a 90 SB season. During this time Stewart also collected the only two awards of his career: Gold Glove 2b (S7 & S8)
After season 8 Vancouver relocated to Boise (Hon), which meant a pink slip for Mr. Stewart. He was signed as a FA by Huntington (Austin) and played there for season 9 but under new management in season 10 he was dealt to Salem (Las Vegas) for Vin Maduro. Maduro is currently pitching for Austin in the ML and has posted career stats of 8-11 with a 5.57 ERA. Based on his talent he’ll top out as an SP4 or SP5 in the ML.
Upon reaching Salem (LV) he played there for two seasons (10-11) before leaving as a FA before the start of season 12. In his last ML go around Buffalo signed him for a single season (12) before letting him walk as a FA.
Despite being unemployed for two season Zeus has still not announced his retirement undoubtedly hoping a team will pick him up as a marketing ploy to allow him to reach 500 SB. He currently sits 1 short. At age 33 he still has 83 speed and could provide a solid pinch running option down the stretch for a team. My bet is by the end of the Jan. 13th he’ll be rostered and on his way to 500.
2. Erubil Molina (Aug) 459 SB 85 CS
1869 GP 1569 R (3rd all-time) 252 HR 1127 RBI .313 AVG .398 OPS .913 OPS
Unlike Stewart number two on the list Erubil Molinda was a bone fide SuperStar and likely first ballot Hall of Famer. He has spent his entire 14 year career with the same organization St. Louis/Augusta. During that time he accumulated the following awards: ROY (S1), 6-Time All-star, 3-time Silver Slugger & 2 time Gold Glover.
His top SB season was season 8 where he stole 92 bases and was only caught 12 times.
At age 38 Molina is reaching the end of his career he still starts in LF for Augusta but with 12 negative plays for the season he’s far from the 2-time gold glove defender he was in his prime. It also looks like his SB days are over; as his speed has decreased to 58 and he has attempted a steal all season.
Still as mentioned above Molina will likely be one of the first players ushered into the HOF when it opens. In addition to being 2nd in SB he sits 3rd on the all-time runs list.
3. Ivan Castro (Chi) 398 SB 85 CS
1497 GP 899 R 24 HR 419 RBI .284 AVG .351 OBP .684 OPS
Ivan Castro had his first cup of coffee in the ML during season 2 with the Charlotte FatNasty (New Oreleans) only getting into 8 games for a total of 33 AB. He was traded to NY before playing a single game in season 3.
NY traded away Daniel Nelson to get Castro and two other players. Nelson went on to play a total of 1213 GP and finished with career numbers of 254 HR 779 RBI .271 AVG and .827 OPS. In addition to Castro NY received Chris King who played 484 ML games and posted 59 HR 192 RBI .286 AVG .867 OPS. King last played in the ML during season 9 with the SLC franchise. NY also received Craig Nielsen who had a brief ML career (only 400 AB) and last played in the majors for Cincy in season 11. At the end of the day the trade really broke down to Castro for Nelson, which seemed to give each team a productive player.
Castro stayed in NY from season 3 till season 6 when he was dealt to Colorado as part of a blockbuster deal. This time around NY traded 3 players to get one player back. The player NY acquired was Kevin Coleman (166W-90L 3.64ERA) a three-time Cy Young award winner. Unfortunately for NY he left via FA after season 7 due to salary cap constraints on the NY franchise, which briefly caused Radek to think about selling the team.
In addition to Castro, Colorado received David Anderson (119W-70L 4.14ERA) a former Cy Young award winner who retired following season 11 & Carlton York who’s Colorado career was short lived. He was traded back to NY in season 7 and has since racked up 202 SV and 3.01 ERA for NY.
Castro himself played for Colorado until last season (S13) when he was dealt to Chicago. The deal from the Chicago side alleviated 8M in contract obligations and also netted him two prospects in addition to Castro. The first prospect was A. Gomez as SP who is only 28 and has the stuff to be a quality SP2/SP3 type. For the season he has pitched 137 innings and is 8-8 with a 4.14 ERA. Chicago also received Mitch Westson a 2b with a below average glove but a plus bat. He is a former 1st round draft pick (40th overall) who will provide 20-25HR power up the middle. At this point in his career Castro has been relegated to pinch running and defensive replacement duties for Chicago.
Colorado’s return in the Castro trade was TJ Croushure and Pablo Chavez both names will be well known to long-time Hunter owners. Croushure has always been an enigma due to his EXTREMELY low durability. As a SP for Colorado he has only been able to make 11 starts for 80 IP and has posted an ERA of 3.04. Pablo Chavez on the other hand is the best CF Hunter’s every produced not named G. Biggio. Chavez career numbers for a CF are outstanding and he has not shown signs of slowing down. His current stats for Colorado are 33 HR 83 RBI .323 AVG with a 1.003 OPS. In addition to his stats Chavez is a 2-time WS champ (Washington S4 & Louisville S12).
Castro seems to be lock to break the 400 SB mark and has an outside shot at catching Molina depending on how many more seasons the 34 year old plays.
4. Vin Quinn SS/CF (Retired) 380 SB 78 CS
1154 GP 679 R 63 HR 555 RBI .270 AVG .395 SLG .728 OPS
Of the names on this list Quinn had the most stable career. He sent all 8 ML seasons (S1-S8) with the Wichita franchise, which has since relocated to Austin. Quinn’s top SB season was season 5 during which he stole 70 bases.
For his career Vin Quinn was a below average defender and bat at SS. It’s apparent former owner ewhcippe was enamored with his speed but it may also explain why Wichita lagged behind their AL South division-mates in the early years
5. Rick Jones LF (Retired) 355 SB 101 CS
977 R 176 HR 758 RBI 355 SB .282 AVG .485 SLG .840 OPS
Jones like Molina was a complete player who just happened to steal a lot of bases. While his pedigree wasn’t quite as high as Molina he did have a quality career. He broke into the ML in season 2 with Rochester (Nor) and won ROY. He stayed with the Rochester (Nor) franchise through season 5 when he was traded to Toledo (Phi).
In addition to Jones Toledo acquired Victor Nagy a career journeyman RP (222 ML IP 6.75 ERA). Nagy is still kicking around the majors with Pawtucket and is having his best year of his career at age 35 (3.25 ERA for the season). Going back the other way in the deal was JJ Banks who now plays for the Austin franchise. At the age of 30 Banks has posted a career line of 705 R 194 HR 697 RBI .273 AVG .475 SLG. 811 OPS. His totals are likely to surpass Jones but he won’t pass Jones %’s. The deal looks to be a very good one for both sides.
After Jones landed in Toldeo he stayed with the franchise until S11. Along the way he picked of a LF Gold Glove in S7, after S11 Jones tested FA and was signed by Burlington (KC) late in the season. When I say late in the season I mean REALLY late. Jones’ Burlington career lasted all of 2 AB bats. After S12 he never played in the majors again and has since retired.