Willson Contreras and Chesny Young had an excellent year down on the farm. And when the dust settled on the minor league regular season Monday, Contreras and Young won their league’s batting title.
Willson Contreras hit .333 for Double-A Tennessee and is the 2015 Southern League Batting Champion. Contreras finished 11 points higher than Max Kepler (.322). Contreras is the first Smokies player to win a batting title since Joe Gates in 1978.
After spending the first 28 games of the season with Low-A South Bend, Chesny Young ran away with the 2015 Carolina League Batting title. Young hit .321 in 102 games for High-A Myrtle Beach, 24 points higher than Kevin Heller (Salem Red Sox). Young finished with the third highest batting average in Pelicans’ franchise history.
Willson Contreras is considered one of the top catching prospects in the game. Contreras was known more for his defense than offense prior to this season. Contreras batted .242/320/.359 in 80 games for High-A Daytona a year ago with 14 doubles, two triples and five home runs for a .679 OPS.
While Kyle Schwarber and Dan Vogelbach were garnering all of the attention early in the season, Contreras got off to a good start and did not quit hitting. Contreras batted .333/.413/.478 with 34 doubles, four triples and eight home runs for a .891 OPS in 126 games. And he walked (57) five less times than he struck out (62) in 521 plate appearances.
Willson Contreras finished first in the Southern League in batting average (.333), second in on-base percentage (.413), third in slugging percentage (.478) and second in OPS (.891). Contreras had the third most hits (151) in the league, was second in doubles (34), second in RBI (75) and fifth in total bases (217).
INF/OF Chesny Young started the season with Low-A South Bend and batted .315/.385/.380 in 28 games with five doubles and a triple for a .765 OPS. Young was promoted to High-A Myrtle Beach on May 12 and excelled at the higher level.
In 102 games for the Pelicans, Young hit .321/.394/.388 with 18 doubles, three triples and a home run for a .782 OPS. Young walked (45) more time than he struck out (44) in 402 at bats. And Young set the all-time Carolina League record by reaching base safely in 44 straight games.
Chesny Young led the Carolina League in batting average (.321), third in OBP (.394), 12th in slugging (.388), seventh in OPS (.782) and fifth in hits (129).
In 130 games combined between Low-A South Bend and High-A Myrtle Beach, Chesny Young hit .320/.392/.386 with 23 doubles, four triples and a home run for a .778 OPS. Young finished with 57 walks and 51 strikeouts in 510 at bats.