Now on to the Rico Noel show! It’s not too often that the most powerful team in baseball (debatable, I guess, but aren’t the Yankees the most powerful? Maybe?) scoops up a former Valley Leaguer with the idea of using him as a designated pinch runner.
So Noel made his major league debut with the Evil Empire, all (mostly?) because of his speed. So it should come as no surprise that Rico is very, very easily atop the career minor league stolen bases list since 2006. Take a look:
1 Rico Noel Covington ’08 283
2 Tyler Bortnick Front Royal ’06 170
3 Mike Mitchell Staunton ’06 168
4 John Raynor New Market ’04 145
5 Tony Thomas Harrisonburg ’05 142
6 Patrick Norris Harrisonburg ’07 138
7 Blake Tekotte Woodstock ’06 127
8 Tyson Auer Luray ’05-06 124
9 Matt Camp Covington ’03 121
10 Cory Spangenberg Winchester ’10 108
The difference between Rico and the second highest total, 113, would rank as the 10th most by itself. Rico has signed a minor league free agent contract with the Dodgers, so there’s an excellent chance he will continue to add to that amazing total. Of course, it would be better yet if he made the big league team in spring training!
Noel, Raynor, Tekotte, and Spangenberg have all played in the majors. Mitchell, Norris (who may have been the fastest man I’ve ever witnessed personally), Auer, and Camp are all out of organized baseball.