Koby Clemens: 123 RBI Season

Andrew GodfreyCorrespondent ISeptember 9, 2009


Koby Clemens has hit 22 home runs and driven in 123 runs in his fifth minor league season, and could be catching for the Astros in the majors in a couple of years after switching to catcher during the 2008 season.

Roger Clemens may have made the news last week off the baseball field when his defamation suit against former trainer Brian McNamee was dismissed.

However, his son Koby has made news on the baseball field playing for the Lancaster Jethawks in the advanced Class A California League.

Clemens also played for the Corpus Christi Hooks in the Class AA Texas League.

He hit .341 and hit 22 homers between the two clubs, and drove in 123 runs. He also had an OBP of .415 and slugged .620.

This season, he is leading the California League in several statistical categories.

He leads the league in doubles with 45, runs batted in with 121, slugging with .636 percentage. He also is tied for the lead in batting average with a .345 mark and leads in OPS with a 1.055 percentage.

Clemens, who will be 23 in December, has taken his game to a new level. His 2007 season with Lexington, Kentucky of the SALLY League was his previous career best season.

In that season, he hit 15 homers and drove in 56 runs, hitting .252. Last season with Salem, Virginia of the Carolina League, his numbers dropped to seven homers and 52 runs batted in.

His 2009 numbers increased over his 2008 numbers in almost every category with large differences in some categories.

Doubles….29 in 2008….45 in 2009

Home Runs….7 in 2008….22 in 2009

Runs Batted In….52 in 2008….123 in 2009

Batting Average…. .268 in 2008…. .341 in 2009

On Base Percentage…. .369 in 2008…. .415 in 2009

Slugging Percentage…. .423 in 2008…. .620 in 2009

OPS…. .792 in 2008…. 1.036 in 2009

His ability to throw out runners as a catcher declined from the 2008 season to the 2009 season.

In 2008, he threw 45 runners out in 130 stolen base attempts for a 35 percent success rate. However, in 2009 he threw out only 25 runners in 96 attempts for a 26 percent success rate.

Still, it is too early to judge his catching ability, since he never caught in a minor league game until 2008, his fourth season.

The Astros had him playing third base mostly, with one game at second base, before the 2008 season. He committed 29 errors in 2007 at third base with a .891 fielding percentage.

His 52 errors in 216 games at third base in his career probably convinced the Astros that he would never be a third baseman at the major league level.

He has played 478 minor league games in five seasons, but has only played five games past the rookie league and A ball level.

Now that he has a year of catching behind him starting the 2009 season, he may have been more relaxed and it helped him focus more on his hitting.

Next year, Clemens should play a full season of AA baseball and it will be interesting to see how he hits at a higher level.

With Humberto Quintero and Chris Coste catching for the Astros at the major league level, Clemens is in line to be the Astros' regular catcher sometime in the 2011 season, but first he has to prove he can hit AA and AAA pitching.

No other Astros minor league catcher in AA or AAA this season has numbers close to those posted by Clemens this season.

Unless he falters in 2010, he may be catching in Minute Maid Park sooner than anyone thought.