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Barons review: top five hitters

It’s been a pretty fun ride for Birmingham in the last several years, with a ton of top prospects coming through.

While we may not get to watch our beloved Barons here in Birmingham this season, I wanted to take a look back at some of the best single-season performances we’ve seen recently.

Obviously, we don’t always get the top prospects for very long, as they get called up quickly if they’re doing well. But we’ve still had a quite a few that made a statement for a long period time while they were here.

Let’s go year-by-year and look at the top single season performances for hitters. I’ll do a follow-up on the pitchers in a separate article.

2015: Tim Anderson
This one is really easy for me. Tim Anderson is one of my favorite players in the game today, and that's because of the magical summer he had for the Barons in 2015 and getting to watch him all the time. 

I had the same feeling with Anderson as I had watching Luis Robert this past season: You just knew he was a stud. 

In 2015 with Birmingham, Anderson slashed .312/.350/.429 with a .779 OPS in 513 at-bats with five home runs, 79 runs, 46 RBIs, and 49 stolen bases. 

He was the only player on that 2015 team who hit better than .300 (200 at-bat minimum), so again, it's a pretty easy choice. 

2016: Nicky Delmonico 
I'm not going to lie: This was a rough year for the Barons. Some of the bigger-named prospects on the team that year really didn't perform, like Courtney Hawkins and Keenyn Walker. 

But one name I won't forget is Nicky Delmonico. He didn't spend a ton of time in Birmingham in 2016, as a holdover from 2015. But over 72 games with the Barons in 2016, Delmonico hit .338 with 10 home runs and 31 RBIs to go along with an OPS of 1.073. 

That propelled him to making his big-league debut for the White Sox in 2017, and he's had some big moments in Chicago over the past three seasons. 

2017: Nick Basto 
This is another difficult year to pick, as only two players had an OPS better than .800 for the Barons in 2017 — and those two players combined to play 30 games in Birmingham that season. 

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Nick Basto gets the nod, and he really did have a solid year, hitting .247 with 14 home runs and 51 RBIs. 

Unfortunately, he was able to repeat that performance in 2018 and is no longer in baseball. 

2018: Eloy Jiménez 
This one is a no-brainer, and I honestly could have picked him for 2017 as well, even though he only played 18 games with the Barons that year. 

But in 2018, Eloy Jiménez hit .317 with 10 home runs and 42 RBIs in just 53 games with the Barons, with an OPS of .925. 

I'll be honest, I watched Eloy a lot that year and must have picked the wrong games to attend, because I wasn't that impressed and didn't have the same feeling I had with Anderson and Robert. 

But in this case, the numbers don't lie, and Eloy had a huge year in Birmingham in 2018. 

2019: Luis Robert
This past season is hard to make a pick — for all the right reasons, as there were several great performances on the Barons in 2019. 

But nothing comes close to what I witnessed with Luis Robert. I've been going to Barons games for 20 years and I've never seen someone as talented. 

He's one of those guys that you just look at and know he's a stud. 

In 56 glorious games with the Barons, Robert hit .314 with eight home runs, 43 runs, 29 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases. It's been a long time since I've had that much fun watching somebody play for the Barons. 

I can't help but mention Nick Madrigal, Yermín Mercedes, and Gavin Sheets as well. They all had really good years in Birmingham as well, and were fun to watch.