With two more walks tonight, Edwin Encarnacion has eclipsed the 60 walk barrier.
This is an extremely good sign as Encarnacion has now achieved part two of the Cyclone Rule. The Cyclone Rule seeks to identify young hitters who possess a positive progression in plate discipline and IsoD skills, because for most hitters IsoP typically follows a similar path as IsoD. Hitters who show positive progression and development in IsoD and walk rate throughout their minor league career and early big league career also tend to show a propensity for developing into very useful big league hitters. The two part rule is as follows:
1) Achieve a PA/BB ratio of ~12 (or better) throughout a player's minor league career.
2) Achieve a PA/BB ratio of ~10 (or better) in a full big league season before a player's peak seasons (typically by age 26 or 27), or approximately by the time a player has 1,500 to 2,000 big league plate appearances. Per 600 plate appearances, or a full season, this is roughly 60 walks.
Encarnacion achieved Part One with a PA/BB ratio of 11.85 during his minor league career, and now he has achieved Part Two with a PA/BB ratio of 9.33 during his age 25 season (60 walks in roughly 560 plate appearances).
The next goal is for Encarnacion to, at minimum, maintain his current walk rate in future seasons, or ideally, further improve his walk rate in future seasons. He has shown in 2008 that he is capable of developing into a hitter with that type of discipline; now it's time for him to be that hitter with that type of discipline. By maintaining his walk rate, I like the chances for Encarnacion to post a .360-.370 on-base percentage with a slugging percentage on the good side of .500 as early as next season and to maintain or even improve upon those numbers throughout his peak years.
Joey Votto is joining Encarnacion in graduating with the Cyclone Rule. Votto achieved a PA/BB ratio of 7.44 in the minor leagues, and he has posted a PA/BB ratio of roughly 10.11 during his first full big league season at age 24. Like Encarnacion, I like the chances of Votto to post a .360-.370 on-base percentage with a slugging percentage on the good side of .500 as early as next season and to maintain or even improve on those numbers throughout his peak years (he's nearly accomplished that already this season).
Also, for those wondering, Jay Bruce did achieve part one with a career minor league PA/BB ratio of 11.94. Bruce's PA/BB ratio this season in Cincinnati is 13.44; now it's time to see Bruce's walk rate progress heading into 2009. An optimistic, but certainly plausible goal is for Bruce to achieve part two of the rule by reaching ~60 walks in the 2010 season (even better would be 2009, but we'll stay realistic here).
And Chris Dickerson ... a career minor league PA/BB ratio of 7.87 meets part one. What I'm now really interested to see is if Dickerson can accomplish part two in a full season next season; he did toss up a PA/BB ratio of 7.18 in his 122 big league plate appearances this season, which is certainly a very encouraging sign.