Saints Bring Back Speed and Power With Re-Signing of Outfielder ArgoST. PAUL, MN November 30, 2015
SAINTS BRING BACK SPEED AND POWER WITH RE-SIGNING OF OUTFIELDER ARGO
ST. PAUL, MN (November 30, 2015) – Only three players in St. Paul Saints history have hit at least 10 home runs and stolen at least 20 bases in one season. The first was Adam Frost in 2013 (10 home runs and 38 stolen bases) and the other two played on the historic 2015 team. One of those, outfielder Willie Argo (12 home runs, 28 stolen bases last season), has re-signed with the Saints for the 2016 season.
The 26-year-old hit .287 with 12 home runs and 49 RBI in 87 games. In 341 at bats he scored 78 runs, roped 16 doubles, three triples, swiped 28 bases in 30 attempts, had a .385 on base percentage and a .457 slugging percentage. The 78 runs scored were a single-season franchise record breaking Frost’s record from 2011 when he scored 76 runs. Argo finished second in the American Association in runs scored and third in stolen base percentage (.933).
When it came to power Argo homered twice on August 26 at Wichita and homered in back-to-back games on June 13 and 14. On the base paths we wasn’t caught stealing until two months into the season and stole two bases in a game twice and stole a base in a career tying high five straight games from July 20-24.
Along with his bat, Argo was tremendous in the outfield committing just two errors in 183 total chances and had seven assists, which put him in the top 15 in the league.
“Willie is just a good all around player,” said Saints Manager George Tsamis. “He can hit, he can run and he plays good defense. He has upside and we feel he can be one of the top players in this league. He is an excellent baserunner, stealing 28 bases in 30 attempts for us. Defensively, he made several beautiful plays. You can put him anywhere in the outfield and be comfortable because he makes the plays.”
Argo, who was born in Edina, played three seasons for the Tampa Bay Rays organization. He spent the entire 2014 season at Double-A Montgomery where he hit .203 with four home runs and 42 RBI in 120 games. In 384 at bats he scored 48 runs, had 11 doubles, two triples, stole 24 bases, with a .325 on base percentage and .273 slugging percentage.
Argo was originally selected in the 48th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008 out of Iowa Assumption High, but did not sign, and in the 43rd round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011 out of the University of Illinois, but again did not sign. The move paid off when the Rays drafted him in the 22nd round out of the University of Illinois in 2012. He hit .289 with two home runs, 29 RBI and 17 stolen bases in 69 games, 64 at the Rookie Level and five at Single-A Bowling Green. In 2013 he spent the entire season at High-A Charlotte and hit .308 with four homers, 30 RBI and 37 stolen bases in 95 games. Those numbers earned him team MVP honors and he was an organizational All-Star in both 2012 and 2013.
At Illinois Argo used his speed to gain national recognition, holding the school career record for stolen bases (98) and was fifth in the nation in stolen bases in 2010 with 41. Argo played in the Little League World Series for Davenport, IA in 2001, hitting a home run against the Bronx, N.Y. team, the same team with Danny Almonte.
This is the second off-season signing by the Saints, re-signing the American Association Player of the Year, Vinny DiFazio, on November 23.