The minor league records on Baseball Reference only go back to 1962 in the Cincinnati Reds organization and remain complete. Once you go back further than that some players are missing stats. Still, that is 54 years of complete minor league data that we have access to. That’s a good chunk of time, so it’s not too often that you find a player who breaks an organizational record in a given season. There are roughly 200-250 players in a system for a given year over the last 20 years and 100-200 in the 34 years before then.
With all of that said, left handed pitcher Seth Varner did something in the 2015 season that no one going back to 1962 has been able to top in the Reds organization. The Ohio native had 11 walks on the season and 134 strikeouts on the year. One of those walks was intentional, meaning that he walked just 10 batters this season that he had control over, giving him an strikeout-to-unintentional walk ratio of 13.4. Only one other Cincinnati minor league pitcher going back to 1962 has come remotely close to that and it was Keefe Cato in 1979 who had a 12.6 ratio for the Billings Mustangs. Only one other player topped the 10.0 mark in the history of the organization for pitchers that threw at least 70.0 innings in a season.
The Reds selected Varner out of Miami University in the 10th round of the 2014 drafted. In his first full season the 23-year-old dominated, splitting time between Dayton and Daytona. He posted a 2.92 ERA between the two stops in 138.2 innings. That helped earn him a nod on the RedsMinorLeagues.com Organizational All-Star Team.
On top of showcasing incredible amounts of control in the season, Varner also posted an above-average ability to induce ground balls in 2015. In his time with Dayton he was only slightly better than average at inducing grounders, posting a 48% rate of ground balls. In his time with the Daytona Tortugas though that rate jumped up to a well above-average rate of 57%, giving him a rate of 52% on the year.
Here is some video from August of Seth Varner pitching against the Dunedin Blue Jays