After breaking a four-game losing streak Sunday, the Beavers are 5-6 and a game behind the division leaders. It's frightening to think where they'd be without third baseman Justin Leone.
Their team .253 average is 14th in the 16-team Pacific Coast League, although they have managed to score the eighth highest run total because they are second in both home runs and walks.
Leone is the primary source of all the positive news at the plate. He has been a one-man wrecking crew, leading the league in batting average (.463), homers (six), runs scored (13), slugging percentage (.927), and on-base percentage (.532). His 15 RBI also has him tied for first on the circuit. Bobby Hill, with a share of the league lead with six doubles, is the only other Beaver name on the leader boards.
The pitching has been even less impressive so far. The team's 6.40 ERA is last in the league, nearly a half-run a game worse than any other team's and, with 18, they have given up more homers than any other staff. Aquilino Lopez and Jason Anderson, with five and three respectively, have done more than their fair share to earn the club that ignominious ranking. Aside from those two, Jon Adkins with his two saves is the only Beaver hurler on the league leader boards.
Names of note: Freddy Guzman is hitting just .262 through 42 at-bats. Strangely, he has a .548 slugging percentage thanks to a pair of early-season homers. ... After failing to earn a spot with the big-league team and not finding another suitor, Bobby Hill is hitting .316/.422/.474 as the Beavers' starting second baseman. ... Closer Adkins has not allowed a run and given up only three hits in five innings of work so far. Don't be surprised to see him get the call when the Padres next have to juggle their pitching staff. ... Mario Ramos (2.00) is the only other pitcher on the staff with an ERA below 4.00. ... Ryan Meaux, who some thought might make the Padres as a lefty out of the pen, sports a 29.25 ERA through four innings in five appearances for Portland.
Like Portland, they have a 5-6 record and are one game behind the division leader. While they've pitched well thus far, their offense makes Portland look downright dominant.
The BayBears are last in the league with a brutal .193 team average. Although they've drawn 44 walks, good for second in the league, they've hit just a league-low three home runs and have whiffed 98 times, "good for" the Southern League's second-highest total. They're also last in the league with two stolen bases.
Brett Bonvechio is on the league leader boards with six extra-base hits and four doubles. (He's also leading the league with four errors at third.) Kennard Jones is tied for second in the Southern League with 8 runs scored, nearly a quarter of the entire team's production.
On the mound, their 3.36 ERA is good for seventh in the league (which should help explain why it's considered a pitchers' league!). They've given up the fewest homers on the circuit (three), have issued just 31 walks are tied for third with 90 strikeouts.
Individually, Jose Oyervidez is one of four starters in the league who still has a 0.00 ERA, giving up just six hits through 11.2 innings. Jared Wells isn't far behind with a 0.84 ERA. Wells also has 12 strikeouts early on. Dale Thayer is tied for the league lead with four saves and hasn't given up a run in six appearances so far.
Names of note: Outfielder Adam Bourassa, shortstop Juan Ciriaco and catcher George Kottaras are "leading" the club with a .250 average. … Bret Bonvechio has slugged .514 so far, and Kottaras, at .406, is the only other BayBear to break .400. ... Cesar Carrillo, touched up for four runs in four innings Sunday night, is still looking for his first decision. He saw his ERA rise nearly two full runs in that outing. … Arturo Lopez, converting to the bullpen, has a 4.50 ERA, but all the runs allowed were in one poor outing against Carolina.
The Storm are off to a 6-4 start, good for third in the Southern Division of the Cal League, one game behind Rancho and Inland Empire. They've gotten there thanks to fantastic pitching through the first 10 games.
The Storm lead the Cal League with a 2.23 team ERA, seven tenths of a point lower than any other club. Evan Meek, with a 0.96 ERA through two games, is the best of three starters with sub-3.00 marks, while six of the seven bullpen arms are below 2.00 so far. Matt Varner, who with three saves is tied for second in the league, is the only reliever to be hit hard so far, posting a 7.36 ERA through four games. Greg Burke has two wins in relief to tie him for the early league lead.
At the plate, the squad's .260 average is tied for fifth in the 10-team league. They have a league-high 47 walks, but have hit just four homers so far (due in part to the early-season trip through the valley; wait until they have their first trip to High Desert and Lancaster to worry about that total!). Their 47 runs scored are good for fourth.
Individually, Colt Morton has the league lead with seven doubles, is tied for second with 14 hits and nine runs scored and ranks second in slugging percentage (.649), third in average (.378), and fourth with a .477 OBP.
Names of note: Sean Kazmar has picked up where he left off at the end of last season. He's hitting .308 and, with five walks against only one strikeout, is the only hitter with a positive BB:K ratio. … Although Chase Headley is hitting only .216, from the left side he's at .261. … Speedster Josh Howard is hitting .360 early in the year, although his seven strikeouts in 25 at-bats are still worrisome.
Off to a 6-3 start, the Wizards are second in both their division and the Midwest League, half a game behind Lansing. The club is on a four-game winning streak heading into Burlington.
Unlike the other affiliates, they are where they are thanks to a productive offense. Their .256 team average is good for fourth on the circuit, but it's their league-leading eight homers and a third-best 38 team walks which have helped them to score almost six runs a game in the early-season cold weather of the upper Midwest.
Daryl Jones has surprised early, leading the league with three homers and a .371 average good for seventh. Fellow basher Kyle Blanks is pacing the league with five doubles and a .704 slugging percentage. Although leadoff man Josh Alley has struggled to get hits, his league-leading 10 walks and four stolen bases have helped him to set the table nicely for the big boys.
The Wizards' 3.87 team ERA is good for just ninth in the 14-squad league, and they are middle-of-the-pack in walks and homers surrendered and strikeouts recorded. Only Neil Jamison's three saves, tied for second, rates on the individual leader boards.
Names of note: Mike Baxter, adjusting to life in the outfield, has slugged .500 through the opening week and a half. He leads the club with eight runs scored and has seven RBI. ... Will Venable is hitting .261, with a pair of stolen bases in six games. … The back end of the Wizards bullpen has been nearly unhittable. John Madden, Alfredo Fernandez and Jamison have surrendered only one run in 16 innings of work.