Swimming With The Sharks

The Clearwater Threshers are off to a solid start to the season, winning seven of their first ten games. Currently, Clearwater is sharing the top spot in the division with Lakeland.

Overall, the story in Clearwater has been the pitching. While the offensive accomplishments of Joe Savery - hitting .541 (20-for-27) - have grabbed most of the headlines, there are some pitching numbers that are just too good to ignore.

Among the starters, Jonathan Pettibone has been tough to get hits against. Opposing hitters are hitting just .200 and he has allowed just one walk in 11 innings of work. It all figures out to a 1-0, 0.82 mark for the 20 year-old right-hander who started the season with nine shutout innings.

Pettibone was a key component of the 2010 South Atlantic League Champion Lakewood BlueClaws and he has shown no problems in adjusting to hitters at the High-A level. The only blip on Pettibone's record was in 2009 when he struggled at Williamsport, but the Phillies saw enough in him to move him along to Low-A Lakewood last season and he didn't disappoint. Obviously, nobody figures to see Pettibone continue to be as dominant as he's been, but if he continues to pitch well, it will be interesting to see if he's moved along to Double-A Reading quickly.

Jarred Cosart is healthy and we can only hope that he stays that way. The Phillies front office certainly hopes for good numbers from Cosart, but the biggest wish is simply that he stays healthy and can pitch an entire season. Cosart's tools are so strong that the Phillies have continued to move him along even though he hasn't put in full seasons along the way, but as he moves ahead, they're going to need to keep him on the mound if they're going to be able to realize his true potential.

Cosart allowed three earned runs in five innings in his last start, but threw six, two-hit, no-run innings in his first start of the season. The up-and-down outings have him with a 1-1 record and a 2.45 ERA.

The Threshers have notched saves in six of their seven wins, with Justin Friend recording four of those saves. Opponents are hitting just .154 against Friend and he's 4-for-4 in save opportunities with a 2.25 ERA. The only potential knock on the 24 year-old right-hander is that he's walked two hitters in four innings of work.

Left-hander Derrick Loop and righty Ebelin Lugo have both recorded a save in their only opportunities this season.

Savery has continued to pound the ball and has hit in nine of the ten games he's played, with multiple hits in seven of those games. In fact, he started the season with five multi-hit games in a row, including two 4-for-4 outings against Dunedin. More good news on Savery is that he's played six games at first base and has played well defensively, which was one of the concerns that the Phillies had with converting him to a hitter; would he be able to field well enough to be something other than a DH?

Savery's exploits have somewhat overshadowed the start by Leandro Castro. Another member of the 2010 Championship Lakewood squad, Castro is hitting .395 and showing some early season pop, with three home runs in 38 at-bats.

Jonathan Singleton is adjusting to a new level and a new position, making the move from first base to left field. Singleton was making consistent contact, hitting .333 (6-for-18), but has missed the last five games with a sore arm. So far this season, Singleton hasn't shown any power and has driven in just two runs. A little more time to adjust and get healthy and Singleton's power should come around.

Also hurt for Clearwater is pitcher Brody Colvin. Colvin, 20, lasted just two innings in his first start of the season last Sunday and was then placed on the DL with a back injury. Right-hander Adrian Alaniz moved from extended camp to Clearwater to take Colvin's roster spot.

Florida State League - North Division

Team Aff W L W-L% GB
Clearwater Threshers PHI 7 3 .700 --
Lakeland Flying Tigers DET 7 3 .700 --
Daytona Cubs CHC 6 4 .600 1
Tampa Yankees NYY 5 5 .500 2
Brevard County Manatees MIL 3 7 .300 4
Dunedin Blue Jays TOR 2 8 .200 5

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