The Tulsa Drillers have gotten off to a 6-6 start to the 2007 season, though the team knows that it could easily be 8-4. The Drillers have some of the better talent the Rockies organization has to offer, and if they can get better pitching from their bullpen, then they should be tough to score on in the Texas League. The team is hitting a respectable .268 as a team, and the team has hit six home runs though their first 12 games. The team is averaging nearly five runs a contest, which is a pretty decent number of runs per game. The Texas League is one of the better leagues in all of Minor League Baseball, so the Drillers definitely have their work cut out for them this season.
The Drillers have four of their regular position players batting over .300 so far in 2007, including Matt Miller, who's .350 batting average is currently the ninth highest total in the Texas League. Miller has also scored seven times through his first 11 appearances for the Drillers, and has driven in six. Shortstop Jonathan Herrera is currently first in the Texas League in hits, with 17, and he is batting .333 through his first 12 games. Herrera leads the Drillers with eight runs scored, and is also first on the team with 51 at-bats. Joe Gaetti is also batting over .300, as he is hitting at a .342 clip this season. Tim Olson is teetering on the .300 line, batting .304.
The Drillers have two of the top eight earned run average guys in the Texas League, including top prospect Greg Reynolds. Reynolds has been nearly unhittable this season, posting a 1.50 ERA through his first two starts. In 12.0 innings of work, Reynolds has struck out nine, while walking only two. Jonathan Asahina has also made two starts for the Drillers, and his 2.13 earned run average is eighth in the league. In his 12.2 innings, Asahina has only struck out four batters, though he has been able to work out of some tough situations. Despite having a 4.50 earned run average as the team's closer, Steven Register has recorded four saves, which is good enough to tie for the league lead.
Offensively, the entire Drillers team has been pretty solid this season, with the exception of a few guys who have gotten off to a rough start. Christian Colonel is batting only .214 through his first 11 games of the 2007 season, but he has also driven in eight runs. One thing he has struggled with is the strikeouts, as he already has ten on the young season. Duke Sardinha has appeared in six games for the Drillers, and is the only batter who has played significant time who is batting under .200. His average sits at .182 as of April 17, though he has one of the team's six home runs. Rick Guarno, who splits time behind the plate with Tomas Duenas, is batting only .238. However, his average can be deceiving, as he currently is tied for the team lead in doubles, and has a nice .571 slugging percentage. Guarno has also homered.
Ching Lo has struggled from the Drillers rotation to open the 2007 season, as he has an earned run average over 8.00 during his first two starts. He has a 1-1 record, but he has struggled with his command, walking six and hitting one over his first 10.0 innings of work this season. Batters are also hitting .316 against him. Matt Daley has had a rough go to start the season from the Tulsa bullpen, and he is currently tied for the league lead in home runs allowed, which is not a place for a reliever with only six innings of work on the season to be. In five games, Daley has posted a 10.50 earned run average, and batters are hitting .367 off him. Jentry Beckstead also has struggled from the bullpen, with an earned run average of 6.00 though his first five appearances. He has been plagued by the walk, as he has already given up seven free passes in only six innings of relief.
What We Know
This is a team that will be over .500 when it is all said and done. Greg Reynolds may be fast tracked to the Major Leagues, so the Drillers may not have him for too long. Reynolds is one of the better prospects in the Rockies organization, so losing him will be a tough blow for the Drillers. The Drillers need their bullpen to pitch better, because the starting rotation can only carry you so far. Guys like Franklin Morales and Juan Morillo are big-time prospects, and needs to start pitching better. Morales has been ok in his three starts, but is 0-2 on the season.