Salt Lake City
After jumping out to a 3-0 start, the Bees are now 7-6 for a share of the Pacific Northern division lead. Led by several future big-league All-Stars, they have hit .311 over the opening week and a half and show no signs of letting up. Howie Kendrick, who tops this week’s prospect rankings, is hitting .449 with a minors-leading 22 hits. Although he is the only Bee hitter on the league leader boards, five other regulars are hitting above .300.
On the mound, things haven’t been quite as impressive. Salt Lake pitchers have combined for a 3.86 ERA, good for seventh in the 16-team league. Their other numbers are all equally middle-of-the-road.
Kevin Gregg has been nails after he was the last cut from the big-league team. In his first 10 innings of work, he hasn’t allowed a run and has struck out eight. He has appeared as a starter twice and reliever once. Joe Saunders, who has surrendered eight walks early on, is the only other Bee hurler among league leaders.
Names of note: Reggie Willits and Brian Specht are both off to a fast start. Willits is hitting .313/.371/.500, while Specht is at .318/.423/.364. They are among five players with at least two steals. … Kendry Morales has hit in nine of 10 games so far, but has only two extra-base hits to show for it. He’s hitting .273 with a .364 slugging percentage. … Dustin Moseley has a 1.64 ERA and his 11 strikeouts are second on the team to righty Jered Weaver.
The Travelers have relied on a balanced attack to start the year 6-4 and take a part of the early-season lead in the Texas League’s North Division.
Paced by Mike Eylward, the offense is hitting .297, good for third on the circuit, and has scored 55 runs. Eylward, fifth in the league with a .400 average and a .700 slugging percentage, is joined on the leader boards by Matt Brown, who is in the top 10 in average, and has 16 hits, good for third in the league.
Travelers’ pitchers have a 3.99 ERA, fourth in the league, but have a league-low 38 strikeouts. Only Bob Zimmerman, with two saves, is among leaders in any category. James Holcomb, at 3.09, is the only starter with an ERA under four.
Names of note: Outfielder Aaron Peel is hitting .311, but has struck out 11 times against just one walk in his first 47 plate appearances. … Eight of Brandon Wood’s 13 hits have gone for extra bases. He’s at .333/.413/.641 so far. … Catcher Bobby Wilson is hitting .333. Speedster Dwaine Bacon has been successful in all four steal attempts, but is hitting just .195 with eight strikeouts. … With six strikeouts in 7.1 innings, righty Allen Buckley leads the squad in K/IP.
The Quakes are off to a 7-3 start, good for a share of the Cal League’s Southern Division lead, thanks to some stellar early-season hitting and strong performances from their starting pitching.
The club’s .311 batting average is not just the best in the Cal League, but ties the Bees for the best anywhere in the minors. Cody Fuller and Michael Collins, first and second in the league respectively, lead the charge among players with enough plate appearances to qualify, but Sean Rodriguez tops them both at .458. Four other members of the squad are hitting at least .290. Fuller leads the league with a .500 on-base percentage and is third in the league in steals, while Collins is among leaders in both runs scored and RBI. Drew Toussaint is fifth on the circuit with a .613 slugging percentage.
On the mound, Rafael Rodriguez, Jose Arredondo and Nick Green have combined to allow just five runs in 33.3 innings. Rodriguez hasn’t surrendered a run yet, while Arredondo is third in the league with 16 strikeouts. Overall, however, the staff is just fifth in the league with a 3.44 ERA. Karl Gelinas and Fernando Rodriguez have both been knocked around early on, combining for a 6.65 ERA in their four starts.
Names of note: Freddy Sandoval, a product of the University of San Diego, is hitting .306/.409/.528. The third baseman also has three steals on the year. … Kevin Jepsen has a pair of saves through his first four appearances, and has allowed only one hit for a .083 average against thus far. … Four of Josh LeBlanc’s seven hits have gone for extra bases.
The Kernels’ 6-4 record is good for a share of the Western Division lead, although only two games separate all eight teams in the division. Cedar Rapids looks to extend its five-game winning streak when they open a homestand against West Michigan.
At the plate, the squad is only middle-of-the-pack with a .249 average and 41 runs scored, but they have swiped a league-leading 18 bases and have been clutch with runners in scoring position and two outs, hitting .333 in those situations. Pat Reilly leads the club with a .370 average and .452 on-base percentage, both good for the top 10 in the league. Jordan Renz, tied for the league lead with five doubles, has a team-best .640 slugging percentage. Bradley Coon and Hainley Statia are first and second in the Midwest League in stolen bases.
On the hill, the team’s 2.44 ERA is good for second overall, with Stephen Marek and his 0.77 ERA leading the way. No starter has an ERA over 3.38, and Nick Adenhart leads the staff with 11 strikeouts in 12 innings of work.
Names of note: Closer Tim Mattison has a pair of saves in two opportunities, and hasn’t allowed a run in 5.1 innings. … Righty Robert Mosebach has a 1.86 ERA through his first 9.2 innings of work, but hasn’t gotten a win out of it yet. … Renz has been all-or-nothing; six of his hits have gone for extra bases, but he’s fanned in 11 of his 25 at-bats.