This is the first one of the season. I will do this series every Monday afternoon throughout the season.
Louisville Bats: 9-2 overall, 52 runs scored, 39 runs allowed.
The Louisville Bats are currently in first place by one game over Columbus and also have the best record in all of the International League. The pitching has been very strong so far, sporting a 3.24 ERA with nearly a 3 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio. Not to be outdone though, five players on the offensive side have an OPS of .893 or higher (Kristopher Negron, Danny Dorn, Dave Sappelt, Jeremy Hermida and Devin Mesoraco). This team is loaded and we all knew it would be. Slow starts by Yonder Alonso and Zack Cozart won’t last as both showed last season that they can hit at this level.
Carolina Mudcats: 1-9 overall, 40 runs scored, 59 runs allowed.
The Carolina Mudcats are off to a rough start, already 7 games back in their division. The pitching has an ERA over 6.00 and most of that comes from the rotation where the starters have a combined ERA of 7.98 and not a single starter has an ERA under 5.00. In the bullpen Nick Christiani and Brad Boxberger have perfect ERA’s still and both are striking out over 11 batters per 9 innings. At the plate the team is also struggling, with a team OPS of just .703 through 10 games. There are four players on the team who have hit well though. Cody Puckett is second in the league in OPS with a .346/.485/.769 line early on. While Jake Kahaulelio also finds himself over the 1.000 OPS plateau on the season (1.024). Mike Costanzo and Neftali Soto are both over the .850 mark, but both players have an OBP between .300 and .303 so it is power driven.
Bakersfield Blaze: 6-5 overall, 80 runs scored, 79 runs allowed.
The first season as the Reds affiliate is starting off solidly. The team is one game back of the lead. In true California League fashion, the team ERA is over 6.00 and the team OPS is well over .850. The starting pitching however has had its bright spots. Josh Ravin has an ERA of 1.59 through two starts to go along with 16 strikeouts in 11.1 innings, while Pedro Villarreal and JC Sulbaran have their ERA under 4.00 as well. Clayton Shunick has one start and one relief appearance and his ERA is sitting at 3.00 with more strikeouts than innings thrown. The bullpen however has six players with ERA’s over 6.50 and four over 10.00. A 24-19 game will do that to you. Offensively the team is simply crushing the ball. Eric Campbell, AJ Means, Josh Fellhuaer and Yasmani Grandal all have an OPS over 1.000 with Campbell sitting at 1.386 to lead the charge. Henry Rodriguez is hitting .400 and Brodie Greene is hitting .361. The team as a whole is hitting .323.
Dayton Dragons: 3-8 overall, 45 runs scored, 80 runs allowed.
The pitching has been rough and the hitting has been poor for the Dragons early on. The team is dead last (by nearly a full run) in ERA at 6.10 (the league leader is at 3.00). To make things worse, they have also allowed 19 unearned runs, far and away the worst number in the league. Josh Smith has been a bright spot in the rotation for the Dragons with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings through three starts. Blaine Howell has yet to allow a run this season and Pat Doyle is sporting a 2.89 ERA. Offensively the team is 14th in the league in OPS. Dominic D’Anna and Donald Lutz are killing the ball, with both players touting an OPS in the 1.080-1.085 range. Tucker Barnhart and Jefry Sierra are both hitting in the .350 range, but after those guys not a single player is hitting .250 on the team, most are under .230. Billy Hamilton and Yorman Rodriguez bat first and third respectively and both are struggling mightily on offense so far.