Lehigh Valley is off to a strong 9-3 start, putting them three games up on second place Pawtucket. There probably won’t be too much resistance from their division this season. This is in spite of a putrid offense that ranks 9th out of 14 in runs scored and last in OPS. Dom Brown started slowly, but he has three straight two hit games that include all three of his extra base hits this year. He is still looking for his first home run. Hector Luna is the only player on the team with an OPS over .800. Their pitching has more than picked up the slack, ranking second in the league in ERA and WHIP. Phillippe Aumont has been the best reliever, saving four games and striking out nine in six innings.
Reading sits at 8-3 and tied for first in the division. They were one of the last undefeated teams in the minors thanks to a balanced roster that’s above average in scoring and run prevention. A surprise display of power by Jiwan James has been the early story. He still needs to improve his ultra aggressive approach, but he’s mostly been a singles hitter his entire career. After hot starts, Sebastian Valle and Tyson Gillies have cooled down. Gillies has not walked yet this season and only has one steal. Trevor May has 12 strikeouts and only four walks in 12 innings, and the rest of the rotation, including Julio Rodriguez and Jonathan Pettibone, have held their own so far.
Clearwater finds themselves 5th out of six in the FSL North with a 4-6 record. Their offense has surprisingly been middle of the pack thanks to Jim Murphy, Pete Lavin and Brandon Tripp, three older players that should do well at the level. Cody Asche and Cameron Rupp have had better results than last season, but it will take more than two weeks to restore their stock. Brody Colvin’s stock continues to slip with a very underwhelming start to the season, and it reflects in Clearwater’s poor ERA and WHIP. As a staff, they’re striking out more than a batter per inning, and eventually that kind of stuff should translate to better results.
Lakewood has started the season 5-6 due to a poor road trip to start the season. Their lineup is average if not a bit below, but they lead all of minor league baseball in steals with 27. A talented group leads the offense, but their depth has been lacking. Brian Pointer and Gauntlett Eldemire have been great in the outfield, and Maikel Franco is finally adjusting to the level. Their pitching staff has struggled throwing strikes this season with 49 walks in 93.1 innings, but that’s somehow not last in the league. Ethan Stewart has been the lone bright spot among the pitchers, and so far his strikeout rate is much better than last year.
Brian Pointer, OF: 11/33, 8 R, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 2/2 SB, .333/.415/.667
Gauntlett Eldemire, OF: 11/34, 5 XBH, 3 RBI, 8/9 SB, .324/.439/.500
Jiwan James, OF: 12/33, 7 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1/2 SB, .364/.361/.697
Ethan Stewart, LHP: 0-1, 11.1 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 12 K, 1.59 ERA, .88 WHIP Trevor May, RHP: 2-0, 12 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 12 K, 3.75 ERA, .92 WHIP
Tyler Cloyd, RHP: 2-0, 12 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 14 K, 1.50 ERA, .50 WHIP
Not as good
Gustavo Gonzalez, SS: 4/31, 3 R, 0 XBH, 1 RBI, 2/2 SB, .129/.129/.129
Derrick Mitchell, OF: 5/28, 2 R, 0 XBH, 1 RBI, 1/1 SB, .179/.226/.179
Kevin Frandsen, IF: 5/31, 2 R, 1 XBH, 0 RBI, 0/1 SB, .161/.278/.194
Ervis Manzanillo, LHP: 0-1, 5.2 IP, 10 H, 7 BB, 4 K, 7.94 ERA, 3.00 WHIP
Frank Gailey, LHP: 0-0, 3.1 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 5 K, 13.50 ERA, 2.70 WHIP
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