Starting with Triple-A players, Kyle Roller is off to a decent start although he hasn’t shown much power. He’s 4/12 with a walk and a .333/.385/.333/.718 stat line. He has struck out four times in four games. He’s looking to duplicate last year’s success and make a case that he should be playing for a major league team somewhere before his playing time gets cut into by the fast rising Greg Bird.
Tyler Austin is picking up right where he left off. He is hitting .333/.313/.600/.913 on the season. The OBP being less than the average is a small sample size anomaly but he is lacing the ball so far. He already has a homerun and a double on the season.
Ramon Flores is also looking to finally make a name for himself. He boasts the same average as Austin with both a better slugging percentage and on-base-percentage. He already has a double, a triple, and a homerun on the season with a quad slash of .333/.412/.733/1.145, and has only struck out once on the year so far.
Pitching wise, Chase Whitley has been the best starter so far in Scranton, tossing five innings, striking out five and letting up four hits and two walks. From the relief corps the most impressive has been Diego Moreno, who threw three innings and struck out six while letting up just one hit.
The hottest hitter in the system has been Jake Cave for the Trenton Thunder. He has started off the season destroying Double-A pitching, with a .533/.650/.800/1.450 slash, and just two strike outs. He has a double and two homeruns over four games, with five walks. He is clearly looking to make 2015 his coming out party. Obviously these stats are not sustainable, but he looks like a guy who is going to turn some heads this year regardless.
Mason Williams is another one who is surprising people so far. In four games he has managed to hit .333/.375/.467/.842 with two doubles and just two strikeouts. He would love to put his woes in the past and become the comeback player of the year on the farm.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, no one is surprised that Aaron Judge has started off hot. He has a .316/.350/.474/.824 slash with one homerun. He is a monster and I continue to expect big things from him. The one red flag is that he already has six strikeouts in just four games.
Greg Bird has started the season off cold, but no one really expects that to continue.
Overall the Thunder have not been too impressive pitching wise this season, but there have been a couple of bright spots in relief. Cesar Vargas, Nick Goody, Johnny Barbato, Caleb Cotham, Kyle Haynes, and Alex Smith all have yet to let up a run. Goody has three strikeouts in two innings, Barbato has 4 K in 1.2 innings. Cotham has 3 K in 1.1 innings.
In High-A, Matt Snyder has been ripping the ball. He has three walks in the young season, coupled with a .455/.625/.727/1.352 line with one homerun to go with it. He has never had a full healthy season so I expect continued success for him provided he stays off the injured list. He really is a great hitter.
On the other side of the diamond, Miguel Andujar has come out of the gate hot as well. He is .375/.375/.563/.938 with three doubles so far this season. He hasn’t walked yet. I predicted last season that he would break out and he did just that in the second half. This could be a huge year for him.
Claudio Custodio has been moved to the outfield, and has surprised a bunch of people with his abilities already. He has also hit well and stolen some bases in the early going. He is hitting .286/.333/.357/.690 with two stolen bases and a double so far. He could be an extremely valuable utility man in the future, as he plays a good shortstop, second base, and apparently outfield to boot.
On the pitching side, Brady Lail has had the best start so far. He threw 5.0 innings of four hit ball with no walks, and struck out a whopping nine. Don’t be surprised if he puts up big, big numbers this year.
The other two starters who have put up good starts already are Rookie Davis and Jonathan Holder. Holder threw 6.0 innings and struck out four with an ERA of 0.00. Davis threw 6.0 innings of his own, letting up one run while striking out five. Keep in mind also that Ian Clarkin will be at this level, meaning that this staff could be pretty filthy this year.
Finally down to the lowest full season level, Low-A Charleston. There are several players off to a hot start, but a few of them seem to be putting up massive strikeout numbers in the early going.
Namely, those strikeout artists are Chris Breen and Austin Aune. Breene is hitting .308/.333/.385/.718 with a double and seven strikeouts in four games. Aune is hitting .308/.357/.462/.819 with a triple and 7 K. Connor Spencer is less strikeout happy, but does already have four in just three games. He is hitting .300/.417/.500/.917 though, and looks the part of a patient hitter with gap power.
Abiatal Avelino and Jorge Mateo have been fun to watch so far. Both have more stolen bases than games played. Avelino has six, and Mateo has five. Both have low averages in the early going but have been hitting the ball hard, and I expect those averages to come around.
Moving on to the pitchers, there have been some really good performances so far. Justin Kamplain threw 6.0 innings of no run ball with six strikeouts. He picked up right where he left off last season, and has looked dominant so far in his short career.
Jordan Montgomery had a monster first game, pitching 5.2 innings and striking out nine, while allowing just one unearned run. Chaz Hebert also looked sharp, throwin 5.1 innings and striking out six while letting up just one earned run.
In relief, Caleb Frare looked dynamite in his first outing, striking out three in 1.1 innings pitched. His only baserunner was a hit batsman.
Keep in mind that a few of the best pitchers still have not had a start. Luis Severino, Ian Clarkin, and David Palladino should all be starting today. Also, Domingo Acevedo started the season on the 7-day DL and should be returning soon.