It’s been a little over a week since the Eastern League’s season started off, and as of now, the Reading Fightin Phils (PHI) hold the best record at 7-2, while the Harrisburg Senators sit at the bottom of the barrel with a 1-8 record to start the year.
Weather proved to be a problem for most teams, seeing many games become postponed on Monday due to weather.
The Bowie Baysox (BAL) dropped four games this week, including two to the Richmond Flying Squirrels (SF) on Tuesday and Wednesday. Their Monday game against was postponed due to weather, and was made up in a doubleheader on Tuesday.Bowie now stands at 6-4 on the young season. Richmond on the other hand only dropped two games this week, one to Bowie and one to the Altoona Curve (PIT). Richmond is tied for first place with Bowie in the Eastern League Western Division at 6-4.
The Binghamton Mets (NYM) and the Portland Sea Dogs (BOS) both have 6-3 records on the season, The Mets started the week off hot, winning five games in a row, breaking that streak with a 4-9 loss to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR) on Saturday. The Sea Dogs started the week off with two losses to Reading (PHI) and Trenton (NYY) but finished the week off with four wins in a row, scoring 36 runs during the four game streak.
Being so early in the season, there’s not a whole lot of separation in the standings (aside from Harrisburg) but it’s safe to say that will change within the next month or so. The Eastern League has some of the top prospects in all of the minors (Henry Owens, Francisco Lindor, Gary Sanchez) so it’s going to be an interesting season to see who’s getting called up and how it will affect the teams in the Eastern League.
Hitting: Mookie Betts, 2B, Portland Sea Dogs (BOS) (.469 AVG, .514 OBP, 1.264 OPS)
Betts has been arguably one of the hottest hitters in all of the minors this year, and he didn’t show any signs of slowing down this week, adding to his already impressive stat line. He added another two hits and two RBIs to his resume on Saturday, a 10-4 thrashing of the New Britain Rock Cats (MIN). Betts has a 38-game streak of getting on base. That’s right, 38. With the numbers Mookie has been putting up early this season, he might not be hanging around in AA for much longer.
Pitching: Darin Gorski, SP, Binghamton Mets (NYM) (1-1, 0.93 ERA, 12 K, 3 BBs)
Gorski came into this week with a 2.45 ERA after letting up a run in 3.2 innings pitched against Akron (CLE) on April 4th, but was able to bring that number down to a .93 ERA with a fantastic outing against New Hampshire. Darin dealt for 6 innings, striking out 10 and only giving up 4 hits to lead Binghmaton to the win.
Team: Portland Sea Dogs (BOS) (6-4 record) (.306 AVG, 3.36 ERA)
Portland is bolstered with an enormous amount of elite prospects and solid minor leaguers, like Mookie Betts who leads the league in both average and on-base-percentage and Henry Owens, who has yet to give up a run in two starts. They began to show off their skill as they rattled off four wins in a row to end the week. What makes that even more impressive is that they surpassed double-digit runs in two of those games, and scored 9 and 6 runs in the two previous games. Portland still sits at 6-4 on the season, but if they can carry the momentum they gained at the end of this week into the next, they’ll have the ability to fly up the standings.
Hitting: Matt Skole, 3B, Harrisburg Senators (WAS) (0.97 AVG, .222 OBP, .351 OPS, 11 K)
To say Matt Skole has gotten off to a cold start is a bit generous, he’s actually frozen in a sub-.100 AVG state. He wasn’t able to help himself this past week, and even went three straight games without getting on base. He’s batting a dismal .059 against lefties, and has shown little-to no power, with only one extra base hit all season. The 24-year old Nationals prospect was expected to take some big steps this season, but if he stays at this rate, it could be a lost season.
Pitching: Taylor Rogers, New Britain Rock Cats (MIN) (0-2, 13.50 ERA, 10 K, 1 BB)
Rogers has pitched eight innings this season, four in each of his two starts, and he’s simply giving up too many hits. On Friday at Portland, Rogers gave up 8 hits in his four innings of work, and let 5 runs in. He’s striking out at an impressive rate, and not letting walks get the best of him, but that’s all for not when he’s letting other teams tee off on him. Rogers will get another chance to start next week, and hope to turn his season around before it’s too late.
Team: Harrisburg Senators (WAS) (1-8 record) (.241 AVG, 5.54 ERA)
The Senators had two games this week postponed due to weather, so maybe they could be 3-8 right now, but the way they played this week, and the week before, it’s hard to see them not being 1-10. They have a 5.54 team ERA, and it’s not as if their hitting can help them out, as they sit with a .241 AVG. The team does have four players with a +.300 AVG, including Sean Nicol, who sits with a .375 batting AVG. The only thing Harrisburg has to cling to right now is the fact that it’s still early, and they have time to turn their season around.
Weather slowed down a lot of teams this week, and hopefully Mother Nature complies with our baseball needs next week. It’s still early in the season, so it might be too early to start making predictions based on player and team performance, but it’s starting to become clear which players are set to break out in 2014, and which ones might start to fade away.
Shawn McFarland is a Staff Writer for Grading On The Curve