There’s a new king at the top of the standings, as the Trenton Thunder (NYY) have overtaken the top spot from the Portland Sea Dogs (BOS). Trenton sits in first place with a 19-11 record, including going 5-1 last week, with a rain postponement thrown in the mix. On May 2nd versus Richmond (SF), Trenton shelled the Flying Squirrels, 8-1. First baseman Kyle Roller continued his hot streak in that game, going 2-3 with a walk, home run, and 2 runs batted in. Trenton stands only half a game up on Portland, so they’ll need another quality week to keep their first place spot.
Looking at Portland’s week, the Sea Dogs went 3-3 this week, facing a rain postponement as well. An up and down week for the previous first place Sea Dogs, they split a double header with Binghamton (NYM) on the 3rd. Portland took the loss in the first game, 2-3, but powered their way to a 9-3 win in the nightcap. Former first-round pick right hander Brian Johnson was called up to Portland that day, and got his first win of the season, going 5.1 innings, with no earned runs. They continue to be lead offensively by second baseman Mookie Betts, who’s .405 batting average leads the Eastern League.
Not much has changed at the bottom of the week since last week, with Harrisburg (WAS) playing some seriously uninspired baseball. They sit 9 games out of first place, with a 8-19 record. The team as a whole is batting .240, but it’s their 5.27 team ERA that’s been holding them back. They went 3-2 on the week, with two games cancelled due to weather. They stayed above .500 on the week, but it didn’t help them out of the hole they seem to be stuck in.
Akron (CLE) currently holds a 1.5 game lead in the Eastern League Western Division, at 18-11. The Rubberducks had a great week, going 5-0. The team has six players batting over .300, including outfielder Tyler Holt, who leads the team in average and on base percentage. While they don’t have any shutdown pitchers, Joseph Colon leads the team in ERA at 2.94, and has been a quality pitcher in his six starts.
Eastern League MVP Race:
1: Mookie Betts, 2B, Portland (BOS) (.405 AVG, .456 OBP, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 1.078 OPS)
2: Matt Clark, 1B, Binghamton (NYM) (.346 AVG, .439 OBP, 6 HR, 18 RBI, 1.068 OPS)
3: Dariel Alvarez, RF, Bowie (BAL) (.366 AVG, .379 OBP, 5 HR, 25 RBI, .978 OPS)
Mookie Madness has taken over New England, as his on-base streak is into the high 50’s now. He continues to lead the Eastern League in average, on base plus slugging, and second in the league in on base percentage. Matt Clark of Binghamton however, is catching up to him after a hot week. He’s second in the league in home runs, and he’s powering his way into the MVP race.
Eastern League Pitcher of the Year Race:
1: Zach Nuding, Trenton (NYY) (2-0, 2.43 ERA, 28 Ks, 1.01 WHIP)
2: Adrian Sampson, Altoona (PIT) (3-2, 1.53 ERA, 26 Ks, 1.13 WHIP)
3: Keith Couch, Portland (BOS) (4-0, 2.48 ERA, 25 Ks, 1.17 WHIP)
This week we see two newcomers enter our rankings. Adrian Sampson leads the Eastern league in ERA, and is striking out an impressive rate. Keith Couch has had the help of a great offense to help keep him in games longer, Nuding as well. It’s harder to determine an early-season favorite for Pitcher of the Year over MVP, seeing as any of these pitchers could fall apart easily in the coming weeks.
After one month, not a whole lot has changed in the Eastern League. Mookie Betts is still on fire, Harrisburg can’t pitch, and the standings get shaken up every week. There’s still plenty of time left in the season, but teams like Harrisburg and New Britain have to start worrying at some point about their excessive poor play.