It’s a brand new season! Well, it’s a month into a brand new season, but still, early baseball is a really exciting time. So far the affiliates (aPhillyates?… nah) have gotten off to drastically different starts, from the 17-5 Reading Phillies to the 9-4 Lakewood Blueclaws. On every team, there have been some standout stars, and here are, at least what I think, are the best from each time in the first month of 2012.
Cody Overbeck, 1B: the only qualifying hitter on the IronPigs hitting over .300 (he is currently at .313), Overbeck seemed to pop up in the highlights of every game in April. He leads the team in RBIs at 14 for the month, and is tied for the lead in doubles (6) and home runs (2). He is also the only position player with at least ten games played and zero errors in the field, and his slugging percentage is the highest in Lehigh.
April Stats: .313 AVG in 24 games, 14 RBIs, .458 slugging
Jake Diekman, Relief: Diek has been dominant out of the bullpen so far, allowing just one earned run in the month of April. In 11 innings of work, he has struck out 17 while only walking three, and has picked up three saves. I’m starting to see what Rich Dubee likes about this kid.
April Stats: 0-0 in 9 games, 11 IP, 0.82 ERA. 17 Ks
Darin Ruf, 1B: If Jim Thome gets put on the DL at some point, I can see Overbeck and Ruf getting called up to the MLB and AAA, respectively. at .378, all Ruf does is hit, and his .524 slugging percentage backs up his 2 homerun, 10 RBI numbers. His BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is a high .426, meaning that when he makes contact, it’s finding holes and hitting off walls.
April Stats: .378 AVG, in 23 games, 10 RBIs, 14 runs scored, .931 OPS
Tyler Cloyd, Starter: This was really tough, and Trevor May almost beat him out, but Cloyd has been the absolute man in April. The opening day starter for Lehigh Valley as an emergency call-up, he pitched six innings of no hit ball before being returned to Double-A. Since coming back he’s gone 3-0 and thrown at least six innings in every one of his outings. 28 strikeouts in 25 innings ain’t too shabby, either. (he is pictured above in his LV uniform during his opening day spot start)
April Stats: 4-0, 1.45 ERA in 5 starts, 31 IP, 28 Ks, .200 BAA
Cody Asche, 3B: His first full season after being drafted in 2011, Asche is playing a level higher than expected at Hi-A, and is fitting in well. the 21-year-old is hitting .333 with three doubles in 19 games. This is all a major improvement considering his average in short-season A Williamsport was a horrid .192 last year.
April Stats: .333 AVG in 19 games, 5 RBIs and .770 OPS
Austin Wright, Starter: I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about Wright, who has started three of his four appearances so far this season. Another 2011 draft pick, he has thrown back to back games with ten strikeouts to bring his monthly total to 33 in 23 innings. Opponents can’t touch his stuff, and a .196 BAA is proof of that. I’ve seen other bloggers saying he’s the best lefty starter on the farm.
April Stats: 3-0 in 4 games (3 starts). 2.35 ERA, 23 IP, 33 Ks, .186 BAA
Brian Pointer, OF: This one was really tough too, mainly because the entire outfield is steal-crazy. Between Pointer, Aaron Altherr, Kyrell Hudson and Gauntlett Eldemire ( with one usually DHing), there have been 39 swiped bags in the month of April. Hudson has more steals (13) than hits (12), and has tried to nab a bag almost every time he gets on. Pointer, who has five himself, also leads the team in RBIs (19) and homeruns (5). Two triples and three doubles don’t hurt, either, and 12 walks in 93 plate appearances is really good.
April Stats: .295 AVG in 22 games, 19 RBIs, 5 HR and .577 SLG
Ethan Stewart, Starter: Though his team hasn’t given him enough run support to allow him a Win yet, his 1.33 ERA in four starts speaks volumes for his command. Opponents are hitting just .192 against him, and he’s rung up 19 batters.
April Stats: 0-1, 1.33 ERA in four starts, 20.1 IP, 19 Ks, .192 BAA