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Around the Minors, Maybe, But I'm Never . . .

Down on the Farm.

I meant to spend more time on the minors last year, but things--especially after the All-Star break--were really hectic for me, and I was never able to do as much with the farm teams as I wanted.

My life is no less hectic now, but I will try my best.

Found on the site
Juan Gutierrez deals during his 4-hit, 8-inning effort for the Hooks

The Round Rock Express won their home opener last night, and it was highlighted by Alan Zinter's inside the park, three-run homer. Zinter leads the Express in slugging and OPS.

But it is Charlton Jimerson who leads the Express in total bases, and he does so by a pretty wide margin. And as you may expect, he leads Round Rock in strikeouts, as well, also by a wide margin. On April 11 at Oklahoma, Jimerson missed the first cycle in Round Rock history by a single.

Looks like Roberto Giron has taken Zeke's spot in the RRotation, and he started last night's game. Dave Borkowski has been closing, tolerably well, but no better. Jason Hirsh is 1 - 0 with a 3.86 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP and an 8.68 k/9IP. He pitched somewhat effectively but very wildly in his first start, and better in his second.

If you remember Brandon Puffer from the 2002 and 2003 Houston teams, you might find yourself worried that he has joined the Express and has good numbers with them.

The good news for Corpus Christi is that Hunter Pence is hitting. That JR House is hitting as well, with an eight game hit streak, and the team lead in homers, is not terrible news either. The problem is that almost no-one else is hitting at all. John Fagan--like House, not really considered a prospect--is slugging .813 with a homer and a double, hitting .238.

Josh Anderson missed a few games with an ankle injury and is hitting .091. Jonny Ash is hitting .227. Ben Zobrist has a single walk to go with his .179 BA.

So let's talk about Pence some more. Well, he doubled in the ninth inning of the tied April 13 game against Frisco, and scored the winning run on a wild pitch. He singlehandedly won the Hooks' April 8 game against San Antonio with a seventh-inning homer that proved to be the only CC XBH of the day. And he'd also homered April 12 in support of Juan Gutierrez, who did his part by tossing a four-hitter over eight innings. Pence has an 1.187 OPS and is hitting .367 with three homers. He's struck out three times in 30 atbats, but for those who like to look for kinks in the armor, has walked only once.

Although the record is a little better, it's gotta feel like last year down in Corpus, when a remarkable staff led by Hirsh went unsupported all year long. Gutierrez and Matt Albers both have ERA's under 1.00, yet are a combined 1 - 1. Josh Miller and Paul Estrada both carry ERA's in the 1.00's and WHIPs under 1.00.

Chance Douglas, however, lasted only two innings in his first start, giving up seven runs on five hits.

Also down in Corpus Christi, Milo Hamilton, having nothing much to do, with the Astros in San Francisco, threw out the first pitch at Whataburger Field April 12th, and man, does he look pathetically megalomaniacal:

Wave to your fan, Milo

If you were just going by those two hits in two days that Salem scratched out vs. the Frederick Keys, you might think that they were hurting for runs, too, but even though they have only one homer as a team, they're actually third in the Carolina League in runs scored.

Neil Sellers has been amazing for the Avs so far. He leads the Carolina League in OBP at .576 and in doubles with 6. He's hitting .481, slugging .704, and has an OPS of 1.279, all of which leads Salem. His most recent great game was April 14, when he went 3 for 5 with yet another double. Beau Torbert, who Gville Astros fan suggested might have been jobbed by a hometown scoring decision in the Liz no-hitter, is batting .355. Wade Robinson is hitting .300 with a .364 OBP, and Lou Santangelo is at .280 with the team's one homer.

Though starting pitchers Patton and Barthmaier get the featured stories at, Chad Reineke and Evan Englebrook have also been good for the Avalanche as well. Barthamier and Reineke have both struck out more than 9 per 9 innings, while Englebrook, Patton and Reineke each have WHIP's under 1.00.

Found on the Lexington Herald-Leader site
Ryan McKeller spins one toward the dish

The Lexington Legends started their season 5 - 0, a streak which included back-to back-to-back low-scoring, one-run victories over Lakewood in which pitchers Levi Romero, Ryan McKeller and Garrett Murdy starred.

Lexington leadoff hitter Josh Flores was hitting .071 through four games without an extra base hit, but was sat for a day, and is 6 for 17 with two homers and a double since, including a 3 for 5 effort April 11. But it's JR Towles and Eric King who have been the big stories offensively for Lexington.

Towles, who homered and reached all four times in a game April 12 vs. Hickory, is second in the Sally league in batting at .476, third in slugging at .810, third in OBP at .542 and third in OPS at 1.351.

King--who's been on no-one's radar despite hitting .305 at Tri-City last year--is second on the club to Towles in hitting at .407, and went buck wild Friday against West Virginia, going 4 for 5 with 2 doubles and 3 runs.

In addition to McKeller, Murdy and Romero, Lexington starter Sean Walker has been excellent, as well, fashioning a 2 - 0 record with a 0.82 ERA and 0.82 WHIP