About three weeks into the season, the Aeros are 6-4 and in second place behind Reading in
the Eastern League Southern Division.
That's not bad considering they've lost six games to bad weather. I've been encouraged by the team's starting pitching as well as the bullpen most games. The hitters always seem to get off to slow starts in cold weather and the delays haven't helped them, either. So I'm not that worried about the offense yet, though I'd like to see it start rolling here as we enter the end of April.
Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is batting .378 (14-for-37) with two doubles and three RBI. He owns a hit in each of the 10 games he's played, including going 3-for-5 with the game-winning RBI single in the Aeros 10-inning victory over visiting Erie Wednesday. I have to admit I've been somewhat impressed, especially considering he was labled a no-hit, good glove shortstop. Hopefully, after a half season of productive work at Akron, he can advance to Buffalo and continue to hit well there to emerge as a true backup behind Jhonny Peralta if needed.
Starting pitcher Aaron Laffey is 1-0 with a tidy 1.50 ERA in his first two starts. In 12 innings of work, he has allowed only two runs and has struck out eight batters. Wow! That's a great start for a kid who flies under the radar - he won't be able to do it much longer if he keeps this up.
I'll probably write about this more in the paper when the team gets back in town April 27, but one of the things Aeros manager Tim Bogar was concerned about with the starting rotation was the fact that four of the five guys are lefties - J.D. Martin is the lone right-hander.
However, the hurlers seem to be diversified enough to pull it off with Chuck Lofgren being a power lefty, Laffey's a sinker ball, double-play guy and Scott Leiws being a master locater who can paint the black at will. The only left-hander I still haven't seen pitch is Canton native Shawn Nottingham (both of his starts have come on the road).
Second baseman Argenis Reyes is struggling at the plate, batting .167 (6-for-36). He appears well over matched, but has been solid in the field and makes a good double-play combination with Cabrera.
Reliever Kyle Collins is 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA in three appearances. In 3.2 innings of work, the right-hander has allowed four runs off seven hits and three walks. Opponents are batting a healthy .368 against him. He didn't pitch well when he was in Akron last year, either. I hope the Indians brass don't force the issue with him at Double-A, becuase he can give up loads of runs quickly and blow any lead.
Outfielder Trevor Crowe is still struggling at the plate, although I was encouraged by the fact that he worked a pair of walks in Wednesday's game. Still, he's hitting just .139 (5-for-36) through nine games with two doubles and three RBI. However, his walk-to-strikeout ratio is improving as he's upped his walk total to seven and leveled out in strikeouts with nine.
Talking about strikeouts, I was surprised to see outfielder Brian Barton leading the team with 14 (the second highest is Crowe and Cabrera with nine). Now that last year's performance has put him on the prospect map, he's clearly pressing. He's got a great story, so we'll talk more about him soon.
Enjoy the sunny weekend and hope you all get out to a ball game somewhere while the weather's nice.