AAA Fresno Grizzlies
Fresno started hot, winning it’s first three games, before cooling off to end 4-3 on the week. Still, for a team that finished with the worst record in the PCL last year, an above .500 start is at least a pyrrhic victory. In a pattern likely to be repeated often this season throughout the Giants farm, the Grizzlies lost several games where starters put in excellent performances, only to lack run support. Jesse Foppert looked excellent in his one start, going 5 innings and giving up a single run while striking out 9. Jerome Williams was just as impressive in his two starts, going 11 innings between the two, giving up 7 hits and striking out 10. The injury bug bit Tony Torcato (shoulder separation) and Lance Niekro (Hamstring), placing both on the 7 day disabled list.
The only offensive standouts have been Jason Ellison, hitting .355, and Trey Lunsford, hitting .389. Todd Linden is off to a slow start, hitting .143.
AA Norwich Navigators
Norwich has started very cold, and I’m not referring to their performance on the field. The late season snow storm hitting New England has allowed the Navigators to play only 3 games in the first week, canceling 4. An unearned run gave Mitch Walk an opening night loss, but he pitched very well, throwing 5 strong innings. Boof Bonser in his first start showed that he is ready to face AA hitters, though Jeff Clark had a horrible outing, lasting only 2.2 innings and giving up 5 earned runs. Offensively, not enough games have been played to declare any players hot or cold, though Joe Jester with a .333 average, is off to a good start.
A San Jose Giants
Off to a 3-4 start, San Jose has perhaps exhibited the most erratic start of the farm teams. Ryan Hannaman began the season with a forgettable 3 inning effort where he gave up 5 runs and was wild, only to follow it up with a 5 inning effort where he threw strikes and struck out 10. Greg Bruso has been hit hard in his first two starts, though in his last start he pitched 5 excellent innings before giving up 5 hits and 5 runs in his sixth inning- his performance should improve with better stamina. Offensively, Julian Benavides is off to a respectable ,286 start and appears to have learned to take a walk, and though Dan Ortmeier and Brandon Florence have provided some high points, the offense has been largely moribund. Francisco Liriano experienced shoulder pain in his one start and has been placed on the disabled list- no details as to the severity of the injury have yet been forthcoming.
The Suns are off to a 3-2 start behind excellent starting pitching, though their opening week too was curtailed by bad weather. Melkin Valdez, Carlos Portorreal and Matt Cain all through double digit strike outs in their first starts and were close to unhitable. Clay Hensley was wild in his first start, as was Josh Cram. Offensively, Carlos Sosa has started hot and Travis Ishikawa has started cold, but it is clearly too early to draw any conclusions. Hagerstown is thankfully injury free.