We're just about one-fifth of the way into the season. Reality is starting to set in. That sketchy left-hander with the career 5.32 ERA is not going to bust out his career year and win 20 for you. But there have been surprises, both good and bad. Here's a team-by-team look at items of note throughout the league.
Chicago Orphans: Despite a 4.89 Team ERA, the Orphans are in the middle of the NL North race. They're 2nd in runs scored in the NL...the early standouts are RF Brad O'Connor (.336/8/21) and CF Yoslan Goya (.314/6/25).
Chicago Capone's: Total pitching collapse so far...ERA more than a run higher than last year's. Ray of sunshine: their power hitters are connecting (4th in AL)...Oropesa leads with 10.
Cheyenne Huckleberries: Starters Bellinger (2-2, 3.38 ERA) and Atchley (3-2, 3.38) are trying to keep the staff afloat, but after those 2 it's just a big barrel of napalm. Despite being short on power (AL-last 18 HR's), the offense is scoring pretty well...1B Cooke leads with 24 RBI.
Charlotte Steam: Could this team put away the NL South early? 2nd-best Team ERA (3.64) says bet on it. 4 starters under 4.00 ERA...T.J. Maybin has been lights out at 2-2, 1.79. Remember last year's big trade of Kelvim Hasegawa for Rich Kohn and Zoltan Keppinger? Keppinger only leads both leagues in HR's with 19.
Charleston Flying Divots: Looks like a rebuilding year after all for the Divots. I still can't figure out who's the bigger mystery, Derrick Dawkins (5.26 ERA) or Nashville's Jason Haywood (7.84 ERA).
Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalobuffalo: We knew they'd hit HR's - their 57 lead the NL. If ROY favorite Carlos Valdivia (a tepid .261/3/5 so far) heats up, watch out. The pitching just needs to get back to last year's level for them to eventually pull away in the North.
Boise Spuds: Just trying to stay competitive during the rebuild. Standouts: SS Alex Duran (.299/6/23) and RP Jolbert Escobar (2 wins, 1 save, 1.07 ERA).