We're just about a third through the season...what's happening around the league? A look at races, surprises and individual performances.
No big surprise that Buffalo is leading, but Iowa City has made a huge jump, from barely making the MWR last year to contender this year. Chicago's not out of it but might need to make some pitching moves (4.59 ERA) to help out that league-leading offense. Toledo needs to catch fire to make the MWR (currently on pace for 45 wins).
Odd stat: The North has the top 3 scoring teams in the NL.
Top Hitters: Chicago's Herm Stein (.352/12/32), Buffalo's Carlos Valdivia (.310/17/41), Iowa City's Juan Aramboles (.315/14/47)
Top Pitchers: Toledo's Javier Gutierrez (3-1.1.62), Iowa City's Wladimir Mercado (5-0, 1.77), Iowa City's Yeico Ortiz (5-1, 2.59)
Top Rookies: Iowa City's Julian Fernandez (.331/3/13)
Another non-surprise with Dover leading, but Syracuse has surprised by hanging only a game back. Neither Jacksonville nor Trenton is out of it despite obvious rebuilding efforts.
Odd stat: Dover is playing 70 points over its expected winning % despite an unremarkable 6-5 record in 1-run games. Both Syracuse and 3rd-place Jacksonville have higher expected wins than Dover.
Top Hitters: Bartolo Cela (.383/14/46) (DOV), Woody Regan (.292/13/32) (DOV), Rick Black (.321/8/38) (SYR)
Top Pitchers: Louis Wilson (6-3, 2.06) (DOV), Alejandro Sosa (5-2, 2.43) (SYR), Al Servet (2-5, 3.21) (SYR),
Top Rookies: Tex Cromer (.313/6/23) (JAX), Doug Duncan (.259/12/42) (SYR), Milton Hutton (3-4, 3.63) (TRE)
Home of the NL's 2 best records with Austin at 33-17 an Charlotte at 31-19. Austin has done it with Hobbs' best pitching (3.17 ERA)...Charlotte hasn't been shabby on the mound either (3rd in NL at 3.64), and the 2 NL leaders are 6th and 7th in NL runs. Texas and San Juan round out 1 of 2 divisions where all 4 teams are .500 or better.
Odd stat: AUS is 6th in scoring despite a lack of power (52 HR's - 12th - in a fairly hitter-positive park). They make up for it with a .345 OBP (2nd).
Top Hitters: AUS Trace Clark (.324/11/34) leads the NL in OBP; SJU Brandon Clarkson (.334/18/38) leads NL in HR; CHA Octavio Trevino (.291/11/41, .425 OBP)
Top Pitchers: AUS Derrick Dawkins (6-1, 1.83), AUS Willie Tepera (3-2, 2.29), AUS Torey Izquierdo (2-0, 2.34), AUS Juan Martinez (8-3, 2.42), CHA Rubby Franco (7-1, 3.75), TEX John Reed (10 saves, 0.87 ERA)
Top Rookies: CHA Pep Walsh (.292/12/37), TEX Corban Miles (4 saves, 2.38 ERA)
Only 1 game separates everybody, as Salem's recent 3-7 and Scottsdale's 7-3 tightened everything up.
Odd stat: Scottsdale is staying close despite a 4.82 team ERA - 15th in the NL
Top Hitters: SAL Ike Allen (.338/16/48), SF Harvey Tracy (.327/14/47), HON B.J. Dunwoody (.305/15/41),
Top Pitchers: SF Chili Baker (6-3, 2.35), SAL Derrick Finley (4-2, 2.94), HON Earle Carraway (5-3, 3.19), SCO Howie Iannone (16 saves, 1.56 ERA), HON Diego Romo (16 saves, 2.55 ERA)
Top Rookies: ??