Fresno Grizzlies: Atop the Division and Surprising Team Leaders
By Jason Burke
The Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, the Fresno Grizzlies, find themselves atop the standings in the Pacific Northern Division with a 9-7 record, 1.5 games ahead of both the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks) and the Sacramento River Cats (Giants) who hold 8-9 records. The Oklahoma City Dodgers (take a guess) hold the best record in the Pacific Coast League with a 13-4 record entering play on Sunday.
The Grizzlies started off strong at home this season, compiling a 7-2 record in the early going, but have struggled on the road to the tune of an early 2-5 record. Thankfully the team returned home on Saturday and promptly sealed yet another home win against Reno by the score of 7-0 behind Brady Rodgers‘ 6 innings of scoreless ball while allowing seven hits and striking out five. The start was Rodgers’ best of the season, coming off consecutive outings of allowing seven runs in 4 and 5 1/3 innings. His ERA currently stands at 8.22 after a rocky start. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Fresno.
James Hoyt, acquired in the Evan Gattis deal, has struggled mightily out of the gate, pitching 7 1/3 innings, giving up nine earned runs on twelve hits and holds a .364 batting average against along with his 11.05 ERA. To be fair, the damage has been done in three of his eight outings, giving up five runs (0 IP), 2 runs (1 IP) and another 2 runs (2/3 IP). Hoyt does hold the team’s only three saves on the season.
Fresno ranks 14th out of 16 teams with a 5.26 team ERA. Here is how the individuals have performed thus far:
Jordan Jankowski and James Hoyt lead the team in appearances with eight apiece, while Kevin Chapman and Darin Downs are right behind them with seven each. Dan Straily and Thomas Shirley are tied for the team lead in wins at two.
Jonathan Villar saw his first action of the season as a member of the Fresno Grizzlies last night, going 3-for-4 with two rbi, a double, a stolen base and a run scored while manning shortstop. One standout player for Fresno has been L.J. Hoes, who leads the team in batting (aside from Villar’s four at-bats) with a .396 average. He’s third on the team in total bases with 31, behind Jon Singleton (36) and Preston Tucker (41) who offer more in the way of power. His eight doubles lead the team, and he’s thrown in a triple for good measure. Here is a look at the offensive stats for the Grizzlies thus far:
Preston Tucker is tied for the league lead in home runs with Reno left fielder Peter O’Brien, but holds the rbi lead by himself at the moment 21 to 18 over O’Brien and Las Vegas (Mets) shortstop Matt Reynolds. Nolan Fontana and L.J. Hoes rank 6th and 7th in OBP, while Hoes ranks third in batting average.
As a team, the Fresno Grizzlies rank 5th in batting average (.279), 3rd in OBP (.350), 4th in home runs (17) and 3rd in strikeouts (146). Who strikes out more than the Astros farmhands? Why Sacramento and Nashville, the affiliates of the Giants and A’s respectively.
I hope you’ve enjoyed catching up with the Fresno Grizzlies! We’re always looking for suggestions on what information you’d like more of in these posts, so if you have an idea let us know in the comments below! We will have a weekly wrap-up of all levels up tomorrow, as well as info on the Hooks and JetHawks in the coming days as well. For the Hooks and Grizzlies, we will have one who’s hot/who’s not article per week, plus one similar to this format, with all of the updated statistics for those two teams. Go ‘Stros!