The Daytona Tortugas are off to a great start to their minor league season. They are 9-3 after last nights victory. Outside of one game, where they allowed 18 runs in an 18-13 loss, the pitching staff has performed quite well. But, it’s the offense that has really stood out for the Reds Advanced-A affiliate.
The Florida State League is known as the most pitcher friendly league in all of minor league baseball. The league average OPS has generally been between .650-.675 for a long time. The combination of weather and large ballparks tend to keep offense suppressed. Well, not in the first two weeks of the season for Daytona. As a team they are hitting .286/.381/.474. For those who don’t like adding numbers up, that’s an .855 OPS as a team, which is best in the league by 71 points.
The team has the fewest strikeouts in the league with just 76 of them. The next closest team has 87. They are also second in the league in walks with 48 as a team. Their strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.58 is easily the best in the league. Jupiter has a 1.98 ratio for the next best in the league. No one else is remotely close. Four players have more walks than strikeouts: Bruce Yari has 10 walks and 8 strikeouts, TJ Friedl has 9 walks and 8 strikeouts, Taylor Trammell has 8 walks and 7 strikeouts, and Tyler Stephenson has 7 walks and 4 strikeouts.
It’s not just the walks that are working out well for Daytona. Several players are hitting for a high average, too. Tyler Stephenson is hitting .432 on the year in 11 games. Just promoted Luis Gonzalez was hitting .385 in 11 games. Daniel Sweet, who has struck out just three times this season, is hitting .355. Mitch Nay, a newcomer to the organization who has overcome injuries and health problems (staph infection that nearly ruined his career) is out to a great start, too, hitting .349.
The odds that those numbers stay where they are is less likely than Lloyd Christmas getting together with Mary
Sampsonite Swanson. But, the team is on the roll of rolls to start the 2018 season at the plate.
Ryan Hendrix, a reliever for the Daytona Tortugas, is also out to a strong start. He’s allowed two earned runs in 6.2 innings this season. That’s good for a 2.70 ERA. That’s a strong ERA, but what stands out about his season so far is his 12 strikeouts and three walks. Last season in Dayton he dominated, posting 10 walks and 61 strikeouts in 34.1 innings. But, he was promoted to Daytona in the second half and had some struggles with control – walking 19 batters (though three were intentional) in 27.2 innings to go with 27 strikeouts.
Among relievers, Ryan Hendrix has some of the best pure stuff in the organization. He’s got plus velocity with his fastball and has reached 100 MPH. He’s also got a plus power-curve. At times he will also show a change up. If he can harness his control a little bit, he could be a very quick mover through the system.