The R-Phils are off to a solid 6-3 start after a week and a half of playing. They stand second in the Eastern Division, a game behind New Britain, and a game in front of New Hampshire. They are 5-2 on the road, including a sweep of previously front-running New Hampshire, and 1-1 at home. The offense has been strong, averaging 5.8 runs/game, while the pitching has held up its end as well, allowing only 3.3 runs. The offense has been a bit feast-or-famine, or they’d be a game or two better. They’ve been shut out twice, and scored 13 runs twice.
In terms of team stats, the team has been an offensive juggernaut, leading the league in average by 20 points at .297, OBP by 25 points at .355, and SLG by 70 points at .470. Their 11 HRs lead the league by 6, and they are 2nd in doubles and tied for third in walks. They have scored 12 more runs than the second place team. Small sample size, but it’s still impressive considering most of the damage was on the road. Their only apparent offensive weakness right now is team speed, and when (if?) Tyson Gillies returns it will at least partially address that.
Reading’s 2.89 ERA puts them 5th in the league, but only Akron’s peripheral numbers look significantly better. Their 30 walks put them near the bottom of the league in control, so addressing that issue could help.
Individually, Matt Rizzotti is leading the league in AVG at .487 and is the runaway leader in SLG at .909. His 1.396 OPS is 290 OPS points above the second place hitter, Will Middlebrooks of Portland. Whether he reported to camp fat (as rumored) or not, Rizz is killing the ball and outclassing the league in the early going. Cody Overbeck’s 1.036 OPS puts him second on the team. Harold Garcia is the third .300 hitter on the team who is qualified for the batting title, though Tuffy Gosewisch (.350 in 6 games) and Steve Susdorf (.385 in 4 games) are also contributing. I won’t bother with lots of individual “splits” detail as at this point splits can be easily accessed at milb.com early in the year. Austin Hyatt is the team ERA leader at 1.80, and Phillippe Aumont and Mike Cisco are tied for the team lead in saves (with 1).
With Chris Frey nursing an injury, it appears Derrick Mitchell is going to get the regular CF job–Susdorf, Spidale, and Mitchell is a good offensive outfield, but quite a few fly balls are going to drop in given their limited speed.
Reading will conclude its home stand with a make-up DH versus Akron tomorrow, and two early-week games against Erie. They will subsequently commence a 7-game road trip against the same two teams. With Akron’s pitching, their early offensive success will certainly be tested.