First-place Clearwater has surged to a 25-14 start in the Florida State League, led by Triple Crown candidate Cody Overbeck (.338/.401/.648, 9 HR, 30 RBI) along with a talented pitching staff. But the most intriguing squad might be the young BlueClaws of Lakewood (21-17), currently running second in the South Atlantic League Northern Division. It’s an absolute mash-up of high-ceiling pitching and young, raw hackers, producing wildly varied results. Left-hander Nick Hernandez, 21, took pitcher of the week honors for two superb starts totaling 15 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks and 12 strikeouts. The Phillies' minor league pitchers seem to be either brilliant or brutal.
Meanwhile, teammate Jonathan Villar, a 19-year-old infielder, led the organization with 11 hits last week and brought an 11-game hitting streak into today’s doubleheader, according to the BlueClaws Blog.
Villar is hitting .297, but just like everyone else on the team, has been striking out at an absurd rate: 41 strikeouts for Villar in 138 ABs; 46 for Anthony Hewitt in 131 ABs (.296 OBP); 40 for Jiwan James over 155 ABs (.282 OBP); and 49 for 17-year-old slugging prospect Domingo Santana, who, thankfully, has taken 22 walks for a healthy .364 OBP.
On the plus side, top attraction and team newcomer, first baseman Jonathan Singleton, an 18-year-old lefty slugger, is off to a 7-for-20 start with two homers after joining the team from extended spring training to work on his defense.
Lakewood will be an interesting team to watch the rest of the season, to say the least.