The Oakland Athletics minor league affiliates are officially into the thick of their seasons and all four teams are sitting above .500. The Midland Rockhounds and Burlington Bees are both in first place in their respective divisions, as both teams are looking formidable early. In a brief look at the A's farm system, AAA second baseman Adrian Cardenas and Single-A third baseman Tony Thompson are off to the strongest starts thus far.
Through nine games with Sacramento, Cardenas is tearing the cover off the ball with a line of .484/.556/.613. He's struggled in brief stints at AAA the past couple years, but might be finally putting it together. At Single A Burlington, Thompson has a line of .417/.463/.722. It's still early, but if Thompson continues at anywhere near this pace, he could find himself up in Advanced A Stockton in short order.
Sacramento Rivercats (AAA): The Rivercats had a busy first full week of the season, playing seven games in seven days and finishing the week 4-3 against Las Vegas and Tacoma. With the four wins, Sacramento now sits at 6-5 and is tied for second with Fresno in the PCL Pacific South. Jemile Weeks continues to hit the ball with authority as his line sits at .359/.444/.487. OF Chris Carter has struggled thus far, but did hit a home run against Tacoma on Sunday. He's limped to a line of .175/.346/.375 thus far and will need to get it in gear if he wants t earn a midseason callup.
Midland Rockhounds (AA): After a 4-0 start, the first full week of league play has seen the Rockhounds go 3-3 against Springfield and Arkansas. They remain in first place at 7-3, a game ahead of San Antonio. The offense has struggled in Midland, but the pitching has had some big performances. Ethan Hollingsworth went six innings on Sunday, giving up one run on four hits to get his first win of the season. Carlos Hernandez threw 5 2/3 innings of one hit ball to earn his second win of the season and lower his ERA to 1.54.
Stockton Ports (A): The Ports went 4-3 this week, capping it off with a 17-7 throttling at the hands of the Visalia Rawhide. The 4-3 week leaves the Ports at 6-5 on the season, one game back of the San Jose Giants. Stockton has received some strong starting pitching from the likes of Robert Gilliam and Murphy Smith, but have had inconsistent results from the bullpen. Michael Gilmartin has led the way on offense going 6-for-10 on Friday and Saturday. 2010 first round choice Michael Choice struggled opening weekend, but has bounced back the last few games. Since Tuesday he's 8 for 27 (.296) with three homeruns.
Burlington Bees (A): The Burlington Bees had three straight games at Quad Cities postponed due to rain and cold, but has otherwise played quite well thus far, going 5-1 this past week against Peoria and a Sunday double-header with QC. As mentioned above, Tony Thompson has led the way, but Royce Consigli has also hit the ball well this past week, hitting 7 for 20 with a triple and three RBIs. The Bees have received exceptional pitching this week as starting pitchers A.J. Griffin, Jacob Brown and Blake Hassebrock combined to throw 17 2/3 innings of shutout ball this week.