By Jason Patterson / Jacksonville Suns
→ Shuckers win initial game following move to Biloxi with 4-0 shutout in Pensacola, must wait until mid-season to open new Ballpark. MGM Park now set to host home opener June 6.
→ Chattanooga posts the overall best record in the league at 4-1. Jacksonville and Biloxi also suffered only a single loss across the first five days of the season.
→ Weather has already impacted the schedule. Rain washed out much of Monday’s series finale action.
→ New “pace of play” rules force noticeable adjustments to players approach in Double-A and throughout professional baseball.
→ No Southern League team escapes the first weekend of the season unbeaten.
Southern League Spotlight…
This week’s spotlight is on Biloxi shortstop Orlando Arcia. The 20 year-old welcomed himself to the Double-A ranks with an 8 for 15 start to the season. With three extra base hits (two doubles, triple) and four RBI’s to his credit, Arcia leads the league’s early returns with a .533 average.
It has quickly become evident why Arcia (#2/#1) is listed as the top overall prospect in the Brewers farm system by MLB.com.
-Rankings listed use the format Baseball America/MLB.com-
Chattanooga-The highly regarded Minnesota Twins duo of Byron Bruxton (#1/#1) and Miguel Sano (#2/#2) made their presence known around the league with a home run apiece right out of the gate. Bruxton has also logged a double, a triple and three RBI’s through his first 25 at bats. The top two overall prospects in Minnesota’s farm system will be making at least a brief joint tour of ballparks throughout the southland.
Tennessee– Chicago Cubs top catching prospect Kyle Schwarber (#4/#5 overall) launched his first Double-A home run on Saturday, an absolute moonshot in Mississippi to lead off the 4th inning which gave the visiting Smokies a 2-0 lead.
Also of note, Christian Villanueva (—/#24) leads the league in home runs (2). While twenty homers have been hit thus far around the league, Villanueva stands as the only player to leave the yard more than once during opening weekend.
Birmingham– Chicago White Sox pitching prospect Francellis Montas (#5/#3) benefited from a scoring change which left him with 5 1/3 scoreless innings in his season debut for the Barons.
Series To Focus On…
Biloxi Shuckers (3-1) @ Mobile BayBears (3-2)
Thursday April 16-Sunday April 19
The only Southern League series this week featuring teams who have started the season with winning records also matches two of the league’s new South Division location rivals. The BayBears and Shuckers find themselves separated by only sixty-three miles across the Alabama/Mississippi state line.