After 20 games, it's time to quickly examine who's hot and who's not.
Who's Hot: Houston Riverdogs
How: They've scored the most runs in the NL and given up the fewest. This usually leads to winning baseball. More specifically, Monte Duvall is having a monster season so far, with 27 RBIs in 20 games. Brian Saitou and Alex McClain have also reached the 20 RBI plateau. The pitching is even better- the starter with the highest ERA is Stephen Tucker with a 3.47 ERA. Matt Skinner has been lights out in the closer's role and Cristian Price has been possibly better in the setup role.
Upcoming: Their schedule gets a little tougher. They've got three with NL West leading Vancouver and then 7 in a row against the always dangerous Fargo Dirtbags.
Who else is hot:
Vancouver and Salem are tied for second in the NL with matching 13-7 records.
Norfolk also starts the season at 13-7 to lead the NL East.
Washington, who lost 109 games last season, is off to an 11-9 start.
Who's Not: Atlanta Bandits
How: Their strength was supposed to be their young pitching, but they yield 6 runs a game; their offense can't keep up. Fred Carter is 0-4 with an ERA of 7.83 and Alex Sanchez has an ERA over 10 in a combined 8 starts.
Upcoming: They don't face any team in the next 20 games with a record better than 11-9, but Toronto and Fargo are quality teams. Austin and Philadelphia could give them chances to win some games.
Who else is not hot:
Philadelphia is tied for an NL worst 6-14.
Cheyenne isn't used to looking up at everyone in the NL West, but at 8-12, that's just what they are doing.
San Juan, a chic pick to make the playoffs, is also 8-12.
Trenton makes this list not for their record (a respectable 11-9), but for waiving 40% of their starting staff already (both starters passed).
Who's Hot: Milwaukee Manic Maulers
How: Offense, mostly. Their 130 runs (6.5 a game) is second best in the AL. Andre Eckenstahler has 20 RBIs, but the catalyst has been Burt Stevenson; he's hitting .398 with 9 HRs and 19 RBIs while scoring 20 times. Harold Lewis (.341) and Luis Martinez (.362) are also red hot to start the season.
Who else is hot:
Monterrey takes their accustomary position atop the AL South at 12-8
Nashville has scored a ML-best 140 runs (7 a game) during their 11-9 start.
Seattle has rebounded from an awful season 3 to start 11-9 and lead the AL West.
Perhaps the only team more surprising than Seattle is Jackson: the cardiac kids have already played seven 1-run games (4-3) and are tied for second at 11-9.
Who's Not: Louisville
How: Are they the worst team in the AL? No, as Colorado Springs is 6-14. But it's odd to see a 3-time division winner in last place, even though it's early. The stats seem to indicate they should be a little better than they are. No hitter has been outstanding and they strike out a lot, but their pitching has been solid.
Upcoming: They do have Milwaukee coming up, but there are no other dominant AL teams outside of Wisconsin, so they could get back in it.
Also not hot:
Colorado is a league worst 6-14.
Buffalo occupies last place in the north at 8-12.
AL West rivals Anaheim and Las Vegas are 9-11 to start.