We're 26 games into the season, so it's time for a snapshot of what's going on around the league.
- The best team in the National League thus far hasn't been the defending champion Austin City Limits or the Fargo Dirtbags, who just ran off 10 straight wins. No, the best team thus far has been Washington at 19-7. They're an astounding 14-2 at home and former MVP Luis Martinez is off to a torrid start. In addition, they're getting help from AAA in the form of Andrew Clayton and Matty Pena. Yikes.
- Fargo is 17-9, but Kansas City is only one game back at 16-10. They might be for real.
- The East is already shaping up to be a good 3 team race. Washington doesn't look like it's going anywhere, and Atlanta is always right there at the end. But Trenton is a force as well (and they'd be even more dangerous with something vaguely resembling a bullpen)- they have a solid lineup and 5 legitimate starters.
- Does anyone want to win the West? Salt Lake City and Salem are tied at 11-15, although I have to think Salt Lake City will turn it on at some point.
- The South has some early contenders, but it's too early to tell. We know Austin at 16-10 is a real contender, but New Orleans is right there at 15-11 and Huntington is close at 13-13. Questions remain about both teams' pitching staffs (Huntington only due to Gates's injury), so it remains to be seen if either or both will be mentioned as a contender 100 games from now.
- Vancouver's offense didn't hear about the rollover to season 10. They're averaging 3.8 runs a game (only Pittsburgh and Norfolk are worse in the NL) and are 10-16.
- In addition to Martinez (.395-9-28), New Orleans's Ray Cepicky (.434-12-28) and Huntington's Willie Scott (.362-8-29 are off to very hot starts.
- In a division with Carter Leonard, David Dunwoody, Dwight Salmon, Fred Carter, Kaz Whang, and Santiago Perez, the two best starters in the NL East have been Trenton's Jason Sprague (4-0, 1.84) and Washington's John Balfour (2-0, 1.86). Can you say depth, ladies and gentlemen?
- Monterrey (21-5) is the class of the league thus far. They're a balanced team- they have 11 guys with at least 10 RBI. They don't lose at home (10-3) or on the road (11-2).
- Jackson (16-11) and Montgomery (15-11) could make the AL South as competitive as the NL East.
- On the down side, one might think that Charlotte (4-22) could win more than 4 by accident.
- Cincinnati (16-10) and Milwaukee (13-13) are both ahead of AL North favorite St. Louis (12-14), although Cincinnati started hot last season and faded fast. We'll see if they have some staying power this season.
- Ditto New York (15-11), currently leading Louisville by one game.
- The West is a jumble. Seattle (14-12), Anaheim (13-13), Cheyenne (12-14), and Boise (10-16) all look pretty much the same right now- decent teams with serious flaws.
- Buffalo's A.J. Leonard (.352-11-27), Scranton's Victor Mercado (.300-11-34), Seattle's Osvaldo Johnson (.255-10-30), and Monterrey's Sean Simpson (.405-9-26) are hot to start the season.
- Cincinnati's Louie Bolivar (6-0, 2.02) and Monterrey's Luther Brush (5-0, 2.54) are leading their teams to division leads right now.