It's still very early, but there are finally some good trends to observe.
This week's extended look will be at the High-A Daytona Cubs stats, linked from my general stats update page. Daytona, even without Jorge Soler for almost a week, even with Javier Baez in another two-week funk, is crushing the ball. They sit top two in BA, SLG, OBP, OPS, and HR. They have an OBP of .374, and are the only team of 12 over .350. Their OPS of .816 is the only one over .800.
Conversely, the pitching isn't helping much. Giving up 27 hits in one game was an obvious drag, but their walks given up and WHIP are both bottom three in the 12 team league. Conversely, the team is tied for second with 109 strikeouts recorded. Only Double-A Tennessee's WHIP is in the league's top five, so much of the pitching help has a distance to travel still.
Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP (Double-A Tennessee): Rhee is in his sixth year with the Cubs. That means, after this season, if he isn't added to the 40-man roster, he can sign as a free agent with any team in the league. Rhee has had 'tools', but hasn't put things all together yet. Out of the gate in 2013, he's started twice. In over ten innings, Rhee has given up only three hits and three walks. While I'm not saying he's ready for Wrigley, another solid start may be his ticket to Triple-A Iowa. Whether he's ready or not, this may be the season to push him along.
Stephen Bruno, Utility (High-A Daytona): Bruno led the Northwest League in slugging in 2012, as a member of the Boise Hawks. The sarcastic comment was, as old as he is for the level, he should hit well. This season, he skipped Low-A Kane County, and went straight to High-A Daytona. In the Florida State League, Bruno's OPS is over one (1.013), and has a hit or two in his last 11 contests.
Ronald Torreyes- 2B (Double-A Tennessee): For whatever reason, be it injury, late reporting date, conditioning, defensive display, or combination thereof, Torreyes was initially sent to extended spring training in Mesa. Torreyes has escaped Mesa and has stepped in as the second hitter/backup leadoff hitter for the Smokies. His defense has been solid enough, he is patient at the plate, and is getting on base. Most importantly, he is back, and adding to options in the system on the offensive side. Small sample size applies, but his OPS is 1.192.
Rubi Silva, OF (Double-A Tennessee): Silva is 12-for-23 over the last week. One was a triple, two were homers, and for the season, he's hitting over .500 against lefties in a curious split. Silva's OPS on the young season is 1.122. And, yes, I know that's four in 'Three Up'.
Low-A Kane County's outfield: We all knew the Cougars would miss 2013 top pick Albert Almora until he returns from his hamate bone injury. However, Trey Martin, Pin-Chieh Chen, and Oliver Zapata are all hitting below .190. In 90 at bats combined, they have four extra base hits.
Double-A Tennessee's catchers: Jair (pronounced Jay) Fernandez and Rafael Lopez are the Smokies' tandem. The argument can be made that the Smokies have the best pitching in the system, so the catchers are doing their job. However, Fernandez has an OPS of .633 as the back-up, with Lopez at .338 as the starter. If you're looking for offensive thump for the parent club in the next year or so, the first couple weeks have been a bad omen so far. Lopez is 3-for-31.
Luis Liria, RHP (High-A Daytona): Liria has pitched in three games, and has gone four innings. He has surrendered 11 hits, and 11 runs, all earned. When your WHIP is 3.5, that isn't very good.