The Tri-City ValleyCats are seven games into their season, and like most other Astros' teams, the pitching has dominated, but the W-L isn't there. Despite a 1.81 team ERA, the ValleyCats are 3-4. Vermont is 5-2, with a 1.97 ERA, and Brooklyn is 5-2 with a 3.10 team ERA.
But what stands out to us is the K:BB ratio. The ValleyCats pitching staff has struck out 73 batters, and walked 24 for a 3.04 K:BB ratio. Here's how the other teams match up:
Vermont - 63K:19BB (3.37)
Brooklyn - 46K:18BB (2.56)
Connecticut - 56K:23BB (2.43)
Auburn - 60K:25BB (2.40)
Williamsport - 57K:24BB (2.38)
Jamestown - 58K:25BB (2.32)
Batavia - 54K:25BB (2.16)
Mahoning Valley - 56K:30BB (1.87)
Staten Island - 44K:24BB (1.83)
Hudson Valley - 35K:20BB (1.75)
Lowell - 46K:37BB (1.24)
Aberdeen - 39K:32BB (1.22)
State College - 31K:28BB (1.11)
So only Vermont, Washington's NYPL affiliate, has a better K:BB ratio, but Tri-City has struck out more batters.
Why bring this up? Because Bobby Doran threw first-pitch strikes to the first 16 batters he faced last night.
Manager Jim Pankovits:
"It's an organizational philosophy. We want (our pitchers) to be aggressive early in the count, make (the hitter) put it into play, not be afraid of contact."
I know we're talking about a ridiculously small sample size in seven games for Tri-City, but to compare whether or not this is true top to bottom, let's regard the affiliates;
DSL Astros (20 games): 137K:109BB (1.26)
Lexington (71 games): 538K:267BB (2.01)
Lancaster (71 games): 468K:224BB (2.09)
Corpus (72 games): 462K:252BB (1.83)
Round Rock (75 games): 423K:206BB (2.05)
Houston (73 games): 520K:255BB (2.04)
With the exception of Corpus and the DSL Astros - who have only played 20 games - all of the minor-league affiliates whose seasons did not start this past week have a K:BB ratio above 2.00.