Winning may be less important than development in the affiliated minor leagues, but Bryce Harper’s presence in the low-Class A Hagerstown Suns lineup sure has made a difference in the standings.
Manager Brian Daubach’s team is off to the third-fastest start in the minors at 15 games over .500. In the club’s other four seasons as a Washington Nationals affiliate, it finished a combined 237-312 (.432), with the best season coming last year under Matthew LeCroy at 65-75 (.464). Here are the teams with the best records in minor league baseball this season:
1. Burlington Bees (28-10, .737): In their first year as the Athletics’ low-Class A team, the Bees have a 2.57 ERA, tops in the Midwest League by nearly half a run over Peoria (3.06).
2. Daytona Cubs (28-12, .700): Former Westfield and George Mason University first baseman Justin Bour is third in the high-Class A Florida State League with 10 home runs.
4. Columbus Clippers (27-13, .675): The Indians’ Class AAA team is even hotter than their major league club. Possible third baseman of the future Lonnie Chisenhall is hitting .282 with a .376 on-base percentage and .430 slugging percentage.
5. San Antonio Missions (26-13, .667): Right-hander Casey Kelly, a key part of the Adrian Gonzalez trade with the Red Sox, is 3-1, 3.38 in eight starts for the Padres’ Class AA team.