These are not the Sacramento River Cats of old. The franchise that has run roughshod over the Pacific Coast League since 2000 has struggled mightily out of the gate.
Sacramento is currently 15-16, just 4-11 on the road. That might not seem that bad, but a quick glance at the stats shows the River Cats are lucky to be that close to the .500 mark.
They have been outscored 179-165 on the season. Sacramento's 17 home runs are by far the fewest in the PCL, while the Cats' pitching staff has allowed 30 homers, tied for the fourth most. A 5.47 team ERA is the third worst in the league.
Baseball America only rates two players on the current roster as prospects, while MLB.com has no River Cats in its top 20 prospects. Oakland's farm system has dropped off in recent seasons as most of the A's top prospects are now playing in the Majors.
That lack of prospect talent, combined with what have so far been an ineffective group of veterans, have left Sacramento looking like a shadow of its former self so far. The good news for the River Cats is that no one is running away with the revamped Pacific North Division; they are only 1.5 games out of first place.
Sacramento and Albuquerque will begin a four-game series Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. at Isotopes Park. The Isotopes currently sport an identical record and were just swept by the Fresno Grizzlies.
It should be an intriguing matchup of two teams desperately in need of a turnaround. Click on the slideshow for a more in-depth look at the River Cats.