Barbaro Canizares, Richmond
.400 (14-35), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 2 BB, 5 SO, 0 SB, .629 SLG
Entering the season with just 137 professional games under his belt, Canizares has looked like a veteran in his return to Richmond. The Cuban defector has been the driving force behind the Braves 8-2 start and perch atop the International League standings. The 28-year-old began the season in style, collecting five hits in his first two games, spanning nine at-bats. Canizares logged his fifth multi-hit game of the season Sunday, also clubbing a home run for the second consecutive day. The first baseman has gotten at least one hit in each of his eight starts this season.
Pacific Coast League
Matt Brown, Salt Lake
.471 (24-51), 17 R, 7 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 3 BB, 7 SO, 0 SB, .922 SLG
A familiar face in Salt Lake after spending his 2007 season there, Brown has started 2008 in a hot streak that might make him hard to recognize for Bees fans. The highlight of Brown's week was hitting for the cycle -- the first of the 2008 Minor League season -- on April 9. For the season, Brown has eight multi-hit games and scored 17 runs in 11 games. He also has clubbed 13 extra-base hits, including one in each of his last seven games. Brown is especially locked in against right-handed pitchers, whom he is batting .529 against. Salt Lake's 10-1 start has been as much about Brown's streak as anything else.
Mike Carp, Binghamton
.474 (18-38), 8 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 2 BB, 4 SO, 0 SB, .895 SLG
After Binghamton's first five games this season, Carp was hitting a mild .267, with just four hits to his name. That Carp has gotten his average up to .474 is a testament to just how good his last five games have been. On April 8, Carp had his first multi-hit game of the season, hitting a double and a solo home run against Akron. He continued the damage against the Aeros the next day, hitting another homer and two singles. But Carp saved his best performance for the weekend, collecting eight hits, five runs and five RBIs in Saturday and Sunday's wins, also clubbing his fourth home run of the season.
Thomas Hubbard, West Tenn
.370 (10-27), 6 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 1 BB, 4 SO, 0 SB, .926 SLG
Hubbard has started just seven games thus far, but he earns the SL's top spot by making each plate appearance count. Take, for example, Friday, when a rain-shortened game saw the Diamond Jaxx play just five innings of baseball. In two plate appearances, Hubbard hit a sacrifice fly and the go-ahead home run, driving in each of West Tenn's three runs. The homer marked his third straight game clearing the bases. Strikeouts were Hubbard's bugaboo with West Tenn in 2007, so it's a good sign the slugger has just four after eight games.
Jesus Guzman, Midland
.535 (23-43), 9 R, 4 2, 0 3B, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 3 BB, 9 SO, 2 SB, .767 SLG
Expectations are high in Midland for Guzman based on the strength of his 2007 season, when he clubbed 68 extra-base hits. However, no one could have anticipated a week like this, where Guzman had a multi-hit game in nine of the Rockhounds' 10 games. The third baseman has been a stabilizing force in the middle of the lineup, leading Midland to a 9-1 record with his remarkable consistency. In his last seven games, Guzman has collected at least two hits per game, going 19-for-31. Guzman also did all he could in Midland's lone loss, hitting a double and a home run Saturday as Midland fell to Arkansas, 6-3.
Javis Diaz, Lake Elsinore
.444 (20-45), 12 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 9 SO, 5 SB, .875 SLG
The first outfielder on this list, Diaz is clearly enjoying the California sunshine, as his slugging percentage alone surpasses his .724 OPS in the Midwest League last season. Diaz has collected a hit in each of his first nine games this season, scoring two runs on five different occasions. The Dominican native reached the pinnacle of his hot streak over the weekend, collecting seven hits in 12 at-bats on Saturday and Sunday, scoring four times as the Storm won twice and moved to 7-4 on the season. Diaz has also been successful in five stolen base attempts, making it hard to argue for anyone else on the list of the Minor Leagues' best leadoff hitters.
Matt Wieters, Frederick
.478 (11-23), 8 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 10 BB, 3 SO, 1 SB, .913 SLG
Six million dollar signing bonuses do not come without expectations, but Wieters has started his season even better than the Orioles could have expected. The fourth overall selection in last June's Draft, Wieters has a .618 on-base percentage after nine games with Frederick, collecting 11 hits and 10 walks. He started his season off in true style, hitting two home runs and scoring three times in the Keys 7-3 victory over Lynchburg. Wieters has reached base in every game this season, and his .680 on-base percentage against right-handed pitching is especially impressive.
Florida State League
Edwar Gonzalez, Tampa
.302 (13-48), 8 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1 SB, .628 SLG
Not to be confused with the other Edwar in the Yankees system, Mr. Gonzalez is making a name for himself with a powerful start to the season. Back in Tampa after hitting just nine home runs in 2007, Gonzalez is already one-third of the way there. Gonzalez has been especially zoned in since April 6, when he collected four hits, twice homering off Sarasota starter Daniel Guerrero in Tampa's 8-5 win. The Venezuelan is slugging .771 against right-handed pitching, and has been extra special with runners in scoring position, going 5-for-10.
Manuel Rodriguez, Lansing
.483 (14-29), 5 R, 5 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 1 BB, 5 SO, 0 SB, .892 SLG
Playing in Lansing, Mich., Rodriguez is a long way from the warm weather of his native Panama, but through seven games this season he looks right at home. An 0-for-3 showing on Friday snapped a six-game streak in which he clubbed seven extra-base hits. Most of Rodriguez's damage has come with runners on base, as he is 10-for-15 with a 1.333 slugging percentage in that situation. Not surprisingly, Lansing is 6-0 and averaging 9.33 runs per game this season in games in which Rodriguez gets a hit.
South Atlantic League
Concepcion Rodriguez, Rome
.313 (10-32), 4 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 8 BB, 7 SO, 1 SB, .656 SLG
Another Panamanian Rodriguez crushing Class A ball, Concepcion looks like a different player than the one that posted a .611 OPS for Rome last season. Rodriguez homered in both games over the weekend, both valiant comeback attempts that the Braves ultimately lost. Rodriguez has been as patient as he has been powerful, walking eight times in 11 games to post a .429 on-base percentage. Interestingly, Rodriguez is hitting .381 in the comforts of Rome, but his only two hits on the road have gone for home runs. He is hitting .385 with runners on base, and has driven in multiple runs in four of his last seven games.
Bryan Smith is an associate reporter for MLB.com.