The Norfolk Tides are currently 31-15 and sit atop the South Division in the International League. Despite their reputation as a dumping ground for quad A filler, they are tied for fourth in the league for youngest average age (26.7) amongst position players (which is actually a hair below the average age of 26.9), though their pitching staff is nearly the oldest with an average age of 28.5.
Russ Canzler (4C/DH): Even after cooling off a bit from the torrid pace he set in the opening days of the season, Canzler continues to bring the thunder. He leads the team in walks with 29 (in 197 PA) and brings a very solid slash line of .277/.386/.458 to the table. He also leads the team in strikeouts.
L.J. Hoes (OF): Little Jerome continues to do his thing, which seems to be hitting doubles, taking walks and biding his time. While he didn't exactly have a poor April, Hoes has been hitting like it's his job in May (...wait a second) to the tune of .338/.449/.446. On the current roster, only Jonathan Schoop is younger than the 23 year old St. John's College High School grad. Hoes is one of the youngest on the advanced metrics leaderboard for the International League coming in with a .377 wOBA and 130 wRC+.
Travis Ishikawa (1B/DH): Long known as an all glove, no hit type, Ishikawa has found the International League much to his liking. Ishikawa has SLG'd .842 in his last 10 games. I happened to witness his two home run performance (his second of the season, mind you) against Lehigh Valley last week and let me tell you: opposing pitchers are not getting cheated. He is crushing the ball.
Trayvon Robinson (OF): While he may never take the place of Robert Andino in our hearts, he may yet be a useful piece in a stretch run. Though it seems (to me, anyways) like Robinson has been around forever, he's still only 25. The switch hitting outfielder can do a bit of everything: take a walk, swipe a bag and mash the occasional tater. Robinson had a rough April, but has slashed a damn fine .286/.412/.464 in May. He has not been charged with an error in 55 outfield chances.
Zach Britton (LHP): Get it together, man. Though, he has not allowed a home run in seven starts, Britton has walked 17 batters and struck out 20.
Chris Jones (LHP): Who? Ah, yes...that nice fellow the Braves sent North in return for Luis Ayala. In his favor, Jones is a carbon-based life form that throws with his left hand. The flip side to that is that thus far the results seem to be wanting. In 13.2 innings at Norfolk, Jones has allowed 16 hits and 8 walks for an astonishing 1.76 WHIP. On the bright side, he hasn't allowed a home run and he's struck out 10.
Mike Belfiore (LHP/RP): The former starter and Boston College alum is a work in progress in his second full year as a reliever taking his first crack at AAA. Belfiore has very similar peripherals against lefties and righties, except for the small fact that all of the home runs he has allowed have come from the left side. As if to demonstrate that he is unquestionably a reliever, Belfiore has only allowed runs in outings where he has been pushed beyond one inning of work (though he does have three extended shutout appearances, as well).
Jonathan Schoop (2B/SS): Despite the discouraging news about Schoop's back, I want to leave this here because some folks had been sort of down on Schoop before he hit the DL. The 21 year old Curacao native had really come on strong in May (.348/.362/.500) after a slow start to the season. Could he take a few more walks? Absolutely, but the power, thankfully, seems to be there. Schoop had played exactly 17 games on the road (.304/.351/.478) and 17 games at home (.224/.308/.276) at the time of his injury and looks like he really gets eaten alive at Harbor Park. I have great hope for Jonathan Schoop!
Worth a mention...
Jake Pettit (LHP): A lefty that induces a fair amount of grounders, Pettit just got his first taste of AAA at the age of 26 and did alright. Pettit was sent back to Bowie yesterday, but will probably see Norfolk again before too long.
Data in this article from milb.com, baseball-reference.com, fangraphs.com and firstinning.com