The weeding-out process really begins for minor leaguers in Double-A, which presents tougher challenges for hitters and pitchers than they faced at the high-A level.
For an explanation of exactly what those challenges are, Curve left fielder Quincy Latimore and relief pitcher Kris Johnson described some of the specific things Double-A newcomers will face.
Latimore led the Curve with 15 homers and 59 RBIs last season but hit just .239 with 140 strikeouts. His explanation of what hitters can expect.
"A high-A pitcher makes a ton more mistakes with their fastball. They leave it out over the plate more. Their curveballs, they hang them way more than the guys in Double-A do, and they miss over the plate a lot more.
"You can foul a fastball off in high-A and still get another fastball just as good as the one you just missed. In Double-A, my first half [last year], that was a big problem. I was fouling off that fastball that I should have been hitting, and I wasn't getting it again.
Tonight: Erie at Altoona, 6:30 p.m.
Pitching matchups: Curve RHP Mike Colla (5-11, 3.70 for Altoona in 2011) vs. SeaWolves LHP Jay Voss (9-7, 3.67 for Erie)
"It's very rare you get those two to three good pitches to hit in an at-bat. You get to Double-A and Triple-A and the big leagues, you may get one good pitch to hit, and if you're not ready to hit it, then it's just a battle.
"Those guys can command all of their pitches - their fastball, curveball, changeup - and can pitch backwards so much better than guys in high-A. There's a lot of good arms in high-A in the Florida State League, but it's nothing to hit a 95 mph fastball that's flat and right over the plate.
"You get to Double-A, a guy's throwing 95, 93 with sink, with cut. That's when it comes to being ready, picking out a spot over the plate and being ready for it. In high-A, you can kind of have a bigger zone and bigger area where you want to look, and you kind of have to narrow that up in Double-A."
Johnson first reached Double-A in 2008 with Portland and has spent the past three seasons in Triple-A. It's been a while, then, since he was in high-A, but he pointed out Double-A pitchers need to be prepared for more advanced hitters.
"It's better pitch recognition, more knowledge of the strike zone, more pitches to lay off," Johnson said of the hitters. "They find certain sequences or tendencies that pitchers have.
"A pitcher always has to pitch to your strengths. If you're going to get beat, you're going to get beat with your strengths. So really you can't change anything you're doing.
"More consistency is what you're looking for as you move from high-A to Double-A and then eventually to Triple-A. You've got to stay with your strengths but also be more consistent.
"Still, the best pitch in baseball is a located fastball. You locate your fastball and move it around the zone, hitters are going to have a tough time."