Sep 14th, 2009
By John Norris
Heavy sigh…it’s over. I didn’t even get to go to what ended up being the last home game of the year for the Barons. I was under strict doctor’s orders to stay home from work as well as from going anywhere else. So, I guess we should go over the postmortem of the 2009 Birmingham Barons.
What does the future hold for the current members of the Barons roster? As we all know, in minor league baseball there’s no telling where everybody will be the following year. I’ll go through the roster and see if I can show some clairvoyance.
Is Donny Lucy done? Myself as well as my astute wife, a self professed “people watcher,” think he has the body language that screams “I’m done.” It would be a shame though, he is tough as nails and is a great game caller. Although, it would be wise of the organization to keep the Stanford educated Lucy around in a coaching capacity. Jared Price could likely return as a Triple-A backup. His knowledge of the pitchers in the system would help with catching continuity, which is vital because you can’t just sign a catcher off the street mid-year. He’s only 27, and although he’s a feast or famine hitter, he is solid behind the plate and in the community visiting sick children in the hospital and doing loads of charity work.
I expect Jordan Danks, Christian Marrero, John Shelby III and Jim Gallagher to spend at least part of 2010 with the Barons. I’d say that only Gallagher will be here the whole year, although he could move up late. Danks, Shelby III and Marrero should hit their way to Charlotte by the middle of the season.
David Cook, Javier Colina, Robbie Hudson and Lee Cruz may likely be in other organizations in 2010. If Cook’s contract with the White Sox is up, then I’d imagine he’s had his fill with this organization. There may be better opportunities for him elsewhere. He will be missed in Birmingham, although I think there is an outside chance he’ll play in Charlotte. Cruz, Hudson and Colina could all play in Charlotte as well, but I think at least two of them will be gone. Colina is a 30 year old minor league journeyman. Hudson, 26, is versatile defensively and clutch with the bat, although a light hitter overall. And Cruz is 26 and hasn’t done all that well since being drafted in 2006, but he’s shown some flashes of big time power.
C.J. Retherford, Dayan Viciedo, John Ely and Clevelan Santeliz all are primed and ready for a full season at Charlotte in 2010. All of them had impressive years and would benefit from the challenge of Triple-A competition.
The rest of the pitching staff is a mixed bag. Justin Cassel peaked in 2008, Kyle McCulloch has not progressed at all after 2 full seasons with Birmingham. In fact, he hasn’t had an extended run of success since the summer of 2007, prior to his promotion to Birmingham. Johnnie Lowe’s initial tour of Double-A reminded me of McCulloch’s first starts with the Barons. Johnny Lujan can’t seem to harness his stuff to be successful and may end up being released. Other “meh” pitchers Matt Long, Matt Zaleski, Ricky Brooks, Henry Mabee and Jacob Marceaux could return, could move on or could be in Charlotte. Mabee’s the only one who could still turn out to be a prospect in my mind. Meanwhile, Charlie Shirek had a good season overall and will likely return for at least half the season to anchor the Barons rotation.
I’m guessing that the Barons 2010 opening day roster will include catchers Logan Johnson, John Curtis and Adam Ricks. Infielders Jim Gallagher, Greg Paiml, Dale Mollenhauer, Brent Morel, Seth Loman, Joe Persichina and C.J. Lang. Outfielders Christian Marrero, Jordan Danks, John Shelby III and Salvador Sanchez. Pitchers Charlie Shirek, Henry Mabee, Ricky Brooks, Miguel Socolovich, Hector Santiago, Jacob Rasner, Nathan Jones, Anthony Carter, Wander Perez, Levi Maxwell, Santo Luis, Kyle Bellamy and Dan Remenowsky. Of course, with trades, releases, Rule V drafts and free agents, things could change dramatically. If the White Sox do not retain Jermaine Dye and Scott Podsednik, I could see former Barons outfielder Stefan Gartrell getting a shot in spring training next year.
With the Barons season ending, I’ll be putting the weekly JPNese on hiatus until next spring. Although, if anyone has a specific request, I would be happy to write one from time to time. Somebody wake me up when spring training begins…it’s been real, guys.