JPNese 6/19

I apologize for the lateness of this week's edition.  The Barons had been out of town for ten games, so there really wasn't anything to talk about.  Plus, due to the stifling heat and humidity and the heavy rain, I haven't seen much baseball so far this homestand.  And no, I chose not to apologize to Fernando Cortez.

I've said all season that there is still hope for the Barons to have
success in 2010.  The first half title is a wash at this point.  The
Barons were mathematically eliminated weeks ago.  But, after Sunday, the
records are wiped clean and the second half begins.  Over the past two
seasons, the second half title winner held all the momentum going into
the playoffs.  The Barons went down in defeat both times in the first
round to the eventual Southern League champions.  So, there is some
benefit to going for it in the second half, and that's what the Barons
still have in front of them.  Can they do it?  I don't know what to
think anymore.

With Winston-Salem close to wrapping up the first half title in the
Carolina League, I would hope that the Barons will get a influx of
talent from one of the best offensive teams in minor league baseball.  I'm
hoping to see Seth Loman, Justin Greene and maybe Brandon Short, at
the least, be promoted.  The Barons would benefit from adding Loman,
who's biggest tool is power.  Salvador Sanchez and John Shelby III lead
the team as of right now with five homeruns each.  I'm not sure what's
happened to Christian Marrero's power, but it's sorely needed.

It is a shame that so many players have regressed this season. 
Shelby has now been reduced to a platoon situation where he's only
facing lefties.  I still believe whole heartedly that the White Sox made
a mistake trying to turn Shelby into a leadoff hitter.  It's been all
downhill since the beginning of 2009.  In Marrero's case, his brutally
slow start must have taken it's toll and he's been playing catch up all
season.  The overall problem though is the dead last in the Southern
League team batting average of .252 (.663 OPS).

With the additions of C.J. Retherford, veterans Miguel Negron and
Fernando Cortez, the offensive has shown much more life.  Although I
wonder if it's a mistake or brilliance on the part of manager Ever
Magallanes to stack the three of them at the top of the order.  Does
that take the pressure off the other players in the four through nine
spots?  Or does that hinder their overall growth?  That will be
something I watch closely in the second half.  That's if they all remain
in Birmingham for the duration.  I continue to be cautiously optimistic
about the Barons offense getting into a more productive groove.  Every
time they show signs of being more dangerous, they fall back down to
Earth.  No doubt, this has been a long, frustrating season and it's only
half over.  I've had enough rain for one week, until next time...




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