The Barons suck. There, I said it. I've been beating around that bush all season long. They're on pace to win 48 games. 48 games. That is out of 140 for the entire season. That is the reverse of their win/loss total from 2009. If they're not careful, they could end up losing 100 games. I never thought I'd witness a team that's only capable of a .200 winning percentage. If they had been in town this week, I may have started wearing a bag on my head, or just burned my tickets in effigy.
I'm not sure if there is one particular reason for the massive suckage that is the 2010 Birmingham Barons. Granted, there really aren't any prospects on the team. John Shelby III, C.J. Retherford and Christian Marrero have all taken huge steps backwards. Shelby should have progressed in the same way Stefan Gartrell did when he repeated AA in 2009. Retherford has brought his struggles from Charlotte with him to Birmingham. Still though, in his case, I think he will overcome all that. He is a skilled hitter trying to produce in a lineup that has no feared hitters. Marrero is an enigma to me at this point. I really don't understand what happened to his power.
I don't think the players are totally at fault. They can only do so much if they're overmatched at this level. Even by Southern League standards, the current Barons squad is very young on average. Most of the ten teams in the league are comprised of rosters that are stocked with what I call AA 1/2 players. Just like with AAAA players at AAA, these guys are not quite AAA players, but too good for AA. The Barons are made up of drafted college players and players who have progressed slowly in the organization. The White Sox have done what they can to add some beef to the Barons roster, sending Miguel Negron and Fernando Cortez here. But, to no avail.
The pitching staff may be a big culprit to the losing. But after examining the league pitching stats, it seems they are just average, not good, but not bad. There's just really no clear answer at all. The coaching staff can only do so much, so the blame doesn't apply there either. I certainly was hopeful for a second half turnaround, but now that they have dropped 4 out 5 and are about to lose 5 out of 6 to Chattanooga, that hope has been dashed. Mathematically, there's still time to make a run, but even that may not add up to anything but .200.
Another player I was fond of on the Barons roster has been dispatched. Catcher Jared Price was traded to the Oakland organization. Jared was a valuable member of the Barons from 2008 until now. He was your typical backup catcher, he either struck out or hit a homerun. But, he was a workhorse when needed, and a leader for the young pitching staff. Not to mention a hell of a nice guy, who would visit sick kids at Children's Hospital in downtown Birmingham as much as possible. Good luck to Jared Price, as class act all the way.
Not much else to write about since the Barons have been out of town all week, but a new homestand begins tomorrow. My prediction, 1-5. Until next week...