Well...break up the Barons. They've gone 8-6 over the past 2 weeks and seemingly increased their win total by almost 25%. Fantastic timing. With 11 games to go in the season and a 9 game deficit in the division, it's more than likely that come Labor Day afternoon, the players will be packing up to go home. Unfotunately, the 2010 Barons are a shining example of the general White Sox draft philosophy. They draft a lot of nice, well rounded college players and take very few chances on high upside players. Most of the current roster may be a by product of the previous scouting department, so there is still promise for the future Barons players at the lower levels. Don't get me wrong, I do not dislike any of the current members of the roster at all. Former Baron Greg Paiml, well he is just dumb and a product of the Alabama secondary education system. The rest are all hard workers, they're just mostly overmatched at this level.
It's become clear that the biggest problem aside from the lackluster offense of the Barons is the pitching staff. Pitching coach J.R. Perdew has done the best he can so far, but he's only capable of so much. While Charlie Leesman, Greg Infante, Anthony Carter and Johnnie Lowe have benefitted from his tutelage, others have either struggled or taken steps back. In the case of Justin Edwards, his struggles can be attributed to still being young for AA at 22. I expect to see him make adjustments next season and pitch much better with a full season here. Kyle Bellamy probably isn't going to be ready for the majors as soon as everyone thought, but given more seasoning, he should be fine. Hopefully Charlie Shirek can bounce back from his injury issues this year, but I think he's been shut down and that accounts for his current DL trip.
Josh Phegley is off to a very hot start with the Barons so far. He's accumulated 9 hits, 4 RBI and 2 extra base hits for a .321 average in 7 games. He's yet to flash his power, but he is putting the ball in play. His defense on the other hand still needs some polish. His game calling doesn't seem to be an issue, it's more of the all the little things that need refinement. But I imagine the catching instructors in the system have already been told to give him extra mentoring. Of course, the time he's missed due to his illness has set him back, but he appears healthy and should start 2011 in Birmingham. Although his average is down to .258, Eduardo Escobar is still performing steadily. He's certainly opened my eyes and I'm excited to see what progress he makes in 2011. His overall numbers for the year are quite good, the only negative would be strikeouts.
Next time I will wrap things up for the year and look at the good, bad and ugly of the 2010 Birmingham Barons and what the future may hold for some of the players. Also, I will try to project what 2011's roster will be like. Until then...