Ever since hiring Dillon Lowery as their new GM, the Manama Pearls played to a 44-45 record, won the BURT league, and re-signed cornerstone pieces. But what have we learned about the Pearls and their future in the UMEBA?
What we Learned:
- The Pearls have talent. Guys like 3B Jose Roman, 2B Divino Pedrulho, SP Ruben Nunez, RF Laurent Fernandez, LF Damien Mayne, and 1B Alejandro Gutierrez have become cornerstone pieces to a team that will contend.
- That talent creates certain first-world problems... there is a logjam at third base behind MVP-Candidate 3B Jose Roman. Look for possible trades as 3B Rivelino Tieve seems to be the odd-man out and someone who could be moved in the offseason.
- Starting pitching is a concern. We have seen a revolving door behind lockdown ace, SP Ruben Nunez. Really, there doesn't seem to be a clear 2-5 on this staff.
- The farm system is still deep, but very young. Nine out of the top 10 prospects are slated to start next season in A-ball for the Manila Pirates.
- The bullpen is crowded and Lowery might need to get creative with packages for starters or a shortstop who can produce at a level equal to the parts around him in the infield.
When asked about the strategy going into the offseason, Lowery wasn't shy, "We're making moves of course. We didn't win a championship, and even if we did, we have a growth mindset here. Always get better." He was a little more specific when pressed about what type of moves, "These guys are a ballplayers, we are going to remain flexible with positions and find perfect fits, find more at-bats for some guys, and have some fun in the draft and down on the farm."
The farm system is something to watch as the Manila Pirates (78-62) are full of the Pearls' top prospects. The three to keep your eyes on are: