GM: Ron Collins
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With the Nine’s parent club in semi-cruise control right now, let’s take a look at the next wave of YS9er’s who will be rolling into the clubhouse over the next four to five seasons…
Carlos Pineda (AAA)
Tomas Ramirez (AAA)
Roberto Ramirez (AA)
In-sung Yi (AAA)
Frank Cameron (A)
Much has been written about Pineda and Tomas Ramirez. Both are highly anticipated arrivals, Pineda in particular being seen as an elite hurler. Ramirez is apparently over the primary area of concern with his recovery from injury couple years back, and Yi has had his moments in the sun. There’s no reason to think he can’t be a #3/#4 kind of pitcher.
Roberto Ramirez is a newer name in the mix, having been bought from Nashville last off-season and trialed in the rotation in Santa Clara. Frank Cameron is a bit of a wild card at the moment. He was a first round reliever whose conversion to a starter appeared to be going well before injury struck. He’s losing some ground now, so we’ll see what happens. If Cameron isn’t the guy, there’s a reasonable chance one of the relievers below could be slid into the #5 slot and be at least marginally successful.
It should be noted that Carlos Valle (27) and Ernesto Ramos don’t look to be going very far for some time now, and Luis Colon (25) is a better than solid #3, so the availability of pitching space may be limited here. Trades could be in the offing.
Sergio Perez (AAA)
Knud Calkohven (AAA)
Carlos Elias (AAA)
Alberto Contreras (AA)
Armando Duarte (AA)
Josh Henson (AA)
Al Colbert (A)
Bartolo Gomez (A)
Bartolo Olvera (SA)
Similar to the situation with the rotation, it’s noted that stalwart closer Curt Phillips is only 25, and that the team has recently graduated Angel Hernandez and Tiernan O’Macken to the bigs, so this crew is going to be competing for time in Yellow Springs even as they yield to readiness.
Perez and Elias are essentially ready, and Calkhoven is only a bit of slider growth away. The suite of guys in AA have been spending time starting for the most part, but are all looking like quiet killers. I’m thinking AA Duarte could possibly pitch to BBA hitters right now and not be horrible. I’m getting quite interested in the Contreras/Colbert combination—especially if Colbert could add a notch or two the velocity.
Not that it matters, but I note that Henson threw a no-no a year or so ago. He could be fun.
Time will tell, but really the team needs about three of these guys to work out in order to make the next 5-6 years happen.
LHB - Jesus Rodriguez (AA)
RHB - Bruce McKinley (A)
Two brilliant defenders who can both hit enough to be dangerous. Today the position is Aaron Stone’s, but he’s got a player option coming up and we’re not sure how that’s going to play out. It's worth noting that Pablo Alaniz is another in a long line of perfectly useful back-up catchers, too. He's still in min-sal ranges. We traded a good catching prospect to California this year (for a guy we’ll talk about soon), and I don’t think either of these guys can play in 2041…so if Stone opts out we’ll have to decide to rush a guy or find a short-term stop gap.
Look, however, for these two to be platooning in Yellow Springs by 2042 or so.
1B: Robert Chenoweth (A), Mark Haynes (AAA/BBA), CesarTorres (AA)
2B: Roberto Viramontas (AAA)
SS: Bob Allen (A)
3B: Blaine Tyler (A)
A couple other guys could slide into the mix or be discusses as utility kinds of players, but we’re going to focus on impact players here, and these are all guys who could make an impact in the big leagues fairly soon.
At first base (or DH) Haynes has already been in a Nine uniform for bits of this season, and Chenoweth is the expected True Starter, but he’s probably two seasons away. Torres should be a solid player, and might wind up trade bait. Or not. The ultimate question here is how long Lucas McNeill will continue to drop 4.5 WAR seasons that come with Zimmer glove quality defense. Right now it looks like he’ll hold on at least one more year.
The issue is kind of the same at all the other positions, too, except that the incumbents at second, short, and third are all very young themselves, so to play much Viramontes, Allen, and Tyler will need to take someone’s job away or hope for an injury. Allen, for example, will need to wrest the job from sizzling rookie sensation Luis Pena, and Tyler will have to find a way to displace Dong-po Thum. Good luck with that. Viramontas has the more agreeable situation in that Juan Lopez, while looking remarkably solid, is probably not considered a superstar in the making—and beyond that, he’s spending his last months in AAA to learn every infield position. So, if nothing else, expect him in the utility slot at Yellow Springs soon.
LF: Rex Foster (AA), Jose Camacho (AAA)
CF: Arvin Duggan (SA), Michel Noel (AAA)
RF: Javier Rodriguez (AAA)
If you’re getting the idea that the kids are starting to pile up, you might be right.
Camacho, Noel, and Rodriguez are essentially ready, but it’s hard to find time with the quite of kids the team has playing right now. I mean, it’s such a jam that past Gillstrom Winners Andy McKinney (25) and Jose Machado (24) have been riding the option train with rookies Ricardo Mendoza and Jim Des Jardien. The fact that John Ginn (26) is likely getting a bit too expensive for the team’s blood serves to open a slot in 2041, but it’s a little crack and a lot of water.
To make things more difficult, Foster—a first round bonus baby last year—could well play left field now. Of course, Yellow Springs has teenage wonder Ricardo Mendoza just now bursting on the scene in left. With both Mendoza and Foster hitting left-handed and neither particularly well suited to right field, that suggests a move might be necessary.
23-year-old Abdeljilill Sediki looks like he’ll be in center for a little longer, but the future may well be a platoon of RHB Noel and LHB Duggan. Noel has been up last year and for a little while this season as a left fielder from the right side. We could see it happen again. Regardless, the team also has a couple dark horses at center field who could well pan out, so we’ll just be a little patient, shall we?
If there’s a darkside here, it’s that none of the kid RF prospects are particularly adroit with the glove. On the whole, though, it’s hard to get too upset about it.
The bottom line here is that the club is arguably the deepest in the Frick League, and possibly the BBA on the whole. The Nine has raw material lined up to fill pretty much every role with a $500K player at some point if the need occurs, which provides the front office with considerable financial flexibility when it comes to making deals or singing long term contracts with their young stars. In fact, some of our simulations show the Nine running with payrolls in the area of $70M as early as 2042 or 2043, though the expectation is that they’ll add players as needed to attract fans.
Yellow Springs Nine
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These looks are some of my favorites. I envy your system.
Commissioner, GM: Nashville Bluebirds
Commissioner, GM: Nashville Bluebirds
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