The Cool Of The Grass 2051.1: Team Likely To Rebuild Bullpen

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The Cool Of The Grass 2051.1: Team Likely To Rebuild Bullpen

Post by aaronweiner » Tue May 17, 2022 9:11 am

The Des Moines Kernels' most effective unit last year was their bullpen, so, naturally, they're tearing it down. Standout closer Francisco Salgado has opted out, and is likely to become a free agent. So is Daniel Camacho, who has been an effective reliever for several seasons. The two moves will save the team over $9 million, which the Kernels claim they are likely to use to improve the offense.

"We feel like our bullpen actually isn't going to be a problem area even without those two," said Des Moines GM Aaron Weiner. "We've reorganized a bit and we're hoping that our changes will help the team."

Former top 5 pick Deron Alexander is expected to play a large role in the bullpen next year. Alexander struggled for the third straight year as a starter, but posted a 3.32 ERA in 57 bullpen innings last year, striking out 79 batters. The team is also hoping for more strong seasons from players like Jae-myung Kim and Ken Sproul, both of whom were solid last season, and a healthy year from Bill Keil, who missed most of last year with a torn labrum.

"We think we have a lot of pretty solid bullpen members," said pitching coach Tony Cabrera. "We're hoping that we get good performances out of a lot of guys."

Last year's third rounder, Lewis Norman, is also expected to potentially play a role in the bullpen next year. Norman was one of two Des Moines draft picks to dominate at multiple levels last year (the other was #3 overall Carlos Souza, who is also expected up in 2051) and while he is expected to start the year in AAA, scouts would be surprised if the 21 year old wasn't up sometime next year.

"We're excited about Lewis," said a team scout. "He's got real potential to come on in a hurry and really help."

Despite some speculation, the team is unlikely to call up top prospect Tommy Akers to pitch in the pen next year. Akers also dominated two levels last year at the age of 18, but the team is likely to either leave him in the minors or call him up in September next year, if at all.

"We want to see how Tommy handles a whole year in the high minors next year," said Weiner. "He looks very special and we don't feel a need to rush him to the major leagues, and we're going to give him every opportunity to improve before he's a permanent fixture in our rotation."

The Kernels are also expected in light of Timmy Karnes' major arm injury to begin converting him into a reliever this offseason, and it is expected that the former #3 overall pick will finish his career out in the bullpen. ... am_18.html

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