Pitching Prospect Crystal Ball Says Yes
After a hot week, the Yellow Springs Nine currently sits at 24-12, with a three-game lead over Louisville (*). It’s a nice gap, but one that, with 12 of the team’s next 16 coming on the road, still makes team executives get all clenched up when it’s brought up. That said, it’s also fair to say that this small pad has helped the team weather arguments from the hardest core fans that they should be looking to bring up a set of young starting pitchers—specifically 20-year-old Carlos Pineda, 21-year-old Tomas Ramirez, and 24-year-old In-sung Yi.
The fact that the Nine’s quest to fill the bottom of their rotation with a combination of Edgardo Llauro and aged vets Adam Barnard and Freddy Delgado seems to have gone the way of, if not the Hindenberg, at least Wrong Way Corrigan, has not helped.
The fact that the three young arms are making solid cases makes the situation even harder to ignore.
“There’s no question we’re going to see Pineda in a Yellow Springs uniform this season,” said Baseball Adjunct reporter Gayle Combs. “The Nine sent him back to AAA for what seems like a reasonable reason—everyone says he’s got room to grow, but he’ll be 21 soon, and at some point you’ve got to say to hell with it, and get him up here.”
With Ramos’s growth, and Valle’s standing, that addition of Pineda has fans hearkening back to the days of Eduardo Lopez, Crash LaLoosh, and Dogface Chavez.
“You’ve got to like that he’s more than a year past his big injury,” Combs said. “That’s always a big deal for a kid like Ramirez.”
He projects to be a solid #3/#4 guy.
“In all seriousness,” Combs said, “ with the way pitching is around the league right now, you could say that there are several BBA teams that would be improved immediately if they were to put Pineda, Ramirez, and Yi into their rotation right now.”
News like that is music to Nine fans ears, and perhaps not so much to Nine leadership ears. At this point, there are business concerns to deal with—specifically the issue of where the super-two cut-off would be, as well as what to do about the contracts of either Barnard of Delgado (who, one assumes, would be the players replaced by a promotion).
“It’s a good problem to have,” said General Manager Ron Collins. “We think Adam and Freddy have more left in the tank, of course. But the future writing is already on the wall. The only variable is time.”
(*) The Nine’s three-game gap is the largest lead of any BBA division leader—a metric that suggests just how hotly competitive the new structure might turn out to be.