9-News: 40.034 – Future Rotation Ready Now?

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9-News: 40.034 – Future Rotation Ready Now?

Post by RonCo » Sat Oct 12, 2019 4:55 pm

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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.

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While every baseball person in the organization agrees that Pineda is still raw, they also agree that the kid is 4-1 in AAA Indianapolis while throwing a 2.18 ERA. More important, the component numbers are solid at 8.2 J/9, 0.6 HR/9, and 1.6 BB/9. He’s got very little injury history, has been brought along in a controlled fashion since throwing 77 innings in R-ball in 2037. Pineda is considered one of the more sensational pitching prospects around the league, and the idea of matching him and his five-pitch repertoire up with Carlos Valle and Ernesto Ramos in the rotation make fans salivate for a Big Nine Dog, don’t hold the mustard and relish.

“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.

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Likewise, the right-handed Ramirez, who is 6-1, with a 1.79 ERA in Indianapolis. The Nine babied him last year as he was recovering from a torn labrum, throwing him out of the bullpen for the last third of the season to limit his innings, but the 6’4” hurler seems to have fully recovered, and is using his 100 MPH heater to strike out 9.1 AAA hitters per 9 innings. Even better, his walk rate is way down, and he’s keeping the ball in the park—all while saying that he’s throwing pain-free.

“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.

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Yi is the wildcard in the mix. The 6’4” righthander has had a roller coaster of a ride through the minors, and as late as last fall was considered a likely rotation member with the Nine in 2040. A second torn labrum struck in late October, casting a big shadow of doubt over him. Team doctors were thrilled with his recovery, however, and though his AAA season started with a crash, his last four outings have resulted in only 8 runs in 21 innings (3.42 ERA). Most are thinking that his injury risk makes his likely path to the majors to be through the bullpen, but the important news here is that his recovery—while not complete, yet, seems to be well on its way.

“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.”
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(*) 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.
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