For a moment, around the 100 game mark, the Heads were briefly relevant; just two games out of first place and three games from a .500 record.
In season 18, the team finished at 54-108, for a .333 winning %, or if you are trying to be positive, a .666 losing %.
Either way, one hundred games into season 19, one thing was very clear. Ok, nothing was clear. But, for a brief instant, before a horrible end to the season, for a micro-second, the Heads may not have sucked.
As a friend use to say about his company, “There are either good days or there are learning days”.
Let’s mark up Season 19 as a learning season for the Heads.
We scored 58 more runs than the prior year, and allowed 61 less earned runs. We had 24 more plus plays. Add that up, and we had 16 more wins. We did this with a payroll that was $30M less than the prior year.
We had our moments. The Sammy Romo deal gave us the money to sign INT FA, Pablo Solano before the amateur draft. And all Solano did at the Low A level was post an OPS of over 1.050.
We had the number one pick in the draft, and while we were taken to task for this selection, O.T. Kirk, scouted slightly better than was revealed by those evaluations. He had a solid first season in Low A ball.
So, we added a future superstar in Solano, and a top of the rotation starter in Kirk.
We tied up future Gold Glove SS, Lorenzo Rosado to a 5 year deal, at a good price.
Last year’s Rule V pick, Jerome Bourn emerged as a capable closer.
We stole Gabe Bush in the 33rd pick of this year’s Rule V draft; and (at least in Little Rock), the #1 overall pick, Willie Parkers, was found money.
But mostly we watched our kids mature; and they showed progress. We now have a farm system; and some talent.
Our Rookie team and the AA outfit both made the playoffs.
In short, there is a chance, that in Season 19, the Heads did nothing overtly stupid.
None of our young prospects are really ready. The Heads will enter Season 20 without a ML ready RF, and average players at several key spots. That is, if you understand that the word “several” actually means half a dozen…………..or more.
We are also going to lose our best offensive player, slugger Norberto Reyes, to free agency. He led the team in Runs Created with a mark of 112.75—which is significant, in that it is more than 27 pts higher than our next position player.
We’ll continue to turn double plays (second in the league), and manage every game; but expectations for the Heads to show any significant major league progress in Season 20, should be muted.
In fact without Reyes’s run production, we may take a small step backwards at the major league level.
You may be rightly asking yourself, how much regression can be expected from a team that has lost exactly 200 games in the last two seasons?
It may not be pretty. But, things are not always as it seems.
Minor leaguers like Bernie Mendez, Kendry Armas, Alex Reddick, Diory Trajano, Gene Henderson, O.T. Kirk, Angel Barrios and Hugh Linden are all moving through the minors are encouraging clips.
All of these players have been acquired in the first two years of existence by the stalking Heads.
And is it possible, the Heads have a for sure SS gold-glover in prospect in Hades Scutaro ?
We’ve got other interesting parts as well—but, I sense I’ve worn out my welcome.
If you want to hang out during Season 20, you’ll find me at High School games in Detroit, or perhaps a road trip to Yokahama. I’ll be anywhere there are prospects.
But, I want to assure the league, I will be flying coach; as every possible penny will be spent on young talent.
And maybe some BBQ; I mean, this is Little Rock.