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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Vagaries of Vegas
2003-04-22 09:30
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Got a good letter late last night:

Jon
I read where you quickly overviewed the 51s' season thus far. I felt necessary to add a few things:
1) Cashman Field is a tremendous hitter's park. Barnes and Crosby aren't really that good.
2) Triple-A stats (more so than stats at other minor league levels) can be influenced by more than just parks. Sometimes, you're hitting against a major leaguer on a rehab assignment. Other times, you're hitting against a relief pitcher disguised as a starter for one day when the opposing team's starter gets the call that morning. On top of that, the PCL is a hitter's league. Cashman is a hitter's park in a hitter's league.
3) I think Romano would still be the first call-up. He's too versatile (I know, we've already got Dilbert) for them not to see as an asset if they decide to drop a pitcher and add a position player. If Kinkade, McGriff, et. al go down with injury, you're looking at Barnes. But if it's anybody else or a pitcher, Romano's who we'll see.

Here's my response:

I basically agree with the writer's sentiment (he didn't give his or her name) of not getting excited about these players, but not so much the specific points. I don't think that I went overboard in saying that Barnes and Crosby are hitting well. Yes, stats are inflated in Las Vegas, but that doesn't account for a guy batting .489, as Crosby was (when I wrote about him - he's down to .481 now). That doesn't mean that Crosby is a major-league talent, but a 1.529 OPS is worth a note, I think.

Barnes' .921 OPS is more dubious in value. I've been skeptical about Barnes since the Dodgers signed him before Spring Training, but I still am not sure he wouldn't be called up before Romano. Romano does have versatility, but the Dodgers' problems have little to do with a lack of versatility. They need some punch, and I think they might just take a chance that Barnes could provide some of that.

You may have noticed that twice last week, Jim Tracy let pitchers bat for themselves in the late innings - for no apparent reason except to conserve pinch-hitters in case he needed them later in the game. I can't imagine Tracy wants to keep doing that. Adding Romano won't solve that problem as well as adding Barnes would - if the Dodgers drop down to 11 pitchers.

But again, I definitely agree with the writer's major point. There just isn't a whole lot of position help down in Las Vegas right now.

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