Jordan Flores, a long relief pitcher pressed into the starting rotation, started 34 games but was only 4-5 in the win/loss column. We would love to put him back in the pen to finish out the last two years of his five year contract, but good starting pitching is hard to get in this league. His .223 OAV, 1.18 WHIP and 9.71 K/9 from the left side would, combined with Tom Clark, make the Bulls long relief tandem one of the best in the league. The Bulls have focused on pitching with their last two draft picks: Jared Mathews SP mostly in Low A ball this season was stellar with a 17-1 record, .174 OAV, .243 OBP, .212 SLG, 0.87 WHIP, 1.38 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 156 IP. This season’s pick, Wallace Donovan, was snubbed for any honors in the Rookie league this season because of his pitching role, but he still had amazing numbers. In 36 games, he pitched 50 1/3 innings, struck out 56 batters, won 4 games and saved 1, and his numbers of .172 OAV, .207 OBP, .194 SLG, 0.74 WHIP, and 1.25 ERA were awesome. The Durham Bulls brain trust can’t wait for these youngsters to make it to the Bigs.
Offensively, the Bulls await their 20 yr. old table setter, Bobby Ray Stokes, to continue his development and claim the LF position that is being saved for him at the ML level. Bobby has exceptional speed, swiping 98 bases out of 103 attempts at the High A level this season. His OBP of .431 also helped him score 149 times in only 125 games as his durability of 75 improves. Davey Jose will be hard pressed to improve on his all star rookie (rule 5) season of batting .278 with 61 HRs and 127 RBIs. The Bulls count on superstar, Francisco Guillen, to give them at least his average of 38 HR, 121 RBIs, and 186 hits per season in the last two years of his contract. The Bulls need to add more pop to their lineup as they are not taking advantage of their bandbox ballpark. This is demonstrated by leading the league in SB with 88 more than the second place team, but only ranking 21st in HRs.
In conclusion, the Bulls will make a push for the playoffs if they are able to improve their starting pitching immediately with a rule 5, FA , or international FA addition. If not, they will stay a sub .500 team until their prospects are able to help the big league club.