RHP Andre Rienzo returned to Winston-Salem this season after spending all of 2011 there. This caused consternation in some circles who thought the starter deserved to be in Birmingham. I am more sanguine about Rienzo's assignment because a guy with a BB/9 of 5.0+ isn't exactly screaming "promotion" at me. In its weekly prospect report, Baseball America put Rienzo in its "Man Among Boys" section, which is used to note prospects who played well that week but are too old for their level. At 23, Rienzo is certainly that. So far in his second tour of the Carolina League, his peripherals have been much better. His walk rate is down to 2.5 BB/9 and his strikeout rate, which has always been good, is up to 11.5 K/9. Rienzo will be with the Barons soon enough and it looks like he'll actually deserve it.
RHP Nestor Molina won't be replicating his ridiculously superb 2011 season. He's still a miser with the walks - just 2 in 23.2 IP. But he's not missing quite as many bats - 16 K - which has resulted in more hits. And he's not going to get away with 10+ H/9. We got a lengthy scouting report on one of Molina's start right here at SSS. Another point of view from The Anonymous Scout: "He shows good movement on a 91-93 mph fastball and pretty good feel for three secondary pitches in a curveball, change, and splitter, but I just don’t like his slider," explained a National League scout. "He shows flashes, but still just flashes, including pitchability, but he tries to get too cute at times as well. But he still really needs to learn how to use all of his stuff, and I would be surprised to see him have success in a major-league rotation in 2012." Well, only the insane thought he should be in the rotation this year.
- OF Jared Mitchell has repaid our skepticism about his aggressive assignment to Birmingham by continuing his hot hitting from spring training. He's batting a stellar .300/.417/.533. Of course, as you might expect, that's fueled by a BABIP of well above .400. While Mitchell is the type to have an above average BABIP, it won't be that above average. He also hasn't addressed the strikeout issue, as noted by director of player development Nick Capra. But, after the last couple years, we'll take any signs of prospect life.
Since there still really isn't all that much to discuss, I'll fill some space by commenting on a 2000+ word screed about the Charlotte Knights and stadium subsidies. These are the sorts of things that happen when people have just enough knowledge to be dangerous. I'll save you the effort of wading through the whole thing by telling you that the rant's main point is that stadium subsidies are bad because, contrary to the assertions of sports teams, economic studies overwhelmingly show they don't pay for themselves. This is not exactly a novel argument, which is probably why the blogger wrote "tax subsidy narratives are kind of like formula fiction (i.e. same plot points and stock characters)" and thus thought he could just slap together a post with some lazy research, apply it to Charlotte and call it "Same Shenanigans, Different Affiliate". But the shenanigans aren't quite the same. Because this is minor league baseball. The economics are different from the top level, particularly as one gets further away from it. That would be why the research done on minor league baseball stadium subsidies reaches the opposite conclusion of those done on major league baseball stadium subsidies, as a simple Google search would have revealed.
The Barons placed LHP Pedro Hernandez on the disabled list. Hernandez got hit by a line drive in his last start and it's not unusual for minor league teams, with the shortened 7-day disabled list, to be conservative.
On a personal note, I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to the Daily Herald's Scot Gregor.