The season is now over, and a strange ride it was.
We began the year believing that the Lugnuts might be one of the best teams in the league. It didn't quite end up that way, due to promotions, injuries, and inconsistency.
By the end of the year, the Dunedin Blue Jays featured the following 2010 Lugnuts in their starting lineup -- catcher Yan Gomes, third basemen Kevin Ahrens and Mark Sobolewski, shortstops Ryan Goins and Justin Jackson, second baseman Ryan Schimpf, first baseman Jon Talley, and outfielders Chris Hopkins and Kenny Wilson (and, for a while, Brad McElroy). Chad Jenkins and Ryan Shopshire anchored the D-Jays starting rotation while lefty Evan Crawford was one of the team's finest relievers.
In other words, aside from the injured A.J. Jimenez, utilityman Kevin Nolan, struggling Balbino Fuenmayor and Eric Eiland, and sluggers Sean Ochinko and Brad Glenn, Dunedin received virtually every Lugnuts starting position player. That's crazy.
Terrific reliever Dustin Antolin blew out his elbow in June. Jimenez was dogged by injuries from April till September. Glenn, in the midst of a brilliant start, destroyed his shoulder on a pair of dives and wasn't the same until July. Starters Matt Fields, Dave Sever, and Ryan Tepera all lost starts due to time on the DL. It was a simple formula -- when the Lugnuts were healthy, they won; when they were hurt, they lost.
This wasn't a bad bullpen this year, but it certainly wasn't a reliable bullpen. There wasn't a single reliever to capably count on, week in, week out. Everyone had their ugly moments, from Steve Turnbull to Casey Beck to Nestor Molina to Brian Slover to Aaron Loup, etc. etc. etc. They were great -- at times. They were simply terrible -- at times. I have no idea who from that crowd will emerge next year as a quality arm and who will bomb out miserably.