Las Vegas 51s - First in a Series

Las Vegas is a city built on the foundation that there's a lot of losers around so it is in keeping with the tradition of the place that the 51's had the kind of season that they did. A total of 86 defeats, most of the dreary kind, accounted not only he worst record in the Pacific Coast League but, for that matter, in the franchise history. Let's hope these guys didn't spend any time at the gaming tables.

The record is in stark contrast to the fact that the Dodgers are building a reputation for having the strongest farm system around. This club, however, was one jury-built on players gathered from here, there and everywhere. Only a couple of the regulars were prime prospects. It was one that was supposed to provide spare parts for the parent team.

In that they succeeded admirably. Of those that were in the lineup at the beginning of the season, only shortstop Jose Flores and first baseman Brian Myrow were around to the end. All the others spent at least part of the season filling in for the many injured in the L.A. lineup. And Myrow got his reward by being called up after the final game.

As for all those losses, there's blame to be shared by just about everybody. The offense was mostly presentable, averaging .274 but even that figure ranked in the lower echelon of a league that is a hitter's paradise. The pitching compiled an ERA of an almost astounding 6.21, dead-last in the loop.

Certainly most of the pitchers were inefficient but even they have their complaints. As one put it, "No question that place (Cashman Field) is a horrible place to pitch. I hate it. But even when I made some good pitches and I did for quite awhile -- the defense messed it up. Our defense was horrible."

That indictment was shared by manager Jerry Royster. His only praise for his minions was, "I'll say this -- they never stopped trying. Nobody quit. They played hard right to the end."

Were there any breakout surprises on the team? Not really although Myrow (who almost did quit early in the season) is to be commended for the manner in which he produced day after night despite the scores.

The biggest disappointment ? Well, there were so many but probably that has to be Nori Nakamura. He did share the team's home run lead but here's a guy ranked among Japan's biggest stars who came over here, not only to fail to contribute in L.A. but to manage only a .249 mark in AAA.

In all, a season to make Royster openly yearn for all those prospects coming up from Jacksonville in 2006.

The team leaders in key departments:
Games- Myrow 121.
Runs- Myrow 83
2B- Myrow 28
3B- Flores 6
HR- Myrow, Cody Ross, Nakamura 22
RBI- Myrow 73
BA- Flores .366
OBP- Flores .435
Slug- Ross .509

Wins- Pat Mahomes 9
ERA- Alfredo Gonzalez 4.91
IP- Harold Eckert 135.1
SO- Eckert 121
Saves- Franquelis Osoria 9
OBA- Gonzalez .279