Sep 282010
 

As expected, Tyler Moore and Tom Milone will be honored tonight before the Washington Nationals game as the organization’s minor-league batter and pitcher of the year.

Moore was the 2010 Carolina League MVP and led the league in HR’s, RBI and slugging percentage. After bottoming out with an 0-for-3 night in the first game of a doubleheader on a Monday night in Salem, Moore’s average stood at .191. He was given the nightcap off and with the next day a travel day, he returned to the lineup on Wednesday, July 14 and went 2-for-3 with a double. The next night, he homered and doubled to push his average over .200. Moore would hit safely in 34 of 37 games, including 14 straight, and win Player of the Week four times. He would club 21 of his 31 home runs from July 15th to the end of the season.

A 16th-round pick out of Mississippi State, Moore is expected to start 2011 in Harrisburg. He turns 24 in January, a fact that has been invariably held against him in the accounts written outside the Natmosphere. His asendance in some ways was blocked by a resurgence from Chris Marrero, who turned in a .359 June after a .235 May and finished the season at .294. At 22, Marrero is likely to begin the year at Syracuse.

Tom Milone was the ace of the Potomac Nationals in ’09 with a 12-5 mark and 2.91ERA. In 2010, he led the Harrisburg Senators in 2010 with… wait for it… a 12-5 mark and a 2.86ERA. Milone has gone largely unnoticed outside of Washington despite these numbers, though this accolade may wake up some folks at Baseball America. It certainly has gotten the attention of John Sickels:

One of the best pitchers in Double-A this year was Tom Milone of the Harrisburg Senators. A 10th round pick out of USC in 2008 by the Washington Nationals, he was excellent last year in the Carolina League (2.91 ERA, 106/36 K/BB in 151 innings, 144 hits, 12-5 record), but as a soft-tossing lefty who threw 85-87 MPH, many were skeptical that he could repeat this against advanced competition. Not only did he repeat his performance, he bettered it: 2.85 ERA, 155/23 K/BB in 158 innings, 161 hits, 12-5. Although he gave up a few more hits, a reduction in his walk rate and an increase in strikeouts resulted in a better overall ratio set. His FIP dropped from 3.55 in ’09 to 2.85 in ’10. Any time you see a pitcher improve his component ratios while moving up a level, you have to be impressed. Milone still doesn’t throw hard, but his changeup is excellent and he added additional bite to his breaking ball this year.

Milone has long been a favorite here at NationalsProspects.com, enough that we included him in our preseason Top 20 with full disclosure that the choice was in some parts sentimental. But the argument then remains the same now: You cannot discount a guy that has had amazing control no matter where he has pitched: 1.92, 2.21, 1.85 BB/9 in his three seasons at USC (’06-’08); 1.25, 1.45, and 2.14 at Vermont, Hagerstown and Potomac in ’08 and ’09. Never mind he’s lefthanded. As Sickels wrote, the scouts have been down on Milone because he doesn’t throw hard, but he throws strikes — more reliably than another 6’1″ lefty from California that came up in the early 1980s: Bobby Ojeda, who many forget was missing piece that the ’86 Mets added after a 98-win ’85 and led the team in wins and ERA.

Milone is likely to start 2011 in Syracuse. Like Moore, Milone turns 24 during the offseason (February) and will compete against the likes of Matt Chico, Shairon Martis, and Ross Detwiler for a chance to join the parent-club rotation or an emergency start.

  11 Responses to “It’s Moore & Milone for Nats’ Minors Players Of The Year”

  1. Thanks, Sue. Well deserved on both counts and I’m rooting for them both. As someone who grew up a soft tossing lefty and who’s favorite player was Randy Jones (how’s that for dating yourself), Milone is good for the soul. They’ve always said you can’t project how a player is really going to advance until they’ve played in AA, and I’m sure most people felt he would be exposed big time at Harrisburg, Sue excluded.

    I know, Sue, you have reservations about Moore in Harrisburg and you saw him more than anyone, but let’s hope for the best here. Everyone’s saying the Nats are going to pull off a big trade this offseason, with any luck Marrero will be traded to an AL team who could use a good DH not worry about his ‘Roberto Duran’ hands. That will open things up for Moore and Rhinehart to fully develop.

  2. @MarkL
    What’s your hopes for Rhinehart? What’s a developmental path that would allow him to get back into the mix? I don’t see Marrero has having much value in a trade at this point, and I think that our lack of depth at 1B means that we need to give him a chance to add to his value at AAA. .800OPS guys with poor defense at 1B and no other position don’t seem that they would command much trade value. I’m rooting for all of them, but I’m hoping that Dunn blocks the whole bunch.

    • Souldrummer —
      I agree with you on Marrero, I think his OPS was .804, but every report from a third party always talks highly of him, defense be damned. If everyone keeps raving about him, let’s get value while you can.
      As to Rhinehart, talked to him several times in ’09, and he came across as someone you can really root for. We’re all in agreement that he was mishandled last year, just hoping he can break out next year, and the chances are better for him and Moore if Marrero is out of the way.

  3. souldrummer & Mark L: Marrero’s slash line for 2010 was .294/.350/.450/.800, over 141GP at Harrisburg, but had 18E in roughly 120 games at 1B. He turns 23 in July (drafted in 2006), but is a RH bat. I’m wondering what the Nationals FO thinks of him, given that they seem less than pleased with Dunn’s 13E in 150 games.

  4. Wow Randy Jones. He’s my ex fiances aunts father in law. Don’t hear many talk about him much.

    Congrats to Milone and Moore.

    I find it interesting that so many just glance over Marrero. Moore’s D isn’t a whole lot better. I’m intrigued by Moore because of the second half he had, but Marrero still should be regarded as the 1b of the future. He’s not a star but he’s consistently produced at a higher level than Moore, and just had hius best year at the AA level.

    • RD – What I wish I could see is whether or not Marrero’s opposite field power has returned. When I first saw him in ’07, he drove the ball to right-center with Manny Ramirez-like authority. I haven’t seen it since (referring to ’08 and ’09; I only saw him play once in ’10 and that was a cold night in early May). I think a lot of people are overlooking Marrero because they are impatient. I still think his best value is as trade bait, but could live with him as a #6 hitter with a .275/.345/.475 triple-slash which I peg as roughly 15-20HR and 75-80 RBI if the defense can get a little better (yes, you can infer that I’m not a believer that Dunn’s D is inexcusably bad).

      The best thing about the Moore-Marrero axis is the competition. Marrero’s had the tag of “1b of the future” for quite some time but with only momentary contenders (Rhinehart in ’08); now he’s got someone pushing him.

  5. Sue,
    You didn’t say whether you were old enough to remember Randy Jones:)

  6. Old enough, but don’t remember him because I grew up in the Northeast and only followed the A.L. as a child.

  7. […] Going into 2011, Moore will have a bit of a target on his back. The Natmosphere has been awakened to his presence and the expectations have been raised — he placed second on the 2010 DC-Internet Baseball Writers Association’s “Minor League Player of the Year” award (full disclosure: he did not receive my vote because I took the descriptor of “Minor league player most destined for big league success” (italics added) literally and seriously; I voted for him in the MiLB.com poll) as well as the organization’s minor-league batter of the year award. […]

  8. […] was the 2010 pitcher of the year for the Washington Nationals farm system and came into the season as the #16 prospect in the 2011 Baseball America Top 30 rankings. […]

  9. […] of waiting until the final weekend of the year, the Washington Nationals have named Steve Lombardozzi and Brad Peacock as their Minor […]

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