Sep 162010
 
Player Pos. Age 2010 Team(s) 2009 Invite Notes
Gregory Baez LHSP 18 GCL Y Jumped from the DSL to GCL with limited
success
Aaron Barrett RHRP 22 VMT N 9th-rd pick in ’10 draft, hammered for
23H, 23R in last six appearances
A.J. Cole RHSP 18 VMT N 4th-rd HS pick in ’10 draft, late sign; pitched
a scoreless inning in his one appearance
Paul Demny RHSP 21 HAG Y Faded in Aug/Sep (0-7, 6.75) — a power arm
that’s likely headed to the bullpen in 2011
Pedro Encarnacion RHSP 19 GCL Y Jumped from the DSL to GCL with limited
success
Wirkin Estevez RHSP 18 DSL N Sleight (6-1, 170) righty that put up strong
numbers in DSL all year long
Matt Grace RHSP 21 GCL, VMT N 8th-rd ’10 Col Jr. pick that struggled early
before having some limited success at GCL
Tyler Hanks RHRP 20 GCL N 17th-rd ’10 JuCo pick that put up respectable
numbers (1.29WHIP, 25K in 33⅓IP)
Bobby Hansen LHSP 20 VMT Y Big (6-5, 220) lefty, HS pick in ’08; hittable
(72H in 56⅓ IP) but gets Ks (8.15K/9IP)
Mark Herrera RHRP 20 VMT N 16th-rd ’10 JuCo pick w/ good size (6-3, 230)
and the numbers s to match (.220 OBA)
Graham Hicks LHSP 20 VMT, HAG Y Lanky, long-limbed lefty that tends to get hit
on his 2nd pass through the opposing lineup
Trevor Holder RHSP 23 HAG, POT N Pitch-to-contact guy that can be effective
in lower third of the strike zone, will be even
better as his offspeed stuff develops.
Chad Jenkins LHSP 22 VMT Y Control is a little lacking (5.67BB/9) but has
the strikeouts to match (8.67K/9IP)
Taylor Jordan RHSP 21 VMT Y Struggled but survived when I saw him in late
June but didn’t fare so well in July and August
Anthony Marcelino RHSP 17 DSL N Venezuelan IFA that put up good numbers in
the DSL, never mind he turned 17 in March
A.J. Morris RHRP 23 GCL, POT Y Converted to relief in mid-season with limited
success, but had a noticeable uptick in velocity
upon his return from GCL
Miguel Navarro RHRP 17 DSL N Another IFA, but struggled at GCL —
20IP 19H 19R 21BB
Robbie Ray LHSP 18 VMT N 12th-rd HS pick in ’10 draft, late sign, pitched
a scoreless inning in his one appearance
Dan Rosenbaum LHSP 22 HAG, POT Y Big-bodied lefty that features a curve and a
cutter to go with fastball; command is
sometimes spotty but knows how to pitch
without his “A” game
Josh Smoker LHRP 21 HAG Y Conversion to relief was a huge success
(1.35ERA, .174OBA) and may have salvaged
his prospect status, if not career
Sammy Solis LHSP 22 HAG N #2 WAS pick in ’10 draft, made two
scoreless appearances late in season.
Expected to rise quickly a la Storen
Rob Wort RHRP 21 HAG, POT N Lanky righty (6’2, 170) that leapfrogged
Dean Weaver as bullpen star. Pitches better
with men on than with bases empty
Sep 152010
 

The tables were turned on the Winston-Salem Dash as the Potomac Nationals used both the long ball and the big inning to twice overcome one-run deficits for a 5-3 victory. The win evened the Carolina League championship series at 1-1, which will resume tomorrow night in Woodbridge.

Trevor Holder was the stopper for the second time in as many starts with 5⅓ innings pitched, with two runs allowed on eight hits, no walks, and five strikeouts. Zach Dials got the win in relief, allowing hits to the first two batters he faced in the sixth but then retiring the side in the seventh.

Early on, the P-Nat lumber was still in a slumber as Winston-Salem’s Dylan Axelrod faced 10 batters before Derek Norris led off the fourth with a double. After Bill Rhinehart popped put and Tyler Moore struck out, it appeared that he would be stranded until Jamar Walton launched a two-run blast to left to give Potomac its first lead at 2-1.

Dash cleanup hitter Seth Loman chased Holder with a one-out solo shot in the sixth, tying the game at 2-2, and Ozzie Lewis greeted Dials with a triple to center. Jose Martinez followed with a single to left to send in Lewis and return the lead to Winston-Salem at 3-2.

Axelrod was lifted after seven innings in favor of journeyman Brandon Kloess. Francisco Soriano walked and stole second second base. After Nick Moresi struck out, Soriano would score after Dan Lyons and Norris hit back-to-back singles, chasing Kloess. Lefthander Hector Santiago came on to face Bill Rhinehart. Santiago got the out, but the flyball was deep enough for Lyons to score the go-ahead run. Tyler Moore singled to complete the rally.

With a 5-3 lead, Patrick McCoy took the ball in the eighth and let up a leadoff single to Brandon Gilmore, giving the crowd of 4,009 hope for another rally. But the burly lefty crushed any hopes of that by retiring the next six batters to notch the save and send the two teams back to Virginia, in what now amounts to a best-of-three with Potomac as the host.

Sep 132010
 

Winston-Salem’s Stephen Sauer pitched masterfully for eight innings to lead the Dash to a 4-0 victory over the Potomac Nationals in Game One of the Mills Cup Finals.

Sauer was perfect through five innings, keeping the ball down and in the infield with four strikeouts, a lineout, a popup, and nine grounders. The 24-year-old would eventually give up five hits and no walks before turning the ball over to closer Tyson Corley for a 1-2-3 ninth and a combined shutout.

Danny Rosenbaum got his second Game One series start and almost immediately got into trouble with the first of two errors by Robby Jacobsen and a walk before rolling a double-play ball and striking out Winston-Salem’s cleanup hitter Seth Loman. After a scoreless second, and two-hit third, Winston-Salem got on the board first with an Ozzie Lewis solo HR to take a 1-0 in the fourth.

Rosenbaum would last for 4⅓ innings before leaving with runners on 1st and 3rd in the fifth, an unusually quick hook by manager Gary Cathcart who called upon A.J. Morris to clean up the mess, which he did with by returning a tapper back to the mound to Derek Norris and inducing a liner to short.

The sixth inning was not as kind to Morris as shaky defense combined with timely hitting loaded the bases and the Dash grinded (grounded?) out two runs in the process to take a 3-0 lead. Joe Testa took the hill in the seventh and gave up the fourth and final Dash run with a leadoff double by Kenny Williams Jr. and an RBI single by Loman.

Jose Lozada collected the first Potomac hit with a leadoff single in the sixth and took second on a Nick Moresi swinging bunt and third on Chris Curran single to right. Sean Nicol, however, grounded out to end the threat. Tyler Moore became the second runner stranded after he narrowly missed an opposite-field home run in the seventh. And in the eighth, back-to-back singles by pinch-hitter Sean Rooney and Curran went for naught as pinch-hitting Francisco Soriano couldn’t get the clutch hit.

Trevor Holder will be asked to split the series as the Game Two starter against Winston-Salem’s Dylan Axlerod takes the hill with hopes of giving the P-Nats the poison pill and a trip to Woodbridge with 2-0 lead.

Sep 132010
 

Two years ago, Potomac faced an 89-win team that led the league in offense (5.46 runs per game) and outslugged them 35-15 to win the Mills Cup. This year, they’re facing the same challenge against the 81-win, 5.31-runs-per-game Winston-Salem Dash. Can they do it again?

The odds are stacked against them. During the regular season, they only beat them eight times in 20 games. Four wins in the first half, four wins in the second. Four wins at home, four wins on the road

It’s tempting to say that the much-improved offense can stand toe-to-toe with them but take a look at the last seven meetings:

Date Where Result
July 22 @W-S Lost, 4-5
July 23 @W-S Lost, 12-13
July 24 @W-S Won, 7-2
July 25 @W-S Won, 13-3
Aug 20 @Pot Lost, 8-9
Aug 21 @Pot Won, 9-2
Aug 22 @Pot Lost, 8-9

These meetings coincide with the offensive resurgence of the P-Nats, and demonstrates the universal truth of when you get good pitching, you usually win. Well, tell that to the Kinston Indians, who lost 3-2 and 2-0 before falling 10-5 in 10 innings to get swept in the Southern Division semis for the Mills Cup. That five-run outburst in extras is what Potomac needs to fear, especially after blowing an 8-2 lead to lose 9-8 on August 20.

If there is any hope, it’s the lack of familiarity that Winston-Salem has with the top three projected starters for Potomac, Danny Rosenbaum, Trevor Holder and Jimmy Barthmaier. Rosenbaum has never faced them, Holder as only pitched 3⅔ innings as a reliever, and Barthmaier pitched five scoreless innings against them on August 20th. The same cannot be said for any of Winston-Salem’s likely starters, which are reported to be Steven Sauer and Dylan Axlerod for Games 1 and 2, with Terry Doyle and Nathan Jones likely to follow, though not necessarily in that order.

Without further ado, here’s the breakdown, starting with the schedule…
Game 1 at Winston-Salem, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.
Game 2 at Winston-Salem, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.
Game 3 at Potomac, Sept. 16 at 7:03 p.m.
Game 4 at Potomac (if necessary), Sept. 17 at 7:03 p.m.
Game 5 at Potomac (if necessary), Sept. 18 at 6:35 p.m.

And here are the pitching matchups, as reported by the Winston-Salem Journal and predicted by yours truly…
Game 1 Danny Rosenbaum (3-2, 2.09) vs. Stephen Sauer (8-10, 4.89)
Game 2 Trevor Holder (3-3, 4.09) vs. Dylan Axelrod (8-3, 1.99)
Game 3 Jimmy Barthmaier (4-1, 3.62) vs. Terry Doyle (8-8, 3.71)
Game 4 Marcos Frias (7-5, 5.69) vs. Nathan Jones (11-6, 4.08)
Game 5 Danny Rosenbaum (3-2, 2.09) vs. Stephen Sauer (8-10, 4.89)

And — don’t underestimate this, it matters big-time — the weather forecasts…
Game 1 – 78° and clear
Game 2 – 81° and clear
Game 3 – 78° and clear
Game 4 – 76° and chance of rain (20%)
Game 5 – 73° and clear

Projected Starting Lineups
POTOMAC
2B Dan Lyons (.221/.352/.306 , 1HR, 13RBI)
C Derek Norris (.235/.419/.419, 12HR, 49RBI)
DH Bill Rhinehart (.254/.328/.466, 14HR, 51RBI)
1B Tyler Moore (.269/.321/.552, 31HR, 111RBI)
LF Jamar Walton (.302/.309/.453, 1HR, 11RBI)
3B Robby Jacobsen (.223/.296/.352, 6HR, 37RBI)
SS Jose Lozada (.256/.307/.390, 6HR, 34RBI)
RF Nick Moresi (.236/.283/.342, 1HR, 24RBI)
CF Chris Curran (.226/.296/.305, 1HR, 17RBI)

Key Bench/Platoon Players:
C/DH – Sean Rooney (.258/.320/.400, 3HR, 22RBI)
IF – Sean Nicol (.288/.344/.390, 0HR, 9RBI)

WINSTON-SALEM
LF Kenny Williams Jr. (.252/.306/.365, 33R, 0SB)
CF Jose Martinez (.242/.295/.347, 5HR, 24RBI)
3B Jon Gilmore (.312/.349/.394, 5HR, 80RBI)
1B Seth Loman (.292/.379/.514, 25HR, 88RBI)
DH Ozzie Lewis (.300/.358/.440, 10HR, 56RB)
RF Nick Ciolli (.375/.390/.600, 1HR, 5RBI)
C Jason Bour (.302/.376/.570, 6HR, 26RBI)
2B Andrew Garcia (.253/.318/.381, 9HR, 70RBI)
SS Greg Paiml (.272/.350/.380, 0HR, 10RBI)

Key Bench/Platoon Players:
OF – Brandon Short (.316/.365/.491, 15HR, 79RBI)
C – Luis Sierra (.293/.343/.418, 5HR, 41RBI)

Obligatory Prediction
Love to be wrong on this one, but Winston-Salem in five games

Sep 122010
 

A four-run 3rd by the Altoona Curve broke open a 3-2 lead and sent the Senators to a 10-5 loss to end their 2010 season. But the beat goes on in Potomac with a 10-3 win over the Frederick Keys, as the P-Nats advance to the Mills Cup finals for the second time in three seasons.

Tanner Roark was taken deep three times in less than three innings, accounting for all seven runs he surrendered, as the 23-year-old also struggled with his command in walking three over 2⅓ innings. Five relievers followed but only Rafael Martin and Cole Kimball would go scoreless as the Curve put 12 hits on the board.

Chris Marrero (2-for-5) and Jhonatan Solano (3-for-4) were the heart of the Harrisburg offense, each homering while combining for five of the seven Senator hits and four of the five runs driven in. Micahel Burgess contributed the other RBI and threw out a runner at third, but went an abysmal 0-for-13 with three walks and five strikeouts during the series. Josh Johnson only reached base twice but was the offensive MVP for the Sens in the series, batting .417 with seven walks and four runs scored.

For the bullet-point folks…

Team Pitching Star Hitting Star #1 Hitting Star #2
Harrisburg Senators
L, 10-5
(Eliminated 3-1)
Rafael Martin
1IP 0H 0R 0BB 1K
Jhonatan Solano
3-4, R, HR, 3RBI
Chris Marrero
2-5, 2R, HR, RBI
Potomac Nationals
W, 10-3
(Advances 3-1)
Rob Wort
1IP 1H 0R 1BB 0K
Chris Curran
3-4, 2R, 3B, 2RBI
Bill Rhinehart
2-4, R, 2B, 3RBI
Sep 112010
 

Four big innings on offense and four innings of solid bullpen work were the, um, keys to beating Frederick as Potomac would go on to 10-3 win and return to Carolina League’s Mills Cup championship for the second time in three seasons.

Seven batters would combine for 11 hits, led by Chris Curran who tripled and singled twice for a 3-for-4 night, finishing the series at 7-for-12. Bill Rhinehart would drive in three for the second straight night, his six RBIs leading the team in the series. Potomac would score twice in the second, twice in the third, and three times in the fourth to build a 7-1 lead through four innings.

Marcos Frias would go five-plus innings to log the win, charged with three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out three. The first man out of the bullpen, Carlos Martinez, was greeted with a single to load the bases with no outs in the sixth, and then gave up a double, but Chris Curran and Jose Lozada combined to gun out the last runner by a healthy margin to get the first out. Martinez struck out the next batter and got a tapper back to the mound to end the inning, the lead cut to 7-3.

Potomac’s response would come in the bottom of the seventh, plating three runs on two hits and a groundout and took advantage of three walks — the seventh, eighth and ninth that the Keys would issue — to stretch the lead to 10-3.

Zach Dials and Rob Wort would follow Martinez, each tossing a scoreless inning to seal the deal. For the series, the bullpen would pitch 15⅔ innings, allow four runs, one earned, on 18 hits and three walks, and strike out 11.

As expected, the P-Nats’ opponent will be the Winston-Salem Dash. The double-half winner swept the Kinston Indians in the other half of the playoff bracket and will host Potomac for Games 1 and 2 on Monday and Tuesday. The series finishes at Potomac, resuming for Game 3 on Thursday, with Games 4 and 5 (if necessary) slated for Friday and Saturday.

Sep 112010
 

While Potomac took the 2-1 lead it was seeking with a decisive 7-1 win over Frederick, the news was not so good from Harrisburg, as the Senators dropped a 7-2 decision to the Altoona Curve.

Curve prospect Justin Wilson battled with his control (five walks in six innings pitched) but the Senators could not solve the 23-year-old, who allowed just two hits and struck out seven. Meanwhile, Ryan Tatusko was touched for three runs in the third as he gave up eight hits and two walks total over six innings. For the second straight night, the Senator bullpen was ineffective, surrendering four runs in three innings.

But you can’t win if you don’t score, and the string of goose eggs on the board wasn’t broken until the bottom of the ninth, as Adam Fox homered to break up the shutout. Harrisburg would collect just six hits total and strand eight base runners, going 1-for-10 with RISP.

Tanner Roark (1-1, 2.50) takes the hill late this afternoon, opposed by Tony Watson (6-4, 2.67), as Harrisburg looks to force a Game 5 tomorrow afternoon in Altoona.

For the bullet-point folks…

Team Pitching Star Hitting Star #1 Hitting Star #2
Harrisburg Senators
L, 7-2
Cory VanAllen
1IP 0H 0R 0BB 0K
Josh Johnson
1-1, 3BB
Steve Lombardozzi
2-4, BB
Potomac Nationals
W, 7-1
Jimmy Barthmaier (W, 1-0)
5⅔IP 2H 0R 1BB 7K
Bill Rhinehart
2-3, R, BB, HR, 3RBI
Tyler Moore
2-4, R, HR, RBI
Sep 102010
 

Back-to-back jacks in the top of the 7th inning by Bill Rhinehart and Tyler Moore broke open a 3-0 game as the Potomac Nationals took a 2-1 series lead with a 7-1 win over Frederick on Friday night.

Entering the game, Rhinehart had been hitting just .100 (1-for-10) in the series; Moore just .250 (2-for-8) but both would break out at home to collect multiple hits and fuel the Potomac offense.

Pitching, however, would be the name of this game. Veteran Jimmy Barthmaier would go the first 5⅔ innings and give up just two hits and one walk while setting down seven Keys on strikes, mixing curves with changes and fastballs to keep the Frederick nine off base and off stride. He would allow just two hits and walk just one while striking out seven.

A.J. Morris would relieve Barthmaier in the sixth and go two innings before running out of gas and loading the bases in the eighth before turning it over to Pat McCoy, who exploited the impatience of Miguel Abreu for a groundout to third to end the innings, the lone Frederick run coming on a passed ball that was ruled a wild pitch.

McCoy set down the side in order in the ninth to nail down the 7-1 win and give Potomac a 2-1 series lead, with two chances to punch their ticket for a return trip to the Mills Cup Finals, which they last won in 2008.

Sep 102010
 

Eyes on the field is the guiding principle here at NationalsProspects.com. Unfortunately, more often than not, those eyes are mine but I’m now fortunate to have a couple of folks in Hagerstown to act in my stead. Shawn, who writes quite prolifically for his own blog Musings about Sports and other important items has written for us before, most recently surveying the landscape in the first half. TBRfan, a commenter from the late, great NFA, offers her take on the prospects she’s seen in the 60-plus games a season-ticket holder plus nine more as a groupie roadtripping fan (kind of like how yours truly has gone to every road stop in the Carolina League). So the two might not agree, but together they give us a better sense of what’s to come. TBRfan is in regular type for the position players; Shawn is in red to follow her remarks; the pitcher’s commentary is all Shawn.

POSITION PLAYERS

Justin Bloxom
Was having a great year at first… smooth fielding both ways, consistent play most all the time… but a total shame that he got hurt and had season-ending surgery.  He was having a great year at the plate and could seeming hit to all fields.  One big month and pedestrian otherwise,Will be 23 early next season and I don’t think he has the power to stay at first long term. If he doesn’t start ’11 at Potomac that shows what the Nats think of his prospect status. Just cannot get past how much he reminds me of former prospect Bill Rhinehart.

Justino Cuevas
Hmmm….he played all sorts of positions after the Souza suspension. I think third base was a better position for him than SS. His first game at 3rd he had some monster plays that saved innings and runs. Could be an interesting player, but I just don’t see the “wow” factor in him like I saw in some 2009 Suns infielders. Finished the season stronger than expected,but I don’t see him as more than an organizational soldier. Doesn’t have the bat for third base or the quickness for SS. Reminds me of less-refined version former Sun Michael Martinez. Those guys find employment in the minors,but aren’t true prospects.

Rick Hague
Has a good bat and could hit for power. Fielding was reasonable, but was becoming error-prone late in the season. In my eyes, he’s surely better than Souza on that side of the infield, but not better than Soriano early in the season. We’ll definitely see him back at the Suns next year. I find his hitting the most intriguing thing of all. Could have nice size to play first base or even third. Hague hit the ball well and with power as well. The fielding—mainly the arm accuracy—is somewhat troubling, but I would like to see him over a full season at SS before giving up on him there, Third base might be a better future fit, but considering that Ryan Zimmerman is a long-term block, Washington will give Hague every chance to prove he can play short. Might be my favorite overall Suns prospect this season.

Stephen King
He came back to the Suns after a suspension and some time in the GCL and Vermont. He went right to 3rd base to replace Souza after a one-game stint by Cuevas. I don’t think 3rd is the spot for him, but I can’t really figure out what base I’d like to see him at, or even in the outfield. Not impressed that much with his bat. He’s a real question in my book – I just don’t see how or where he fits in. Have to agree here for the most part. Rust likely played a part in poor numbers, but should have never been to that point. I would like to see King worked out at second,but his prospect status has faded quickly.

Jeff Kobernus
Here’s another “that’s a shame” player right up there with Bloxom. Was steady and smooth at 2nd. I was also liking his batting style and all-around hustle. I hope we get him back to the Suns, I think he’s going to be a player to watch.  I wrote about Kobernus early in the year about a feeling that he was going to be a guy that always struggled with injuries and for 2010, I was dead on. The skills are there,but will the health ever be there? I think he returns to Hagerstown for at bats and moves to Potomac quickly.

Brett Newsome
One of the steadiest players for the suns this year. He had all sorts of “crap” tossed his way from the far side of the infield and he scooped most of them. He has good size but with a little more bulk could really be a good hitter. An undrafted player – and is getting a little old for low-A. Organizational soldier. Think Tim Pahuta with far less power.

J.P. Ramirez
One of my favorite players for the Suns this year – steady fielder, steady hitter just under .300 for the year. Hit for power, but a little slow on the bases with only 3 stolen. I think that might be a product of coaching, not potential. I know watching the Suns this year, I never got that “uh-oh” feeling when a
ball was hit out there to LF. Ramirez has the bat and catches what is hit to him, but has little range and lacks speed. One “plus” tool is power and that can carry a player a long way, but I still think the glove makes a difference over the long haul. In MLB,there is no hiding a less-than-average mitt and he still makes you think of him being an AL player or worse yet: The dreaded “4A” player. I like Ramirez,but there are concerns.

Mills Rogers
Part of the carousel of shortstops this year. He came to us late in the season and performed admirably. Fielding was steady, though most of his errors where of the type  that, if he took his time, would have made the play. I don’t feel I saw enough batting to get a real feel for any type of power hitting to his game, outside of the home run he hit in Charleston – a mighty fine shot. I think bulking up a few pounds in the weight room would be a real boon to his game. Small sample size, but I liked him in limited time. Need more looks, but should be a starter somewhere for the 2011 Suns.

Adrian Sanchez
He’s listed at SS, but played a lot at 2nd. Very young player just turning 21 – and he looks like he’s 15! He’s fast, he’s a good batter. Send him back to Hagerstown so I can see a full year of him – I’m interested in seeing more as I think he’s got some potential. Liked his contact skills and is pretty fast on the bases (for a guy that didn’t steal a base). I agree, we need more data, but interesting player to keep an eye on.

Stephen Souza
Season tainted by the 50-game suspension. Watching him early season I can tell you after parts of 3 seasons at the low-A level, something has to give. I don’t think he’s a third baseman at all. Makes the hard plays easy, the easy plays hard. Inaccurate throws to first – many souvenirs got into the stands. I think a new team and a new position are needed, or his career is over. Also, needs to check his temper and attitude at the door. Word behind the scenes is that Souza is through and going to college. Might be what is best for all as Souza never seemed to like what he was doing.

Adrian Nieto
Got little-to-no playing time behind Sandy Leon at catcher, which I think, was not the way it was designed at the start of the year. When Adrian got in at the end of the season, he did an okay job. Just more playing time is needed for him. Not the fastest runner, not the best stick. Let him catch the entire year at Hagerstown in 2011 and we’ll see what we have then. Nieto didn’t get the playing time needed and that was a surprise to me as well. Defensively, I thought he was better than advertised, but the stick didnt play. I would bet he bounces back next season and if not,he just isn’t what he was supposed to be.

Sandy Leon
I think he was a surprise to everyone this year. Did an admirable job behind the plate, even when middle relief had him diving all over back there. The bat came around for him this year, and had a .249 average – which I think could be lots better with hitting instruction. He’s the right build for a catcher, but is definitely slower on the bases. He’ll go to Potomac next year and probably platoon. Sandy Leon is a solid minor-league, A-ball catcher. Nothing wrong with that, but not a prospect, either. The bat is not going to play up the ladder and has solid defensive skills that aren’t elite. Works well with young pitchers, which will keep him employed, but not a guy to watch, either. A long-term organizational soldier (e.g. Devin Ivany).

Eury Perez
Eury was an absolute mystery to me this year. Gave me that “uh-oh” feeling playing center field. I was never really sure if he’d catch the ball or not. Arm I think is average – we’ve had a few other players come through Hagerstown that have had better outfield arms than him. Now on the bases? He’s a regular thief! He doesn’t hit for power, and I liken him to a softball slap hitter. He can bunt, too. Put this all together? He’s an interesting prospect – one that won’t fall off the radar for a while. But I
think there are better fielding CFs out there in our system right now, but not any better when at bat or on the bases. Get ready for that haters… I dont get Eury Perez’s hype. He is fast and will steal bases. That’s it. Contact hitter in the SAL, but his swing screams higher strikeouts as he rises against better pitching. Defensively, he ranges from below-average to terrible. I cannot remember a player here that has been worse in judging flyballs and the arm is nothing to rave about. I am not saying rule Perez out, but I don’t see the ceiling that others seem to.

Right fielders
Destin Hood, et. al. We had such a rotisserie of players here this season, the entire position played weak. Marcus Jones played there for some of the season and got called up. That left RF up to a platoon of players, none of which impressed me enough at all. Destin, I will say, was hot with the bat the first half. After that, he couldn’t hit anything off speed. It was painful to watch him bat at times.  Hood does struggle with breaking stuff and his hesitant late-season attempts at the left field hill at the Muni were pretty laughable, but my main concerns were just five homers over a full season. I expected more power from Hood and I bet the Nats did as well. Hood might be back to start the season, but a fast first month should see him in Potomac… Marcus Jones is just a organization guy, though he did show improvement in his second stint in Hagerstown.

PITCHERS

Paul Applebee – LHP
Applebee split time between the rotation and the pen and strikes me as a non-prospect. I can see his fringy stuff playing as high as AA,but as nothing more than a long reliever. Applebee does throw strikes and being a lefty might help him stay in the game for a few more years than a similar righty, but lack of stuff sends him off the radar.

Mitchell Clegg – LHP
Clegg’s numbers look nice, but they should have as a 23-year-old that turns 24 in December and spending the entire year in the SAL. For a big (6’5″) pitcher, he doesn’t throw all that hard and, as a result, misses very few bats (55 K’s in 93 IP). Clegg’s stats would look even better if not for three awful starts to conclude the season—14 earned runs over 14⅓⃯ innings, but the age concerns me and the late-season swoon makes me wonder even further. The big question is this: If Clegg is thought of as a prospect, why wasn’t he promoted to Potomac for their playoff drive?

Paul Demny – RHP
Demny has the stuff to succeed, but he is frustrating to scout as he seems to show up on occasion and toss a game that makes you think he is a diamond in the rough, but more often than not you get a guy that looks to be on his way from the game. Demny struggles with control more than you think from a guy with 47 walks as he gets behind in counts and forced to make a good pitch that gets hammered. He has a nice arm, but might be a better long-term fit in the bullpen. I wouldn’t give up on him,but wouldn’t bet on him either.

Shane Erb – RHP
UGH. If Erb is still in the organization for 2011,I have questions about the evaluations of talent. Hittable with less-than-sharp control… I cannot think of one reason to recommend Erb to be employed in 2011.

Luis Garcia – RHP
Garcia was dominant in his first month after being demoted from Potomac, but quickly reverted to form and settled in as a less-than-reliable reliever. Garcia throws fairly hard, but to me his fastball lacks movement and his offspeed stuff not only lacks bite, it also lacks location as well; a non-prospect.

Ben Graham – RHP
Graham looked good in the appearances that I saw him in,but look at his splits between the Muni and road games… looks like two different guys. Dominant at home, if you didn’t look at the numbers, I would have given an even higher grade. Graham showed me enough to keep an eye on and should be at Potomac next season.

Graham Hicks – LHP
When I saw the lanky Hicks, he seemed to cruise through a lineup first time through and then get ripped thereafter. Hicks needs to fill out physically and that could happen (just 20) and he does strike out batters, but relies too much on a fastball that really isn’t a plus pitch. Intriguing, but I’d like to see him next year before rendering a verdict on his prospect status.

Shane McCatty – RHP
I didn’t see McCatty much, but I did like that he seemed to have a feel for pitching (makes sense, considering his father) and saw his only home start and was impressed.
Keeps the ball down and more than a soft tosser,McCatty should be the top starter for the Suns starting next year.

Kyle Morrison- RHP
Morrison’s arm belies his numbers as he throws in the mid 90′s and showed dominant SAL stuff at times. Those times were rare though and his fastball is pretty straight.
Chris Michalak is a reasonably inexperienced pitching coach, I would like to see how Morrison might do with a more experienced coach to work on developing not only a side pitch, but better movement/location with the burner.

Josh Smoker – LHP
A late-season move to the ‘pen gave Smoker a chance at rehabbing prospect-level status as he allowed just two runs in August with batters hitting under .200 against him. Smoker showed the power arm that had been missing as a starter and was fanning batters at a high rate. If anyone wants to see him as a starter again,I would have severe questions about them. To me, Smoker starts next season as the closer in Potomac and has revived a career that looked to be in trouble at the mid-season point.

Wanel Vasquez -R HP
See Shane Erb.

Dean Weaver – RHP
Solid enough stats, but doesn’t throw overwhelmingly hard and seems to be a a journeyman type that will stick around for a while and rise through the system, but barring a change somewhere doesn’t strike me as a big-leaguer. Looks to be somewhat of an overdraft and despite solid numbers, I was disappointed by the righthander.

Rob Wort – RHP
Wort doesnt have big-time stuff, but just gets guys out. Sometimes you have to look through tools and look at what “is.” Wort gets batters out and strikes out over a batter an inning to boot. Will that play at higher levels? Not sure, but definitely worth keeping tabs on.

Sep 102010
 

Harrisburg was unable to avoid the split, while Potomac earned it, as both teams head home tonight with their playoff series tied at 1-1.

Aaron Thompson last pitched against last night’s opponent in a 3-2 loss on September 2nd, but the familiarity outpaced the extra rest as the Curve touched him for three runs over four innings en route to a 6-4 loss in Altoona. First man out of the bullpen, Adrian Alaniz, was also ineffective in pitching a three-run bottom of the fifth that followed a Senator rally in the top of the inning that had tied the game at 3-3.

The 7-8-9 batters paced the offense for the Potomac Nationals, combining eight of the 11 hits the P-Nats collected, including a double and two triples.
Zach Dials was perfect in relief, retiring all nine batters he faced to earn the save. Trevor Holder started and went the first five innings allowing four runs (one earned) on six hits while walking one and striking out four. Rob Wort pitched a scoreless sixth to get the win.

Harrisburg would outhit Altoona 10-7 but went an abysmal 1-for-12 with RISP, stranding 10 runners as the Senators couldn’t take advantage of two errors and five walks.

Back-to-back RBI triples by #7 hitter Robby Jacobsen (4-for-4) and #8 hitter Sean Nicol (2-for-3), followed by a sacrfice fly by #9 hitter Chris Curran (2-for-3) would tie the game at 4-4 in the top of the fifth, an immediate response to the three-run rally by the Keys in the bottom of the fourth. Curran would double in Jacobsen in the top of the seventh for the go-ahead (winning) run.

Harrisburg hosts Altoona for the next two nights with the “Guz Two” — Ryan Tatusko (3-1, 1.72) and Tanner Roark (1-1, 2.50) — scheduled to pitch against Justin Wilson (11-8, 3.09) and Tony Watson (6-4, 2.67) respectively. As frequent commenter Souldrummer reminds us, Game 5 (if necessary) would be played in Altoona on Sunday.

Potomac hosts Frederick for at least the next two nights, and possibly on Sunday afternoon. Veterans Jimmy Barthmaier (4-1, 3.62) and Zach Clark (2-3, 5.25) square off tonight, with Marcos Frias (7-5, 5.69) and Luis Noel (3-2, 6.18) scheduled to pitch tomorrow — a matchup that could potentially change with the outcome of tonight’s game, as the P-Nats could opt for Evan Bronson to negate lefties Xavier Avery and Billy Rowell while the Keys could ask the likes of Jose Duran and/or Brett Bordes to start in favor of Noel, who was pounded in his previous outing against them in late July.

Rain is in the forecast for both Altoona and Woodbridge on Sunday afternoon.

For the bullet-point folks…

Team Pitching Star Hitting Star #1 Hitting Star #2
Harrisburg Senators
L, 6-4
Brad Peacock
2IP 0H 0R 1BB 3K
Josh Johnson
2-2, 2R, 2B, 3B, 2BB
Chris Marrero
2-5, R, RBI
Potomac Nationals
W, 5-4
Zach Dials (SV, 1)
3IP 0H 0R 0BB 3K
Robby Jacobsen
4-4, 2R, 3B, RBI
Chris Curran
2-3, 2B, SF, 2RBI