This may seem late, but I made this post last year after roughly 11 home games. It just happened to be April 27 instead of May 17. The problem, of course, is that the P-Nats have played more than twice the games on the road (25) than at home.
That matters because no matter what I write next, people will look to the overall stats. And teams play differently on the road than they do at home, so that imbalance is going to be built in. Some guys have hit or pitched much better on the road (Perez, Lehman) and some have really done noticeably better at the Pfitz (Hood, Demny)
While I look at stats as much as the next gal, these eyes, though they may be cryin’, get to have their say ’cause they see the little things the boxes don’t (bah buh bah bahhh). And here’s what I’m seeing from the P-Nats…
Steven Souza – An all-or-nothing type hitter. But when he makes contact, it’s solid. At home, he’s a slugger (.641); on the road, he’s not (.363) which makes no sense considering that the team has been to hitter-friendly parks like the Salems and Frederick. Defensively, he’s not bad considering he’s a convert to the position, but still needs to work on the smaller nuances like when to defer to the neighboring fielders and when to cover second base on an extra-base hit.
Jeff Kobernus – Plays hard, good instincts on the basepaths, but just hasn’t had the results to match his efforts. Defensively, he’s still a work in progress like Souza as he spent most of his college career at third base.
Jose Lozada – An OG that can play anywhere in the IF, but only above-average as a 1B.
Francisco Soriano – Has improved defensively (a cannon for an arm), and will take a walk.
Rick Hague – Liked what I saw on the first homestand, but that’s just five games and more than a month ago.
Stephen King – He’s since gone up to Harrisburg, but his defensive improvement was significant compared to years past. Appeared to be turning the corner offensively just before his callup.
Justin Bloxom – Assigned to the position, but not a third baseman — that I’m confident in stating with a small sample size (i.e. just this past homestand), but offensively, I need to see more to have a more informed opinion.
Cutter Dykstra – Yes, he’s played in the field, but the majority of his appearances have been as a DH. That said, he’s been a disappointment relative to his achievements last year. Tends to hit towards right field with little-to-no-power. Speed is as advertised.
J.P. Ramirez – Offensively, the numbers aren’t there, but I like how he uses all fields to hit and has a lot more power than you’d expect out of a short/squat body type. Defensively, he’s a work in progress but lately has been compensating for his lack of footspeed with good jumps.
Eury Perez – In April, he was intent on bunting and playing small ball on offense, but of late, he’s been swinging away and getting gap doubles. Terrific speed, but has a bad habit of looking over his shoulder and will sometimes give up on a grounder instead running out at full speed. The two converge when he taps a grounder that’s not cleanly fielded and you’ll see him kick it up a notch. Haven’t seen the shallow CF that BA referenced, but he’s more than adequate on defense.
Destin Hood – Like Bloxom, this is where he’s been playing but it’s not his position. Lately, Hood has been showing difficulty picking up the ball and doesn’t take good routes consistently. Classic description of a left fielder. Offensively, he’s been showing more power, but he’s also become pull-happy with nearly every extra-base hit going to left.
Sandy Leon – Defensively, he’s as good as any catcher I’ve ever seen at Potomac. Offensively, he’s a switch-hitter that fits the mold of power from the left side, average on the right side. But light on both.
Brian Peacock – Glad he got the call up to Harrisburg, but hope he’s being groomed to coach a la John Poppert because he’s unlikely to play again any time soon.
J.R. Higley, Chris Curran – Strong arm, good glove, excellent speed, but struggles to hit.
Jeremy Mayo – Seen very little of him and what I have seen has been “meh,” much like any backup catcher that’s lightly used.
Danny Rosenbaum – As a known quantity, this is really a “first impression,” but more a commentary. The velocity seems to be up a notch from last August/September, but the control is also down a notch. It’s most evident with his curveball, which he needs to harness and throw more often. Once those two areas are improved, he’ll AA-ready. Unfortunately, that’s something that you can say about a LOT of High-A pitchers.
Trevor Holder – Likewise, Holder has become an enigma. Just when you think it’s time to pull the plug and put him in the ‘pen, he breaks out like he did last night in Frederick. There are three Nats starters on the farm with less than a walk per nine innings. Brad Meyers and Tom Milone are easy ones to guess; Holder is the third. Maybe it’s an aberration, but pitchers that don’t hurt themselves are always worth watching.
Paul Demny – Unfortunately, I have only seen Demny pitch once, and it was on a game that I arrived late because of a rain-created doubleheader. In the course of researching Holder, I did happen to notice that Demny is the polar opposite in terms of ERA-FIP. Holder is +2.74, which is considered extremely unlucky (i.e. his ERA is much higher than it “ought” to be). Demny is -2.52, with an ERA of 2.94 and an FIP of 5.46. Could just be nothing, but with a walk rate that’s barely less his K rate (4.28 vs. 4.81), it’s not a good sign
Mitchell Clegg – I’ve seen him pitch twice — the Tuesday, May 2 blowout and last Sunday. In both starts, his pitches were up, but the second start his fastball had a bit more life on it.
Marcos Frias – Opening weekend, Frias looked like the guy that won the 2010 Carolina League championship. But while Potomac was on the road, something came undone and he was banished to the bullpen. Sunday, he looked better, but that’s all I’ve seen of him: one start (excellent) one relief appearance.
I’m punting here for the most part because this is what I have to go on…
Kyle Morrison, Alex Caldera (released)
Carlos Martinez (promoted)
Ryan Demmin (sent back to XST)
Pat Lehman, Dean Weaver, Joe Testa – two appearances each
Evan Bronson – one long relief appearance
Rob Wort – Doesn’t look as sharp as I remember last fall. His control and command are both off and he can’t seem to not issue a walk each time out, which is deadly for a reliever.
Adam Olbrychowski – Looked decent the first time out on Opening Weekend, but since then has been awful.
Josh Smoker – Not too often you see a lefty throwing in the 90s out of a High-A ‘pen, but he’s just as likely to walk a guy as strike him out.