Aug 292012
 

Despite the increased number of single-A exceptions afforded to them, the Nationals 2012 Arizona Fall League selections will still have a Rule 5/40-Man Evaluation feel to it, particularly among the pitchers.

Here’s a look at who’s been named to play for the Salt River Rafters, per multiple online sources:
• RHP Christian Garcia
• RHP Ryan Perry
• 3B/SS Jason Martinson*
• RHP Paul Demny
• 3B Anthony Rendon
• CF Brian Goodwin
*Taxi squad, eligible to play twice per week

This does not come as a shock, of course. As I wrote roughly 25 hours ago: “[W]hat remains to be seen is whether those exceptions will be used or whether teams will still game the system to send Rule 5 candidates that they haven’t made up their minds on.” There are still two slots available, one for a pitcher, the other an infielder, according to Byron Kerr of MASN.

What does seem certain is that neither Alex Meyer nor Nathan Karns will be going — Mike Rizzo said that Meyer was done for the year in today’s radio appearance on 106.7FM. It’s probably also a good bet that Matt Purke will not be sent either [insert insinuation of possible surgery here].

Given that the unfilled pitcher slot is probably going to a reliever, the most logical bets are: Rob Wort, Trevor Holder, and the Pats McCoy and Lehman (listed in order of likelihood in my opinion).

Likewise, if indeed an infielder is chosen to fill out the position-player contingent, the most likely candidates are Jeff Kobernus and Matt Skole. Kobernus had a rib fractured by a thrown pitch in late July, but could conceivably be ready to go by the October 9 start. Kobernus is also eligible for the Rule 5 draft.

Less likely candidates include Zach Walters and Carlos Rivero. Walters was sent last year, but repeats aren’t very common. Rivero seems more likely to be a September callup, but if he’s not, his odds still seem rather slim, given that few AAA players have been sent under Rizzo’s stewardship.

A month ago, Ricky Hague would have garnered a mention, but a reliable source has indicated to me that he won’t be going. Skole should certainly merit consideration, given his strong year offensively, though it’s also conceivable that he’ll be spending instrux learning a new defensive position (that’s purely speculation, unless it turns out I’m right ;-) which would make it unlikely to have him play the new position at that level so soon (unless he’s allowed to DH, which is possible).

If it’s not an infielder, the only logical choice would be Destin Hood, another Rule 5 candidate, but one who’s young and been hurt for long stretches this season. But he is also just a year remove from a breakout season and did play at AA all season long.

To play devil’s advocate, with most of the organization’s top pitching prospects unavailable due to injury, surgery, or innings limitation, the Nationals have little choice but to send older pitchers. Sending guys strictly by age or level would be a farce unless it was mandated by the rules. So like the late Spike, I’m a little uninspired by the choices, but I do understand them.

  8 Responses to “Nats Name AFL Roster”

  1. Pat Lehman would be a repeat as he went to the AFL last year.

  2. I’m a bit surprised to see Garcia going to the AFL. He seems to be an ideal expanded roster candidate, especially with one 40 man spot open… For playoff contenders, relievers are the most logical addition, and Garcia has done nothing to suggest he’s not ready.

    On the other side of things, I’m really pleased to see Perry make the roster; however, it seems to be in direct conflict with the rules of the AFL prohibiting all players with more than one year of Major League service (Perry had 2+). Do you have any insight on that?!

    • I’ve been digging around and found nothing. Must have gotten a waiver.

    • Like you Will, I was surprised to see Garcia removed from contention for a call-up spot. I know this the Nats’ prospect site, but those who follow the big league club have seen some of the RP struggle of late. Would have thought another arm in the pen would have been preferred. Oh well.

      Regarding the AFL rules, until this season, I thought I had a semi-firm grasp of them. But now, I’m not so sure. I thought each club had a set / same # of slots and the option of a taxi squad player. Guess I need to hit up the AFL website for a refresher course in roster rules.

      • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I think there’s a certain degree of opacity that teams and leagues enjoy. Clearly, Ryan Perry doesn’t qualify by the eligibility criteria listed on the AFL site, yet obviously the Nationals must have gotten a waiver, exception, etc. Thus, you can read the rules, even understand them, but they’re also subject to change based on unforeseen circumstances… or whims.

  3. I still think one of the picthers going could be Hector Nelo, as he fits the Rizzo mold(hard throwing reliever). My gut says Kobernus for the second infielder.

  4. Jason Martinson is going in replace of Rick hague from what I’ve heard. They want Hague to rest his shoulder. But they could decide to send him.

  5. [...] post, natch). After a stellar two-level 2012 (combined 2-1, 0.86 with 21 saves), Garcia was first named to the Arizona Fall League, then pitched well enough as a September call-up to earn a postseason roster [...]

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