Sep 122012
 

As noted yesterday in the comments, the Nationals have released their 2012 Instructional League Roster. Here’s a quick look at the pitchers. Next post will be on the position players.

Player Pos. Age 2012 Team(s) 2011 Invite Notes
Dixon Anderson RHSP 23 GCL, HAG N Missed all of ’11 with surgery, struggled with control in brief stint w/ the Suns
Aaron Barrett RHRP 24 HAG, POT N Fine-tuning before going to the AFL. Decent showing in Potomac late in the season.
Joel Barrientos LHRP 19 GCL N Added to 2012 Watchlist after strong rookie season in DSL, no soph./stateside slump.
Robert Benincasa RHRP 22 AUB N 7th Rd. Pick in ’12 with low-90s sinking FB/SL combo, likely working on split or changeup.
Michael Boyden RHRP 22 GCL, AUB N 31st Rd. pick in ’12 out of U Md. Like Anderson, struggled with BB rate after bump from GCL.
Pedro Encarnacion RHSP 21 HAG, AUB Y Challenged with Low-A but fell back to SS-A, the 2nd straight season he’s dropped down a level.
Wirkin Estevez RHSP 20 HAG, GCL Y Time is still on his side, but 2012 was a definite step backwards.
Robert Gilliam RHSP 24 HBG, POT N The oldest pitcher in instrux, still best known as the “other guy the Nats got” in the Gio Gonzalez trade.
Leonard Hollins RHRP 21 GCL, HAG N 29th Rd. Pick in ’12 out of FL JuCo but not much else to write (here) about
Taylor Jordan RHSP 23 AUB, HAG Y Innings limited by T.J. surgery last summer, Jordan is straddling the line between prospect and project.
Nick Lee LHSP 21 AUB N Not hard thrower, but he’s lefthanded and scouts love his changeup.
Brett Mooneyham LHSP 22 AUB N 3rd Rd. ’12 Pick out of Stanford that nearly every prospect guru has a “yeah, but” thanks to inconsistency with his mechanics.
Elisaul Gomez LHP 20 DSL N DSL guys have been rare the past couple of years, so an invite tends to carry more weight.
Emmanuel De La Cruz RHP 20 DSL N On the flip side, about all there is to know is what you can infer from tiny samples of states.
Ronald Pena RHRP 20 GCL, AUB N 16th Rd. Pick out of Palm Beach St. JuCo (pitched for College of Charleston in ’11), Pena is a big (6-4, 210) hard-throwing (mid-90s) project.
Ivan Pineyro RHSP 20 GCL, AUB Y 2012 Watchlist player that’s easing up the ladder, though it looks like he may repeat Auburn
Brian Rauh RHSP 21 AUB, HAG N 11th Rd. Pick in ’12 out of Chapman Univ. (D-3, CA) was one of two ’12 picks to make it to Low-A.
Robbie Ray LHSP 20 POT Y He’s still young and lefthanded, but a slight fade late in 2011 and free fall from mid-July 2012 on has to have folks wondering.
Jefry Rodriguez RHRP 19 DSL N The youngest player on the roster, having just turned 19 in July and put up LaLoosh-
like nos. in the DSL (43IP/33BB/35K).
Blake Schwartz RHSP 22 GCL, HAG N 17th Rd. Pick in ’12 out of Okla. City Univ. (NAIA) Schwartz’s hallmark is control (2.0BB/9IP), which, of course, you probably already know means that he doesn’t throw in the mid-90s (88-92).
Derek Self RHRP 22 AUB N 9th Rd. Pick in ’12 out of Univ. of Louisville, Self does throw hard (92-95) but doesn’t get the K’s (6.8/9IP) or miss the bats (33IP/32H) the way you’d expect with that kind of velocity.
Casey Selsor LHP 22 GCL N A two-way player drafted in the 23rd Rd. out of Univ. of Texas-San Antonio, Selsor split time between starting and relieving and even got
a couple of starts as a position player.
Kylin Turnbull LHSP 23 GCL, HAG Y Turnbull was effectively sent down to the GCL in mid-July to presumably work on mechanics after 17 uneven starts, returning to Hagerstown for one Sept. relief appearance.
Deion Williams RHP 19 GCL Y Williams is a convert to pitching after failing as an infielder (.147BA, 11E in 30G) and made two scoreless appearances late in the season.

The roster is heavily tilted towards the 2012 draft with three DSL guys versus one last year. It’s tempting to talk about how young this group is, but let’s not forget how these guys collectively fared in their first go ’round as pros. The Auburn Doubledays finished 12th in runs allowed and 13th in ERA. The GCL Nationals weren’t much better, finishing 10th in runs allowed, 9th in ERA. The usual caveat of small sample size obviously applies (hey, that rhymes!) as well the notation that these guys were among the best of those staffs, but it shouldn’t be glossed over, either.

As for the concept of omission, I don’t believe too much should be read into who wasn’t invited. This isn’t necessarily the analog to accelerated minor-league camp. Most of the notables that weren’t can be categorized — been shut down (e.g. Nathan Karns, Alex Meyer), suffered in-season injury (e.g. Matt Swynenberg, Chris McKenzie), had surgery (e.g. Lucas Giolito, Sammy Solis), under witness protection (e.g. Manny Rodriguez, Matt Purke)*.

Take it for what it’s worth: The next wave of pitchers that the front office wants to spend some more time with before they’re dismissed for the winter.
*That’s a joke, folks

  12 Responses to “Instructional League Roster Notes – Pitchers”

  1. Fantastic stuff. Thanks!

  2. Yes, where is the man formerly known as Matt Purke. I haven’t heard anything about him in ages and ages.

  3. Great stuff, Luke.
    I remember TBRFan said she was getting out of Witness Protection long enough to be the roving correspondent in Florida foe NP. Look forward to her info.

    Matt Purke looks to be getting the Karns treatment. Wish the Nats weren’t so secretive about it, but you have to believe they’re trying to protect their $4 million investment.

  4. Another great posting!
    Great work.
    Can you continue focusing on the progress of our big 2011 draft “purchases” — Rendon, Purke, Goodwin, and Meyer? That was a brilliant gamble, if it works, but only Goodwin and Meyer have spent any active time in our system.

    • I’m sure they’ll get their due if they continue to perform, but trying to force that narrative might be a tougher task (unless I need to steal that for one of the 12 for 2012 year-end story ;-)

  5. can someone list the coaches at instuctional league please? thanks

  6. I like the “Notes” on each player. Any chance we see something similar for those not in instructional league? Or, will this just be part of the next watch list?

  7. [...] released the rosters for the Fall Instructional League (a.k.a. Instrux), which were broken down by pitchers and position players. Like much of the minors offseason, inferences are often drawn because the [...]

  8. […] don’t get too hung up on who didn’t get invited. You can take a gander at the some of the pitchers invited last year and see some names that you might not remember seeing much this year, or at least not in a positive […]

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