May 252013
 

Moving On Up for NPP
Following the news that Danny Espinosa has bone chips and will need prolonged rest, if not a stint on the DL, the Washington Nationals have promoted IF/OF Jeff Kobernus from the Syracuse Chiefs.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Kobernus over the past six months. He was selected by Boston then traded to Detroit in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 draft in December and played well into the spring for the Tigers before his return in late March. The experience may have proved beneficial, as he was asked to play outfield for Detroit to make the club as a utilityman — a position he hadn’t played since his collegiate days.

Upon his return to Nationals, he was assigned to the Chiefs and continued to play outfield, mostly in left field (19 games) but occasionally in center (9 games) as well as second and third base (12 and 3 games). More noticeable was the hot start as the 24-y.o. batted .367/.408/.467 with a home run and eight stolen bases in April.

He’s cooled some in May (.298/.344/.369) but has picked up the pace on the basepaths with 13 steals this month. Speed is his calling card as the Nats’ 2009 2nd Round Pick out of California led the Carolina League with 53 steals in 2011 and the Eastern League with 42 last season despite playing only 82 games.

To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Yunesky Maya was designated for assignment (as previously hinted in this space). Putting it as mildly as possible, Maya has been a tremendous disappointment, signed as an international free agent as a Cuban defector in 2010 for four years and $6 million. In three-plus seasons, he’s pitched 59 innings at the major-league level — all but 1/3rd in 2010 and 2011 — and 367⅔ innings in the minors, mostly at AAA.

Last season was the only one in which he had an ERA below 4.00 as the 31-year-old went 11-10 with a 3.88 ERA in 28 starts for Syracuse.

RHP Taylor Jordan was also promoted, going from Harrisburg to Syracuse, though it’s likely to be a temporary move that will be reversed once Maya’s fate is ultimately determined. Likewise for the shift of RHP Brian Rauh from Hagerstown to Harrisburg, a move to replace whichever reliever (best guess: Matt Swynenberg) replaces Jordan in the rotation when his turn comes up next.

  6 Responses to “Kobernus Promoted, Maya Designated For Assignment”

  1. Kobernus instead of Rendon; interesting.
    Would not be surprised if Kobernus becomes a valuable trade chip when Rendon is ready full time for the show.
    Maya was a good try, just didn’t work out. Didn’t cost that much, really, and you never know when you’ll get a great steal.

    • Maya will also be a useful reminder for the folks that confuse scouting with spending when it comes to IFAs ;-)

      • I certainly come off as one of those, but it isn’t a matter of scouting or money. The players from the DR that get multiple big offers only do because a number of teams have scouted them. I presume that they get the biggest contracts because the scouts found them most impressive.

        If that is the case, then I do believe that the Nats have to take some of those chances. They don’t have a first round pick, and they are drafting low in the order throughout. They have a poor record of raising IFAs through the ranks over these last 9 offseasons. It would be a real boost to the franchise if they did a better job. That might require spending some more money and competing for the prospects that seem most promising.

        • I don’t think anyone’s disputing that the Nats have not done well or spent a lot internationally. But two things seem to continually be overlooked:

          1) It takes a LONG TIME to develop international players. For example, None of the Top 10 IFAs from 2009-10 are in AA, most are in Low-A or High-A. Jurickson Profar is the exception, not the rule (and he was “only” #15). MLB is just now seeing the fruits from the 2006-07 class, which, if you’re like me, only a couple of names stand out.

          2) The new CBA limits the amount teams can spend internationally. And it’s harsh on successful teams – the Nats are limited to $1,846,900 while the Astros are allowed $4,943,700. Yes, teams can exceed the amount allotted — as the Tampa Bay Rays did — but the penalties are severe.

          The point is that when teams *were* allowed to spend willy-nilly, there was a weak correlation between big spending and generating major league talent (I could be wrong about this, so if anyone can find an academic study that examines that correlation, please pass it along). I have a hard time seeing how that will change with spending being capped.

  2. The word justification comes up with seeing some guys put on big club
    to to play some justification jazz with dollars spent or moves made.
    Good for all guys named Jeff especially those not as speedy as the Berkeley
    grad!!

  3. [...] each year he’s been with the club including starting in Syracuse this year.  His time in Detroit may have proved to be helpful for his promotion in May to the big club. The majority of his time is at second base, where he’s a solid fielder-but can also (it seems) [...]

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