Luke Erickson

Luke Erickson is a season-ticket holder for the Potomac Nationals, but makes a point of seeing games in Hagerstown and Harrisburg at least once a summer. When the PNats are away on the weekend, Luke finds a minor-league game somewhere to watch, and generally attends 70-80 baseball games a year up across several states. A former sportswriter with newspapers in Massachusetts and Oregon, Luke lives in Western Fairfax County with his wife and two sons.

Jan 242014
 

2014 NRIs
With the announcement today of the full list of 2014 non-roster invitees (NRIs), we now have a good sense of the minor-leaguers who will begin spring training next month with the big boys.

Suffice it to write, the vast majority of these guys won’t make the Opening Day roster. But with a new field manager*, camp is going to be a bit bigger than under his predecessor, so it’s possible that a couple more minor-leaguers will be brought up.
* [rant] Can we please not call him Matty? The man is 48, not 15. It’s only three extra characters on Twitter and can shortened to Wms. [/rant]

For us, the X factor is how many of the first two groups will wait in Syracuse… or be offered the opportunity. Folks are already drawing up the full-season affiliates’ rosters in their heads, if not on paper (don’t worry, I’ll do the same next month when I review last year’s roster/staff predictions) but absent that information, we’re all just guessing.

Without further ado, here’s how it breaks down…

MLB VETERANS
IFs Jamey Carroll, Mike Fontenot, RHPs Chris Young, Clay Hensley, Manny Delcarmen

MiLB VETERANS
IFs Josh Johnson, Will Rhymes, RHPs Daniel Stange, 1B-OF Brock Peterson

40-MAN GUYS
OFs Steven Souza, Michael Taylor, Eury Perez, LHPs Sammy Solis, Matt Purke, RHPs Nathan Karns, Aaron Barrett, SS-3B Zach Walters, UT Jeff Kobernus

TOP PROSPECTS, NOT ON 40-MAN
RHP A.J. Cole, OF Brian Goodwin, 1B-3B Matt Skole

CATCHERS
Chris Snyder, Brian Jeroloman, Sandy Leon, Jhonatan Solano

AAA LHPs
Tyler Robertson, Danny Rosenbaum

AAA RHP
Blake Treinen

THAT GUY FROM THE MEXICAN LEAGUE
RHP Gabriel Alfaro

Jan 242014
 

Mayo 2Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com has released the 2014 edition of his Top 100 prospects with two Nationals making the cut.

Coming in at #44, it’s a kid from Southern California, and the Nats’ #1 pick in the 2012 Draft, Lucas Giolito(sorry for the Casey Kasem lead-in; kids have been watching Scooby Doo a lot lately)
He was ranked #74 last year despite having thrown just two innings and was in recovery from Tommy John surgery. As reported by MASN’s Byron Kerr earlier this month, Giolito is expected to begin 2014 in Hagerstown, though it’s less clear that he’ll pitch immediately. Previous HS picks Robbie Ray and the next guy were held back until May at the same age/stage without having had surgery. Taylor Jordan did start his second season after TJ surgery in April 2013 though he was much older (24 vs. 19) and much more experienced (248⅔ IP vs. 38⅔ IP).

A.J. Cole moved up 22 spots from #91 to #69 after the Nationals re-acquired him a year ago in the Michael Morse trade. Cole had gotten lit like a sailor on leave (7.82/4.99/1.84) in the High-A California League the previous summer, forcing a demotion to Low-A Burlington (IA) where he rebounded to a 2.07/2.74/1.01 line and a 6-3 record. Cole fulfilled Washington GM Mike Rizzo’s assertion that the Nats “pitching people will straighten out his delivery” as the 22-y.o. made 18 starts for Potomac and seven for Harrisburg for a combined record of 10-5 with a line of 3.60/2.91/1.12 and peripherals of 2.1 BB/9 and 9.5 K/9. Cole will most likely return to Harrisburg for more seasoning, as scouts believe his secondary offerings (CH, CV) still need further development.

Last year, four Nationals were ranked. Anthony Rendon (#28) graduated to the parent club while Brian Goodwin (#52) fell from the list, which saw 35 new names thanks to injuries, underperformance, and of course, the next wave of draftees.

Jan 212014
 


With snow expected to cripple the DC area (and extend kids’ three-day weekend into five), now’s as good a time as any to take a look at the broadcast schedule for the 2014 Nationals spring training. For the folks who have subscriptions to MLB.tv and MLB Radio, there will likely be some road broadcasts (personal favorite: St. Louis’s radio guy Mike Shannon, who sounds like Jeff Bridges after three or four shots of bourbon), which I’d include except they’re yet to be posted. Likewise for the MLB Network.

Sadly, there are just four FM broadcasts this year, and only two that don’t coincide with a MASN broadcast. That’s offset slightly by just two broadcasts that are only on 1580 AM, which is significant if you live outside of its Daisy air-rifle range broadcast radius, and the addition of 1500 AM as an option for four of the AM-only dates.

Happily, there is no Baltimore broadcast or game this spring. Gluttons for punishment will just have to wait until interleague play.

The dates with an asterisk will be split-squad games, which for us means a better chance of seeing “our guys” for more than inning or an at-bat or two. As I have in the previous four springs, the plan is to write up the games from that point of view for as long as it’s reasonable.

Day Date Time (ET) Opponent Network
Fri. Feb. 28 1:10 p.m. @ N.Y. Mets 1500 and 1580 AM
Sun. Mar. 2 1:05 p.m. Miami MASN
Fri. Mar. 7 1:05 p.m. Houston 1500 and 1580 AM
Sat. Mar. 8 1:05 p.m. Atlanta* 1500 and 1580 AM
Sun. Mar. 9 1:05 p.m. St. Louis MASN, 106.7 FM, 1500 AM
Mon. Mar. 10 6:05 p.m. Houston 1580 AM
Tue. Mar. 11 1:05 p.m. N.Y. Yankees MASN
Sun. Mar. 16 1:05 p.m. Detroit* MASN
Wed. Mar. 19 6:05 p.m. Houston MASN
Thu. Mar. 20 1:05 p.m. Detroit 1500 and 1580 AM
Sat. Mar. 22 1:05 p.m. @ N.Y. Mets 106.7 FM, 1500 AM
Sun. Mar. 23 1:10 p.m. @ N.Y. Mets 106.7 FM, 1500 AM
Tue. Mar. 25 1:05 p.m. N.Y. Mets MASN
Wed. Mar. 26 1:05 p.m. @ St. Louis ESPN
Thu. Mar. 27 12:10 p.m. @ N.Y. Mets ESPN
Sat. Mar. 29 2:05 p.m. Detroit
@ Nationals Park
106.7 FM, 1580 AM
Jan 182014
 

Transactions for NPP
With a second transaction post this week from Baseball America (H/T to Ben Meyers for alerting me via Twitter), we have a few more moves to pass along:

SIGNED
• LHP Tyler Robertson
• IF Jamey Carroll
• IF Mike Fontenot
• OF-1B Joe Dunigan

RELEASED
• RHP Ben Grisz
• 2B Matt Foat

As noted in the comments, Robertson is a re-sign, having been waived to make room for Rule 5 additions in November. He was picked up on waivers from Minnesota as part of the Nationals’ spaghetti-on-the-wall attempts to find a LHRP last summer.

Carroll and Fontenot are veterans who will compete for bench roles as backup infielders. Both will be non-roster invitees to spring training, according.

Dunigan is a longtime Seattle farmhand who finally made it to AAA in 2013, only to lose nearly three months of the season to a broken jaw. He will most likely compete for a 1B-DH-LF role on the Chiefs.

Grisz and Foat were NDFAs signed in 2011 and 2012 out of Duke and USC, respectively. Grisz missed all of 2012 after developing Nationals elbow and made five scoreless appearances for Auburn in 2013. After an impressive 2012 in the GCL, Foat split time between Low-A Hagerstown and Auburn, compiling a combined line of .215/.295/.283 in 64 games.

Jan 152014
 

The Harrisburg Senators and Washington Nationals have announced a four-year extension of their player development contract through the 2018 season. This is the second affiliate to extend during this offseason, both months in advance of the September deadline to renew before open negotiations (typically the last two weeks of September).

The Senators have been a Nationals affiliate the longest of the five teams located north of Florida, having been an Expos affiliate since 1991, and should effectively quash any idle talk of the Nationals switching to the Richmond Squirrels, which is usually an indication that such folks have never been to both places for a game.

The PDCs of the Nationals’ “A” teams — Auburn (SS), Hagerstown (Low-A), and Potomac (High-A) — expire after the 2014 season. Two years ago, the Nationals extended three* affiliates during spring training, and renewed with Hagerstown in October 2012.
* or four; there’s conflicting information regarding whether the 2010 extension for Potomac was for two or four years

As passed along yesterday, there is turmoil in Hagerstown (plans to relocate to Fredericksburg) and Auburn (five GMs since 2010) which makes their PDC renewals less-than-certain. Potomac, which has been planning to build a new ballpark for more than since last decade, seems a little safer given its proximity to DC and strong attendance despite playing in one of the worst facilities in affiliated baseball.

Jan 142014
 

As Spike used to say... mehOK, so it’s less than a month until pitchers and catchers report… and it’s about 40 degrees warmer than it was a week ago… but this is the nadir of the offseason: holidays have come and gone, first pass at the player reports written, but the prospect books are still a couple weeks away from hitting the street/inbox.

In the spirit of keeping the site fresh and discussion going, a couple of news items…

• The death march in Western Maryland continues as the folks in Fredericksburg announce a spring groundbreaking while Ballparkdigest is reporting that another affiliated league is interested in moving into the vacated market. Given the NYPL’s intention to set up shop in Morgantown, WV (where ground has been broken and the stadium will be built regardless of housing a professional team), that could mean the league is looking for a travel partner. Batavia and Jamestown are generally considered the most likely candidates for relocation due to their attendance and/or financial woes as well as aging (pre-WW2) facilities.

• Meanwhile, the Doubledays announced yesterday that former Syracuse Chiefs assistant GM Michael Voutsinas will be the new Auburn GM — the fifth since 2010. Not coincidentally, attendance has fallen three times over that timeframe, perhaps making Auburn a third relocation candidate in either scenario listed above.

Jan 112014
 


As reported earlier this week, I’ve been using the downtime afforded by the Fairfax County Public Schools weather to work on the first draft of the player reports for the 2014 Watchlist. The focus has been on the players that I’ve seen in the past season or so, the Top 10 guys per Baseball America (for which I have more up-to-date scouting reports), and the GCL and Auburn guys, who I don’t expect to get much attention from either BA or John Sickels.

Special thanks go to Ryan Kelley and Sean Hogan as their work on the 2013 draft picks (listed in the blogroll) was invaluable for this project (see previous parenthetical) as it made possible for me to write in more sooner than in years past. When the 2014 book and PDF arrive from BA and Sickels respectively, I’ll fill in “Report Not Written” entries and edit/rewrite the others.

As always, feel free to discuss in the comments while we wait (wade?) out the winter.

Jan 092014
 

Catching Up On Transactions
It’s been nearly silent on the transaction front for the past 2-3 weeks. With yesterday’s post from BA, along with some tweets from the estimable Bill Ladson, we have a few moves to pass along:

  • Signed C Chris Snyder
  • Signed IF Taylor Wrenn
  • Re-signed IF Will Rhymes
  • Re-signed RHP Ryan Tatusko
  • Released RHP Michael Boyden
  • Released RHP Mike Mudron

Snyder is a former Arizona farmhand who spent 2013 catching for Los Angeles (AL) and Baltimore (MD) at the AAA, save for a nine-game stint for the Orioles last May. He also received an invitation to spring training.

Wrenn is the son of Diamondbacks scout Luke Wrenn and was drafted in 2011 by Cincinnati out of the Univ. of Tampa (yes, he was a teammate of Shawn Pleffner) but did not play until 2012. The Reds released him after that season despite a combined line of .285/.362/.350 in 35 games for Billings (Rookie) and three for Dayton (Low-A) at the age of 22. He played 59 games last summer for the Traverse City Beach Bums of the independent Frontier League and was picked up by the Rangers, who played him for six games in Low-A Hickory and 11 games in the Arizona League. He was granted free agency in November.

Rhymes and Tatusko were teammates for the Syracuse Chiefs in 2013 and will likely resume their roles as utility infielder and swingman, respectively.

Boyden and Mudron were the Nats’ 31st and 32nd Round picks in 2012 out of the Univ. of Maryland and Cal State San Berandino, respectively.

Jan 062014
 

Plugging Away
Yes, we’re in a slow stretch here, especially after a two-week holiday break (well, for the kids, maybe; for the parents, not so much). It also doesn’t help that it’s a both rainy day and a Monday, which I’ve heard gets many people down.

As the pic and the headline suggest, I’ve been working on the the 2014 Watchlist, beginning with the essays for the DSLers and the Notables (bats and arms for both) and the “first draft” for the catcher player reports. As with all the categories, the idea is to write up what I can until the prospect books arrive via e-mail (Sickels) and snail-mail (Baseball America).

Jan 022014
 

Winter Baseball UpdateWith the close of the Venezuelan Winter League earlier this week, we can kill some time take a final look at how the notable Nats minor-leaguers did in Winter baseball last year ;-)

BATTERS

PLAYER LG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG SB
Oscar Tejeda DWL 28 86 9 20 4 1 2 9 4 27 .233 .269 .422 1
Eury Perez DWL 18 49 9 10 0 0 1 2 4 8 .204 .291 .265 5
Francisco Soriano DWL 17 16 5 3 0 0 1 1 2 7 .188 .278 .375 0
Estarlin Martinez DWL 2 8 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .125 .125 .125 0
Wander Ramos DWL 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
Michael Taylor PWL 36 137 20 50 7 2 3 10 13 38 .365 .428 .511 3
Jose Lozada PWL 18 29 6 8 1 1 0 3 3 4 .276 .344 .379 0
Sandy Leon VWL 38 119 19 42 8 1 2 15 20 26 .353 .451 .487 0
Adrian Sanchez VWL 25 51 6 11 3 0 0 3 1 10 .216 .245 .275 0
Zach Walters VWL 15 50 6 12 1 0 3 6 6 19 .240 .321 .440 0

PITCHERS

PLAYER LG W L SV ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Manny Delcarmen DWL 0 2 0 1.88 12 0 14⅓ 14 4 3 1 4 18 1.26
Kelvin Perez DWL 0 0 0 1.00 8 0 9 5 1 1 0 4 5 1.00
Paul Demny DWL 0 0 0 0.00 7 0 6 2 0 0 0 4 5 1.00
Gilberto Mendez DWL 0 0 0 18.00 1 0 1 2 2 2 1 0 0 2.00
Rafael Martin MWL 1 1 0 5.28 12 0 15⅓ 17 11 9 3 4 13 1.37
Christian Garcia MWL 0 0 0 2.16 5 0 8⅓ 4 2 2 0 6 8 1.20
Tyler Herron PWL 1 0 12 0.84 19 0 21⅓ 9 2 2 0 11 21 0.94
Danny Rosenbaum VWL 2 2 0 4.28 7 6 27⅓ 36 14 13 3 8 15 1.61
Gabriel Alfaro VWL 3 1 0 5.14 24 0 21 17 17 12 0 12 17 1.38



Things have slowed to the usual crawl on the minor-league front. As the slash-through joke implies, if I weren’t writing this, I might be typing something else, which folks to the north of the DMV very well may be with the first Nor’easter of 2014 bearing down on them tonight. I don’t expect much in the next BA transaction post, so I’ll be working on the essays and the player reports as best as I can until the new scouting books arrive in the mail.