Nov 292015

Well, here we are again for the sixth pass at the next season’s watchlist, which seems to get smaller every year as the big club continues to deal away guys and/or drafts lower. Now, for the obligatory explanation of its origin and tenets…

Prospect rankings to me are like listicles — yes, they are effective in generating pageviews, but they often lead to pointless arguments about whether [your favorite player] is better than [the other commenter’s favorite player].

So five years ago, I came up with this idea of listing the players that have shown some promise for one reason or another, listing them out by position. Guys that were worth watching a little more closely than the others.

Longtime readers know I do not care about draft position or how much a player’s bonus was. Both are a function of the game that’s played each June between the players, the clubs, the agents, and the rules. I am aware there are other factors; I understand higher-drafted player get more chances.

Now for the caveats…

It’s not a depth chart. It’s ordered by the highest level played to date. The guys at the top of the column are not necessarily better than the guys at the bottom.

It’s (mostly) based on 2015 usage. The Nats don’t have a lot of CI prospects and have a history of both rotating MIs between 2B and SS as well as trying to develop utility players.

It’s preliminary. I can’t spend the time that I used to on this site, so I’m now relying on folks to call me out in the comments. That doesn’t mean that I’ll take every suggestion and/or accede to every complaint, but I’ll “listen.”

So without further ado, here’s the list, ready for your dissection discussion.

C 1B 2B SS 3B OF
Severino Skole Difo Turner
Ward Ballou
Kieboom Marmolejos-Diaz Bostick Abreu Gutierrez Bautista
Read Kerian Mejia Lora Franco E. Martinez
Tillero Ortiz Dulin
Schrock Keller
RHPs LHPs DSL Bats DSL Arms Notable Arms
Notable Bats
Cole Grace Corredor Avila Br. Harper Goodwin
Giolito N. Lee
Perdomo Peguero Bacus Vettleson
Voth Bach
Ventura Y. Ramirez J. Rodriguez Mesa
Guilbeau Medina Chu
Baez Wiseman
De Los Santos Borne Evangelista
Duran Serrata
R. Lopez
A. Williams
P. Valdez
A. Lee
Nov 262015

It’s hard to tell whether this is a slow offseason so far or if my offline life has pushed this little hobby of mine to the backburner, as the expression goes. Probably both.

The chatter in the comments is centered on the big club, and while sometimes that bothers me, if there were an alternative topic to discuss… I would chime in to direct traffic, but there isn’t. My default position is that we’re more likely to see prospects be dealt away to shore up big club, so the conversation isn’t really all that far off.

Besides, the prospect writers haven’t written much about the Nats thus far, which isn’t really all that unusual since the cheerleaders at Baseball America are focused on producing the 2016 Handbook when they’re not straining for a new angle to produce pageviews (Yes, I’m aware of the irony/hypocrisy of both mocking them and helping them).

Shifting gears to the headline…

Today is Thanksgiving and it’s the first one in a few years that I’ll be home all day, and you’d better believe I am thankful for that. It’s just the Mrs. and I along with the four kids — two with two legs, two with four legs — and we’re staying put in our little enclave in Western Fairfax County.

As I’ve done for the past six Novembers, I’d like to express my gratitude for this community of fans who come here on a regular basis — even as the site has changed over the past 14 months. It’ll never be what it once was (and for that I’m thankful, too; it’s nice to be doing what I used to do before the site came along) but I appreciate the chance to pass along news and information the way that I want to.

And now for the annual reminders…

  • Travel safe
  • Show some plate discipline
  • Call your mother
Nov 222015

Monday Morning Box Scores
Time for our first update on how the Nationals’ minor-leaguers are doing in the winter leagues thus far. All statistics as of 11/22/2015.


Rafael Bautista DWL 26 91 12 27 5 1 0 6 9 11 .297 .360 .374 5
Brian Goodwin VWL 20 75 13 21 5 1 1 11 10 16 .280 .365 .413 3
Reegie Corona VWL 20 65 10 12 3 0 0 3 10 15 .200 .307 .246 1
Jose Lozada PWL 16 54 9 22 5 0 0 9 10 5 .407 .493 .500 1
Pedro Severino DWL 19 49 8 12 4 0 2 4 1 11 .245 .260 .449 0
Jose Marmolejos-Diaz DWL 1 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 3 .250 .250 .250 0


Paolo Espino VWL 2 2 0 4.41 8 8 34⅔ 39 20 17 5 15 27 1.56

I thought last year’s group was small… but this is three fewer players and just one (1) pitcher. Not sure what to make of it aside from that it may be an indication of how desperate I am for offseason topics. 😉

Most folks will probably (and rightly) be obsessed with how Bautista and Goodwin are doing. Indeed it’s good to see both players putting up numbers that are closer to their reputation and/or capabilities.

But, a reminder that winter-league pitching varies widely in quality (Low-A to AAA) is in order, and that plenty of players have had monster winters with zero carryover into the next winter (e.g. Tyler Moore in 2014, Sandy Leon in 2013, Jesus Flores, 2011).

So take these numbers for what they’re worth: A chance to look at some stats when the news is slow (though maybe not this slow).

Nov 202015

Drew-Ward-11-20-15The Salt River Rafters scored single runs in the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 7th innings and withstood a late rally from the Scottsdale Scorpions finish the 2015 campaign with a 4-2 win.

As you might have guessed, just one National got into yesterday’s game: Drew Ward (pictured).

The turns-21-next-week Oklahoman was the designated hitter but did not get a hit. He struck out three times in four plate appearances, but did draw his 11th walk in 12 games this fall (versus nine K’s). He finished with an average of just .097 (3-for-31), but had a respectable on-base percentage of .326.

Salt River finished the year 16-13, 1½ games behind Scottsdale. With that the 2015 season — the sixth this site has covered — officially comes to a close.

#          #          #

In what now seems rather anticlimactic, last night the Nationals added three from this year’s AFL contingent to the 40-man roster: Christopher Bostick, Spencer Kieboom, and Nick Lee.

Bostick, who was originally drafted in the 44th Rd. by the Oakland A’s as a HS pick in 2011, and Kieboom (5th Rd., 2012) were both in their first year of Rule 5 eligibility. Lee, however, was in his second year of eligibility as an 18th Rd. 2011 pick (and drafted 38th but did not sign in 2010).

A common thread through all three picks is the shoring up organizational depth. With the departure of Ian Desmond and the continued fragility of Anthony Rendon, the Nationals will need a backup to the backup of Wilmer Difo for 2016.

Kieboom is also an addition to a catching corps that has been thinned by trades and the Rule 5 draft over the past few years. Like Bostick, he’s the backup to Pedro Severino.

Lee, of course, is a bit of a surprise given that he’s already been passed over for the Rule 5 and a good but not great 2015 regular season. But he’s still lefthanded and throws strikes (though he has yet to tame his tendency to issue walks) and will be the backup to Matt Grace as a situational southpaw.

As for projections, it might be safe to say that this trio will be teammates in Harrisburg next season with the players in front of them moving up (or returning) to Syracuse. But there’s a long offseason to go and Washington has a GM that “kinda, sorta” likes to make trades.

Nov 192015

Christopher-Bostick-11-19-1The Solar Sox posted a picket fence to take a 3-1 lead in the middle innings, then put the game away with a three-spot in 6th for a 6-1 win over the Rafters.

It may seem like all Christopher Bostick, all the time, but when he’s the only National to appear in the game…

Bostick once again batted second and played second base. At the plate, he was 0-for-2 two with two walks drawn and stole a base, his sixth of the fall. In the field (pictured), he had a putout and three assists, including the pivot on a 6-4-3 double play.

The 2015 AFL season concludes for the Salt River Rafters with an afternoon game against the AFL East champion Scottsdale Scorpions.

Nov 182015

Christopher-Bostick-11-18-1Salt River scored twice in the 1st and held on to the lead for a 4-2 win over Mesa to stave off elimination.

Two Nationals appeared in the game.

John Simms got the start and went three innings, allowing one run on four hits and a walk while striking out two. He threw 45 pitches, 33 for strikes. He was credited with the win, his fourth in five starts for Salt River, and has posted an ERA of 1.88 and a WHIP of 1.21.

Christopher Bostick had another strong game. Batting second and playing 2B, the 22-y.o. walked, doubled, and homered in four plate appearances. In 19 games this fall, he’s posted a line of .275/.324/.565 with four HR’s, five SB’s, and 12 RBI.

The two teams switch venues for this afternoon’s game. Scottsdale, which must lose for Salt River to have a shot at the title game, hosts Peoria tonight. The Rafters and Scorpions close out the fall season with a game tomorrow afternoon.

Nov 172015

For the second time this fall, inclement weather canceled a game for the Salt River Rafters. Meanwhile, the Surprise Saguaros beat the Scottsdale Scorpions to clinch a spot in Saturday’s AFL Title game, which could be a rematch of yesteray’s game unless Scottsdale continues to lose and Salt River starts to win. The Scorpions and Rafters play each other on Thursday.

John Simms is the listed starter for Salt River for this afternoon’s game against Mesa.

Nov 152015

Christopher-Bostick-11-14-1After battling back from 5-1 down to tie it in the bottom of the 9th, the Rafters coughed up the lead in the 10th and couldn’t respond for a 6-5 loss in extra innings.

Christopher Bostick (pictured) was the only Nationals player to appear in the game. As per usual, the 22-year-old batted second and played 2B for Salt River. He was 1-for-5 with a double and three strikeouts at the plate and on defense he had a putout, an error, and two assists.

Salt River has an off day today before entering the final week of the Arizona Fall League. They have four games left and train Scottsdale by two, with a tragic number of three.

#                    #                    #                    

Last week, BA released its list of the 2016 minor-league free agents, a day after noting that player-coach Andruth Ramirez, RHP Scott McGregor, and UT Jose Lozada had re-signed. Without further ado, the rest of the former Nationals:

RHP – Rob Gilliam, Jeff Howell, Connor Overton, Kevin Perez, and Sam Runion
LHP – Matt Purke
C – Brian Jeroloman, Steven Lerud
IF – Mario Lisson, Scott Sizemore, Josh Johnson
OF – Darin Mastroianni, Derrick Robinson

Obviously, the the most notable name among those is Matt Purke, who the Nationals gambled would be healthy after being beaten like a rented mule by TCU in his freshman year, and never regained that promise. Otherwise, it’s the usual suspects in terms of minor-league veterans who’ve been serving as organizational soldiers.

Nov 142015

Kieboom-HR-11-13-15Salt River scored four times with two out in the top of the 1st, capped off by an Earl Weaver special by Spencer Kieboom (pictured) en route to a 5-3 win over Surprise.

Kieboom was one of three Nationals to see game action yesterday afternoon. The 24-year-old batted sixth and caught, going 1-for-4 overall with a run, a HR, and three RBI. Defensively, he threw out one of two baserunners attempting to steal and finished with the two assists and seven putouts (all by way of the K).

Drew Ward was the Rafters’ DH and reached base twice via the base-on-balls but was 0-for-2 otherwise.

Dakota Bacus also appeared in the game, getting the last out for Salt River in the 6th and stranding two runners. In the 7th, he sandwiched a balk between two balks before being lifted but was bailed out when his successor, Kyle Regnault, got two groundballs and a whiff to stifle the would-be rally.

The Scorpions lost their second straight but still lead the Rafters by two games with five left to play. Tonight, Salt River hosts Surprise in the AFL’s 2015 Military Appreciation Game.

Nov 132015

Drew-Ward-AFL-11-12-15The Rafters rallied from 6-1 down to tie at 6-6 but the ‘pen imploded as they lost 12-7 to the Desert Dogs.

Two pitchers and two position players got into last night’s game.

Christopher Bostick batted second and played 2B and had another strong offensive game, going 3-for-5 with a triple, a run scored, and a stolen base. Densively, he had two assists including the pivot on a 5-4-3 DP.

Drew Ward batted ninth and ended a six-game hitless streak with a double (pictured above). It was his third hit of the fall. He also took a walk (his eighth in ten games). Defensively, he had three assist, started the aforementioned double play, but also committed his third error.

Abel De Los Santos took the loss with two runs allowed (one earned) on two hits and two walks over an inning and 2/3rds. He threw 34 pitches, 17 for strikes and struck out two.

Nick Lee finished the game, tossing three and a 1/3rd innings with three runs allowed (two earned) on five hits, including a home run. He walked one, struck out three, hit a batter, and uncorked a wild pitch. He threw 66 pitches (seven less than the Salt River SP), 37 of which were strikes.

Salt River’s tragic number is now four. They face off this afternoon against AFL West-leading Surprise, then will host the Military Appreciation game tomorrow night (also against Surprise).