Dec 072012
 

Of course, the big news this week in transactions were the signing of Dan Haren, pending a physical (best guess: announcement made tonight during the five o’clock hour for the benefit of talk-radio chatter) and the selection of four Nationals in yesterday’s Rule 5 draft.

A couple of, well, minor signs have also been made in the past couple weeks, which I’ve neglected to report in the hopes that this week’s transactions post from Baseball America would have more (it did not).

• LHP Bobby Bramhall — A former Miami Marlin (2012) and Milwaukee Brewers farmhand (2007-2010), who, of course, has had Tommy John surgery, which is why he did not pitch in 2011. According to this scouting report, he’s a soft tosser that’s best suited to becoming a LOOGY.

• LHP Bill Bray was brought back into the organization after he elected free agency in early November, refusing to report to the minors after injuries (groin, back) limited him to 14 appearances for the Cincinnati Reds in 2012. Bray was a first-round pick in the 2004 draft for Montreal and was traded away in July 2006 as part of an eight-player deal that brought journeyman Austin Kearns and the immortal Felipe Lopez to Washington.

As mentioned in the comments, the Nationals are very likely to sign more MLFA pitchers over the next few weeks, in part to replace those “lost” yesterday as well as what appears to be the modus operandi of the Nats this time of year.

Nov 232012
 

The Nats’ stockpiling of free-agent pitchers continues with the latest transactions post from Baseball America:

  • RHP Randy Consuegra
  • RHP Deibi Yrizarri
  • LHP Fernando Abad

Consuegra is another former Boston farmhand, signed after pitching for the Colombian WBC team. He’s been out of professional baseball for the past two seasons. The logical inference is that Yrizarri is also an international free agent; the only clear reference to him that comes up in web searches is in the BA post.

Abad is the sole pitcher among this group with major-league experience, albeit with the Astros. He’s appeared in 88 games the past three seasons with Houston with career marks of 1-11, 5.10 ERA and a 1.559 WHIP. Scouting site 60ft6in.com describes him as “a junk-balling left-hander with a high major league walk rate. He throws tons of soft changeups to RHs and sweeping curves to LHs. The Dominican would rather walk a batter than give in with his 90 mph BP fastball.”

Thus far, two Nationals farmhands have signed elsewhere — Jim Negrych with Toronto and Atahualpa Severino with Kansas City. Severino was one of the last remaining players left from the Expos era still with the organization, a list believed to be now down to two: Ian Desmond and Roger Bernadina.

Nov 212012
 

Waiting deep into the night to make the announcement, the Washington Nationals added RHPs Nathan Karns and Erik Davis to the 40-man roster in preparation for next month’s Rule 5 draft.

Karns, of course, was the expected selection — the Nationals Minor-League Pitcher of the Year, leader in minor-league wins, strikeouts, WHIP, and opponent batting average, not to mention the mustache. Injuries delayed the 2009 12th-Rd. pick’s ascent, with shoulder surgery sidelining him for 2010 and limiting him to 13 appearances in 2011, in which he went 3-2 with a 2.28 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and 59K in 55⅓ innings. This past season he went 11-4 between Hagerstown and Potomac with a 2.17 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP and 148K in 116 innings. The Texan native turns 25 on Sunday.

Davis was the wildcard pick. Even with the benefit of hindsight (i.e. Rizzo’s habit of favoring guys that he acquired), this is still a mild shock. As many of the beat writers pointed out, Davis’s strong showing in the Dominican Winter League — 3-0, 0.56ERA, 16K in 16IP — was likely a predicating factor for the move. After finishing 2011 with a demotion from Harrisburg to Potomac (and even worse numbers in High-A than AA), Davis turned it around in 2012 with a 8-3, 2.71, 1.247 pitching line overall, with 40 appearances for Harrisburg and eight in Syracuse. The Stanford grad/native turned 26 last month.

Nov 142012
 

Now that we’re a couple of weeks into the offseason, free agents are starting to change teams. But first a couple of re-signs:

• C Kris Watts
• OF-1B Jimmy Van Ostrand

Both were veterans with the Harrisburg Senators that were signed during the summer and both are 28-year-olds that could ostensibly play at either AA or AAA next summer.

On to the signings, from Baseball America’s latest dispatch:

• RHP Yefri Pena
• IF Will Rhymes
• SS Leudys Baez
• OF Ray Kruml

There is no listing for either Pena or Baez on baseball-reference.com or milb.com, which leads me to believe that both are IFAs.

Rhymes is a former Detroit farmhand that spent 2012 in the Tampa Bay system and has bounced between AAA and the majors for the past three seasons, hitting .228/.299/.285 in 47 games for the Rays and .256/.326/.390 in 46 games for Durham in the I.L.

Kruml was drafted but did not sign with the Diamondbacks in 2005, and but did sign with the Yankees in 2008. He was released in early August by New York after a disappointing showing in AAA (.225/.267/.310) and signed with St. Louis to finish out the year, where he was even worse at AA (.161/.229/.194).

Nov 062012
 

Well, it’s that time of year in the minors when we find out which of the veterans have become free agents. Some of these guys will re-sign, some will retire, ans some will move on. Without further ado…

CATCHERS
AAA – James Skelton

INFIELDERS
AAA – Mark Teahen, Jarrett Hoffpauir, Manny Mayorson, Jim Negrych
AA – Tim Pahuta, Seth Bynum
High-A – Brent Greer

OUTFIELDERS

AAA – Jason Michaels, Jesus Valdez
Low-A – Angelberth Montilla

LHPs
AAA – Atahualpa Severino
AA – Michael Ballard, Cory VanAllen

RHPs
AAA – Erik Arnesen, Mitch Atkins, Jeff Fulchino, Waldis Joaquin, Mike MacDougal
AA – Jimmy Barthmaier, Kevin Pucetas, Zech Zinicola
High-A – Adam Carr
Low-A – Wilson Eusebio

That’s 24 this year, down slightly from last year’s 26. Overall, some 549 players became FAs, up from 537 last year and 534 in 2010. This year’s first-time free agents include Nats 2006 draft picks Arnesen, VanAllen, Zinicola, ’06 IFAs Montilla and Eusebio (originally signed by Pittsburgh), and a 2004 NDFA (Severino).

Earlier this offseason, the Nats resigned veteran backstops Carlos Maldonado and Jeff Howell. It’s possible that one or two others have been signed, as the last transactions post from Baseball America covered the period of Oct. 16-23, and the granting of free agency took place on November 3rd.

UPDATE
As predicted, there were a couple of organizational soldiers re-enlisting in the latest transaction post from Baseball America:
• OF Chris Rahl
• IF Josh R. Johnson

Also in that dispatch, the signing of RHRP Francisco Samuel, a turning-26-in-December former prospect from the St. Louis organization who was released this past March after posting a 12.21 ERA in an injury-shortened 2011. If you haven’t guessed it by now, when healthy the Dominican throws in the mid-90s (touching 98), piles up the K’s (11.4/9IP) but has had control problems (career 8.6 BB/9IP) and an array of injuries (hip, lat).

Oct 312012
 

Multiple online sources are reporting that Brad Meyers, who was picked by the New York Yankees in the December 2011 Rule 5 draft, has been returned to the Washington Nationals and assigned to the Syracuse Chiefs.

Meyers was placed on the 15-day DL in early April with a strained labrum and transferred to the 60-Day DL in late May. Meyers made one appearance during the year, a disastrous eight runs given up to 14 batters faced on April 9th for High-A Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League.

The 27-year-old was originally drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 5th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, rising as high as AAA with 95⅔ IP for the Syracuse Chiefs in 2011 but missed most of 2010 with foot and heel injuries.

Offline sources have reported that Meyers has undergone shoulder surgery, but I have not been able to confirm this with a reputable online source.

Oct 262012
 

It’s been largely quiet on the transaction front thus far in the offseason, but there were a couple of signings released in this week’s dispatch from Baseball America for the week of Oct. 16-23:

• C Carlos Maldonado re-signed

• C Jeff Howell re-signed

Maldonado, along with erstwhile OF Brett Carroll, had elected free agency earlier this month.

Maldonado has twice been recalled then outrighted to AAA for the Nationals in the past three seasons, playing four games in late May/early June of 2010 and four games this past May when the Nationals catchers were doing their best impersonation of Spinal Tap drummers.

Howell saw time at each level from High-A to AA to AAA in 2012, playing a total of 53 games — not bad for a guy that spent 52 games in the independent American Association in 2011. Both catchers can be described as glove-first backups, with fielding averages of of .990+ for both backstops.

Other former Nationals that have recently re-signed include Michael Martinez and Pete Orr with Philadelphia and Shairon Martis and Aaron Thompson with Minnesota.

Sep 032012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 8-7 @ Rochester,
1:05 p.m.
Maya (11-9, 3.72) vs.
Martis (3-3, 5.40)
Harrisburg Lost, 11-5 vs. Bowie,
2:00 p.m.
Olbrychowski (1st AA start
of ’12) vs. TBD
Potomac Won, 4-0
(11 inn.)
@ Wilmington,
1:35 p.m.
Hill (0-1, 7.20) vs.
Ridings (6-1, 2.67)
Hagerstown Lost, 7-3 vs. Asheville,
1:05 p.m.
Jordan (3-3, 3.75) vs.
Gagnon (0-0, 2.84)
Auburn Lost, 8-7 @ Batavia,
1:05 p.m.
Lee (2-1, 3.97) vs.
O’Shea (3-2, 2.91)

Syracuse 8 Rochester 7
• Atkins 5IP, 7H, 6R, 6ER, 0BB, 5K, HR
• Davis (W, 1-0) 2IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 2K, HR
• Garcia (SV, 14) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Valdez 2-4, R, HR, 2RBI
• Marrero 2-4, R, 2RBI
• Walters 2-4, R, RBI

The Chiefs rallied from a 6-0 deficit to win their home finale, 8-7 over the Red Wings. Erik Davis got the win in relief, his first in AAA, while Christian Garcia threw a 1-2-3 ninth for his 14th save. Every Syracuse batter hit safely with Jesus Valdez, Chris Marrero, and Zach Walters each going 2-for-4 with a run scored. Roster moves: LHP Zach Duke and RHP Christian Garcia recalled to Washington.

Harrisburg 11 Bowie 5
• Holder (W, 4-3) 7IP, 6H, R, ER, 0BB, K, HR
• Frias 2IP, 2H, 4R, 1ER, BB, 4K, HR
• Hood 3-5, 2R, RBI
• Lozada 2-3, 2R, 2B, HR, BB, 3RBI

The Senators filibustered for nine runs en route to an 11-5 win over the Baysox. Trevor Holder closed out 2012 with seven strong innings, giving up a run on six hits with no walks and one K for his fourth win. Destin Hood led the hit column with a 3-for-5 afternoon, scoring twice and driving in one. Roster moves: RHP Adam Olbrychowski promoted from Potomac; LHP Danny Rosenbaum placed on the 7-Day DL. Manager moves: Anthony Rendon was benched for not running out a fly ball.

Potomac 4 Wilmington 0 (11 inn.)
• Grace 8IP, 6H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Holland (W, 7-1) 2⅓ IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 2K
• Barrett (SV, 1) ⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K, 3-0 IR-S
• Souza 1-5, R, HR, 4RBI, OF assist at HP

Steve Souza’s grand slam in the 11th broke up a 0-0 tie as the P-Nats finally won a game in Delaware with 4-0 shutout of the Blue Rocks. Matt Grace, Neil Holland and Aaron Barrett combined on the eight-hit shutout, with Holland earning his 7th win and Barrett earning his first Hi-A save.

Asheville 7 Hagerstown 3
• Estevez 4IP, 5H, 5R, 5ER, 6BB, 2K
• Meza 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Burns 1-4, RBI, SB
• Ramsey 1-4, R, HR, RBI

Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez labored through four innings Last Night In Hagerstown.

Batavia 8 Auburn 7
• Encarnacion 3⅔ IP, 6H, 4R, 3ER, 2BB, 4K
• Medina 1IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 0K, 2HR
• Kieboom 2-4, R, RBI
• Alvarez 1-3, R, 2RBI

The Doubledays couldn’t stop the hottest team in the minors, losing 8-7 to the Muckdogs — the 9th straight win by Batavia and 19th triumph in 21 games. Silvio Medina gave up two home runs in the 7th to turn a 6-5 lead into an 8-6 deficit. Auburn got the tying run to second with no outs in the 9th, but lined out and struck out twice to end it. The loss drops Auburn into a tie with Batavia for the Pinckney Division lead, and three-way tie with Brooklyn for the wild card. Brooklyn holds the tiebreakers with both Auburn and Batavia in the event of a tie for the wild card; Auburn holds a 6-5 advantage in head-to-head play going into today’s game but it’s not clear how that would be resolved in the event of a Batavia win today and tie at the end of the season.

Sep 022012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 8-4 vs. Rochester,
7:00 p.m.
Duke (15-5, 3.51) vs.
Blackburn (3-1, 3.12)
Harrisburg Lost, 8-5;
Won, 4-0
vs. Bowie,
2:00 p.m.
Holder (3-3, 4.17)
vs. TBA
Potomac Lost, 5-1 @ Wilmington,
1:35 p.m.
Grace (9-12, 5.13) vs.
Ferguson (4-2, 3.34)
Hagerstown Won, 2-1 vs. Asheville,
7:05 p.m.
Jordan (3-3, 3.75) vs.
Winkler (10-10, 4.49)
Auburn Won, 11-3 @ Batavia,
5:05 p.m.
Encarnacion (5-1, 4.01) vs.
Cuda (7-1, 3.97)

Rochester 8 Syracuse 4
• Roark 5⅔ IP, 5H, R, ER, 2BB, 3K
• Arnesen 2IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, K
• Valdez 2-3, R, BB, 2RBI
• Teahen 2-5, R, HR, RBI

A three-run 7th deleted an early 3-1 lead and a four-run 9th broke a 4-4 tie as Rochester doubled up Syracuse, 8-4, ending a modest four-game win streak. Erik Arnesen took the loss, giving up the four last-inning tallies on five hits after pitching a scoreless eighth. Starter Tanner Roark went the first five and 2/3rds and gave up five hits and two walks while striking out three. Jesus VAldez reached base three times on a pair of singles and a walk and drove in two to lead the Chiefs offense. Roster moves: LHP John Lannan, CF Eury Perez, C Sandy Leon recalled to Washington; C James Skelton promoted from Harrisburg, IF Manny Mayorson activated from 7-Day DL.

Bowie 8 Harrisburg 5 — GAME ONE
• Wang (L, 1-5) 2IP, 7H, 6R, 6ER, BB, 2K, 2HR
• Barthmaier 3IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 1K
• Hood 2-4, R, RBI
• Nicol 2-2, 2B, BB, RBI

Chien-Ming Wang finished up his reign of error rehab tour by giving up six runs on seven hits—two of which can’t be blamed on the defense as they cleared the outfield wall—and a walk in an 8-5 loss to Bowie. Sean Nicol singled, doubled, and walked as the Senators racked up nine hits but struggled with RISP with a 4-for-15 mark and left eight runners on base.

Harrisburg 4 Bowie 0 — GAME TWO
• Tatusko (W, 4-5) 5IP, 5H, 0R, 2BB, 5K
• Zinicola 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Van Ostrand 3-3, R, HR, 2RBI
• Bloxom 2-3
• Rendon 1-2, 2R, HR, RBI

Ryan Tatusko and Zech Zinicola combined on a seven-hit shutout to split the doubleheader as the Senators took the second game, 4-0. Tatusko tossed five scoreless innings, letting up five hits and two walks, but keeping the ball on the ground for nine of the 15 outs, including a pair of double play balls.
Jimmy Van Ostrand’s two-run home run and Anthony Rendon’s second AA home run powered the Harrisburg offense. Roster moves: C Jhonatan Solano optioned to Harrisburg from Washington following his activation from the MLB 15-Day DL.

Wilmington 5 Potomac 1
• Ray 5IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 4BB, 4K
• Testa (L, 1-1) 2IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 3K, 2HR
• Skole 2-4, 2-2B, RBI
• Ramirez 1-3

Robbie Ray turned his string of rough outings around, but a four-run 6th sent the P-Nats to their eighth straight defeat in Wilmington, 5-1. Ray walked four and struck out four but gave up just one hit and one run over five innings. Joe Testa was taken deep twice in the 6th to take the loss. Potomac managed just three hits, with Matt Skole doubling twice in four at-bats and driving in the sole Potomac run.

Hagerstown 2 Asheville 1
• Anderson (W, 1-1) 5IP, 1H, 0R, 3BB, 6K
• Turnbull (H, 1) 3IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Kreis (SV, 3) 1IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K
• Dykstra 3-4, R
• Miller 2-4, 2B, 3B, 2RBI

Justin Miller’s RBI triple in the 1st and RBI double in the 8th supplied the offense while three Hagerstown pitchers stifled Asheville for a 2-1 win. Dixon Anderson won his first Sally League game with five scoreless frames, giving up just a hit and walking three while striking out six. Kylin Turnbull made his first Suns appearance since July 16 with three goose eggs, two hits allowed, a walk and three K’s. Alex Kreis weathered a pair of doubles in the 9th to record his third save. Cutter Dykstra led the hit column, collecting three of the Suns six hits.

Auburn 11 Mahoning Valley 3
• Mooneyham 6IP, 5H, 2R, 1ER, 2BB, 5K
• Henke (W, 6-1) 2IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, K
• Renda 3-6, R, RBI
• McQuillan 2-4, 3R, BB, 3RBI
• Ramos 2-3, R, HR, BB, 2RBI

Auburn scored nine unanswered runs in the final two innings to turn a 3-2 nailbiter into an 11-3 laugher over Mahoning Valley. The second-place Muckdogs racked up their eighth straight win to stay just one back and set up the chance to overtake the Doubledays as the two Pinckney Division rivals face off today and tomorrow in Batavia. Travis Henke won his sixth game in relief of Brett Mooneyham, who turned in a quality start with two runs allowed on five hits and two walks over the first six innings. Auburn pounded out 12 hits with leadoff man Mike McQuillan leading the way with three runs scored, three runs driven in, two singles and a walk.

Sep 012012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 5-2 vs. Rochester,
7:00 p.m.
Roark (6-17, 4.50) vs.
Vasquez (9-6, 2.78)
Harrisburg Lost, 9-2 vs. Bowie,
5:30 p.m.
Wang (1-4, 5.82) and
Tatusko (3-5, 3.72) vs.
Bascom (6-6, 4.34) and
Loomis (0-0, 3.95)
Potomac Won, 3-0 @ Wilmington,
6:05 p.m.
Ray (4-12, 6.79) vs.
Adam (6-12, 3.61)
Hagerstown Won, 4-3 vs. Asheville,
7:05 p.m.
Anderson (0-1, 5.79) vs.
Gillingham
Auburn Won, 8-6 @ Mahoning Valley,
7:05 p.m.
Mooneyham (2-2, 2.72) vs.
Aviles (0-2, 5.61)

Syracuse 5 Lehigh Valley 2
• Mandel (W, 6-5) 7IP, 7H, R, ER, BB, 6K, HR; 2-3, R, RBI
• Garcia (S, 13) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Brown 2-5, 2R
• Teahen 2-5, R, 2B, 3RBI

With five runs in the first two “ups” and seven strong innings from Jeff Mandel, the Syracuse Chiefs cruised to their fourth straight win with a 5-2 victory over the Lehigh IronPigs. Mandel also contributed to his own cause with a 2-for-3 night at the plate, including an RBI single. He allowed one run on a home run, walked one and struck out six. Christian Garcia struck out two in a scoreless ninth for his 13th save. Mark Teahen led the offense with a 2-for-5 night, driving in three.

Bowie 9 Harrisburg 2
• Pucetas (L, 7-6) 6⅓ IP, 9H, 6R, 6ER, 2BB, 5K
• Martin 1⅔ IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 0K, 1-1 IR-S
• Hood 1-3, R, HR, RBI
• Bynum 1-2, R, HR, BB, RBI

A five-run seventh broke open a 3-2 game as Harrisburg dropped its third straight, 9-2. Kevin Pucetas took the loss, charged with six runs on nine hits and two walks and five K’s. Home runs by Destin Hood and Seth Bynum prevented the shutout as the Senators only managed one other hit, a single by Brian Goodwin, while striking out 13 times.

Potomac 3 Carolina 0
• Swynenberg (W, 7-5) 6IP, 4H, 0R, BB, 5K
• Carr (H, 3) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 0K
• Wort (SV, 13) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Ramirez 3-4, R
• Sanchez 2-5, R

Three Potomac pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout of Carolina, 3-0. Matt Swynenberg got his seventh win with four hits and one walk allowed over the first six frames, striking out five. Adam Carr walked two in his inning of work but gave up no hits. Rob Wort earned his 13th save by throwing two scoreless innings, giving up a hit, walking none and fanning two. J.P. Ramirez went 3-for-4 to lead the eight-hit Potomac offense.

Hagerstown 4 Asheville 3
• Schwartz 6IP, 5H, R, ER, 0BB, 7K
• Holt (BS, 3; W, 5-2) 2IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 0K
• Mirowski (SV, 3) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Higley 2-3, R, 2B, BB, RBI
• Miller 2-4, R, RBI, 2SB

After coughing up the lead in the top of the 7th, the Suns rallied for two in the bottom half and held on for a 4-3 win. A loss by Hickory dropped the MiLB.com-listed magic number to two, but with a lead of four in the loss column with three games to go, Hagerstown clinched the second-half Sally League Northern Division title. Greg Holt got the blown-save-win in relief of Blake Schwartz, who allowed just a run on five hits over six innings with no walks and seven strikeouts. J.R. Higley paced the Suns attack with single, double, and a walk while driving in one run and scoring another. Roster moves: RHP Leonard Hollins placed on the Temporary Inactive List; LHP Kylin Turnbull activated from the 7-Day DL.

Auburn 8 Mahoning Valley 6
• Fischer 4IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, K, HR
• Pena (W, 1-0) 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Self (SV, 13) ⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K, 2-1 IR-S
• Martinez 2-4, R, BB, RBI
• Ramos 2-5, R, 2B, 2RBI

Auburn overcame an early 5-0 deficit, scoring eight runs across the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings and surviving a late charge by Mahoning Valley for an 8-6 win. Starter David Fischer was tattooed for five runs on seven hits and two walks over four innings, with all five runs coming in the the second. Ronald Pena picked him with three scoreless innings of relief to earn the win. The Doubledays pounded out 10 hits, with Estarlin Martinez (2-for-4) and Wander Ramos (2-for-5) leading the charge. Batavia, however, continues to breathe down Auburn’s neck, winning its seventh straight game to remain one game behind in the NYPL Pinckney Division. The two teams meet in Batavia for two games on Sunday and Monday.