Sep 012011
 


The Carolina League has announced its postseason All-Star team, which includes three Potomac Nationals players: Sandy Leon, Jeff Kobernus and Destin Hood.

Just 13 players are named to the squad, with the eight defensive positions, a DH, a utility player, left- and right-handed starters and a reliever. The lineup is voted on by league managers, sportswriters, broadcasters and other media members.

Leon has turned up the heat offensively, hitting .278/.350/.411 since the All-Star Break after posting a .219/.275/.290 line prior. The 22-year-old Venezuelan was also recently named the best defensive catcher in a poll by Baseball America.

Kobernus is currently leading the league in steals with 47, quite the surprise after an injury-plagued 2010. Like Leon, Kobernus was cited by Baseball America in its 2011 “Best Tools” survey for High-A.

Hood was originally named as the Potomac’s representative to the 2011 Carolina League All-Star Game (Kobernus was his replacement), but sat with knee problems. Nevertheless, the 21-year-old has still managed to steal 20 bases and is currently third in the league with 82 RBI.

Sep 012011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Won, 3-1 @ Buffalo,
6:05 p.m.
Yunesky Maya (3-9, 5.09) vs.
Dylan Owen (6-6, 4.18)
Harrisburg Won, 2-1 vs. Portland,
7:00 p.m.
Stephen Strasburg (rehab) vs.
Michael Lee (1-6, 5.12)
Potomac Won, 6-3 @ Lynchburg,
7:05 p.m.
Paul Demny (9-10, 4.54)
vs. Matt Crim (2-7, 5.81)
Hagerstown OFF DAY vs. Lakewood,
7:05 p.m.
Chris McKenzie (4-6, 6.80) vs.
Garett Claypool (4-7, 3.63)
Auburn Lost, 3-2 vs. Jamestown,
7:05 p.m.
Taylor Hill (0-2, 3.25) vs.
Jose Urena (4-7, 4.39)

Syracuse 3 Buffalo 1
• Meyers (W, 6-4) 5⅓ IP, 7H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 5K, HR
• Wilkie (S, 15) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Valdez 2-4, RBI
• Antonelli 0-2, 2RBI, BB, SF

Syracuse took advantage of Buffalo miscues to take their fourth straight game, 3-1. Brad Meyers got his sixth win by scattering seven hits — OK, six; one was a home run — over five and a 1/3rd innings with no walks and five strikeouts. Jesus Valdez was the sole Chief to get multiple hits, driving in the second Syracuse run in the 3rd with an RBI single as part of a 2-for-4 night. Josh Wilkie was the last of five relievers to follow Meyers, pitching a scoreless ninth for his 15th save.

Harrisburg 2 Portland 1
• Arnesen 7IP, 4H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 9K
• VanAllen (W, 5-3) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Martin (S, 13) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• T Moore 2-4, RBI
• Pahuta 2-3, R, HR, RBI

Tyler Moore’s 8th-inning RBI single put the Sens in the playoffs with a 2-1 win over Portland. Moore’s hit gave Cory VanAllen the win for pitching a scoreless 8th. Erik Arnesen got the start and allowed just an unearned run on four hits and no walks over the first seven innings while setting down nine on strikes. Tim Pahuta homered in the 5th to tie the game at 1-1, and went 2-for-3 for the game to lead the offense. Rafael Martin pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for save #13. Harrisburg can clinch the Eastern League West division with a win or a Richmond loss tonight.

Potomac 6 Lynchburg 3
• Olbrychowski (W, 5-7) 7⅓ IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, BB, 6K, HR
• Selik ⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Walters 2-4, R, 2B, RBI, BB
• Bloxom 2-5, R
• Kobernus 2-5, 2RBI, SB

Likewise, Potomac clinched a playoff berth with a win over Lynchburg by a 6-3 count. Adam Olbrychowski pitched a masterful seven and a 1/3rd innings, allowing just two hits, though one was a home run. He walked one and struck out six. Potomac made him a winner by taking advantage of a Hillcats error in the 8th to pile on for four unearned runs. Jeff Kobernus, Justin Bloxom, and Zach Walters each had two hits as the P-Nats collected 11 total. Combined with another Frederick loss, the P-Nats are just 1½ games behind the Keys, the tragic number frozen at five.

Hagerstown — OFF DAY
The Suns finish out 2011 with a five-game set against the Lakewood BlueClaws. They’ll need to win three to avoid a losing second-half record.

Jamestown 3 Auburn 2
• Karns (ND) 5IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 4K
• Kreis (H, 1) 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Skole 2-5, 2-2B, RBI
• Ramsey 2-5, 2R

Auburn may have the best winning percentage of any Nats affiliate, but a 3-2 loss to Jamestown has tightened up the race for a playoff spot. Colin Bates was touched for two runs in the top of the 8th to burn a 2-1 lead, handing starter Nathan Karns a no-decision for his five innings of one-run ball. Matt Skole and Caleb Ramsey both went 2-for-5 to lead the Doubledays offense, which struggled in the clutch with a 2-for-9 mark with RISP and 10 men left on base. The loss slices Auburn’s lead over Williamsport to just one game in the Pinckney Division, which is also the same margin they have over the Brooklyn Cyclones in the wild-card chase.

Aug 312011
 

It’s almost a little fitting that the very first piece that I did for this site was a scouting report on Tom Milone. Why? Well, I hyperlinked it to show the date it was published: Christmas Eve, 2009.

This is not to gloat (well, maybe just a little). Hell, I’m quite well aware that Milone could get knocked around like a guest on the Jerry Springer show, leaving me feeling like Ralphie on a late Christmas morning. So chances are, I’m just gonna tape record his first start and go to the Potomac game on Saturday — it’s what I’m used to, and besides, it’s been too long since I gave you guys a “Last Night In Woodbridge.”

But I can prove that I’m not some Johnny-come-lately when it comes to Milone, so let’s look at what I had to say back then:

Fastball: An average fastball, but added a cutter in midseason, which seems to explain his ERA dropping from 3.89 to 2.91 over his last 10 starts.

Curveball: Good separation in speed from his fastball/cutter, typically in the mid-70s

Change: Arguably his best pitch, especially with his outstanding command

Control: Terrific control, which has been his hallmark since his days at USC — 2.14/9IP in the Carolina League last season

Strengths: Mixes pitches well and can hit his spots seemingly at will and generally keeps the ball down to prevent HRs (just 9 last season)

Weaknesses: Because he’s always around the plate and doesn’t throw hard, he can be quite hittable (144 in 151IP)

Milone is an under-the-radar kind of prospect because his best assets are between his ears. His champions will compare him to Cliff Lee. His detractors will compare him to Adrian Alaniz, a prospect that shot out of the gate in ’08 then hit a wall at the next level. Milone will likely start 2010 at Harrisburg having just turned 23 in February, the youngest SP to begin the year at that level in three years.

Now before folks start chiming in about Strasburg, remember that at the time he was expected to begin 2010 in Potomac, not Harrisburg, like most turning-22 first-round picks have done the past couple of years (e.g. Alex White, Barrett Loux). But overall, I think I got that one right.

Aug 272011
 


Chris Marrero has become the latest player from our 2011 Watchlist to make it to D.C., as his callup became official this afternoon. He’s in the lineup tonight against the Cincinnati Reds, batting seventh and playing first base. He’ll be wearing #14.

Marrero batted an even .300 for the Syracuse Chiefs, hitting 14 home runs and collecting 69 RBIs in 127 games. He was drafted in 2006 as the Nationals first-round pick at #15 out of Monsignor Pace High School in Miami, Florida. He’s the second player (Cole Kimball) from that (in)famous draft, and the first position player to make the Nationals’ 25-man roster.

Aug 172011
 

In a couple weeks, we should learn who the six or seven guys that will get named to the Arizona Fall League for Washington. Bryce Harper is the no-brainer, especially since Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has made it clear that that’s part of the plan. The one player allowed below AA should be Destin Hood, but his nagging injuries, his age (21) and Rizzo’s proclivity for following the letter of the rules first, the spirit second (don’t get me wrong, there’s value in that mindset, even if it drives me crazy).

It would not surprise me in the least if Rizzo were to send nobody from Potomac or Hagerstown. The single-A exception is just that: an exception, not a requirement. I think if he could get away with it, he’d send Paul Demny (Rule 5 eligible) or, but more likely is that Josh Smoker, along with Pat McCoy, gets sent in much the same way that Adam Carr and Cole Kimball went last fall, since lately the AFL has become a means for GMs to get a last look at Rule 5-eligible guys

After that it gets fuzzy real fast. Most of the Rule 5 candidates are either knocking at the door (e.g. Tom Milone, Brad Peacock, Steve Lombardozzi) or went last year (Derek Norris). The rest are on the margins (Chris Curran, Steve Souza, Stephen King, Jose Lozada, Paul Demny, J.R. Higley) or hurt (Jack McGeary).

No, I’m not forgetting about Tyler Moore. That’s one where I say this is why GMs get paid to make hard decisions. We don’t know where Tyler Moore fits in the long-term plans, and you can certainly make the case Moore is blocked by Marrero, who in turn, is blocked by Mike Morse currently and Adam LaRoche next year.

The question is whether sending Moore to the AFL makes him more of risk to get taken in the Rule 5 draft. Answer: probably not, but we certainly hope that Moore gets the honor/exposure that he’s earned with his performance this year and last.

Then there’s Danny Rosenbaum, who got the bump in late July and has had two strong starts thus far for Harrisburg. The timing would suggest that that was done to qualify for the AFL, but my gut says “no” because he’s not the prototype to get converted to relief. I also think that if Tom Milone wasn’t sent, neither would Rosenbaum — even if Danny throws harder.

Lastly, the recent draft picks. I’d have to say Alex Meyer and Anthony Rendon are the most likely to get sent. But I’m not convinced that either (or any) will go. The big X factor in all this is that the Nationals aren’t the only organization supplying the roster for this year’s team, the Scottsdale Scorpions. The only thing I’m certain of is that somebody, somewhere will be disappointed in the selections.

Aug 162011
 


Looking over my Twitter feed, I’ve discovered that the site has been nominated for CBS Washington’s Most Valuable Blogger Awards 2011.

So either my 87-year-old Mom has suddenly gotten tech-savvy, or somebody likes what we’re doing here.
But competing against blogs for football, basketball, hockey, and the MMA, we have no chance of winning.

But that’s okay — vote anyway and check out some of the other blogs in the area. And thanks for getting us noticed.

Jul 142011
 


Some old news and some new news this morning while making the sweep of the transaction reports.

First, the old news: Brad Peacock has been promoted from AA Harrisburg to AAA Syracuse, with OF Bryce Harper taking his spot on the Senators roster by virtue of being activated from the Temporary Inactive List. Peacock was 10-2 for Harrisburg with a 2.01 ERA, a 0.86WHIP, and 129Ks in 98⅔ innings, all of which were in the top 5 for the Eastern League this season. He’s expected to make his first start this Saturday against Lehigh Valley.

Now, the new news: As predicted in the comments, Nathan Karns has been freed from Viera and promoted to Auburn. Karns, a 12th-round 2009 draft pick that signed at the deadline, missed the 2010 season with an unspecified injury. This year, he’s made five appearances without a decision in the GCL, pitching 18⅔ innings, allowing two (2) hits, no (0) runs, six walks and compiling 26 strikeouts. He’s expected to join the Doubledays rotation, starting perhaps as soon as Monday, July 18th or Tuesday, July 19th.

In other transactions, RHP Anthony Marcelino was placed in the 60-day DL for the GCL Nationals, a move that typically signifies season-ending surgery.

UPDATE: J.C. Romero has been given his unconditional release, a option that apparently was his if the Nationals weren’t going to activate him by July 15. Minutes later, he signed a minor-league contract with the New York Yankees. Meanwhile, the other predicted move — Oliver Perez being taken off the TIL to take Peacock’s spot in the rotation — has now officially been announced, with Jonathan Tucker going on the DL, retroactive to July 12 (which begs the question: Who’s next?) to keep the Harrisburg roster at 24.

Jul 042011
 

First off, let me say I’m not as disappointed as you might think. But some questions are going be begged, and I fully expect them not to be answered honestly.

The knee-jerk reaction is “The Field! They don’t want our precious Bryce Harper playing in that sinkhole in right field”

Which begs the question: Why is it okay for 21-year-old, Carolina League All-Star Destin Hood to play there?

I don’t expect anyone to officially state that the field was the reason because they don’t want to answer my question, which has some rather uncomfortable inferences.

The more nuanced interpretation:

Cynical side of me thinks Harper bypassed Potomac more to keep him away from local fans longer — MissChatter, a.k.a. Cathy Taylor

There’s a lot more evidence to support this conclusion. Specifically, the treatment of Stephen Strasburg last season. Care to guess how many starts he made in the states of Virginia or Maryland last April, May and June?

Zero.

That’s right. Strasburg was carefully handled to pitch away from greater DC, and it’s fair to infer that they want the same space for Harper. It would not surprise me in the least if he were placed on the 7-Day DL from July 21 to 27 to skip roadtrips to Bowie and Richmond, both of which are the final visits for Harrisburg in the regular season.

Hope I’m wrong about that, but if I’m right, you read it here first.

For my money, I’m the throngs of autograph whores and fanboys will pass us by in Potomac, just as the folks in Hagerstown have already expressed their relief that a return to normality is upon them. There’s a lot more satisfaction in seeing the likes of Tom Milone, Brad Peacock, Tyler Moore, and Hood start to “get it” as they make their way up the chain. Thanks to this move, that experience will continue without the pseudofan excitement.

Jul 042011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Probables
Syracuse Chiefs Won, 10-4 vs. Buffalo, 6:30 p.m. Yunesky Maya (1-5, 4.42) vs.
Pat Misch (3-4, 5.34)
Harrisburg Senators Lost, 9-3 vs. Erie, 7:00 p.m. Brad Peacock (9-2, 2.14) vs.
Mark Sorensen (7-5, 5.85)
Potomac Nationals Losing, 4-2
(Suspended, Bot. 5)
vs. Wilmington, 5:00 p.m.
(continuation, 7 inn. game)
Adam Olbrychowski (2-3, 4.76) vs.
Noel Arguelles (2-3, 2.32)
Hagerstown Suns Won, 8-2 @ Lakewood, 7:05 p.m. Taylor Jordan (8-4, 2.63) vs.
Jesse Biddle (3-6, 3.55)
Auburn Doubledays Won, 10-4 vs. State College, 6:05 p.m. Matt Benedict (1-0, 0.73) vs.
Pedro Encarnacion (0-2, 9.00)
GCL Nationals Lost, 13-8
@ GCL Cardinals
vs. GCL Astros, 12:00 p.m. Adalberto Mieses (1-0, 2.00) vs.
Francis Ramirez (0-0, 6.75)
DSL Nationals OFF DAY @ DSL Marlins, 10:30 a.m. Ivan Pineyro (1-2, 3.25) vs.
German Liriano (0-0, 2.01)

Syracuse 10 Buffalo 4
• Stammen (W, 8-3) 6IP, 8H, 3ER, BB, 5K, HR
• Romero 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Lombardozzi 3-6, R, 2-2B, RBI
• J Valdez 2-5, R, 2B, RBI

Syracuse completely overpowered Buffalo in a 10-4 victory. The Chiefs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with RBI doubles from Jesus Valdez and Tug Hulett. Buffalo answered back with a run in the first. Bubba Bell helped give Buffalo a temporary 3-2 lead with a solo shot in the second and a single, stolen base, and run scored in the fourth. Steve Lombardozzi doubled in a run and later scored in the sixth to make the score 4-3. The Chiefs put the game out of reach with a six-run seventh inning. Seth Bynum doubled in Chris Marrero, and Corey Brown doubled to clear the bases. Jeff Frazier capped the rally with a two-run blast to left field. JC Ramero and Ryan Tatusko combined for three innings of scoreless relief. Syracuse is now 8-3 over its last eleven games and 36-45 overall, seven games in back of third-place Pawtucket and twelve games back of Lehigh Valley for first.

New Britain 9 Harrisburg 3
• Roark (L, 4-5) 7H, 4ER, 3BB, 6K, 2 HR, HBP
• McCoy 1⅔ IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, K
• Moore 2-4, R, 2B, HR, 2RBI
• King 1-3, R, 2B

Tanner Roark continued his season struggles in a 9-3 Senators loss to New Britain. After a two-out Tyler Moore double to make the score 1-0, Roark proceeded to give up four runs over the next three innings. A single, a walk, and a hit by pitch led to two runs in the second. A Chris Parmelee homer led to a run in the bottom of the third. After Moore led off the fourth with a majestic homer to left, Mike Hollimon homered for New Britain to make the score 4-2. Jimmy Barthmaier gave up four runs over the next two innings, two of which were unearned due to back-to-back passed balls by Devin Ivany in the 6th. Harrisburg scored on back to back doubles by Stephen King and Josh Johnson in the eighth inning before New Britain tagged on another run against Pat McCoy in the bottom of the frame to make the final score 9-3. Harrisburg falls to 47-34 with the loss.

Wilmington 4 Potomac 2 — SUSP.
It’ll be 4-2 in the bottom of the 5th when play resumes, but see how they got there Last Night In Woodbridge

Hagerstown 8 Lexington 2
• Grace 7IP, 5H, 2R, 0ER, 0BB, 5K
• Graham 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Martinson 2-3, 2RBI, 2BB
• Harper 2-4, R, 2B, RBI, BB, E
• Nicol 2-5, 2R, 2B, 2RBI

The Suns were shut out for four innings before busting out the bats in an 8-2 victory over the Legends. Lexington scored an unearned run in the fifth off starter Matt Grace after a Bryce Harper fielding error allowed Telvin Nash to advance to second on his single. Aided by three walks, Hagerstown scored two runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 2-1 lead. Hagerstown put the game out of reach with a four-run sixth inning rally to take a 6-1 lead. Doubles by Sean Nicol and Harper fueled the rally before an unearned run after David Freitas reached on a throwing error. Grace hurt his own cause with a throwing error that led to an unearned run in the 7th. Ben Graham and Shane McCatty pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth, and Hagerstown extended the lead with a two-run eighth to close the scoring at 8-2. Hagerstown improves its record to 7-4 in the second half, good for a one-game lead over three teams in the Northern division of the South Atlantic League.

Auburn 10 State College 4
• Estevez 4IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 2K
• Dupra (W, 1-0) 4IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Skole 3-5, 2R, 2-2B
• Montilla 2-5, 2R, 2B, 3B, 3RBI
• Jimenez 2-5, BB, HR, 2RBI

Hendry Jimenez (2-for-5) and Matt Skole (3-for-5) extended their hit streaks to 14 games while the Auburn Doubledays snapped their losing mark of four games with a 10-4 win over State College. Brian Dupra pitched four innings of scoreless relief for his first professional win, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out two. Wirkin “For The Weekend” got the start but gave up all four Spikes runs on six hits and a walk over the first four innings. NDFA Ben Grisz pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to close out the game. Angel Montilla (2-for-5, 2B and 3B, 3RBI) and Russell Moldenhauer (3-run HR) joined Skole and Jimenez as leaders in the 15-hit Doubleday attack. The win improves Auburn to 9-8, two games off the pace.

GCL Cardinals 13 GCL Nationals 8
• Marcelino (L, 0-2) 3⅓ IP, 7H, 9R, 6ER, 3BB, 2K
• Heredia 1IP, 2H, 0R, BB, K
• Curran 2-5, R, 3B, RBI
• E Fernandez 1-3, 2RBI, BB

Anthony Marcelino struggled for the third time in as many starts, allowing seven hits and three walks over three and a 1/3rd innings as the GCL Cardinals pounded the GCL Nationals, 13-8. The G-Cards sent 12 men to the plate in an eight-run fourth that put this game away early. Silvio Medina continues to spiral after being sent down from Auburn, letting in all three runs he inherited from Marcelino and then giving up three of his own in two and 2/3rds innings. The two DSL grads have four-digit ERAs of 10.45 (Marcelino) and 11.57 (Medina). Offensively, the G-Nats managed eight runs on eight hits, taking advantage of four G-Cards errors, with rehabbing (*cough, cough*) Chris Curran going 2-for-5 to lead the way. The loss drops the G-Nats to 5-5, 1½ games behind the G-Marlins.

DSL Nationals — OFF DAY
It’s back to work after two days off, thanks to a rainout on a Saturday and the regularly scheduled off day on Sunday.

Jul 042011
 

The dark clouds that foretold the evening’s eventual outcome matched the first inning, as the Potomac Nationals fell behind early 3-0 and were losing 4-2 in the middle of the 5th when the rains came.

Danny Rosenbaum was obviously not sharp in the first inning. The leadoff batter smacked a triple off the glove of J.R. Higley in centerfield (Eury Perez was not in the lineup for the second straight game since being lifted during the top of the 7th on Friday night). A single after an infield popup plated the first run, and a pro-shop-fitted (lifted?) John Whittleman (the uniform back said “Sample”) slammed a two-run shot for an early 3-0 Blue Rocks lead.

Rosenbaum retired the next five batters before an infield single opened the third. A one-out double to right field two batters later set up runners on second and third but Sandy Leon picked off the runner at third and Rosenbaum struck out “Sample” to end the threat.

Potomac managed to scratch out a run in the bottom of the third on hit batsmen, an error, a sacrifice and a tapper to shortstop that Cutter Dykstra misread and attempted to take third. He managed to stay alive just long enough for the run to score, but the baseunning gaffe killed the rally.

In another recurring theme of the 2011 season — not stopping the opposing team in the next half-inning — Wilmington answered the Potomac tally with a leadoff double, a move-up flyout to deep center and a grounder to second that Jeff Kobernus couldn’t field cleanly while drawn in for the play at the plate.

Justin Bloxom led off the fourth with a double down the rightfield line and J.P. Ramirez sent him home with two outs with a seeing-eye single up the middle to pull back within two at 4-2 after four full.

Rosenbaum worked around a Francisco Soriano error that led off the fifth, but the real drama was in the skies beyond the third-base side as streaks of lightning were visible in the distance. Play was halted at 7:47 and the official decision to suspend play until today came approximately 30 minutes later.

It’s a 5 p.m. resumption, followed by a seven-inning game tonight. Evan Bronson or Marcos Frias are the two most likely candidates to take the hill when play resumes. Adam Olbrychowski (2-3, 4.76) is still listed as the starter for the second, regularly scheduled game.

FWIW, Sammy Solis was indeed in “the house,” tracking pitches as is the custom for starters two days before they start. His regular turn is also tomorrow.