Jun 262011

It’s been a busy couple of days for transactions, as the Harrisburg Senators announced this morning the following moves:

• IF Adam Fox transferred from Syracuse
• IF Tim Pahuta activated from 7-Day DL
• IF Alex Valdez released

In the DSL, Juan De Los Santos was activated from the Restricted List (recent IFA signing, not on suspension for PEDs).

Jun 262011

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Probables
Syracuse Chiefs Won, 10-3; Lost, 6-2 @ Rochester, 5:05 p.m. Ross Detwiler (5-6, 4.82) vs. TBD
Harrisburg Senators Won, 3-1 vs. Altoona, 2:00 p.m. Shairon Martis (4-3, 3.42) vs.
Phillip Irwin (1-0, 0.00)
Potomac Nationals Lost, 11-3 @ Kinston, 4:30 p.m. Cameron Selik (2-4, 3.64) vs.
T.J. House (5-6, 4.04)
Hagerstown Suns Lost, 5-1 @ Greensbooro, 7:00 p.m. Robbie Ray (2-0, 1.13) vs.
Jared Rogers (3-4, 2.52)
Auburn Doubledays Lost, 2-0 @ Williamsport, 6:05 p.m. Colin Bates (1-0, 0.00) vs.
Austin Wright (0-0, 0.00)
GCL Nationals Lost, 4-3
@ GCL Mets
@ GCL Marlins, 12:00 p.m. TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Won, 10-2
vs. DSL Cubs2

Syracuse 10 Rochester 3 (Comp. Susp. Gm.)
• Maya 3IP, 3H, 1ER, 0BB, 2K, WP
• Tatusko (W, 1-0) 4IP, 6H, 2ER, BB, 4K, HR
• Gaudin 1IP, 2H, 0ER, 0BB, K
• Flores 3-4, R, 2B, 3RBI
• Antonelli 2-4, 2R, 2B, BB

Syracuse completed a 10-3 suspended victory over Rochester on Saturday. Maya pitched the first three innings on Friday night. Ryan Tatusko started the resumed game, pitching four innings for the win. He was touched for two runs in the 7th, his final inning of work. Chad Guadin added a scoreless frame as he continued his Syracuse rehabbing efforts. Every Syracuse regular had at least one hit. Syracuse did most of its damage during a six-run 3rd inning on Friday. After a Lombardozzi groundout, seven consecutive Chiefs reached base safely, including a bases-loaded walk to Jeff Frazier, an RBI single by Michael Aubrey, a two-run Jesus Flores double, and an RBI single from Seth Bynum. The tenth man to bat in the inning, Lombardozzi, completed the scoring with an RBI single and giving Syracuse an 8-1 lead that would hold up for an eventual 10-3 final score.

Rochester 6 Syracuse 2 (7 inn.)
• Meyers 6IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 3K
• Wilkie (L, 0-2) ⅓ IP, 3H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 0K
• Lombardozzi 3-4, R
• J Valdez 1-3, RBI, BB

Rochester and Syracuse matched tallies in the first and third inning to give a 2-2 score before Rochester put the game out of reach with a four-run final seventh inning. Josh Wilkie was charged with all four runs after Atahualpa Severino allowed all three runners he inherited with one out to score. Steve Lombardozzi continued his torrid start (.458/.458/.541/1.000 in 24AB) in the International League with a three-hit night and a run scored. He led off the game with a single and later scored in the inning on a Jesus Valdez RBI single. In the third inning Chris Marrero (1-3, RBI), plated Tug Hulett on an RBI single.

Harrisburg 3 Altoona 1
• Arnesen (W, 4-1) 7IP, 8H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 9K
• Lehman (S, 1) 1IP, 0H, 0ER, 0BB, 2K
• T Moore 1-3, R, 2R HR, 2RBI
• Johnson 1-3, R

Tyler Moore’s fourth inning, two-run with two outs homer — scoring Josh Johnson — proved to be all the offense that Harrisburg would need in a 3-1 victory over the Altoona Curve. Erik Arnesen provided a dominant seven innings of nine-strikeout, one-walk pitching. The only run he allowed was on a two-out fielding error by Alex Valdez. Jimmy Barthmaier (H, 3) and Pat Lehman (S, 1) combined for two runs of scoreless relief.

Myrtle Beach 11 Potomac 3
• Demny (L, 4-7) 6IP, 12H, 6R, 2ER, BB, 3K
• Bronson 2IP, 6H, 5R, 5ER, BB, 0K
• Kobernus 2-4, 2R, HR, 2RBI
• Hood 1-4, 3B, RBI, 3K

The novelty of giving up big innings early still hasn’t worn off for the Potomac Nationals, who coughed up four runs in the first inning (all unearned, but they count on the scoreboard just the same) en route to an 11-3 loss to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Paul Demny surrendered 11 singles and a double over six innings, allowing six runs total, while issuing a walk and striking out three. Jeff Kobernus led the offense with a 2-for-4 night, scoring twice and driving in runs with both hits. Destin Hood struck out three times but also had an RBI triple.

Greensboro 5 Hagerstown 1
• Solis (L, 1-1) 7IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 5K, WP, HBP
• Graham 1IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, K, HR
• Taylor 2-3
• Sanchez 1-3, R, H, 2B

Hagerstown’s offense was hurt by the absence of Blake Kelso, mustering only one run in a 5-1 loss to Greensboro. Starter Sammy Solis was tagged for four runs in the first and third innings of his seven-inning start. In the first inning, a one-out double by Christian Yelich and a run-scoring wild pitch were the key at-bats in a two run inning. Greensboro had two singles and a double in a two-run third inning. A first-inning double by Adrian Sanchez and a Brett Newsome single led to Hagerstown’s only run.

Mahoning Valley 2 Auburn 0
• M Rodriguez 3IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 3K
• K Lopez (L, 0-1) 4IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 1K
• Jenkins 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K
• Batters: 4 singles, one BB, 11K, 0-3 RISP, 5 LOB

Auburn’s stellar pitching returned but the offense was AWOL as the Mahoning Valley shut out Auburn 2-0 on just four hits. 10th-round draft pick Manny Rodriguez got the start and went three scoreless innings, his longest appearance of the year as it appears he’s being eased into pitching more frequently, turning the ball over to Kelvin Lopez who was touched for both of the Scrappers’ runs over his four innings. For the offense, read that last bullet point.

GCL Nationals 4 GCL Mets 3
• Baez (ND) 6IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, BB, K
• Medina (BS, 1; L, 0-1) 2IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 3K
• Curran 2-5, SB
• E Martinez 2-4, R, BB, RBI

The shift from the NY-Penn League to the GCL was not what the doctor ordered as Silvio Medina blew the save in the 7th and lost the game in the eighth as the G-Nats fell 4-3 for their fourth straight loss. Gregory Baez got the start and went the first six innings, allowing one run on four hits and a walk but struck out just one. Chris Curran and Estarlin Martinez led the offense with two hits apiece, as the G-Nats managed to get just six runners into scoring position and left on seven for the game.

DSL Nationals 10 DSL Marlins 2
• Mendez (W, 2-0) 5IP, 6H, 0R, 2BB, 3K
• Vasquez 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Ruiz 3-5, R, 2B, 2RBI
• Mejia 2-3, R, 3B, 2BB, 3RBI
• Marmolejos-Diaz 2-3, 2R, 2B, BB, RBI

This one was over early as the DSL Nationals got five straight one-out RBI singles off two DSL Marlins in a five-run first as they cruised to 10-2 victory. Gilberto Mendez (18 y.o.) is emerging as the staff ace with his second win in five starts, tossing five scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 1.88 while allowing six hits and two walks. Adderling Ruiz led the 13-hit attack with a 3-for-5 game, including a double and two RBI.

Jun 252011

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Probables
Syracuse Chiefs Suspended, Bottom of 3rd;
Syracuse leading 8-1
vs. Rochester, 5:00 p.m. Ross Detwiler (5-6, 4.82)
vs. TBD
Harrisburg Senators Won, 2-0 (10 inn.) vs. Altoona, 7:00 p.m. Erik Arnesen (3-1, 2.59) vs.
Aaron Pribanic (5-4, 3.57)
Potomac Nationals Lost, 5-4 (13 inn.) @ Myrtle Beach, 7:05 p.m. Paul Demny (4-6, 4.06) vs.
Barrett Loux (6-3, 3.48)
Hagerstown Suns Won, 7-4 @ Greensbooro, 7:00 p.m. Sammy Solis (1-0, 3.62) vs.
Zachary Neal (4-4, 3.98)
Auburn Doubledays Lost, 9-3 vs. Mahoning Valley, 7:05 p.m. Kelvin Lopez (0-0, 8.10) vs.
GCL Nationals Lost, 6-4 (10 inn.)
vs. GCL Astros
@ GCL Mets, 12:00 p.m. TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Lost 6-5 (13 inn.);
Lost 6-4 (7 inn.) @/vs.
DSL Cubs2
vs. DSL Marlins, 10:30 a.m. TBD vs. TBD

Syracuse 8 Rochester 1 — SUSP.
Rain halted play with one out in the bottom of the third and Syracuse leading, 8-1. The two teams will finish this one today and play a seven-inning game. The previously scheduled doubleheader will be shifted to August 26.

Harrisburg 2 Altoona 0 (10 inn.)
• Peacock 6⅔ IP, 5H, 0R, BB, 6K
• Zinicola (W, 2-0) 2IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 5K
• Valdez 1-1, R, HR, 2RBI (PH)
• Rahl 3-4

Alex Valdez’s pinch-hit two-run home run ended the game in walkoff fashion for a 2-0 Senators win. Four Harrisburg pitchers — Brad Peacock, Pat McCoy, Rafael Martin, and Zech Zinicola — combined to pitch a masterful ten-inning shutout, with just seven hits allowed. Brad Peacock (114K/18BB/87IP/.181OBA) continued his domination of the Eastern League with six and 2/3rds scoreless innings. Pat McCoy and Rafael Martin both retrired the only two batters they faced while Zech Zinicola struck out five batters in his two-inning appearance to win the game.

Myrtle Beach 5 Potomac 4 (13 inn.)
• Holder (ND) 5⅓ IP, 7H, 3R, 2ER, 0BB, 3K
• Frias 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Souza 4-6, R, 2B
• Higley 2-5, BB, 2RBI
• Leon 2-6, 2RBI

The two teams combined for 30 hits, but just nine came around to score as the Pelicans outlasted the P-Nats for a 5-4 win in 13 innings. Four double plays helped kill the Potomac rallies while 10 strikeouts stifled Myrtle Beach. Trevor Holder started and went five and a 1/3rd innings, and left with a 3-2 lead, but Josh Smoker surrendered a double to the first batter to let in the tying run. The two teams traded small-ball runs in the 11th before the Pelicans singled and doubled with two outs for the gamewinner. Steve Souza led the offense with a 4-for-6 night, while J.R. Higley and Sandy Leon both singled twice and drove in two runs.

Hagerstown 7 Greensboro 4
• Jordan (W, 8-3) 7IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 8K
• McCatty 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Taylor 3-4, 2-2B
• Freitas 2-5, HR, 2RBI

Another solid ass-kicking all-around performance for the Suns as they took another from the Grasshoppers, 7-4. Taylor Jordan turned in seven strong innings with two runs allowed on five hits and a walk to go with eight strikeouts to get win #8. Michael Taylor finally got a single in the eighth after five extra-base hits in his first seven at-bats, leading the 12-hit attack with a 3-for-4 effort and two doubles. Dean Weaver, recently sent down from Potomac, did little to show it was unwarranted, giving up a two-run HR in the bottom of the ninth — the fifth given up this year in 17⅓ innings thrown.

Mahoning Valley 9 Auburn 3
• Encarnacio (L, 0-1) 3⅓ IP, 6H, 5R, 5ER, 0BB, 0K, 2HR
• Mirowski 2IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, BB, 2K
• Jimenez 2-4, R, 2B, 3B, RBI
• Skole 2-4, RBI

The five-game win streak was stopped cold with a 9-3 loss to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. Pedro Encarnacion was touched for a run in all but one of the three and a 1/3rd innings he pitched, giving up five runs on six hits including two home runs. Hendry Jimenez and Andy Skole both went 2-for-4 with an RBI, as the Doubledays scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the ninth.

GCL Astros 6 GCL Nationals 4 (10 inn.)
• Karns 3IP, 1H, 0R, 1BB, 5K
• Meza 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 5K
• Schill 2-5, R, RBI
• E Martinez 2-5, SB
• Curran 1-3, 2R, 3B, 2BB, SB

Nathan Karns put in another strong outing, striking out five and allowing one hit and one walk over the first three innings. Christian Meza did him one better with the same line, minus the walk. After that, the pitching went downhill fast as the GCL Nationals blew a 4-0 lead to fall 6-4 in extras to the GCL Astros. Wes Schill and Estarlin Martinez both went 2-for-5 to pace the offense, which struggled in the clutch with 11 LOB and a 3-14 mark with RISP.

DSL Cubs2 6 DSL Nationals 5 (13 inn.) — GAME ONE
• Navarro 4IP, 1H, 4R, 2ER, 2BB, 2K, HR
• Kl Rodriguez 4IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K
• Ortega 3-6, R, 2B, RBI, CS
• E Gonzalez 3-5, R, 2B

DSL Cubs2 6 DSL Nationals 4 (7 inn.) — GAME TWO
• Martinez (L, 0-2) 6IP, 6H, 6R, 2ER, 2BB, 2K, HR
• Barrientos 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Marmolejos-Diaz 3-4, R
• Rosario 2-3, R, RBI
• Tilero 2-3, RBI

In theory, a minor-league doubleheader ought to be an hour or so longer than regular game — 14 innings instead of nine, a break for the bullpen because it’s four less innings to cover. Unless it goes into extra innings. Then it becomes a nightmare. That what happened yesterday in the Dominican ad the D-Nats dropped a pair to the DSL Cubs2 despite outhitting them 10-5 in the first game and 12-6 in the second.

Jun 242011

A few moves since the Lombardozzi move from Harrisburg to Syracuse…

C Carlos Maldonado placed on the 7-Day DL
RHP Zech Zinicola assigned from Harrisburg

RHP Hassan Pena assigned from Syracuse

OF Destin Hood activated from 7-Day DL
OF Chris Curracn placed on the 7-Day DL
RHP Dean Weaver assigned to Hagerstown
IF Francisco Soriano activated from 7-Day DL

OF Randolph Oduber placed on the 7-Day DL
RHP Matt Swynenberg placed on the 7-Day DL

RHP Silvio Medina assigned to GCL

OF Chris Curran assigned from Potomac

RHP Andy Santana assigned from GCL
RHP Jorge Hernandez activated from Restricted List (suspended July 2010 for PEDs)
C Victor Chavez assigned from GCL

UPDATED: Zech Zinicola and Hassan Pena have swapped places on the Syracuse and Harrisburg rosters while Victor Chavez has returned to the DSL

Jun 242011

Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues.

SYRACUSE 29-42, T4th place I.L. North, 13 games behind

Good Chris Marrero .310/.389/.464 in June
Bad Hassan Pena 0-4, 19.29ERA, 2.86WHIP
Interesting Jhonatan Solano .284/.344/.386 in 29G

HARRISBURG 40-31, 1st place E.L. West Division, 3½ games ahead

Good Pat Lehman & Rafael Martin, combined: 13.1IP, 5H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 8K, 1 win, 2 SVs, 3 holds
Bad Jonathan Tucker .200/.297/.236 in June
Interesting Josh Johnson .291/.360/.468 in June

POTOMAC 1-0, T1st place C.L. North Division, 1 game ahead (29-40, 1st half)

Good Jeff Kobernus .296/.306/.437 in June
Bad Trevor Holder .304 OBA, .449 OSLG
Interesting Steve Souza 16SB: 2 at home, 14 on road

HAGERSTOWN 1-0, T1st place Sally League Northern Division, 1 game ahead (40-30 in 1st half)

Good Wilson Eusebio 7 holds in 20 appearance
Bad Shane McCatty 1.79WHIP, .314 OBA
Interesting Neil Holland 1BB in 23IP

DSL NATIONALS 8-12, 6th place, Boca Chica South Division of Dominican Summer League, 6½ games behind

Good Dionicio Rosario (Age 17) .328/.431/.426 in 19G
Bad Emmanuel De La Cruz (Age 19) 8BB, 8H, 6ER in 7&⅔ IP over 7G
Interesting Wilmer Difo 19BB in 19G
Jun 242011

[Ed. Note: This is the second of two posts by our Hagerstown guy. Yesterday, he looked at the hitters; today, it’s the arms.]

This group of starting pitchers has the most potential of any group here in quite a while. I wish I could say the same about the relievers, but such is life in Low A baseball.



Taylor Jordan — To me, Jordan has been the breakout surprise of the year, after his struggles last season at Vermont. Jordan is not overwhelming in any aspect, but lives by the basics: keep the ball down and throw strikes. The low strikeout total makes me wonder a bit about him as he rises, but not to the point of dismissal. A fastball that is not much above average means Jordan strikes me as the type that is going to have to prove himself at every level to the scouting/fan type, but I look for him to at least have a chance on the long term, even if it comes as a long reliever.

Robbie Ray — Not only are Ray’s numbers eye-popping, he has the game to match. Look beyond the numbers as Ray has moved his fastball up to the occasional mid 90’s along with a plus changeup that always plays well in the Sally. If Ray can develop a breaking ball that can be more consistent, I like his chances a lot. Ray just has the “it” factor to me that spells a guy that will makes adjustments as he rises and I would bet that the mental aspect will be a strength as he moves up the ladder.

A.J.Cole — Cole’s numbers are sharp as well with over a strikeout an inning and only eight walks in his seven starts. Cole throws a bit harder than Ray and has a curveball that breaks away from righties and has been very effective.Cole does need to fill out more, but I love the way the ball comes out of his hand. I like Cole a lot and if the Nats are not in too big of a hurry, Cole looks to be at least a middle-of-the-rotation starter if not higher.

Sammy Solis — I give Solis a bit of a pass thus far as he is still rounding into shape after a late start. Solis has made just two of his starts at the Muni, but from what I saw was a fastball in the lower 90’s, a plus change and an ability to keep the ball low in the zone. In terms of age as a college pick, one would think that Solis would be too advanced for the SAL but he missed the 2009 season at San Diego, so in terms of experience he is in the right spot. From the two times I saw him, I liked him quite a bit.

Matt Grace — I do not see much of a future for Grace as a starter at all. His stuff is limited and his control is good,but not good enough to compensate for his lack of a toolbox. Maybe since he is a lefty, he might get a shot in the bullpen eventually as that might be his best hope.

Bobby Hansen — When I see Hansen, I see Matt Grace with a little extra hop on the gas and sharper control. But look between the lines: His road numbers are dominant [2.25 ERA, 0.96WHIP, 24IP] with awful numbers at the Muni [5.65, 1.57, 28⅔]. Hansen would not be the first pitcher to hate pitching here and develop later on. He needs to keep the ball down as a groundball pitcher and I haven’t been overwhelmed with what I have seen, but those road numbers have me intrigued.

The Bullpen


Most of the pen guys have done little for me, but there are a few exceptions.

Chris Manno — Way over this league’s head and needs a promotion ASAP. A lanky lefty that strikes guys out at almost a two whiff to innings pitcher rate? He should be doing this at his age and as a college guy, but his numbers are frightening. Count me as aboard for now.

Neil Holland — Strong as a situational guy, but I like the just one walk in 23 innings the most. I’ll need to see more, mind you, but keep him in mind as well as…

Matt Swynenberg …who recently was injured. Swynenberg reminds me of this years Rob Wort, nothing fancy just production. My question with him is the same as Wort’s last season: Is it the funky delivery against this level of hitter? Or will it play as he rises?

Ben Graham — Brian Daubach must like Graham because he uses him in save situations over the above two, but I have not seen anything stand out to me. Considering he turns 24 in November,I do not like his chances.

Wilson Eusebio — Throws reasonably hard, but his fastball does not move and he makes me think of being a pitcher that is serviceable enough here, but gets hammered in Potomac. [Ed. Note: See Garcia, Luis]

The Rest — Paul Applebee and Sam Brown are OS types and Shane McCatty might be the one reason that you could point to for the Suns first-half collapse. Why he seemed to be on the mound in tight situations/important games is a question that I cannot answer….

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions, drop them here as I’ll check them out for a few days or stop by my blog located on Sue’s blogroll.

Jun 242011

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Probables
Syracuse Chiefs Won, 4-2 vs. Rochester, 7:00 p.m. Yunesky Maya (1-4, 4.34) vs.
Ryan Mullins (1-3, 7.24)
Harrisburg Senators Won, 3-2 (8 inn.) vs. Richmond, 7:00 p.m. Brad Peacock (8-2, 2.46) vs.
Jeff Locke (5-6, 4.65)
Potomac Nationals Won, 6-5 @ Myrtle Beach, 7:05 p.m. Trevor Holder (3-8, 6.14) vs.
Justin Grimm (2-1, 2.22)
Hagerstown Suns Won, 6-3 @ Greensbooro, 7:00 p.m. Taylor Jordan (7-3, 2.86) vs.
Jheyson Manzueta (2-5, 5.93)
Auburn Doubledays Won, 7-2 vs. Mahoning Valley, 7:05 p.m. Pedro Encarnacion (0-0, 7.36) vs.
GCL Nationals Lost, 19-7
@ GCL Cardinals
vs. GCL Astros, 12:00 p.m. TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Game Not Reported vs. DSL Cubs2, 10:30 a.m. Anderson Martinez (0-1, 5.91) vs.
Victor Garcia (1-0, 3.18)

Syracuse 4 Gwinnett 2
• Stammen (W, 6-3) 8.1 IP, 5H, 2R, 0ER, 1BB, 9K
• Wilkie (S, 6) ⅔ IP, 0R, 0H, 0BB, K
• Lombardozzi 3-5, 2R, 2B
• Marrero 3-3, RBI, 2BB

Craig Stammen was solid, striking out nine and walking just one batter, in a dominant start and 4-2 win over the Gwinnett Braves. Stammen allowed just one batter to get into scoring position before the ninth inning, stranding him at third with clutch strikeout and a flyout. Stammen was lifted with one out in the ninth after back-to-back singles and a Jesus Valdez throwing error ended the shutout bid for the first Gwinnett run and left a runner on third. Josh Wilkie was greeted with single to score the second run, but got a strikeout and a groundball to end the game and earn the save. Offensively, two of the Nats’ best position prospects Steve Lombardozzi and Chris Marrero came up large. Lombo went 3-for-5 with a double, scoring two runs in his best AAA game thus far. Marrero reached base all five times on three singles and two walks. Syracuse has now won back-to-back games after ending its recent five-game losing streak.

Harrisburg 3 Richmond 2 (8 inn.)
• Davis (W, 4-2) 6IP, 6H, 2R, ER, 2BB, 3K
• Lehman (H, 2) 1IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2K, 3-0 IR-S
• Johnson 1-3, R, HR, RBI
• Moore 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI

Harrisburg fell behind 2-0 early before vaulting to the lead in a three- run sixth inning over the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Josh Johnson and Tyler Moore both hit home runs in the inning. Bill Rhinehart, Godfather of Potomac’s Rhinehart Mafia (.259/.358/.547/905 12HR), doubled in front of Moore’s homer. Erik Davis allowed an unearned run in the third when Roger Kieschnick reached on two-out fielding error and Chris Dominguez made the Senators pay with a double to center. In the fifth, Davis hit Charlie Culberson with one out in front of a single and sacrifice fly. Pat Lehman was a relief hero, stranding the bases loaded after entering with no outs; Carlos Martinez had allowed a single and a walk, with a Tyler Moore error sandwiched in between, to fill the bases. Rafael Martin earned his second save and has yet to allow a run in six and two thirds innings at Harrisburg. Rain shortened the game to eight innings when the skies opened up with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.

Potomac 6 Myrtle Beach 5
• Olrychowski (W, 2-3) 5IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 7K
• Testa (H, 3) 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Lozada 2-4, R, RBI
• Higley 1-3, R, BB, RBI, OF assist @ HP
• Dykstra 1-3, R, BB, RBI, SB

Rain delayed this one for 42 minutes, but the pitchers made the offense’s one big inning stick as the first-place Potomac Nationals edged the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, 6-5. The first six batters hit safely in third, highlighted by doubles from Eury Perez and Jeff Kobernus as the P-Nats put up all six of their runs in the inning. Adam Olbrychowski made his second start of the season and gave up three runs on six hits and two walks over five innings but struck out seven. Evan Bronson (hold), Joe Testa (hold), and Hector Nelo (save) came out of the ‘pen for the last four innings, allowing an unearned run in the sixth (Bronson) and a manufactured run in the 9th (walk, two steals, single) to finish the game.

Hagerstown 6 Greensboro 3
• Grace (W, 8-5) 6IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 6K
• Eusebio (H, 7) 2IP, 2H, 0R, BB, K
• Sanchez 3-4, R, 2SB
• Taylor 3-4, 2R, 2B, 3B, HR, 2RBI

The Suns were clicking on all cylinders as the pitching, hitting and defense were all in sync for a 6-3 win over the Grasshoppers. Matt Grace turned in a quality start with three runs allowed on a walk and five hits to go with six strikeouts. Michael Taylor doubled, tripled, and homered as part of a 3-for-4 night, as the offense cranked out 11 hits, five for extra bases with Jason Martinson also homering. Wilson Eusebio got his seventh hold with two scoreless innings while Chris Manno reverted to form with with a 1-2-3 ninth for save number nine.

Auburn 7 Mahoning Valley 2
• Estevez (W, 1-1) 5IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 5K
• Monar 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Jimenez 2-3, 2R, HR, 3RBI
• M Perez 2-4, RBI
• Skole 2-4, R, RBI

The Doubledays remain red hot, melting the Mahoning Valley scrappers 7-2 for their fifth straight win. Pitching has been at the core of the success, as NFA Brian clued us in with a series of tweets last night about the scoreless-inning streak that was snapped at 26⅔ innings with two runs in the ninth. Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez rebounded from a poor outing last time out to turn in five shutout innings with a just one hit and one walk allowed to go with five K’s for his first stateside win. Fellow Dominican Hendry Jimenez led the offense with a 2-for-3 effort, highlighted by a three-run HR in the 5th, while Miguel Perez and Matt Skole both put up 2-for-4 lines in the boxscore as the Doubledays pounded out 11 hits and left just five runners on.

GCL Cardinals 19 GCL Nationals 7
• Br. King (L, 0-1) 4⅓ IP, 8H, 12R, 12ER, 4BB, 5K, HR, HBP, WP
• Wa. Ramos 2-4, 2RBI
• HWNBWM 3-4, 3R, 2-2B, 2RBI
• E Martinez 1-3, 2B, BB

2009 draft pick Brandon King, making his third tour through the GCL, got hammered in his first start of ’11, giving up 12 runs on eight hits and four walks over four and 1/3rd innings as the GCL Cardinals pounded the GCL Nationals, 19-7. Wander Ramos was the leading age-appropriate batter, going 2-for-4 with 2RBI, followed by Estarlin Martinez, who doubled and walked.

DSL Nationals vs. DSL Giants — Game Not Reported
Doubtful that it was a very isolated rainstorm, as this was the only game not recorded yesterday in the DSL

Jun 232011

[Ed. Note: Our Hagerstown guy weighs in on what he’s seen from Hagerstown hitters, with a look at the pitchers in the next installment]



Brett Newsome — Nice numbers, but way too old for the level (25 before season’s end). Newsome plays so much because there really is not a viable other option other than David Freitas getting reps there on occasion. Think Tim Pahuta lite…..

Adrian Sanchez — Disappointing first half after I was impressed by a late 2010 cameo appearance. Two things stand out: His plate discipline needs tons of work and an anemic home/road hitting split. Sanchez still is young (21 in August) and I like his bat at second. I look for an improved second half and still like his prospect status, with a bit more selection at the dish.

Blake Kelso — The surprise of the season to me. You know who Kelso reminds me of most? Jeff Keppinger, who has made quite a career of slapping balls around and being just safe enough defensively at various positions that he does not kill you there on a temporary basis. The hit-for-average tool is Kelso’s one plus and he will have to ride that as long as he can. Not enough power to play third and lacking the range to play short, Kelso’s best long-term shot would be second, but the Nats playing him elsewhere makes me think that they are not totally on board with Kelso’s glove or as a possible eventual answer…

Jason Martinson — A player that I go back and forth on. At times, he looks to have 12-18 homer potential and his speed is a bit above average and I can see him moving up the ladder. Then you start looking at his errors at short and his massive amount of strikeouts and just see him being another “athlete” shoved into a baseball uniform. I like the way he plays the game, but looking at the first half, I lean towards an eventual flameout, but athletically, it would not surprise me to see him have a breakout 2012.

Sean Nicol — One of the nicest guys that has played here in a long time, but considering he played here last season, his numbers have to be graded as disappointing. In fairness, as you look at the infield, all the guys playing ahead of him are higher on the food chain and need to play more, but his lack of playing time has hurt him with the bat and glove. Sadly, he’s an organizational soldier. [Ed note: a synonym for OG].

Mills Rogers — I don’t see him even reaching OS status, with a light bat and weak glove. The next stop looks to be independent baseball, not Potomac.



David Freitas — For the second year in a row, Hagerstown has had a touted catching prospect come to town and the unheralded player gets more PT than the prospect. Unlike last season’s puzzling Sandy Leon/Adrian Nieto battle, Freitas has shown the bat that makes a bit more sense in the decisionmaking. Impressive pull power and plate patience (more walks than K’s) make Freitas the surprise of the season. I do not see him as a long-term catcher (defensively, I have doubts despite a decent throwing arm). Freitas might be a better fit at first, where he has occasionally played.

Cole Leonida — Tough to say on Leonida: He rarely plays as Freitas has a 3-to-1 edge on him in plate appearances. Wish I could tell you more ,but he has not gotten the time. Has walked 12 times though, which is a good sign considering his low AB total.



Kevin Keyes — A total project. In uniform, he sure looks like he could help the Texas Longhorns at tight end or even fullback, but he is an all-or-nothing player that has one more double than homer with defensive issues, although with coaching, I think that gets better. Keyes does not run as well as one would think by looking at him, so he might have to make it on a outfield corner. Give him more time, but I lean towards unlikely, but worth keeping your fingers crossed.

Randolph Oduber — The rangy Oduber shows speed, defensive ability and a good arm. The numbers are decent enough, but he strikes out a lot and my general rule for outfielders is this-IF you strike out a lot in the SAL without plus projected power, you generally will fall short as you rise.
Oduber fits that bill, although the average gives me a little reason to keep in mind.

Michael Taylor — A speedy version of Kevin Keyes, with a lack of consistent defensive skills. I have seen two games this season that Taylor handed the visitors wins with repeated defensive misplays. Two games in a half that saw the team finish one game out. Another athletic type that could mature, but is more likely to post high strikeout numbers as he progresses. There is hope like Keyes, but I would not wager any cash.

Wade Moore — Mills Rogers with more at-bats and a smidgen more power. Moore either returns to the Suns for 2012 or goes to indy ball.

Bryce Harper


I suppose I have made you wait long enough. As I wrote in this post, Bryce Harper is the most talented hitter that the Hagerstown Suns have ever had. Plus power, above-average speed (although I bet this drops as he finishes filling out), and decent plate discipline. A strong arm, albeit occasionally inaccurate and decent enough with the range and glove that Washington might be able to get away with him in center while the team eats Jayson Werth’s contract in right. Harper has all five tools for now and at worst looks to be a four to four and half.

I also love the way Harper plays the game as he is a hugely competitive player that hustles almost with Pete Rose intensity. Harper might not be the “MLB LeBron James” as dubbed by Sports Illustrated, but as a player, he looks to be a perennial All Star at the very least.

So what could be wrong? Well, a huge lack of maturity as seen in the “kiss” game.

The true story of that night has yet to be told as I saw it and I was there for the whole thing. I have yet to see one accurate story of the entire incident. Helmet throwing, loud cursing on several occasions (worst case: at a 10:30 a.m. Kids Day game), showing up the opposition and arguing with umpires are among Harper’s transgressions.

In terms of skill, Harper is well past his expiration date in the Sally League. But keeping him here for the remainder of the season might go a long way into showing the young man that there is more to the maturation process than simply how you play.

Jun 232011

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Probables
Syracuse Chiefs Won 12-4 @ Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m. Craig Stammen (5-3, 4.34) vs.
Erik Cordier (1-3, 3.86)
Harrisburg Senators Lost, 4-2 vs. Richmond, 12:00 p.m. Erik Davis (3-2, 3.81) vs.
Daryl Maday (2-4, 3.68)
Potomac Nationals OFF DAY @ Myrtle Beach, 7:05 p.m. Adam Olbrychowski (1-3, 5.46) vs. TBD
Hagerstown Suns OFF DAY @ Greensbooro, 7:05 p.m. TBD vs. TBD
Auburn Doubledays Won, 5-0 vs. Mahoning Valley, 7:05 p.m. Wirkin Estevez (0-1, 14.73) vs.
Harold Guerrero (0-1, 5.40)
GCL Nationals OFF DAY @ GCL Cardinals, 12:00 p.m. TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Lost, 5-0
vs. DSL Rangers
@ DSL Giants, 10:30 a.m. Felix Moscat (0-1, 5.14) vs.
Carlos Diaz (1-1, 2.50)

Syracuse 12 Gwinnett 4
• Milone (W, 5-5) 6IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 7K, HR
• Gaudin 2IP, 2H, 0ER, 0BB, K
• J Valdez 5-6, 4R, 2HR (HR, 3R HR), 5RBI
• C Brown 2-4, 2R, 2B, HR, 2RBI, 2BB
• Milone 2-4, 2B, RBI
• Lombardozzi 2-6, R

Tom Milone led Syracuse to a dominating 12-4 victory over the Gwinnett Braves, snapping the Chiefs’ five-game losing streak. He continued to exhibit his pinpoint control, adding seven strikeouts and no walks to his stingy K:BB ratio (89:5) while evening his won-loss mark at 5-5. Jesus Valdez had a career night, with five hits, including a leadoff homer in the 5th and a three-run, two-out clout in the top of the 7th. Other notable offensive performances: Steve Lombardozzi went 2-for-6, including his second first-inning leadoff single in as many games; Matt Antonelli went 2-for-5 with a walk to raise his team-leading batting average to .318; Corey Brown had a 2-for-4 night with a solo shot; and Milone helped his own cause with a single and an RBI double, his 2-for-4 night to move his batting average to .333 (pretty damn good when you consider pitchers don’t swing the bat in the minors until AA).

Richmond 4 Harrisburg 2
• Roark (L, 4-3) 6⅓ IP 5H, 3ER, 2BB, 5K, HR (ERA 5.72)
• McCoy 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Gilbert 2-3, R
• A Valdez 1-2, 2B, 2RBI, BB

Harrisburg’s feeble offense was not enough to support a quality start Tanner Roark against the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Harrisburg scored both of its runs in a two-run fifth. A Tyler Moore leadoff walk, Archie Gilbert single, Ivany sacrifice bunt, and a decisive two-run Alex Valdez double plated the two runs for a temporary 2-0 Harrisburg lead. After a Juan Perez solo shot against Roark in the 6th, Roark tired and gave up the lead in the seventh with three consecutive leadoff doubles to give Richmond a 3-2 lead. Jimmy Barthmaier (ERA, 6.63) struck out two in 1 and 2/3 innings pitched but yielded a single and a Chris Dominguez triple to close the scoring at 4-2. With the loss, Harrisburg’s record fell to 39-31, good for a three-game lead over Bowie, Erie, and Richmond in the Eastern League’s Western division.

The second half begins with a three road games against the Southern Division first-half champs, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Adam Olbrychowski gets the start (whether it’s a spot start or a new role remains to be seen), followed by Trevor Holder and Paul Demny.

Neither team is releasing details regarding the starting pitchers, as our public query was ignored, defeating the purpose and so-called advantage of social media. The Suns return to Hagerstown on Monday after this four-game set.

Auburn 5 State College 0
• Demmin (W, 2-0) 5P, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 3K
• Henke (H, 2) 2#8532; IP, 1H, 0R, 2K
• Grisz 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Ramsey 2-3, 2B, BB, 2RBI
• R Perez 1-4, 2RBI, 3K

The Auburn Doubledays swept the State College Spikes with a 5-0 win on Wednesday, improving to 5-1 on the young season. Ryan Demmin, Travis Henke, and Ben Grisz combined for the three-hit shutout with Demmin and Henke earning the win and hold. Caleb Ramsey’s two-run double broke open a 1-0 game in the 6th, while the one time Roberto Perez didn’t strikeout resulted in the last two Doubleday runs in the 8th. The win was the fourth straight for the Doubledays, who are now home for the next six games.

GCL Nationals — OFF DAY
The G-Nats resume play as they hit the road for three of the next four games, visiting the G-Cardinals today, hosting the G-Astros tomorrow, and cruising down the Eastern Florida cost to visit the G-Mets and G-Marlins over the G-weekend.

DSL Rangers 5 DSL Nationals 0
• Navarro ⅔ IP, 2H, 5R, 5ER, 4BB, K
• J Guzman 5⅓ IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 4K, IR-S 3-1
• Vasquez 3IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Mercedes 1-3, 2B

A five-run first put the game away, as the DSL Nationals were held to just one hit in a 5-0 shutout. Miguel Navarro was charged with all five runs on two hits and four walks over 2/3rds of an inning to take the loss. Jesus Guzman and Daury Vasquez were sensational in relief, combining for eight and a 1/3rd innings of relief, with Guzman allowing just one of three inherited runners to score. Yermin Mercedes collected the sole hit for the D-Nats, who lost their third straight.

Jun 222011

[Ed. Note: Another guest column for frequent commenter BinM]

As we close on the halfway point for the full-season affiliates, and begin ramping up the short-season teams, here’s a review of the minor-league side of the Nationals Organization as of June 20…

Syracuse Chiefs (AAA) – 27-40
I had initially expected a much better result from this squad, given their makeup out of Spring Training; It’s been disapointing, to say the least. The offense has struggled for consistency, the pitching has been less than overpowering, and the bullpen has been sketchy, with all areas affected, given the callups to the big club so far. This is a team starved for consistent run producers. Marrero (.282/.345/.431 slash) is okay, but still prone to streaks, as is Matt Antonelli (.316/.391/.469), and Jhonatan Solano (.266/.326/.367).

The starting staff has been bounced around between the big club and Syracuse a bit, but both Maya (0-1 W-L, 6.86 ERA, 1.78 WHIP in four GS in DC), and Craig Stammen (0-1 W-L, 4.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP in two relief appearances) were returned. The bullpen promotions fared slightly better, with Henry Rodriguez, Cole Kimball (15-DL), and Ryan Mattheus still in D.C., while Collin Balester is in yo-yo mode.

Players I like (statistically) so far…
• Marrero (1B): Could be used as trade bait at some point this year; Trapped behind Adam LaRoche, and now Michael Morse at 1B in DC.
• Antonelli (MI): Another trade bait candidate. The big club has depth at MI, so he becomes fungible.
• Milone (LHSP): A personal favorite. The numbers can’t be ignored (4-5 W-L, 3.81 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 16.4:1 K-BB), this kid just knows how to pitch. A September (or earlier) promotion in in his grasp.
• Meyers (RHSP): Has stumbled a bit in SYR, but still may be a ‘dark-horse’ candidate for a 40-man spot; Has posted solid K:BB ratios (9.6:1) over 14 starts between AA and AAA.
• Wilkie (RHRP): Steady, if not overpowering numbers in Syracuse; Worthy of a look in a MR role with somebody at the MLB level.

Harrisburg Senators (AA) – 39-29
Currently leading their division of the Eastern League by 3½ games, the Sens are setting the stage for another playoff appearance, should they remain focused. The team has been getting steady, but not outstanding performances across the board in all aspects of the game so far this season, with no glaring weaknesses either.

Offensively, the standout hitters have been Lombardozzi (a .309/.366/.454 slash from primarily to #1 spot in the order), and 2011FA OF acquisitions Chris Rahl (.297/.350/.407) and Archie Gilbert (.287/.369/.468). The starting staff is topped by Brad Peacock, who has posted ridiculous numbers to date (8-2 W-L, 2.46 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 6.0:1 K-W), with no-one else on the staff anywhere close. The bullpen has been filled with solid performers as well, with a number of pitchers posting a WHIP of at or below 1.00 as of this post (Zech Zinicola, Hassanb Pena, Rafael Martin, and Pat Lehman [current] and Rodriguez & Mattheus [promoted]).

Players I like (statistically) so far…
• Lombardozzi (2B): A personal favorite; He’s continuing his climb toward the bigs at 2B; It’s simply a question of when (2012-13), and then maybe with which club (WSH currently has the Espinosa/Desmond combo that looks pretty solid).
• Norris (CA): While currently carrying a low BA, his OBP & SLG numbers are in-line with career norms. He’ll play out the year at Harrisburg and look for a good start at Syracuse next season.
• Rhinehart (1B-OF): It looks like ‘Dolla Bill’ is catching onto AA pitching; Probably an OG in terms of age at this point, he still might be worth a look at an AAA level next year for some team.
• Peacock (RHSP): Another personal favorite; Outstanding numbers so far this season, building on previous season results.

Potomac Nationals (High-A) – 29-40
The hoped-for long home stretch failed to yield big changes to the W-L record. The team enters the All-Star break continuing to struggle offensively, and the pitching still looks uneven. One thing that has become evident is the ability to collect errors in the field, with even the Face of The Franchise (Ryan Zimmerman) falling victim to “the curse of the Pfitz” in a three-game rehab stint.

On the mound, Danny Rosenbaum has been the only consistent starter (4-3, 2.65 ERA, 1.33WHIP), while early-May promotion Cameron Selik could be turning the corner (2-4, 3.64 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) after a horrid beginning. The bullpen has been ragged overall of late, with Hector Nelo, Joe Testa, and Josh Smoker sharing the late-game innings.

At the plate, Destin Hood has been consistent all year (.276/.373/.453 slash), earning an All-Star nomination only to lose it to a knee injury. As his replacement, Jeff Kobernus leads the Carolina League in stolen bases (29) while hitting for an improved .266/.308/.369 line. Eury Perez is proving to be a slap-hitter with speed, when he chooses to use it. Justin Bloxom (.255/.321/.455) has played the majority of his games at 3B, where he is woefully out of
position, and a liability defensively (19 errors in 40 games).

The team currently lacks a player to ‘carry the load’ offensively, and will continue to muddle about until they find one. Maybe they’ll catch some promotions from Hagerstown for the 2nd half; We’ll see if that helps.

Players I like so far…
• Peacock (CA): An 26-y.o. OG, but plays with energy and catches a pretty decent game. Deserves another shot at AA.
• Hood (OF): Only 21, could be a possible for the AFL in 2012 if his knees stay healthy.
• Kobernus (2B): Back in my good graces after two injury-plagued years; Has shown unexpected speed and a consistent glove at 2B.
• Rosenbaum (LHSP): Steady & nearly unshakable on the mound; Needs slightly better control to play at higher levels.
• Nelo (RHRP): An age thing (24yo) as much as anything else – He’s pitching well at high-A, but should be playing to age at AA.
• Smoker (LHRP): Decent numbers, but not quite ready for in-season promotion.

Hagerstown Suns (Low-A) – 40-30
The Suns slumped late, falling out of the 1st half pennant chase in the final week; The good news is they are four games ahead of last years’ pace. There’s a lot to like about this team, both at the plate & on the mound; Having five players named to the All-Star team (Bryce Harper, Blake Kelso, David Freitas, Taylor Jordan, & Chris Manno) speaks to that. Their failings have come mostly in the field or in the bridge innings between the starters and the back end of the bullpen.

The hitters have been the big story, with Harper (.330/.429/.586), Kelso (330/.396/.404), and Freitas (.317/.422/.502) all raking the ball, and others (Randolph Oduber, Brett Newsome) chipping in as well. The starting staff covered the early loss of Selik to Potomac with the additions of Sammy Solis (1-0, 3.62, 1.17), and Robbie Ray (2-0, 1.13, 0.90). The bullpen has been a bit of a roller coaster of late, with both Manno and Ben Graham having
some rough outings in late-inning situations, while most of the middle relievers continue struggle to achieve mediocrity. This is still a team that could be
a force to be reckoned with in the 2nd half of the 2011 season.

Players I like (statistically) so far…
• Harper (OF): He’s ready for the next challenge; It’s just a question of where (Potomac or Harrisburg).
• Kelso (IF): He might need a full year at low-A, as his defense is less than stellar at this point.
• Freitas (CA): Still needs some polish behind the plate, but the pitching hasn’t suffered greatly from his game-calling, imo.
• Oduber (OF): A personal favorite, the ‘Groovin’ Aruban’ could push his way into a higher level with a good 2nd half.
• Jordan (RSP): Almost ready to make the jump to high-A, keeps the ball in the park (1HR in 69.3IP).
• Manno (LRP): Outstanding 1st half; Could be moved up at the All-Star break.
• Holland (RRP): Another personal fave; Outstanding as a set-up man, could move up later this season.

The 2011 Draft
You’ve seen the list, probably read a few evaluation pieces. All I’ll offer here for now is a summary by position.
As of 06/20/11
LHP – 10 drafted, 4 signed [B. Monar (12th), T. Simko (21st), R. Lucas (27th), B. Hawkins (36th)].
RHP – 16 drafted, 6 signed [B. Dupra (7th), M. Rodriguez (10th), T. Henke (22nd), K. Ferrer (28th), A. Kreis (35th), R. Mirowski (45th)].
CA – 2 drafted, 2 signed [E. Fernandez (25th), S. Cotton (29th)].
CI – 5 drafted, 2 signed [M. Skole (5th), B. Ortega (41st)].
MI – 7 drafted, 3 signed [D. Williams (16th), K. Norfolk (23rd), T. Karlen (33rd)].
OF – 11 drafted, 2 signed [C. Ramsey (11th), A. Nix (50th)].