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.

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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).

Nov 122015

Salt River left the bases loaded in the 8th as they were unable to dig themselves out of an early 3-0 hole and fell to Peoria, 6-5.

For the second straight game, three Nationals farmhands saw game action:

  • Spencer Kieboom missed the tag and was 0-for-4 with a walk as the Rafters catcher. He batted fifth and struck out twice.
  • Christopher Bostick batted eighth and played 2B. He also struck out twice but went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
  • Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez got hit hard again, this time giving up three runs in four hits in his one inning of work. He walked none and struck out one.

The loss knocks Salt River back to three games behind Scottsdale, which won its sixth straight. The Rafters stay home today and will host the Desert Dogs tonight.

Nov 112015

Salt River snapped a 1-1 tie with a run in the 8th and this time the bullpen held the lead for a 2-1 win over Peoria, stopping a three-game slide.

Three Nationals appeared in the game.

  • John Simms started and gave up a single run on a home run (again) and four hits total over five innings. He walked one and struck out four while throwing 71 pitches, 47 for strikes.
  • Dakota Bacus pitched the bottom of the 8th and set the side down in order on a groundout, popout, and a lineout. He threw 12 pitches, eight for strikes and earned his second hold this fall.
  • Drew Ward was the DH and went 0-for-2 with a walk, his seventh in nine games, which lowered his BA to .087 but improved his OBP to .290

The Rafters remain two games behind the Scorpions with eight games to play. Tonight, Salt River plays host to Peoria.

Nov 102015

Bostick-Keister-11-9-15Salt River blew a 5-1 lead in the 8th and couldn’t hold on to an 8-6 lead in the 11th as they fell 10-8 to Scottsdale for the second straight game.

Christopher Bostick (pictured) smacked a three-run homer in the top of the 8th to break open the until-then 2-1 game. It was his sole hit of the game, in which he batted seventh and played 2B. Defensively, he had one putout and two assists.

Spencer Kieboom got the start as the Rafters DH and went 0-for-2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch before being lifted for a pinch-runner with one out in the 8th. Bostick’s home run came immediately thereafter.

No other Nationals appeared in the game.

The loss drops Salt River to 12-9, two games behind Scottsdale in the AFL East. They’ll travel to Peoria today for another afternoon game, in which John Simms is listed as the probable starter.

Nov 082015

Last night was the AFL Fall Stars Game, which saw the West defeat the East, 8-3. Surprise: Abel De Los Santos (pictured above) did appear. Not a surprise: He was touched for a run on two hits and was the losing pitcher.

For those wondering, winter league updates might not be a staple post this offseason given how few Nats farmhands are playing. Nevertheless, here’s a quick rundown on the non-AFL guys:

  • Paolo Espino – VWL        1-2, 4.50ERA, 1.46WHIP; 26IP, 27H, 16R, 13ER, 11BB, 22K, 3HR
  • Reegie Corona – VWL    .157/.271/.216, 0HR, 2RBI, 1SB in 15G, 51AB
  • Brian Goodwin – VWL     .222/.300/.389, 1HR, 6RBI, 2SB in 9G, 36AB
  • Rafael Bautista – DWL    .415/.466/.528, 10R, 4RBI, 2SB in 15G, 53AB
  • Pedro Severino – DWL    .265/.265/.529, 2HR, 4RBI, 0SB in 11G, 34AB
  • Jose Lozada – DWL        .476/.500/.619, 0HR, 3RBI, 1SB in 6G, 21AB

Back to the AFL… second-place Salt River has ten games remaining and will rematch against first-place Scottsdale tomorrow on the road. If the rotation holds, John Simms will most likely next pitch on Wednesday.

Nov 072015

Fallball2014Well, perhaps it was too much to expect a bevy of Nats to appear in the AFL for a third straight game, so yesterday there were none in Salt River’s 5-4 loss to Scottsdale.


Minor-league free agency has begun, and while BA has yet to release its compilation, here’s what I’ve culled from

  • RHPs – Bruce Billings, Juan Gutierrez, Tim Alderson, Paul Demny
  • LHP –Richard Bleier
  • IF –Cutter Dykstra
  • OFs –Tony Gwynn Jr., Theo Bowe
  • C –Dan Butler

Now for the annual reminder that this is not necessarily a reflection of the value the organization places on the players, but the reality that players are effectively indentured servants for seven seasons after they’re drafted. For some, this is their only chance to go elsewhere without the stigma of having been released.

On to the final affiliate review…

After fielding a contender in 2014, it was a reversion to the mean in 2015 – a team stocked with veterans that could be easily passed through waivers or lost if need be. The Chiefs had the second-oldest collection of bats, the third-oldest set of arms. Neither were particularly good, with the offense averaging 3.69 R/G and the defense yielding 4.06 R/G against league averages of 3.97 R/G.

Like last year (and the year before, and the year before that…), the true prospects are few; basically, Trea Turner and A.J. Cole. As in previous reviews, it’s worth noting that perhaps the obligatory list would be longer if there weren’t players who lost their rookie status (Felipe Rivero, Joe Ross) or hadn’t been previously been listed (Matt Skole). Instead, it’s just four and were it not for the dexterity of the final two, I’d skip the list entirely:

1. Trea Turner, SS — .267GPA, 14SB in 48G
2. A.J. Cole, RHP — 3.15/3.90/1.18, .470OPS against in August
3. Matt Grace, LHP — 2.40/3.14/1.21, .543OP against LHBs
4. Sammy Solis, LHP — 2.03/2.86/0.98 in 13⅓ IP

If you have a morbid curiosity you’re interested in seeing the full team statistics, you can find them here.

Nov 062015

Salt River’s winning streak ended with a 4-2 loss to Mesa last night, setting up a battle for 1st place between the Rafters and the Desert Dogs tonight.

Five Nats saw game action yesterday, including three position players and two relievers.

  • Christopher Bostick batted second and played 2B, but was 0-for-4. He helped turned two double plays on defense and had three assists and a putout.
  • That putout came when catcher Spencer Kieboom threw out Chad Pinder. He singled in the 1st and went 1-for-4 overall.
  • Drew Ward batted 9th and drew another walk but was hitless for his fifth straight game to lower his BA to .095 (2-for-21). Defensively, he had two putouts and three assists while playing 3B.
  • Nick Lee worked around three singles — thanks to a double-play grounder — for a scoreless inning in the 6th. He threw 21 pitches, 12 for strikes.
  • Dakota Bacus pitched the 8th but let in a run on a double and a single. Seven of his 11 pitches went for strikes.

Salt River is now 12-7 with 11 games left to play. The Rafters play division rival Scottsdale tonight, Monday, and the final game of the regular season on Nov. 19.

Nov 052015

John-Simms-AFL-11-4-15Salt River scored early and often as they extended their win streak to six as they doubled up Mesa, 12-6.

John Simms made his third start and went five strong innings, giving up one run on a solo HR in the 1st and five hits total. He walked none and struck out three, tossing 61 pitches with 41 going for strikes.

Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez was the first man out of the bullpen and pitched a 1-2-3 sixth but failed to retire four batters faced in the 7th as he issued three walks and hit a batter for a run. Abel De Los Santos let in another with a sacrifice fly then struck out two to minimize the damage.

Estevez’s line: 1IP, 0H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 0K, HBP
De Los Santos’s line: 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K, 3-1 IR-S

Drew Ward was the sole Nats bat in the lineup. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and RBI via a sacrifice fly while batting ninth and playing 3B, where he had four assists and no errors.

The Rafters host Mesa tonight in Salt River, then play second-place Scottsdale tomorrow night.