Jun 242011
 

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

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

HARRISBURG
RHP Hassan Pena assigned from Syracuse

POTOMAC
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

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

AUBURN
RHP Silvio Medina assigned to GCL

GCL
OF Chris Curran assigned from Potomac

DSL
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.

Starters

 

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.
TBD
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]

Infielders

 

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.

Catchers

 

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.

Outfielders

 

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.

POTOMAC NATIONALS — OFF DAY
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.

HAGERSTOWN SUNS — OFF DAY
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)].

Jun 222011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Probables
Syracuse Chiefs Lost, 7-1 @ Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m. Tom Milone (4-5, 3.81) vs.
Yohan Flande (2-3, 4.09)
Harrisburg Senators Lost, 4-2 vs. Richmond, 12:00 p.m. Tanner Roark (4-2, 6.00) vs.
Justin Fitzgerald (5-4, 3.75)
Potomac Nationals OFF DAY ALL-STAR BREAK N/A
Hagerstown Suns OFF DAY ALL-STAR BREAK N/A
Auburn Doubledays Won, 9-0 @ State College, 7:05 p.m. Ryan Demmin (1-0, 1.80) vs.
Nicholas Kingham (0-1, 15.00)
GCL Nationals Lost, 7-5
vs. GCL Marlins
OFF DAY N/A
DSL Nationals Lost 11-5
vs. DSL Phillies
vs. DSL Rangers, 10:30 a.m.

Gwinnett 7 Syracuse 1
• J Martin (L, 1-5) 6IP, 2H, 2ER, 2BB, 5K, 2R HR
• Wilkie ⅔ IP, 3H, 4R, 2ER, 2BB, 0K, HR
• Hulett 2-4, 2 2B, RBI
• Solano 3-4, 2B

Save the ball and the spikes; Steve Lombardozzi doubled in his first AAA at-bat and later scored on a Tug Hulett double. Sadly, that would be Syracuse’s only run in a 7-1 loss to Gwinnett, extending the losing skid to five games. JD Martin offered a quality start with six innings, allowing only a fourth-inning two-run homer to Stefan Gartrell. The Chiefs would only seriously threaten to score twice more after losing the early 1-0 lead. Jesus Valdez flied out in the sixth inning with one out and Matt Antonelli was gunned down trying to score. In the seventh, Lombardozzi grounded out into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded to stifle another Syracuse rally. Gwinnett broke the game open in the bottom of the frame as they greeted Josh Wilkie with a leadoff homer, two singles and a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third. After a one out walk loaded the bases, Wilkie walked in a run. Two errors by shortstop Matt Antonelli led to two more runs. Atahulapa Severino pitched the final one and 1/3rd innings, yielding a leadoff homer in the 8th to close the scoring at 7-1.

Richmond 4 Harrisburg 2
• Martis (L, 4-3) 6⅓ IP 8H 3ER, BB, 8K, 2R HR
• Lehman 1⅔ IP 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Norris 1-3, R, HR, RBI, BB, PB
• Rhinehart 2-3, 2B, BB

Harrisburg bookended their night with solo shots in the 1st by Josh Johnson and in the 9th by Derek Norris, who also gave up his 13th passed ball of the season [Ed. Note: Souldrummer is all in, but won't look past this hole in his game]. Sadly, they squandered the six other hits in the game, batting 0-5 with RISP. Shairon Martis took the loss but tossed a quality start with three runs allowed over six innings, yielding a two run homer to Roger Kieshnick in the third and another run on a double by Hector Correa followed by a Juan perez single in the seventh. Corey VanAllen failed to keep the game close at 3-2 when he allowed a leadoff homer to Johnny Monell to close the scoring at 4-2. Harrisburg’s record is now 39-30, good for a first place lead of 3.5 games over the second-place Orioles affiliate in Bowie.

POTOMAC NATIONALS — ALL-STAR BREAK
Jeff Kobernus struck out in his lone at-bat in the California-Carolina League All-Star game, which the Carolina Leaguers lost 6-1.

HAGERSTOWN SUNS — ALL-STAR BREAK
The Southern Division beat the Northern Division, 6-3, with the following Suns appearing in the game:
• Kelso 1-2, R
• Harper 0-2, RBI
• Freitas 0-2, 2K
• Manno 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K

Auburn 9 State College 0
• Bates (W, 1-0) 5IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Jenkins 2IP, 1H, 0R, 2BB, 1K
• M Rodriguez 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Jimenez 3-4, 2R, BB, RBI, SB, CS
• Nieto 2-5, R, 2RBI
• Rowe 2-4, 3R, BB, RBI

The Doubledays made roadkill out the Spikes, pounding out 13 hits and scoring in six separate innings for a 9-0 victory. Colin Bates, Chad Jenkins and Manny Rodriguez each gave up a hit while combining for the shutout. Rick Hughes was the sole batter to not reach base, as Hendry Jimenez led the offensive onslaught with a 3-for-4 effort, followed by Connor Rowe (2-for-4, two doubles) and Adrian Nieto (2-for-5, two RBI). The win was the third straight for Auburn, which leads the six-team Pinckney Division at 4-1.

GCL Marlins 7 GCL Nationals 5 (14 inn.)
• Chico 4IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 4K
• Mieses 4IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 4K
• Martinez 3-6, R, BB, RBI, 2SB
• Ramos 2-5, 2R, BB, HR, RBI, 2SB

The GCL Nationals built a 4-2 lead, running wild on the basepaths (eight SBs), but a bullpen blowup in the ninth sent the game into extras, tied at 4-4. The GCL Marlins pushed across three in the top of the 14th to which the G-Nats could only respond with one for the eventual 7-5 loss. Estarlin Martinez led the 10-hit attack with a 3-for-6 afternoon, walking once and stealing twice. Matt Chico and Adalberto Mieses were the starter and first reliever, both allowing a run over four innings of work. Andy Santana blew the save in the 9th while Anthony Marcelino took the loss, pitching the final four frames but giving up the final three runs.

DSL Phillies 11 DSL Nationals 5
• Pineyro (L, 0-2) 3⅔ IP, 7H, 6R, 5ER, 2BB, 4K, HR
• K Rodriguez 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• E Gonzalez 3-5, R
• N Ortega 1-3, BB, RBI

A pair of three-run outbursts by the D-Phillies in the fourth and fifth innings erased an early 4-3 lead and put the game away as the D-Nats fell for the eighth time in the last 10 games by an 11-5 count. Ivan Pineyro took the loss, chased in the fourth after giving up six runs on seven hits and two walks. Emmanuel De La Cruz and Brian Escolastico couldn’t stop the bleeding, allowing the next five runs before Kelvin Rodriguez could over the last two. Edgar Gonzalez led the offense with three hits of the D-Nats seven hits.

Jun 212011
 

Suffice it to say, the first half was a monumental disappointment — even with the strong finish (7 of last 10). The 40 losses appear to be the most in the first half since the team began the Washington affiliation in 2005, the 29 wins tying the 2007 squad for the fewest. This was supposed to be the youngest and most talented team to date.

Wins and losses aren’t the most important bellwether, of course, but the nature of the wins and losses is an indicator. If a good team scores five or more runs while allowing three runs or fewer, well, Potomac hit that standard just eight times (8) in 69 games. Conversely, they scored three or fewer runs while allowing five or more 15 times. They were shut out seven times, and returned the favor four times.

The team’s offense was sixth, the team’s pitching was eighth, as was its defense. There is no mystery as to why this team finished where it did.

Revisiting the format from last months “First Impressions”…

FIRST BASE
After a decent April, Steven Souza has cooled considerably, the average dropping from .273 to .224 and has been on a homerless streak for 19 games. He’s cut down on his strikeouts recently but is also walking less. Defensively, he’s still a work in progress but as a convert from the other side of the diamond, that’s to be expected.

SECOND BASE
The results are now starting to match the intensity with which Kobernus plays. Those of you who thought Jeff would be leading the Carolina League in steals at the break raise your hands. Anyone besides Mr. & Mrs. Kobernus? The soon-to-be-23-year-old is also starting to hit for some power, collecting six of his 13 doubles in the past month or so. He’s still not taking walks (just 14 in 66G) which is arguably the next step for him to take.

SHORTSTOP
Jose Lozada has inherited the position with the season-ending injury to Rick Hague, but one has to wonder how long until the 25-y.o. is moved to the bench to give more playing time to someone younger, like, say Justino Cuevas. Unfortunately, Cuevas is streaky both on offense and defense, so much that Kobernus was placed there this past homestand (and showed why he’s a second baseman). Best-case scenario: Francisco Soriano gets the job back once he regains his form/health in the GCL.

THIRD BASE
Nothing’s changed in terms of my opinion of Justin Bloxom as a third baseman: It’s not his position. But with Souza learning first base, it’s where Bloxom’s been put to keep his bat in the lineup. He’s not hitting .300+ like he was for Hagerstown, but I suspect that by season’s end, he’ll probably be close to .275 and be in the top three for the team in HRs and RBI.

DESIGNATED HITTER
Injuries have returned this slot in the lineup to its more traditional role in the minors of a way station while guys are shifted in and out defensively. Destin Hood, Bloxom, J.P. Ramirez and Cutter Dykstra have been the primary guys there. Dykstra seems to have been used there the most (there is no quick and easy way to look this up, so please bear with me) and while he’s been hitting a bit better, turning on the ball more, he appears overmatched by Carolina League pitchers and is not taking walks — a critical factor since he came to the organization with a reputation for having strong OBP skills.

LEFT FIELD
J.P. Ramirez has played here the most, but unlike Bloxom, it’s because there’s nowhere else for him to play. He compensates well for his lack of footspeed (only Sandy Leon is slower) but there are just far too many balls hit his way that aren’t turned into outs. His patience at the plate has improved tremendously of late, but he’s still hitting like a backup catcher, not a corner OF.

CENTERFIELD
Now the challenge is to see how the league reacts to Eury Perez now that everybody knows his game. Defensively, he’s been solid, just what you’d expect from his archetype with a decent arm, to boot. In what seems like a cut & paste, he’s not taking the walk and striking out too much. The gap power has diminished, too. Relative to the hype, a disappointment, but otherwise fine for a 21-year-old.

RIGHT FIELD
Easily the biggest surprise on the team. Destin Hood’s 33BBs and 5HRs in the first half matches his 2010 season totals for the two categories. Knee troubles have sidelined him lately, but it’s not been evident on the field. He’s begun to start hitting to all fields and the power is starting to flow. Ought to be playing more in LF in preparation for the inevitable shift, unless Bryce Harper plays CF exclusively for games in Woodbridge (*ahem*).

CATCHER
Very little change in my thinking: Sandy Leon is a defensive stalwart that’s still learning to hit, with flashes of power as a LHB.

BENCH
Also not much change here: Peacock belongs in Harrisburg, but is blocked by another OG in person of Devin Ivany. With the DH slot unavailable because it’s being used to evaluate the likes of Dykstra and/or rotate in/out prospects, he’s been limited to a couple of starts a week and the occasional pinch-hitting appearance. J.R. Higley has been getting a fair amount of playing time in the wake of Hood’s injury and/or when Ramirez is put at DH, but both he and Chris Curran appear to be odd men out despite their significant defensive skills and relative youth (both are 23).

STARTING PITCHERS
Little has changed since Opening Day in terms of the hopes of Potomac’s starters getting a callup prior to the AFL deadline. Truth be told, none has made the case consistently to get folks to pound the drum the way Brad Peacock has in Harrisburg. Some have made the case to be shifted to the ‘pen, reassigned or released.

Danny Rosenbaum — Twice the southpaw has put together back-to-back quality starts only to falter in the third start. Of course, “falter” is relative; Rosenbaum has gone at least five innings in every start. Still looking for that curve to come back, but has gone five straight starts with two or less walks and has kept the ball in the yard.

Trevor Holder — A maddening pitcher. Just when you think it’s time for tines in the spine, he comes off the ropes. A troublesome trend: walks and home runs have gone up at the same time strikeouts have gone down. Holder’s never going to be a strikeout guy, but in conjunction with those critical peripherals, it’s something to watch, and perhaps worry.

Paul Demny — Last time, I cited his differential between ERA and FIP as a sign that perhaps he’s been more lucky than good. It’s gone down by more than a run (-2.52 to -1.26) but almost all of that can be explained by the six HRs he’s given up. Or has just been the good fortune of only surrendering solo shots? Demny’s much like Holder in that he has flashes of brilliance but can also get hit very hard.

Mitchell Clegg — Too often the pitches were up and flat, and the OBA of .330 is the expected result. Recently sent to the ‘pen and gave up three hits in a two-and-1/3rd inning outing. More walks allowed than strikeouts (17 vs. 16 in 42⅔ IP). A righthander like that would have been released in April (Kyle Morrison).

Evan Bronson — The beneficiary of Clegg’s removal from the rotation, Bronson will need to prove that he’s a better starter than reliever. Most of his starts have been the result of the numerous rainouts (i.e. a long reliever asked to go four or five out of seven innings). He’s also pitched dramatically better on the road. All of these splits are fair small (20 or so innings per cell) so it’s tough to get a read on him just yet.

Cameron Selik — The first SP to be recalled from Hagerstown, Selik struggled early, making some folks wonder if his Suns success was simply a factor of age (he turns 24 in August), but he’s made an impression on us with his ability to pound RHBs inside and spot his breaking pitches, making him the most improved starter of the bunch.

RELIEVERS
The struggles of the starters have given these guys a lot of work, but it’s hard to make the case that anyone’s been abused. Back-to-back outings have been rare, even for the closers [insert snarky remark about losing record here]. Here’s a rundown on the relievers, ordered by appearances.

Josh Smoker — His velocity is up: mid-90s, but he’s nearly as likely to walk a batter as strike him out. He’s mostly come in to face lefties in the 7th and 8th innings though he’s been slightly more effective vs. RHBs.

Marcos Frias — As a reliever, he’s been effective but no less prone to walks. The regulars wonder aloud “are we going to get the good Marcos or the bad” when he comes in. Typically used for multiple-inning stints.

Adam Olbrychowski — It’s surprising that he’s not the team leader in appearances because it seems like he’s pitched a lot in Woodbridge. Began the year strong, then suffered a string of six straight appearances with at least one earned run allowed. In the past month, he’s been much more effective, but like most of the relievers this year, struggles with walks allowed.

Joe Testa — The powers that be have dropped him down to a sidearm delivery, delaying his first appearance until late April. He’s appeared enough in late games to get four decisions, but it’s clear that they want him to be a LOOGY someday, with seven of his 17 appearances lasting less than an inning.

Dean Weaver — If/when a reliever is moved up from Hagerstown, Weaver is a candidate to take his place. Simply has not been effective, as the 9.37ERA and .319OBA clearly shows.

Rob Wort — Wort caught our eye with his tendency to excel in pressure situations in his brief stint with Potomac in 2010. This year, he’s been more wild (5HBP) and hit harder (2HR) in a slightly larger body of work (though he’s still rail-thin).

Hector Nelo — All the makings of a Rizzo project: thick trunk, big (6’1″, 200) and throws HARD (95-98). Like Cole Kimball, his radar reading can often indicate balls and strikes. The higher the speed, the more likely it’s a ball.

EXPECTATIONS
My initial instinct was to write a wish list, but that’s just going to lead to bitching session about who’s where and why. Last year, Rosenbaum and Holder were sent up in the second half and it wasn’t hard to figure that might happen with the likes of Jesse Estrada and Adrian Alaniz in the rotation. This year, it might just be Sammy Solis or Matthew Grace, and it may not be until August in conjunction with the AFL deadline.

It would be nice to get a couple of the Suns late-inning guys, but who will replace them? Perhaps after a month or so, we’ll have an Auburn guy sawing through the NY-Penn League, but until then, I’d keep my hopes in check.

The P-Nats could use a true third baseman, but as simple as “bring up Blake Kelso, send down Cutter Dykstra” sounds, I’d put more money on Stephen King returning from Harrisburg, and that’s pretty unlikely. A level a year seems to be the new normal from High A down.

Lastly, there’s the question of Bryce Harper. He may be the exception to this “rule,” but I thought he’d be here by now and now I’m starting to think that Rizzo will treat him much the way the Atlanta Braves treated Jason Heyward, leaving him in Hagerstown for almost the entire year. That wouldn’t be the tragedy that some impatient DC fans (an redundancy, I know) may think, especially if that would also mean that we’d have a more fully seasoned 20-year-old in the Washington outfield for Opening Day 2013.

Jun 212011
 

The specious nature of recent player moves prevents the use of the word “promote,” but Steve Lombardozzi has been moved from the AA roster of Harrisburg to the AAA roster of Syracuse.

Lombardozzi, who was recently named the Eastern League batter of the week, had been hitting .309 with a .466 OBP with Harrisburg, with 16 steals in 19 tries. Taking his place on the Senator roster is Chris McConnell, a recent “B” on our GBI for his .175/.250/.257 line put up over 57 games with the Chiefs.

In other roster moves, RHP Garrett Mock was placed on the 7-Day DL for Harrisburg while C Jhonatan Solano was activated for Syracuse.