Nov 202015

Drew-Ward-11-20-15The Salt River Rafters scored single runs in the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 7th innings and withstood a late rally from the Scottsdale Scorpions finish the 2015 campaign with a 4-2 win.

As you might have guessed, just one National got into yesterday’s game: Drew Ward (pictured).

The turns-21-next-week Oklahoman was the designated hitter but did not get a hit. He struck out three times in four plate appearances, but did draw his 11th walk in 12 games this fall (versus nine K’s). He finished with an average of just .097 (3-for-31), but had a respectable on-base percentage of .326.

Salt River finished the year 16-13, 1½ games behind Scottsdale. With that the 2015 season — the sixth this site has covered — officially comes to a close.

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In what now seems rather anticlimactic, last night the Nationals added three from this year’s AFL contingent to the 40-man roster: Christopher Bostick, Spencer Kieboom, and Nick Lee.

Bostick, who was originally drafted in the 44th Rd. by the Oakland A’s as a HS pick in 2011, and Kieboom (5th Rd., 2012) were both in their first year of Rule 5 eligibility. Lee, however, was in his second year of eligibility as an 18th Rd. 2011 pick (and drafted 38th but did not sign in 2010).

A common thread through all three picks is the shoring up organizational depth. With the departure of Ian Desmond and the continued fragility of Anthony Rendon, the Nationals will need a backup to the backup of Wilmer Difo for 2016.

Kieboom is also an addition to a catching corps that has been thinned by trades and the Rule 5 draft over the past few years. Like Bostick, he’s the backup to Pedro Severino.

Lee, of course, is a bit of a surprise given that he’s already been passed over for the Rule 5 and a good but not great 2015 regular season. But he’s still lefthanded and throws strikes (though he has yet to tame his tendency to issue walks) and will be the backup to Matt Grace as a situational southpaw.

As for projections, it might be safe to say that this trio will be teammates in Harrisburg next season with the players in front of them moving up (or returning) to Syracuse. But there’s a long offseason to go and Washington has a GM that “kinda, sorta” likes to make trades.

Nov 192015

Christopher-Bostick-11-19-1The Solar Sox posted a picket fence to take a 3-1 lead in the middle innings, then put the game away with a three-spot in 6th for a 6-1 win over the Rafters.

It may seem like all Christopher Bostick, all the time, but when he’s the only National to appear in the game…

Bostick once again batted second and played second base. At the plate, he was 0-for-2 two with two walks drawn and stole a base, his sixth of the fall. In the field (pictured), he had a putout and three assists, including the pivot on a 6-4-3 double play.

The 2015 AFL season concludes for the Salt River Rafters with an afternoon game against the AFL East champion Scottsdale Scorpions.

Nov 182015

Christopher-Bostick-11-18-1Salt River scored twice in the 1st and held on to the lead for a 4-2 win over Mesa to stave off elimination.

Two Nationals appeared in the game.

John Simms got the start and went three innings, allowing one run on four hits and a walk while striking out two. He threw 45 pitches, 33 for strikes. He was credited with the win, his fourth in five starts for Salt River, and has posted an ERA of 1.88 and a WHIP of 1.21.

Christopher Bostick had another strong game. Batting second and playing 2B, the 22-y.o. walked, doubled, and homered in four plate appearances. In 19 games this fall, he’s posted a line of .275/.324/.565 with four HR’s, five SB’s, and 12 RBI.

The two teams switch venues for this afternoon’s game. Scottsdale, which must lose for Salt River to have a shot at the title game, hosts Peoria tonight. The Rafters and Scorpions close out the fall season with a game tomorrow afternoon.

Nov 172015

For the second time this fall, inclement weather canceled a game for the Salt River Rafters. Meanwhile, the Surprise Saguaros beat the Scottsdale Scorpions to clinch a spot in Saturday’s AFL Title game, which could be a rematch of yesteray’s game unless Scottsdale continues to lose and Salt River starts to win. The Scorpions and Rafters play each other on Thursday.

John Simms is the listed starter for Salt River for this afternoon’s game against Mesa.

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 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 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.