Dec 112013
 

Like the bats, folks were overwhelmingly in agreement about the top three arms in the Washington Nationals minors. Unlike a year ago, though, the range was smaller — just 22 different pitchers versus 30 — and there were four guys that were named on every ballot.

OK, enough vamping. Let’s rock this, pitch:

                              1. Lucas Giolito
                              2. A.J. Cole
                              3. Sammy Solis
                              4. Nathan Karns
                              5. Jake Johansen
                              6. Aaron Barrett
                              7. Matt Purke
                              8. Austin Voth
                              9. Christian Garcia
                              10. Richie Mirowski

Others receiving votes: Blake Schwartz, Jefry Rodriguez, Taylor Hill, Hector Silvestre, Travis Ott, Erik Davis, Pedro Encarnacion, Brett Mooneyham, Wander Suero, Nick Lee, Neil Holland, Blake Treinen

Now the observations…

• Giolito was the top dog on 12 of the 13 ballots, with Cole getting the other first-place vote. Giolito was the #1 last year, too, despite coming off UCL-replacement surgery in August 2012.

• Cole was the Mary Ann to Ging, er… Giolito on 11 of the possible 12 second-place votes. It would have been interesting to see if that would have been true had Robbie Ray not been traded away.

• Voth and Garcia tied in raw points, but I broke the tie by the pitcher who was named on more ballots (nine vs. seven).

• Two of the top three old maids (i.e. the near misses) were righthanded control artists who don’t throw in the mid-90s. Not sure if the bias is against the lower velocity, the low K rate, or the soap-opera first name (just kidding).

The list continues to skews older (five are 25+) and upper minors (also five), which has been a consistent bias since this experiment in crowdsourcing began in 2011. But like all things hot stove, the point is to pass the time — none of this is really significant, statistically or otherwise — while winter sets its claws in and local schools overreact to snowfall that wouldn’t get a chihuahua’s belly wet.

Next up: The Rule 5 draft, which for the Nationals, has become an exercise of wondering who’s going versus who’s arriving.

Sep 062013
 

Our final look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues. Repeats from 2012 are in italics.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS
66-78, 6th place International League North, 14½ games back

Good Bat: Zach Walters .253/.286/.517, 29HR, 77RBI in 134G
Arm: Tanner Roark 9-3, 2SV, 3.15 ERA, 33 appearances, 11 starts, 105⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Danny Espinosa 101K in 75G, .566 OPS
Arm: Chris Young 1-2, 7.88 ERA / 7.17 FIP / 2.00 WHIP, 9HR in 32IP
Interesting Bat: Chris Rahl .293/.308/.431, 14SB in 111G
Arm: Caleb Clay 5-2, 2.49/3.37/0.99 in 14 appearances (13 starts):

HARRISBURG SENATORS
77-65, 1st place Eastern League Western Division, 1 game ahead

Good Bat: Steve Souza .300/.396/.557, 15HR, 20SB in 77G
Arm: Nathan Karns 10-6, 3.26/3.48/1.18, 155K in 132⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Jose Lozada .529 OPS, 11E in 81G
Arm: Ryan Perry 2-5, 4.43/4.86/1.21 in 22⅓ IP (18 appearances)
Interesting Bat: Billy Burns .325/.434/.360, 20SB in 30G
Arm: A.J. Cole 4-2, 2.18/2.56/0.90 in 45⅓ IP (7 starts)

POTOMAC NATIONALS
42-28 in 2nd half, 1st place Carolina League Northern Division, 9 games ahead
42-27 in 1st half, 1st place, 6 games ahead
84-55 overall

Good Bats: Michael Taylor .263/.340/.426, 51SB, 87RBI, .986FA, 21 assists in 133G
Adrian Nieto .285/.373/.449, 11HR, 53 RBI in 110G
Arm: Robbie Ray 6-3, 3.11/3.82/1.20, 100K in 84IP (16 starts)
Bad Bat: Adrian Sanchez .278OBP (17BB in 120G)
Arm: Derek Self 4-2, 4SV, 6.29/4.52/1.66, 4BS in 23 appearances
Interesting Bats: Cutter Dykstra .308/.459/.456, 50BB in 55G
Arm: Blake Schwartz 11-4, 2.65/3.52/1.08

HAGERSTOWN SUNS
42-28 in 2nd half, 2nd place South Atlantic League Northern Division, 3 games behind
38-29 in 1st half, 1st place, ½ game ahead
80-57 overall

Good Bats: Tony Renda .294/.380/.405, 43 doubles, 30SBs in 135G
Brandon Miller .243/.308/.456, 18HR, 72RBI in 103G
Arm: Brett Mooneyham 10-3, 1.94/3.65/0.98 in 93IP (17 starts)
Bad Bat: Pedro Severino .608 OPS in 84G
Arm: Will Hudgins 2-1, 4.79/5.96/1.60 in 20⅔ IP (16 appearances)
Interesting Bat: Shawn Pleffner .288/.386/.399 in 101G
Arm: Gilberto Mendez 3-2, 7SV 0.91/2.53/0.94 in 29⅔ IP (24 appearances)

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS
26-49, 6th Place Pinckney Division of New York-Penn League, 22 games behind

Good Bat: Isaac Ballou .294/.405/.398, 20RBI in 59G
Arm: Jake Johansen 1-1, 1.06/2.77/0.92 in 42⅓ IP (10 starts)
Bad Bat: David Masters .183/.254/.242 in 45G
Arm: Deion Williams 0-6, 9.42/4.35/1.99 in 28⅔ IP (8 starts)
Interesting Bat: Jean-Carlos Valdez .374 SLG as a 20-y.o. in 48G
Arm: Austin Voth 2-0, 1.47/0.95/0.82 in 30⅔ IP (7 starts)

GCL NATIONALS
49-9, 1st place Gulf Coast League East Dvision, 24½ games ahead

Good Bat: Randy Encarnacion .349/.437/.523 in 34G
Arm: Wander Suero 8-1, 1.65/2.77/0.82 in 49IP (13 appearances, 3 starts)
Bad Bat: 17-y.o. Luis Guzman .222/.278/.265 in 36G
Arm: 23-y.o. Michael Boyden 0-0, 4.61/5.25/2.27 in 13⅔ IP (13 appearances)
Interesting Bat: Drew Ward .292/.402/.387, 28RBI in 49G (turns 19 in Nov.)
Arm: Nick Pivetta 1-0, 2.13/2.41/1.03 in 3GS (promoted to Auburn)

DSL NATIONALS
38-32, 3rd place, Boca Chica South Division of Dominican Summer League, 11 games behind

Good Bat: 19-y.o. Kelvin Gutierrez .255/.333/.337 in 60G
Arm: 18-y.o. Deibi Yrizarri 5-3, 1.99/2.66/1.10 in 68IP (14 appearances, 13 starts)
Bad Bat: 18-y.o. Miguel Atencio .183/.246/.183 in 23G
Arm: 22-y.o. Adrian Green 0-2, 5.40ERA, 2.00 WHIP in 10IP (12 appearances)
Interesting Bat: 17-y.o. Oliver Ortiz .307/.402/.386 in 26G
Arm: 18-y.o. Luis Reyes 5-3, 2.82/2.76/1.07 in 54⅓ IP (promoted to GCL)
Aug 212013
 

RippleAfter three summers of people complaining about Nationals being too slow to promote… this summer, those people can shut the trunk up.

As noted earlier this season, the increased movement has made it harder to call true promotions versus need-based fill-ins. Thus, you’re seeing verbs “assign” or “reassign,” which are a bit more benign, but also enables me to avoid using word “demoted” for when a player is returned (e.g. Taylor Hill).

My personal guideline has been to avoid calling any movement between the short-season leagues a promotion, but Lucas Giolito is an obvious exception. Likewise for Austin Voth and Jake Johansen, as all three are top draft picks and their transfers from the GCL to Auburn and Auburn to Hagerstown are difficult to characterize as anything but.

The roster moves for Giolito and Voth have been officially announced, with Giolito scheduled to make his New York-Penn League debut (on the road, natch) tonight. Auburn Citizen beat reporter Jeremy Houghtaling (@CitizenHough for those of you on “the Twitters”) says he’ll make the trip to Batavia, so we’ll have at least one independent account.

Voth appears to be slated to start tomorrow, weather permitting, as will Brett Mooneyham for Potomac, with the younger Pac-12 pitcher taking the place of the elder, who’s reportedly on his way to Potomac according to MASN’s Byron Kerr.

The moves for Johansen and Mooneyham have not been officially announced, but the speculation here is that Paul Demny will be placed on the Potomac DL to make room for Mooneyham (and take his place in the rotation) and similar move will be made for Hagerstown (more likely a reliever with Ian Dickson going to the ‘pen).

UPDATE: Auburn has officially announced the promotion of Johansen to Hagerstown. The Suns, in turn, have announced the promotion of Mooneyham to Potomac while LHP Jake Walsh has been reassigned to the GCL to accommodate the transfers of both Johansen and Voth. A corresponding move for Potomac has not yet been announced.

Aug 092013
 

GBI for NPP 2Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 55-64, 6th place I.L. North, 10 games behind

Good Yunesky Maya 3-1, 1.52 ERA since All-Star Break
Bad Syracuse catchers .205BA, .264SLG, 30RBI
Interesting .975FA 12th in 14-team I.L.



HARRISBURG SENATORS 63-55, 1st place E.L. West, ½ game ahead

Good Matt Grace 2-0, 1.46 ERA, 1.30 WHIP since All-Star Break (9 appearances)
Bad Carlos Rivero .567 OPS in 32G since demotion
Interesting Team Offense ranks in E.L. .240 BA (12th), OBP .321 (11th), SLG .371 (11th), R/G 4.16 (11th)



POTOMAC NATIONALS 27-17, 1st place C.L. North, 8 games ahead (69-44 overall)

Good Brandon Miller 12-for-27, HR, five RBI in first six games
Bad Paul Demny 0-1, 4.70ERA, 2.35WHIP in three starts since demotion
Interesting Excluding rehabs, 21 pitchers and 29 position players have been used thus far



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 28-19, 2nd place Sally North, 2½ games behind (66-48 overall)

Good Shawn Pleffner .320/.402/.430 since All-Star Break
Bad Bryan Harper 8HBP in 39⅓ IP
Interesting T3rd with 32 holds in 14-team Sally League



AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 16-33, 6th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 15 games behind

Good Austin Voth 1.42/1.31/0.89 in five starts (19IP)
Bad David Masters .466 OPS in 29G
Interesting NDFA Greg Zebrack .267/.368/.333 in 25G



GCL NATIONALS 37-6, 1st place East Division, Gulf Coast League, 18 games ahead

Good Rafael Bautista .340/.432/.410, 22SBs in 39G
Bad Michael Boyden 2.20WHIP over 10 appearances (what’s a small sample size?)
Interesting Today’s win clinched the GCL East title



DSL NATIONALS 31-25, 5th place Boca Chica South, 7 games behind

Good 18-y.o. Jose Morales 2-3, 1.36 ERA, 0.83 WHIP
Bad 18-y.o. Miguel Atencio .459 OPS in 21G
Interesting Team pitching 11th in 35-team DSL