Oct 182010
 

Here’s a look at how the Nationals fared over the weekend in the Arizona Fall League…

FRIDAY
The Scottsdale Scorpions pounded the Phoenix Desert Dogs, 11-4

  • Michael Burgess went 1-for-4 with 3 K’s as the DH
  • Brad Peacock struck out the side while pitching the sixth but gave up a run on two hits
  • Cole Kimball pitched a 1-2-3 ninth and struck out one

SATURDAY
With a 6-4 win over the Peoria Javelinas, the Scottsdale Scorpions improved to 4-1

  • Sammy Solis got the start and allowed a run on two hits and a walk over three innings while striking out one. He also picked off a runner
  • Adam Carr pitched two scoreless innings to get the win while walking one and striking out one
  • Steve Lombardozzi played 2B and batted leadoff, going 1-for-3 with a double and a walk and scored two runs
  • Derek Norris caught and batted cleanup, going 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, a run scored, and a stolen base. He threw out the only runner to attempt a steal against him

After five games…

BATTERS

PLAYER G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG SB
Lombardozzi 4 14 3 4 3 0 0 1 1 2 .286 .375 .500 0
Norris 3 9 3 4 1 0 1 3 4 3 .444 .615 .889 1
Burgess 3 10 0 2 0 0 0 0 3 4 .200 .385 .200 1

PITCHERS

PLAYER W L SV ERA G IP R ER HR BB SO WHIP HLD GF
Peacock 0 0 0 3.00 2 3 1 1 0 0 7 1.000 0 0
Solis 0 0 0 3.00 1 3 2 1 0 1 1 1.000 0 0
Carr 1 0 0 3.00 2 3 2 1 0 2 1 1.333 0 0
Kimball 0 0 0 0.00 2 2 0 0 0 0 4 0.000 0 2
Oct 132010
 

Here’s a peek at how the Nationals did yesterday for the Scottsdale Scorpions, who won 4-3 over the Peoria Saguaros…

  • Derek Norris 1-2, 2R, 2BB, HR, 2 RBI
  • Mike Burgess 0-3, BB
  • Brad Peacock 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 4K

UPDATE: MLB.com’s Bill Ladson is reporting that Bryce Harper will be assigned to the Scorpions’ taxi squad and will play roughly twice a week.

A few other odds & ends (be thankful I opted not to lead with that for the picture ;-)…

…Wilson Ramos was the lone National in the Baseball America International League Top 20, coming in at #18. The good news is that scouts like him defensively, and describe him as having “above-average raw power.” The bad news: He needs to work on game-management and pitch-calling. Before folks chime in about having Ramos and Rodriguez working together, remember that the knock on Pudge for his entire career has been in these two areas.

…The folks at Ballpark Digest named the new Metro Park in Harrisburg as the renovation of the year and I couldn’t agree more.

…Sickels weighed in on an age-old question of young pitcher development.

Oct 122010
 

By now, you’ve read that the Arizona Fall League starts up today. And some 18-year-old named Bryce Harper won’t be playing. So there’s little I can add to that, except for some thoughts on the players I’ve seen…

Adam Carr – RHRP
Carr has been here before, playing in 2007 after his first full season in the minors and looked to be on the verge of becoming a factor for the parent club in late ’08 with a 1.78ERA at Potomac and Harrisburg. Unfortunately, he hit wall the next season, and struggled mightily at both levels. In ’09, he was converted to a starting pitcher in an effort to both salvage something out of a hard-thrower as well as give him a chance to pitch more often and learn more of the finer points of pitching. In ’10 he returned to relieving, mostly as a setup guy and long-man, but was solid and consistent enough to get a callup to AAA where he racked up nine saves in 10 chances and posted a 2.08ERA.

Cole Kimball – RHRP
Kimball is a similar pitcher to Carr, but started for his first three seasons before being turned into a reliever in ’09. Kimball doesn’t throw quite as hard, but can (and does) throw more breaking pitches. Served as the closer for Potomac in ’09 and to begin ’10 with solid numbers. At Harrisburg, Kimball saw his strikeout rate jump from the one-per-inning rate that’s relatively common to a more dominant 12.3/9IP.

Brad Peacock – RHSP
The last of the draft-and-follow picks, Peacock is a perfect example of what the A+ level is — a place where a guy needs to work on one more thing before making the biggest jump in the minors. That one thing? The changeup. Early in the ’10 season, Peacock would rack up double-digit strikeouts but couldn’t get much past the fifth or sixth inning because once folks realized he couldn’t throw anything offspeed for strikes, they’d wait him out and sit on that 94-95 heat. In late June, Peacock started to figure out, resulting in a complete-game shutout in early July. By month’s end, he was in Harrisburg and was a factor in the Sens’ playoff run.

Steve Lombardozzi – 2B
Lombardozzi is often overlooked because of what he is not. He’s not big. He’s not flashy. He’s not a home run hitter. What is he? A steady, reliable fielder (though not the strongest of arms) and a consistent hitter with gap power and slightly above-average speed but terrific baserunning instincts. Arguably the most consistent P-Nat this season and was able to bat anywhere in the top third of the lineup with little change in his production.

Michael Burgess – OF
Burgess was an enigma this season. Early on, it looked like he had finally solved his weakness against lefties and began rapping the ball the other way (in ’09, an opposite-field hit for Burgess was a grounder that went just to the left of the 2nd base bag). But after the league adjusted to him, his well-known weakness re-emerged — the inability to lay off soft-and-away pitches came back. He appeared to be readjusting his approach when a death in his family kept him out for a couple of weeks. In the final analysis, Burgess is still trying to figure out how to hit to all fields without sacrificing power and keeping the strikeouts down. There were times when he did, which is why he’s been given this challenge.

Derek Norris – C
Injuries wreaked havoc on Norris’s season and it was not until late August that he began to look comfortable as a hitter. As mentioned last week, Norris does struggle some with breaking pitches but as many people have remarked, you can close your eyes and pick him out of a BP lineup — the ball has a distinctive sound coming off his bat. The most promising thing is that no matter how low his batting average got, Derek did not press and held his OBP at the .400+ level all season long. Defensively, Norris is still a project, struggling with wild pitches and passed balls, but still threw out 51% of the runners that tried to steal off him.

Sammy Solis – LHP
Solis made just two appearances in Hagerstown, so I did not see him. Here is what the estimable John Sickels wrote about him prior to the draft:

A back injury redshirted Solis in 2009, so he’s a draft-eligible sophomore this year… Sizeable at 6-5, 220, he has an 89-92 MPH fastball, and both his curveball and changeup are major league quality. His command is considered excellent, and there is nothing wrong with his statistical performance this spring: 2.94 ERA with a 52/15 K/BB in 52 innings, 51 hits allowed. He should… interest any team looking for a lefty with polish who won’t need much minor league time.

Sep 102010
 

Harrisburg was unable to avoid the split, while Potomac earned it, as both teams head home tonight with their playoff series tied at 1-1.

Aaron Thompson last pitched against last night’s opponent in a 3-2 loss on September 2nd, but the familiarity outpaced the extra rest as the Curve touched him for three runs over four innings en route to a 6-4 loss in Altoona. First man out of the bullpen, Adrian Alaniz, was also ineffective in pitching a three-run bottom of the fifth that followed a Senator rally in the top of the inning that had tied the game at 3-3.

The 7-8-9 batters paced the offense for the Potomac Nationals, combining eight of the 11 hits the P-Nats collected, including a double and two triples.
Zach Dials was perfect in relief, retiring all nine batters he faced to earn the save. Trevor Holder started and went the first five innings allowing four runs (one earned) on six hits while walking one and striking out four. Rob Wort pitched a scoreless sixth to get the win.

Harrisburg would outhit Altoona 10-7 but went an abysmal 1-for-12 with RISP, stranding 10 runners as the Senators couldn’t take advantage of two errors and five walks.

Back-to-back RBI triples by #7 hitter Robby Jacobsen (4-for-4) and #8 hitter Sean Nicol (2-for-3), followed by a sacrfice fly by #9 hitter Chris Curran (2-for-3) would tie the game at 4-4 in the top of the fifth, an immediate response to the three-run rally by the Keys in the bottom of the fourth. Curran would double in Jacobsen in the top of the seventh for the go-ahead (winning) run.

Harrisburg hosts Altoona for the next two nights with the “Guz Two” — Ryan Tatusko (3-1, 1.72) and Tanner Roark (1-1, 2.50) — scheduled to pitch against Justin Wilson (11-8, 3.09) and Tony Watson (6-4, 2.67) respectively. As frequent commenter Souldrummer reminds us, Game 5 (if necessary) would be played in Altoona on Sunday.

Potomac hosts Frederick for at least the next two nights, and possibly on Sunday afternoon. Veterans Jimmy Barthmaier (4-1, 3.62) and Zach Clark (2-3, 5.25) square off tonight, with Marcos Frias (7-5, 5.69) and Luis Noel (3-2, 6.18) scheduled to pitch tomorrow — a matchup that could potentially change with the outcome of tonight’s game, as the P-Nats could opt for Evan Bronson to negate lefties Xavier Avery and Billy Rowell while the Keys could ask the likes of Jose Duran and/or Brett Bordes to start in favor of Noel, who was pounded in his previous outing against them in late July.

Rain is in the forecast for both Altoona and Woodbridge on Sunday afternoon.

For the bullet-point folks…

Team Pitching Star Hitting Star #1 Hitting Star #2
Harrisburg Senators
L, 6-4
Brad Peacock
2IP 0H 0R 1BB 3K
Josh Johnson
2-2, 2R, 2B, 3B, 2BB
Chris Marrero
2-5, R, RBI
Potomac Nationals
W, 5-4
Zach Dials (SV, 1)
3IP 0H 0R 0BB 3K
Robby Jacobsen
4-4, 2R, 3B, RBI
Chris Curran
2-3, 2B, SF, 2RBI
Sep 072010
 

Our final 2010 look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues, with a focus on the level where the prospects shone the brightest, not counting some guy who made a tour for service-time reasons (*ahem*).

SYRACUSE 76-67, 2nd place IL North, 11 games back

Good Bat: Danny Espinosa .295/.349/.463 in 24G
Arm: Josh Wilkie 2.45ERA, 1.13WHIP, 2HR in 69⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Chris Duncan .191/.274/.302 in 82G
Arm: Collin Balester as a starter: 11.57ERA, .385OBA
Interesting Bat: Boomer Whiting .372OBP, 36/48 SB
Arm: Erik Arnesen 1.29WHIP, 3.95ERA in 107IP

HARRISBURG 77-65, 2nd place, 5 games back, E.L. West Division Wild Card

Good Bat: Chris Marrero .294/.350/.450 in 141G
Arm: Tom Milone 12-5, 2.85ERA ( in ’09, 12-5, 2.91ERA), 155K in 158IP
Bad Bat: Sean Rooney .165BA in 31G
Arm: Aaron Thompson 4-13, 5.80ERA, 1.59WHIP
Interesting Bat: Steve Lombardozzi .295/.373/.524 in 27G
Arm: Tanner Roark 1.22WHIP, 2.50ERA in 6 starts since acquisition

POTOMAC
39-30 in 2nd Half, 70-69 overall — 2nd-Half CrL North Division winner by 2½ games

Good Bat: Tyler Moore 31HR, 111RBI, .552SLG
Arm: Dan Leatherman 0.92WHIP, 57K in 46⅔ IP in 31G w/ 11SV
Bad Bat: Chris Curran .226/.293/.305 in 74G
Arm: Justin Phillabaum 0-6, 6.87ERA (13.17 at home), 1.77WHIP in 29 appearances
Interesting Bat: Derek Norris .300/.535/.575 with RISP; .210/.359/.347 bases empty
Arm: Brad Peacock 5.1K/9 at A+ in ’09; 10.27K/9 in ’10

HAGERSTOWN
29-41 in 2nd Half, 65-75 overall

Good Bat: J.P. Ramirez .296/.341/.470 in 132G
Arm: Danny Rosenbaum 2.32ERA, 1.22WHIP in 18G
Bad Bat: Adrian Nieto .195/.291/.253, 13E in 60G
Arm: Josh Smoker 7.38ERA, .319OBA as starter
Interesting Bat: Justin Bloxom .309/.355/.476 in ’10; .228/.346/.303 in ’09 at Vermont
Arm: Rob Wort 2.08ERA, 185OBA; 3.91ERA, .247OBA in ’09 at GCL

VERMONT
36-38, 3rd Place Stedler Division of NY-Penn League, 2 games back

Good Bat: David Freitas .307/.408/.450 in 62G
Arm: Neil Holland 1.04WHIP, 37K in 32⅔ IP in 19G
Bad Bat: Hendry Jimenez .218/.291/.279 in 51G
Arm: Chris McKenzie 1.97WHIP, 8.54ERA in 26⅓ IP over 8G (6GS)
Interesting Bat: Wade Moore .287/.394/.392, ’10 D-2 draftee
Arm: Mark Herrera 1.18WHIP, .220OBA, ’10 Juco draftee

GCL NATIONALS
24-32, 4th place GCL East Division, 13 games back

Good Bat: Randolph Oduber .366/.434/.569 in 39G
Arm: Nick Serino 1.01WHIP, 3.16ERA in 25⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Rashad Hatcher .200/.241/.218 in 32G
Arm: Mike Gallo 8.38ERA, .291OBA in 19⅓ IP
Interesting Bat: Angel Montilla .285/.350/.383 in 51G
Arm: NDFA Billy Ott 0.83WHIP, 1.17ERA in 23IP

DSL NATIONALS
36-35, 5th Place, Boca Chica East, 10 games back

Good Bat: Victor Chavez .309/.420/.412 in 46G
Arm: Wirkin Estevez 1.04WHIP, .233OBA in 82⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Yamaicol Tejeda .042BA in 48AB over 32G
Arm: Jorge De La Cruz 9.88ERA in 11G
Interesting Bat: 18-y.o. Paul Chacin .281/.355/.336 in 50G
Arm: Adalberto Mieses 1.42WHIP, 33BB, 5HR, 2.98ERA
Jul 302010
 

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

SYRACUSE 54-52, 2nd place IL North, 7 games back

Good Jason Bergmann 2.19ERA, 1.16WHIP, .212OBA
Bad Chase Lambin .216BA, 31K in July
Interesting Adam Carr 4K in 2⅔ IP in AAA debut

HARRISBURG 53-53, 4th place, 8 games behind

Good Danny Espinosa .287/.324/.545 in July
Bad John Lannan 1 quality start in 7 AA games
Interesting Brad Peacock 7 scoreless innings in AA debut

POTOMAC
17-14 2nd Half; 48-53 Overall

Good Daniel Rosenbaum 2-0, 0.69ERA in first two A+ starts
Bad Jimmy Barthmaier 4H, 5R, BB, HR in return to A+
Interesting Tyler Moore 17HR, 73RBI leads all Nats affiliates (Pahuta tied in HR)

HAGERSTOWN
12-21 2nd Half; 48-55 Overall

Good Rob Wort 4-0, 5SV, 28K in 24IP in June/July
Bad Adrian Nieto .097BA in July
Interesting Paul Demny’s .240OBA is second-best

VERMONT
23-16, 1st Place Stedler Division of NY-Penn League

Good Chad Jenkins .192OBA, 1.11WHIP system-best for SPs
Bad Jason Martinson 10E in 35G
Interesting Wade Moore’s 12SB is 4th highest total in NYPL

GCL NATIONALS
13-19, 5th place GCL East Division, 7½ games back

Good Randolph Oduber .366/.418/.620 in 17G
Bad Matthew Grace 22.09ERA, 3.55WHIP in first 3 appearances
Interesting Mills Rogers .393OBP, 16BB in 26G

DSL NATIONALS
24-25, 5th place B.C. South Division, 9 games back

Good Jorge Hernandez 0.98WHIP, 2.05ERA
Bad Jose Arismendy .196BA .208OBP
Interesting Juan Pena 4 OF assists in 13G as CF
Jul 182010
 

An eleven-day layoff didn’t faze Potomac’s Brad Peacock, who won back-to-back starts for the first time this season as the Potomac Nationals doubled up Kinston by a score of 6-3.

Peacock went six innings and allowed two runs on five hits, but walked none and struck out eight. In a strange turn of events, he barely used his curve and kept the Kinston nine baffled by mixing his changeup masterfully with his 94mph heater. As has been the case all season long, he only ran into trouble when he pumped too many fastballs in succession, particularly in the fifth inning when he allowed a solo HR to Kinston’s Donnie Webb.

Meanwhile, the Potomac offense remained potent rapping out twelve hits to score six or more runs for third straight game, just the second time this season that’s happened. Bill Rhinehart and Jose Lozada paced the attack, each man hitting a home run, and Lozada having a four-hit night with two doubles and single to go along with the big fly.

With the win, Potomac improves to 12-9 in the second half, which is good for second place in the Carolina League’s Northern Division, two games behind Wilmington. Jordan Zimmermann is scheduled to make his fourth rehab start on Monday, as the Salem Red Sox make their final regular-season stop at Woodbridge.

Jul 062010
 

Power took a back seat to efficiency, as Brad Peacock struck out just four but went the distance on 99 pitches to record a five-hit shutout against the Wilmington Blue Rocks last night.

Sixty-four of those 99 pitches were for strikes, but more impressive: just five of the 27 outs were flyballs to the outfield, though the final one had folks holding their breath as Mike Burgess chased down a deep drive to right-center off Wilmington’s cleanup hitter Jamie Romak. Twelve of the 27 outs were on the ground, with Peacock dashing over to first three times on balls that first baseman Bill Rhinehart had snagged or knocked down, twice beating speedy lefthanded batters.

Peacock faced just four batters over the minimum, thanks in no small part to Chris Curran gunning down Eric Hosmer at second to lead off the fourth, and a round-the-horn double play in the sixth. He would retire the last 11 batters he faced and had five 1-2-3 innings en route to winning his third game of the season.

It was the first nine-inning shutout thrown by a Potomac pitcher since Michael O’Connor blanked the Kinston Indians on August 27, 2005.

Meanwhile, on offense, the P-Nats gave Peacock five runs of support on ten hits, highlighted by a two-out double by Nick Moresi in the first and two-out triple in the bottom of the eighth, which sat down Dan Leatherman who had been warming up to pitch the top of the ninth.

With the win, Potomac improves to 5-6 in the 2nd half and takes a 2-1 series lead against first-place Wilmington. Lefty Evan Bronson (3-5, 3.94) is scheduled to face off against Ivor Hodgson (4-6, 4.97) in the finale tonight.