Oct 092013
 

Arizona-Fall-League-2013-1Matt Skole launched a two-run homer in Mesa’s five-run 8th as the Solar Sox and the Glendale Desert Dogs played to an 8-8 tie in 11 innings.

Skole went 2-for-4 with a walk and run scored and three RBI total as the DH, where he’s expected to remain for the time being, though MASN’s Byron Kerr noted that he’ll play more 3B than 1B when he returns to the field.

It was the first live game action for the 24-year-old since injuring his left (non-throwing) elbow on April 5th in a collision at 1B that was initially described as a microfracture of the left wrist, but required Tommy John surgery and ended his 2013 regular season after just two games.

Brian Goodwin also saw game action and went 2-for-5 with a walk while batting second and playing centerfield, where he made two putouts. Former National Alex Meyer picked off Goodwin in the 3rd, but was otherwise hammered for three runs on five hits over three innings.

Neither Robert Benincasa nor Richie Mirowski were used in relief. Sammy Solis is scheduled to make the start today while Matt Purke is tabbed for tomorrow. Steven Souza Jr. will be eligible to play today and Saturday while Adrian Nieto awaits his chance behind the plate. Former Nationals backstop David Freitas went 0-for-4 at the plate and 1-for-4 in throwing out baserunners.

Aug 022013
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 51-60, 6th place I.L. North, 8½ games behind

Good Zach Walters .404/.417/.936, 5HR, 11RBI since All-Star Break (14G)
Bad Cole Kimball 10.80 ERA/7.30 FIP/2.30 WHIP in 11 appearances
Interesting After game on July 4th – last place, 16½ games behind
After game on August 1 – last place, 8½ games behind



HARRISBURG SENATORS 61-51, 1st place E.L. West, 1½ games ahead

Good Brian Goodwin 24 multi-hit games, seven three-plus hit games
Bad Pat McCoy 6.75 ERA, 1.88 WHIP since All-Star Break
Interesting Starting Pitchers ERA, 3.40; Relievers ERA, 3.56 (through 8/1)



POTOMAC NATIONALS 24-14, 1st place C.L. North, 8 games ahead (66-41 overall)

Good David Fischer 2-0, 2.12 ERA, 1.06 WHIP in July (7 appearances)
Bad Cole Leonida .150/.250/.225, 13K in July (14 games)
Interesting Cutter Dykstra 26BB in July (29BB from April to June)



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 24-16, 2nd place Sally North, 1½ games behind (62-45 overall)

Good Brett Mooneyham 7-3, 2.48 ERA, 4.19 FIP, 1.10 WHIP
Bad Estarlin Martinez .171/.262/.229 in last 10G
Interesting 430 Batting BB leads Sally League



AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 13-31, 6th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 15½ games behind

Good Isaac Ballou .277/.382/.362 in 39G
Bad Deion Williams 0-6, 9.42 ERA, 1.99 WHIP in eight GS
Interesting League-worst pitching, T4th fewest HRs allowed



GCL NATIONALS 30-6, 1st place East Division, Gulf Coast League, 13 games ahead

Good Wander Suero 4-0, 0.84 ERA/2.54 FIP/0.75 WHIP
Bad Willie Medina .505 OPS in 21G
Interesting 2012 Avg. Batter Age = 20.9
2013 Avg. Batter Age = 19.7



DSL NATIONALS 27-22, 5th place Boca Chica South, 5½ games behind

Good 18-y.o. Kelvin Gutierrez .316/.341/.500 since DSL All-Star Break
Bad 17-y.o. Yorlin Reynoso 13BB in 25⅓ IP
Interesting 17-y.o. Oliver Ortiz .314/.333/.343 in first 10G (assigned July 23)
Jun 142013
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 27-37, 6th place I.L. North, 10 games behind

Good Tanner Roark 2-0, 2.36 ERA/2.76 FIP/0.93 WHIP as a reliever
Bad Micah Owings 63K in 49G
Interesting 19 holds, 2nd in I.L.



HARRISBURG SENATORS 35-31, T1st place E.L. West, 2½ games ahead

Good Taylor Jordan (duh) 5-0, 0.66ERA, 1.49FIP, 0.78WHIP
Bad Brian Goodwin .182/.308/.333 in last 10G
Interesting 171 BB fewest in E.L., 38 HBP 2nd most in E.L.



POTOMAC NATIONALS 39-26, 1st place C.L. North, 4.5 games ahead (clinched)

Good Caleb Ramsey .333/.360/.458 in June
Bad David Fischer 17BB in 14⅓ IP
Interesting .975 FA best in Carolina League


HAGERSTOWN SUNS 35-28, 2nd place Sally North, 1 game behind

Good Will Piwinica-Worms .294/.415/.441 in June
Bad Nick Lee 1.61 WHIP in first five appearances
Interesting Eight team shutouts, T1st Sally League


DSL NATIONALS 8-3, 1st Boca Chica South, 2 games ahead

Good 18-y.o. Luis Reyes 1.86 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 11K in first two starts
Bad 18-y.o. Thomas Alvarez .212 OPS in 29PA
Interesting 18-y.o. Kelvin Gutierrez .371/.488/.543 in 10G
May 032013
 

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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 9-17, 6th place I.L. North, 8½ games behind

Good Chris Marrero .337/.385/.614, 6HR, 20RBI
Bad Yunesky Maya 0-3, 7.45 ERA, 1.62WHIP .310 OBA
Interesting Danny Rosenbaum 1.14ERA, 5K, 45GO in 23⅔ IP

HARRISBURG SENATORS 13-14, T2nd place E.L. West, 2 games behind

Good Nathan Karns 2-0, 1.13ERA, 0.88 WHIP in last four starts
Bad Brian Goodwin 36K in 27G
Interesting Justin Bloxom .325/.341/.500 in last 10G

POTOMAC NATIONALS 13-14, T2nd place C.L. North, 2 games behind

Good Michael Taylor .270/.341/.486, 2HR, 5SB, 8RBI in last 10G
Bad Christian Meza 2.28WHIP, 9.31ERA in six appearances
Interesting Blake Schwartz 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 11K in 11IP over first two High-A starts

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 15-11, T1st place Sally North, 2½ games ahead

Good Pedro Encarnacion 1.93 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, .207 OBA
Bad Hunter Bailey .528 OPS
Interesting Wes Schill 18BB in 18G, team-best .455 OBP
Apr 262013
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 8-12, T4th place I.L. North, 6½ games behind

Good Erik Davis 0.63WHIP, 10K in 8IP (7 appearances)
Bad Carlos Maldonado .237OPS (2-for-24, 0BB)
Interesting Six rain-affected games out of 20

HARRISBURG SENATORS 9-11, T4th place E.L. West, 2 games behind

Good Brian Goodwin .342/.405/.632 in last 10 games
Bad 15HR allowed by SPs, 24 errors on defense in 20 games
Interesting Ian Krol 0.84 ERA, 0.66WHIP, 2.07 FIP in 8 appearances

POTOMAC NATIONALS 9-11, T3rd place C.L. North, 1½ games behind

Good Taylor Jordan 1-1, 1.48ERA, 0.99WHIP, 2.58 FIP
Bad Adrian Sanchez 4E in 18G
Interesting Offense: 1st in runs, 2nd in SBs, 4th in Ks, 5th in HRs, 6th in 2Bs

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 11-10, T2nd place Sally North, 2 games behind

Good Wander Ramos .268/.412/.585, 15RBI in 13G
Bad Ronald Pena, Pedro Encarnacion — both 10BB in 17&#8531 IP
Interesting Team 37SB is 2nd in Sally League (McQuillan, Renda both with 7SB)
Mar 272013
 

Baseball America for NPPLike slideshows of cheerleaders and WAGs for Bleacher Report*, Baseball America can’t resist another chance to re-issue a list, which it did today with the 2013 Organizational Talent Rankings.
*Full disclosure: I can’t resist bulldogs or visual puns.

As a system, the Nats came in at #13 — up three spots from the #16 ranking last December — but perhaps of more interest is the “new” Top 10 list, which is as follows:

1. Anthony Rendon, 3B (AA)
2. Lucas Giolito, RHP (XST)
3. Brian Goodwin, OF (AA)
4. A.J. Cole, RHP (A+)
5. Matt Skole, 1B-3B (AA)
6. Nathan Karns, RHP (AA)
7. Christan Garcia, RHP (MLB D.L.)
8. Eury Perez, OF (AAA)
9. Sammy Solis, LHP (XST)
10. Matt Purke, LHP (XST)

In a nutshell, A.J. Cole was inserted at #4 and the “old” nos. 4-9 were moved down one spot. Zach Walters was the “bumped” #10 prospect. My projected destinations for where they’ll be for Opening Day are in parentheses.

The Washington farm was ranked #12 last year in this revision, following a brief moment on paper when the system was rated #1 prior to the Gio Gonzalez trade.

Jan 302013
 

Mayo 2Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com has released his 2013 Top 100 list and four Nationals farmhands were among the spread.

At #28, third baseman Anthony Rendon was the highest ranked Washington prospect. He actually moved up from #33 on last year’s list despite an abbreviated 2012 campaign. The 22-year-old is expected to begin the season for AA Harrisburg, but as a member of the team’s 40-man roster, Rendon will being spring training with the big boys in Viera.

Next on the list at #52 is centerfielder Brian Goodwin, who is also due to begin ’13 for the Senators. Such is the capriciousness of prospect ranking that Goodwin, who missed five weeks early in the season but was still jumped from Low-A to AA last July, rose from a #67 ranking in 2012.

The Nationals top pick in the 2012 draft, Lucas Giolito, was ranked #74 but is unlikely to pitch in a competitive game this season, thanks to having Tommy John surgery last August. Prior to suffering an elbow injury in the spring, Giolito was on track to be a “one-one” with a triple-digit fastball and a pair of plus breaking pitches.

Finally, recently re-acquired A.J. Cole was #91, dropping a spot from the 2012 list. While it’s possible for Cole to join Rendon and Goodwin on the AA squad, the smarter money is on Cole beginning ’13 with Potomac, given his struggles in High-A last season as well as Rizzo’s more conservative tendencies. Cole effectively replaces Alex Meyer (ranked #40), who went to Minnesota to acquire CF Denard Span.

Dec 192012
 

Only a couple of surprises here, but let’s cut to the chase before we discuss…

1. Anthony Rendon, 3b
2. Lucas Giolito, rhp
3. Brian Goodwin, of
4. Matt Skole, 3b
5. Nathan Karns, rhp
6. Christian Garcia, rhp
7. Eury Perez, of
8. Sammy Solis, lhp
9. Matt Purke, lhp
10. Zach Walters, ss

For me, the surprises are Christian Garcia, Nathan Karns, Matt Skole and Matt Purke. My bad on overlooking Garcia — in my head, he’s already “graduated” and will be a bullpen fixture; clearly I’m getting ahead of myself — which, along with Skole and Karns, is a bit of a departure from the slavish devotion to youth. Of course, that Skole and Karns have been getting so much virtual ink may also have something to do with it.

Purke surprises me for the same reason I was sure that Solis would make the list: His surgery wouldn’t be held against him. Indeed, BA did not deviate from its norms of hyperbole when selecting Lucas Giolito as having the organization’s “Best Fastball” and “Best Curveball” despite his UCL replacement (yes, TJ surgery has a high success rate, but it’s not 100%). Still, it’s a little odd that Purke fell beneath Solis in the rankings despite having a less invasive procedure done.

The free article focuses on the parent club and how the system produced the talent that fueled the unexpected (for the honest, at least) playoff run in 2012. And of course, BA is effusive in its praise for the selections of Strasburg and Harper in ’09 and ’10 as well as Rendon in ’11 and Giolito in ’12 (as for the rest of the 2012 draft, BA was like the lawyers responding to Billy Ray Valentine’s plea for help in the men’s club in “Trading Places”).

The projections for where the 2013 Top 10 will start the year were as follows:
MLB — Garcia
AAA — Perez, Walters
AA — Rendon, Goodwin, Skole, Karns
Lo-A — Purke
XST/Rehab — Giolito, Solis

Again, no big shocks — though the verb for Skole was “reach,” not “start” and they also qualified his placement with “his hands are sure enough to play at either corner,” which I can’t fault them for since everybody outside the organization sees him as a 1B but the Nationals have yet to fully commit to the position switch. Likewise, they projected Solis to start in XST and then head north on a rehab tour. My guess would be that he goes to Hagerstown for the three-inning stints and then moves up to Potomac for when he’s given the five-inning limit, then moved to Harrisburg if/when the coaches like what they see (that’s my CYA if/when he gets the bump despite poor nos.)

Dec 022012
 

Compiling these was an interesting exercise this time around. The turnout was a little lighter, which is probably my fault for waiting so late on Friday to make a call for submissions, but I think there’s enough here to go on and make a post.

The No. 1 guy was unanimous: Anthony Rendon. Like fans of Gus Johnson, this was a no-brainer.

Our No. 2 was pretty close, too: Brian Goodwin was named on all the submissions and was #2 on all the ballots but one.

After that, things get fuzzy. No. 3 (Matt Skole) was significantly ahead of No. 4 (Eury Perez) in terms of weighting (74-53) but was left off one ballot. Perez was omitted from two. Leon, the No. 5 guy, was omitted from four.

In some ways, it’s a microcosm of the system itself: Most folks can agree on the top few, but after that, it’s a free-for-all. That’s why I decided to post now versus waiting one more day (well, that, and years of research that shows that sometimes you can cut through the noise by taking advantage of how slow it can be on a Sunday).

Without further ado, here’s the list:

1. Anthony Rendon
2. Brian Goodwin
3. Matt Skole
4. Eury Perez
5. Sandy Leon
6. Jason Martinson
7. Zach Walters
8. Chris Marrero
9. Corey Brown
10. Tony Renda

Others receiving votes: Michael Taylor, Estarlin Martinez, Destin Hood, Ricky Hague, Jeff Kobernus, Brandon Miller, Wander Ramos, Erik Komatsu, Steve Souza, Carlos Rivero, Spencer Kieboom, Jhonatan Solano

The list certainly tilts towards the upper minors, with the exception of Renda. A lot folks gave props to players on the verge — Nos. 7-9 in particular, Komatsu, Rivero, and Solano in the “Others” — but injuries were punished severely (Kobernus, Hood) and defense, aside from catcher, didn’t seem to carry much weight (Taylor, Hague).

Unlike last year, there really aren’t any surprises about who missed the cut. Renda gets the benefit of the “new car smell,” while [troll]Taylor suffers from the gap between the offseason hype and the in-season performance, regardless of his age.[/troll]

Next up: The pitchers, which should be especially fun now that the best prospect without a sling in his wardrobe has been traded.

Nov 192012
 

First, the stats…
BATTERS

PITCHERS
Now, the thoughts

  • Goodwin’s alleged baserunning gaffe not withstanding, the youngest of the AFL entrants acquitted himself just fine overall. He showed a lot more power than anyone might have expected — hitter-friendly environment or not. I still expect him to return to Harrisburg next year to work on his defense and refine his game.
  • Rendon fulfilled the lofty expectations placed upon him by both the prospect cheerleaders gurus and the casual Nats fans, who are already converting Ryan Zimmerman to first base before he turns 30 to make room for 2011 first-round pick. My inclination is to predict Harrisburg as his 2013 starting point, but can see him in Syracuse next April with a strong spring.
  • The party line is that Skole played first base merely to accommodate Rendon in the AFL, but that seems hard to believe that he’ll go back, given how well he played there and who’s ahead of him on the first-base path to DC (just Bloxom and Marrero). If the knock on his gaudy offensive numbers was that he was playing a level too low, then making him the Senators first baseman can kill two birds with one stone.
  • Martinson started horribly and finished strong. Will it be enough for him to not repeat Potomac? The Zach Walters experience suggests that he’ll sent back but Martinson is much older and played much more High-A ball. Keeping him at Potomac means keeping someone else at Hagerstown, much the way he was made to repeat to make room for Ricky Hague and Walters.
  • Options or not, Perry did not make a strong case to account the hype that he can be the #5 starter for the parent club. He’s likely to stay on the 40-man for now, but don’t be surprised if he’s returned to the bullpen next spring.
  • Demny is a Rule 5 possibility and as much as Rizzo covets hard-throwing righties, the bet here is that he won’t be protected. Demny’s future is in the bullpen and the whispers that the velocity has slipped are other reasons to believe he’ll be exposed.
  • Kimball may still be recovering from injuries, but it’s hard not to see him getting dropped from the 40-man today or tomorrow (if he hasn’t already) in the hopes that he’ll pass through waivers. What we’ll never know is whether that was the plan all along.
  • Barrett came into the AFL with a built-in excuse of inexperience (17 innings of High-A) but instead was used in the 7th and 8th innings and had seven scoreless outings out of ten. Alas, it probably won’t be enough for him to not repeat Potomac in ’13.
  • Next up: A look at the Nationals Rule 5 eligibles.