Apr 202012
 

It’s back! Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues. For the newcomers, this is a ripoff of tribute to comedian Demetri Martin’s segment from his old show on Comedy Central.

And of course, the obligatory caveats: sample sizes are here small, it’s early in the season, minors stats aren’t as meaningful as we think, past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance, etc.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 3-11, 6th place I.L. North, 7½ games behind

Good Tyler Moore .296/.361/.611, 5HR, 14 RBI in 14G
Bad Corey VanAllen 7BB in 7⅔ IP over 5 appearances
Interesting Mitch Atkins 0.75ERA in 1st two starts despite 7BB

HARRISBURG SENATORS 10-5, 1st place E.L. West, ½ game ahead

Good Danny Rosenbaum 2-0, 1.25 ERA, 0.65WHIP in 3 starts
Bad Chris McConnell 0-for-15, 2E since reassignment from AAA
Interesting Jeff Kobernus .403 OBP (.313 in ’11)

POTOMAC NATIONALS 6-6, 2nd place C.L. North Division, 2½ games behind

Good David Freitas .333/.419/.611, 8RBI (tied for team lead)
Bad Justin Bloxom .159/.255/.205, 5E in 12G
Interesting Kyle Winters 17K in 17IP

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 7-8, 4th place Sally League North Divison, 3 games behind

Good Jason Martinson .319/.437/.534, 8SB in 15G
Bad Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez 1.53 WHIP, 8.16 ERA in 3 starts
Interesting Taylor Hill 2-0, 2.45 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 1.93 FIP in 3 appearances
Apr 192012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 6-1
(11 inn.)
vs. Pawtucket,
12:00 p.m.
Duke (1-1, 4.91) vs.
Wilson (1-0, 1.80)
Harrisburg Won, 7-1 @ Trenton,
7:05 p.m.
Ballard (0-1, 5.23) vs.
Romanski (1-0, 5.23)
Potomac Postponed vs. Salem,
7:05 p.m.
Hansen (1-1, 7.88) vs.
Celestino (1-1, 3.60)
Hagerstown Lost, 6-2 vs. Lakewood,
7:05 p.m.
McKenzie (0-1, 10.50) vs.
Kleven (1-1, 2.45)

Pawtucket 6 Syracuse 1 (11 inn.)
• Lannan (ND) 6IP, 6H, R, ER, BB, 2K
• Arnesen 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Brown 1-3, 2BB
• Michaels 1-3, R, 2B, BB

The Chiefs had held the PawSox to just two runs over the previous 22 innings, but the levee broke in the top of the 11th with a five-run implosion as Pawtucket defeated the Chiefs, 6-1. John Lannan finally turned in the kind of start you’d expect from a major-leaguer at AAA, with just a solo HR given up over six innings. The problem is that the Syracuse offense, which was shut out on Tuesday, was just as woeful on Wednesday: Just five hits and five walks over 11 innings. Hassan Pena took the loss, loading the bases on a walk and two singles, and sending in the go-ahead run on a bases-loaded walk. Josh Wilkie nearly escaped the jam with a first-batter strikeout (out #2 of the inning), but then gave up a bases-clearing double to put the game out of reach, and a single to add insult to injury. Bryce Harper went 0-for-5 to drop his season average to .222

Harrisburg 7 Altoona 1
• Rosenbaum 9IP, 4H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 9K, 95-71 B-S
• Pahuta 2-4, 2R, HR, 3RBI
• Rahl 2-4, R, HR, 2RBI
• King 2-4, RBI

Already the most accomplished Nats pitching prospect in the organization, Danny Rosenbaum put another notch on his belt with a four-hit, nine-inning complete game in a 7-1 win over Altoona. The 24-year-old southpaw needed just 95 pitches to do it, pounding the zone with 71 strikes. Can’t say that this surprises me; I’ve seen something like it before. The Senators also gave Rosenbaum plenty of support, with the 4-5-6 batters (Pahuta-Rahl-King) each going 2-for-4, with Pahuta and Rahl smacking back-to-back jacks in the 7th. The Senators finished their first homestand with a 4-3 mark and now hit the road for Trenton and Altoona before returning to City Island next Friday.

Potomac vs. Frederick — PPD
The rains that pelted the DC area yesterday forced the first postponement of the 2012 campaign. The game will be made up with a doubleheader on Tuesday, June 5th, which might be pivotal as last year’s two playoff teams from the Carolina League’s Northern Division were already set for a four-game series. Currently, both are in second place, two and a half games behind Lynchburg. The P-Nats return to Woodbridge tonight for a four-game series against the Salem Red Sox.

Delmarva 6 Hagerstown 2
• Turnbull (L, 0-1) 4⅔ IP, 9H, 6R, 6ER, 2BB, 5K
• Hill 3⅓ IP, 4H, 0R, 0BB, 3K, 1-0 IR-S
• Jimenez 2-4, 2B, 2RBI
• Burns 1-3, R

The Shorebird batters turned into the Lehman Brothers in the middle innings, putting up crooked numbers in three consecutive innings for another 6-2 win over the Suns. Kylin Turnbull took the loss with all six runs charged against him over four and 2/3rds innings, giving up nine hits and two walks. Taylor Hill finished the game with three and 1/3rd scoreless innings. Despite the solid relief, the Hagerstown nine couldn’t mount a late-inning charge and were limited to just six hits and one walk. Hendry Jimenez was the leading batter with a 2-for-4 night, driving in both Suns runs with a third-inning double. The Suns will be back in action tonight at the Muni for a four against the Lakewood BlueClaws.

Dec 022011
 

Fear not, seamheads. The list will be here before the weekend.

The turnout the second time around was a little less — 17 vs. 19 — and lot closer. Twenty different hurlers got a vote, with four named on every ballot. No perfect score this time, which was not a surprise. Without further ado, the results in reverse order with points in parentheses:

10. Rafael Martin (14)
9. Danny Rosenbaum (28)
8. Brad Meyers (44)
7. Robbie Ray (68)
6. Alex Meyer (90)
5. Matt Purke (106)
4. Tommy Milone (110)
3. Sammy Solis (114)
2. A.J. Cole (142)
1. Brad Peacock (166)

Others receiving votes: Kylin Turnbull (13), Wirkin Estevez (11), Taylor Jordan, Josh Smoker, Paul Demny, Taylor Hill, Atahualpa Severino, Marcos Frias, Cole Kimball, Pat Lehman

As you’ve probably already surmised — and the mathmetically inclined, deduced — Peacock, Cole, and Solis were the every-ballot picks; Ray was the fourth. Purke, Milone, and Alex Meyer were named on 16 of 17 ballots. After that, it’s scattershot.

Unlike the bats, I think this list shows our biases, Brad Meyers and Rafael Martin in particular. I called out the votes for Turnbull and Estevez because you can see that just one or two more votes would have put them in the list. I voted for “For The Weekend” because he’s one of the handful of Nats’ teenage pitchers that have pitched north of Viera, but didn’t for Turnbull because he’s thrown less than a 100 innings since H.S. and the guess is that he’ll be used as a reliever not a starter.

Unfortunately, the starter vs. reliever bias is probably hurting Josh Smoker the most, but like favoring youth, it’s prospect prejudice that’s right more often than it’s wrong. I’d have probably voted for Jordan if he’d finished the season at Hagerstown, but fair or not, my inclination is to hold injuries against a pitcher until he proves that he’s healthy. And I write that having had some of the problems (back, hip, knee) that come with the pitcher’s physique without any of the incipient stress (or talent) of actually throwing a baseball.

Have at it in the comments. The winter meetings start next week and finish with the Rule 5 draft. Yesterday, we got a little touch of the hot stove and let’s hope it burns steadily for the next two months.

Nov 022011
 

For some, the memory of the 2011 Harrisburg Senators will not be how the team took first place in late April and won the division, leading nearly wire-to-wire, despite losing its ace pitcher, its all-star second baseman, and its #3 hitter to promotions and a trade. Nope. It will be this and the wondering if things might have turned out differently if that hadn’t happened.

The more painful reality is that probably didn’t make that big of a difference. The Flying Squirrels won 13 of 21 regular-season meetings and just seemed to have the Senators’ number whenever they matched up. They lost eight of their last 11 games, scoring more than two runs just three times, and scored a total of three runs in three playoff games. Simply put: The Senators were cold going into a short series against a team they had trouble with even when they were playing their best baseball.

This is not to dismiss the disappointment — it’s funny to me to see proclamations each September about how winning in the minors is overrated… or underrated, though it does seem to depend on how your organization is doing at the time — but to remind folks that it was quite a journey to get to the playoffs, as one of our contributors first wrote on this site a few weeks ago.

So let’s take a look at how the 2011 Harrisburg team compared to the rest of the Eastern League, shall we?
HITTING

PITCHING

The Senators were 9th in runs scored despite leading the league in home runs. Likewise, they were 11th in on-base percentage but third in stolen bases and triples. It’s an unusual combination, though I think we’re seeing a trend across the organization when it comes to running (GCL, 5th; NYPL, 3rd; Sally, 3rd; Carolina, 1st) and getting on base (6th, 1st, 3rd, 3rd). Unfortunately, the closest player to possessing both skills is Steve Lombardozzi, so the folks reading this site looking for the answer to the problem with Ian Desmond at leadoff might be disappointed.

Pitching was this team’s strength, as they were first in strikeouts and WHIP, second in ERA, walks and HRs allowed, third in runs allowed. The defense wasn’t so bad either, finishing fifth in terms of percentage and seventh in terms of errors committed, and second in terms of stolen bases allowed. Admittedly, some of this can be chalked up to the veteran nature of the pitching staff (e.g. Erik Arnesen, Oliver Perez), but it should be noted that 24-year-olds (the league average age) accounted for 31.5% of the innings thrown and 62 of the 142 games started. Until the likes of Wirkin Estevez, A.J. Cole and Robbie Ray come to town, an older pitching staff is probably going to be the norm for the forseeable future.

Now, let’s drill down to the Top 16′s for the batters and pitchers — an expansion from the Top 12′s so as to include notables such as Bryce Harper and Erik Komatsu as well as Danny Rosenbaum and Pat Lehman. Full statistics for the team can be found here.

Now when I say that we’re hurting for age-appropriate position prospects at AA and AAA will folks believe me? Just six of the Top 16 batters were 24 or younger. This is why when I see folks elsewhere chiming that the farm has been rebuilt, intimating the job is complete, I cringe. It’s true that three of those six are likely to be in DC by Opening Day 2013, but need I remind folks that unfortunate incidents occasionally occur?

Age aside, you can see from the totals that the team compensated for its low OBP with some serious slugging (.316 ISO for Dolla?!) while nearly everybody was a decent fielder and/or had above-average speed — perfect complements to the aforementioned veteran pitching.

Lastly, in case anyone was wondering… 18-year-old Bryce Harper “struggled” to only reach the league averages for the triple-slash rate stats, hitting it on the nose for OBP and SLG, and missing BA by .003. I’m not prone to fanboy one-handed typing, but that’s pretty damn impressive.
Quite a few extremes, no? That’s part of the reason I like to drill down to the individual stats: Because the guys that were good, were really good — offsetting the guys that weren’t up to snuff, though one thing I did notice is that nearly all of the high ERA guys had significantly lower FIPs (e.g. Ryan Tatusko, 5.94 ERA, 3.97 FIP), which make sense with a team that’s in the upper half of the league in terms of defense.

Like the hitters, one gets the feeling that Washington is building the uppermost levels of the farm to be interchangeable between AA and AAA, creating an environment in which prospects bubble up to the bigs while surrounded by veterans. That’s just what jumps at me when I look at this list of guys that seemed to be either 24 or 27. Of course, that inference could be drawn into a comic like this.

OBLIGATORY TOP FOUR LISTS
That’s no typo. I just can’t pick a #5 for either the batters or the pitchers with a straight face. I’m already including a couple of guys that may be voting for president next year for the third time. Pat McCoy, Stephen King, Erik Komatsu, Tanner Roark are the requisite ages, but none really had that good of a season. I’m already sure that next week it’ll be a Top 5 for the entire Syracuse team (that’s what I did last year), but I felt like doing that here and now might be misconstrued. This is what I mean when I say that the rebuilding job is not complete: There simply aren’t 10 guys at the so-called marquee level of prospects that fit the bill.

Batters
1. Bryce Harper
2. Derek Norris
3. Steve Lombardozzi
4. Tyler Moore

Pitchers
1. Brad Peacock
2. Danny Rosenbaum
3. Brad Meyers
4. Pat Lehman

Oct 262011
 

There are some parallels to the 2010 season and the 2011 season for the Potomac Nationals. Both teams started slowly…VERY slowly, getting into offensive funks that saw both teams get shut out seven times. The 2010 edition finished the first half at 31-39, ten games behind Frederick; the ’11 guys were 29-40 and twelve games behind the Keys at the break.

Given that the core of the team was the 2010 Hagerstown Suns that faded fast in the second half, it was natural to think that a second-half rally was unlikely, particularly since it seemed rather unlikely that much come in the way of reinforcements. The whispers that Bryce Harper would skip the level turned out to be true, but what the team really needed at that point was pitching.

Oddly enough, both the hitting and the pitching did improve in the second half with basically just one starter (Solis) and one reliever (Holland) added to the mix. But while 2010 was largely the hitting getting much better down the stretch, the story of the 2011 second half was the stabilizing of the pitching. Essentially, it went from league worst (5.01 team ERA on June 1st) to slightly higher than league average (3.79 vs. 3.77) the rest of the way.

Coupled with an improved offense (4.00 R/G before July 1, 4.44 after), the P-Nats turned in a 39-31 second half that became good enough to win second-half Northern Division title when the Keys lost the last three regular-season games (and eight of the last ten). Thanks to league bylaws, Frederick’s 39-31 mark down the stretch still earned them the home-field advantage in the first round of the Mills Cup playoffs. That turned out to be the difference as the Keys beat the P-Nats 3-2 for the fifth game and 3-2 for the series to send Potomac packing and end any hopes of defending the 2010 title.

So let’s take a look at how the 2011 edition stacked up against the rest of Carolina League…
HITTING

PITCHING

Having watched these guys day in and day out, I was bit surprised to see that the team finished third in walks drawn — in my mind, there were only a handful of players that seemed willing to take the walk, and too many that weren’t. But those that did walk, walked a lot (Francisco Soriano and Steve Souza were 2nd and 3rd in walk rate for players with 200+ PA in the Carolina League).

That 215 steals led the league by 63 and was the most by the team in its affiliation with Washington and the most in the league since the 2008 Wilmington Blue Rocks. They were only caught 66 times, which works out to an efficiency rate of 76.5 percent. Yes, Eury Perez and Jeff Kobernus accounted for the bulk of it (88 steals combined) but even big men such as Souza (25) and Destin Hood (21) stole 20+ bases. The thievery helped offset the team’s lack of doubles, but otherwise, this squad was mostly right around league averages. Not bad when you consider the position players were the second-youngest in the league.

As aforementioned, the pitching went from horrid early to serviceable late. They still finished last in nearly every rate or total statistic, but let’s not forget that the Carolina League tends to be a pitcher’s league despite the launching pads in Frederick and the Salems. For those that may have missed it or were wondering, the Pfitz usually comes out neutral in ballpark-effect studies.

You can argue over how much of it came from reshuffling the deck and removing failed starters from the rotation (Mitchell Clegg, Marcos Frias, Trevor Holder) or how the unsung work of swingmen (Adam Olbrychowski, Evan Bronson) filled in the gaps, or how the team’s top two starters improved over the course of the season — one steadily (Danny Rosenbaum), the other in fits (Paul Demny) — but the bottom line: it did get better.

Now, in our little dance, we take a look at the Top 12′s for the batters and pitchers in terms of PAs and IPs.
Full statistics for the team can be found here. (* 2009 Draft Pick, ** DSL Graduate).

I chose to highlight the ’09 picks and DSL grads to illustrate the counterpoint to drafting ‘em young: It takes time. In this subset, there are four ’08 picks (Hood, Higley, Lozada, and Ramirez) and fifth that was traded for (Dykstra). Only one 2010 position-player draft pick saw playing time, and that was four games before his shoulder went out (Rick Hague) — two, if you want to count Zach Walters.

What I personally like about High-A is that it’s the true litmus test for a prospect. I’ve seen varying percentages that break down once a prospect plays at level X, his chances of ever playing in MLB are now Y, but almost all of them jump from single digits to double digits when it comes to High-A vs. AA. Anecdotally, I can tell you that this where many players stall: The bridge over the Susquehannah in Harrisburg may as well be the bridge over the Rhine in Arnhem, so to speak. Seems like every April I fill in the lineups and think to myself “This guy is still here?” — and the thought occurs on both sides of the scorebook.

So while some folks have expressed great dismay over the lack of development of some guys, it bears repeating that this happens all the time. And in my mind, that disappointment is offset by guys breaking out (Hood) and/or shaking off the proverbial primates (Kobernus). Not to mention my personal favorite: seeing a pitcher start to “get it.”

How’s that for a segue?
Just to expand upon what I wrote earlier, Olbrychowski was terrible as a reliever but found his groove as a starter (5.63 vs. 3.71 ERA) and the reverse was true for Frias (1.67 vs. 5.06). Bronson was actually better as a reliever when you look at the season as a whole, but unlike Olbrychowski and Frias, kept bouncing between roles (and levels) until he was given a spot in the rotation in mid-August and turned in quality starts in two of his four starts down the stretch.

Demny, as aforementioned, improved over the course of the season but take a look at the ERAs by month:
April – 2.08, May – 6.93, June – 2.55, July – 8.42, Aug/Sep – 2.72. He’s young (22 in August), throws hard (~93-95), and durable (100+ IP the past three seasons). Clearly, he made his adjustments and the league adjusted back, but you have to like that he was able to rebound not once but twice from rough patches of pitching.

OBLIGATORY TOP 5 LISTS
The upside to rating Potomac is that I’ve seen these guys the most. The downside to rating Potomac is that I’ve seen these guys so much. Looking over last year’s season review I can see that invariably, I’m either going to overvalue some guys as a fan (e.g. Chris Curran), and undervalue others in an effort to overcompensate for being a fan (e.g. Tyler Moore last year). So bear that in mind as I fire from the hip and make the lists that folks love so much…

Batters
1. Destin Hood
2. Jeff Kobernus
3. Eury Perez
4. Steve Souza
5. Justin Bloxom
HM: Zach Walters

Pitchers
1. Danny Rosenbaum
2. Sammy Solis
3. Paul Demny
4. Josh Smoker
5. Marcos Frias

Aug 192011
 

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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 55-67, 4th place I.L. North, 14½ games behind

Good Steve Lombardozzi .322/.365/.441
Bad Atahualpa Severino 20BB in 26⅔ IP
Interesting J.D. Martin 2.90 ERA, 1HR in 31 IP as reliever; 4.71, 15 in 63 IP as a starter

HARRISBURG SENATORS 70-54, 1st place E.L. West, 2 games ahead

Good Danny Rosenbaum 2-0, 1.40 ERA in first three AA starts
Bad Stephen King .167 BA in August
Interesting Tim Pahuta .302/.318/.442 in August

POTOMAC NATIONALS 28-25, 2nd place C.L. North Division, 5 games behind (57-65 overall)

Good Marcos Frias 1.73 ERA, 0.92 WHIP since All-Star Break (18 appearances)
Bad Zach Walters .196/.233/.232, 2E in 15G
Interesting Adam Olbrychowski 5.63 ERA as a reliever, 3.88 as a starter

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 29-23, 2nd place Sally League North Divison, 2 games behind (69-53 overall)

Good Matt Swynenberg 2-0, 1.74 ERA, 0.97 WHIP in August
Bad Justino Cuevas .179/.265/.321 since return from GCL
Interesting Ryan Demmin 2.20 ERA, 1.07 WHIP since callup from Auburn

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 34-23, 1st place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, ½ game ahead

Good Hendry Jimenez .487 SLG, 7th best in NYPL
Bad Nathan Karns 1.94 WHIP
Interesting Christian Garcia 17K in 9⅓ IP

GCL NATIONALS 18-30, 4th place GCL East, 18 games behind (Eliminated)

Good Bobby Lucas 1.69 ERA in 21⅓ IP over 11G
Bad Deion Williams .163/.210/.163 in 98AB
Interesting Silvio Medina 36K to 9BB in 32⅓ IP

DSL NATIONALS 32-35, 6th place, Boca Chica South Division, 12½ games behind (Eliminated)

Good Adderling Ruiz (20 y.o.) .350/.427/.485
Bad Felix Moscat (20 y.o.) 0-3, 12.79 ERA in August
Interesting Diomedes Eusebio (18 y.o.) 6HR, 21E in 57G
Jul 312011
 

The good news is that the Potomac Nationals figured out a way to beat the Frederick Keys. After losing 6-2 last night and 4-0 on Friday, this afternoon’s 5-2 win over Frederick prevented a three-game sweep and kept the P-Nats within striking distance for the second-half title.

The bad news is that they’re going to have to do it with Danny Rosenbaum. Or at least, they should have to do without him.

That’s because the 23-year-old has shown that he’s ready for the next level. After a rocky first inning — two runs on three hits and a walk — Rosenbaum did more than just settle down. He no-hit the Keys for the next seven innings, allowing just two baserunners (hit by pitch in the 3rd, walk in the 4th) while finishing with a season-high 11 strikeouts.

The curve has been an unreliable weapon for Rosenbaum in 2011, but this afternoon, he had it working. Seven of the 11Ks were called third strikes, including veterans with AA experience like Miguel Abreu and Dale Mollenhauer. Considering that this is the fourth straight start where he’s fanned seven or more while going eight, nine, six and eight innings, it’s both safe and fair to say that he has earned the chance to test his mettle at the next level.

Potomac would erase the 2-0 Frederick lead in the 2nd with three runs on three hits, with a two-run shot by Sandy Leon tying the game and Francisco Soriano’s two-out, bases-loaded walk scoring the go-ahead run.

The five-run output would seem to indicate an improvement from the night before, but the P-Nats were only slightly better with runners in scoring position: 2-for-10 vs. 2-for-12 and actually left on one more baserunner. It’s tempting to chalk that up to walks because they played a part in the three-run 2nd, but the Keys pitchers actually walked two fewer today than yesterday.

Potomac would strand five base runners from the 3rd to the 6th inning before breaking through in the 7th. Destin Hood stroked an opposite field single to right and stole second. After Justin Bloxom flew out, Steve Souza tapped to the mound and Hood got caught in a rundown between second and third. Souza aggressively took second to set up Sandy Leon for another RBI chance and the backstop delivered with a single to right to extend the lead to 4-2.

Jose Lozada doubled and came around to score in the bottom of the 8th when Hood redeemed his baserunning gaffe with an RBI single to center for the fifth and final Potomac run. Hector Nelo came on to pitch the 9th, allowing a one-out single but getting the three outs necessary for his 14th save.

With the win, Potomac returns to a three-game deficit behind Frederick with a 21-15 mark in the second half. They return to action on Tuesday against the Salem Red Sox, with newly acquired SS Zach Walters expected to join the team.

UPDATE: A reliable source tells me that Rosenbaum has been promoted to Harrisburg, swapping places with Erik Davis on the Senators roster. Will have a separate post when the move is officially announced.

Jul 162011
 

Behind a pair of Francisco Soriano two-run HRs and eight strong innings from Danny Rosenbaum, the Potomac Nationals returned to action with a 4-3 win on Friday night.

Enjoy this while it lasts because if history serves, Rosenbaum’s time in Woodbridge may be coming to an end.

One of the most common questions* is when will Player X get promoted. For position players, I keep telling folks, the new world order is that it’s a level a year below AA. Pitchers are the most likely to get in-season moves. Tonight, Brad Peacock makes his first AAA start. Next week, Nathan Karns will be likely to start for the first time north of Florida. *Answerable; I know nothing about incriminating pictures or information that’s keeping a given player active or on the 40-man roster.

With his one-year anniversary of his high-A debut coming next week, Rosenbaum’s AA debut could be on deck in the next three or four weeks. He certainly made the case with his performance: eight innings pitched, a season-high eight strikeouts and eleven groundball outs. His fastball command was a little shaky but hitters couldn’t touch his changeup, as several times he was able to fool them with it on back-to-back pitches.

Walks have been his bugaboo this year — something I believe has come with a jump in his top velocity from the high 80s to the low 90s — and though he walked just one, wouldn’t it figure that the lone walk would lead to the lone run? It came in the fourth inning with one out and was followed by a single that pushed the runner to third. Eury Perez snagged the flyout in medium center, waving off J.R. Higley and launched missile to home plate… just up the line enough for the runner to score.

The sacrifice fly was the first of five straight batters retired before a leadoff single in the sixth. That would be the last Indian to reach base against Rosenbaum, who retired the last eight batters he faced, including a 6-4-3 double to erase that single.

Not to bury poor Francisco Soriano, who was the story on offense. It’s one thing to hit two home runs in a game, it’s quite another to do it from both sides of the plate. Soriano drove in all four runs for Potomac, including a shot off the LF foul pole in the 7th to put the P-Nats up 4-1. As P-Nats broadcaster Will Flemming tweeted last night, his four HR in 41 games this year matches the four HR he had hit in the 245 games he had played previously.

The 4-3 final correctly suggests that Hector Nelo was less than stellar in the ninth. He walked the leadoff batter and his deliberate delivery enabled not one but two Kinston baserunners to steal against Sandy Leon (55% CS rate). An error “helped” make one of the two runs unearned with the runs coming in on single over Jeff Kobernus into right-center and groundout to Kobernus for the second out. Soriano gunned down the last batter with the tying run at third to end it.

The win improves Potomac to 12-8 for the second half, still a ½-game ahead of the first-half winner Frederick in the Carolina League’s Northern Division. Sammy Solis (2-0, 2.08) makes his second Pfitz start in the opener of tonight’s doubleheader against Kinston, with Evan Bronson (2-3, 3.77) pitching the nightcap.

Jul 012011
 

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

SYRACUSE 33-45, 5th place I.L. North, 12 games behind

Good Ross Detwiler 3-1, 2.45 ERA, 1.06WHIP in June
Bad Jeff Frazier .182/.248/.311 in 68G
Interesting Jesus Valdez .286/.333/.441 in 43G

HARRISBURG 45-32, 1st place E.L. West Division, 4 games ahead

Good Bill Rhinehart .294 GPA, .894OPS
Bad Erik Davis 30BB in 62⅔ IP
Interesting Shairon Martis 5-3, 2.37ERA in last 10 starts

POTOMAC 4-4, T1st place C.L. North Division, 1 game ahead (33-44, overall)

Good Danny Rosenbaum 2-0, 1.63 ERA, 1.08WHIP in June
Bad Eury Perez .243/.254/.288 in June; .333/.337/.409 in May
Interesting Sandy Leon .307/.350/.387 in June; .165/.214/.203 in May

HAGERSTOWN 5-3, T1st place Sally League Northern Division, 1 game ahead (45-33 overall)

Good Kevin Keyes .306, 7HR, 16RBI in June
Bad Ben Graham 2-2, 5.54ERA, 1.69WHIP in June
Interesting Cole Leonida .385OBP in 27G as backup C

AUBURN 8-6, T2nd place, Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 2 games behind

Good Ryan Demmin 3-0, 1.69ERA, 0.94WHIP in three starts
Bad Rick Hughes .154/.195/.231 in 9G
Interesting Hendry Jimenez, Russell Moldenhauer, Matt Skole – each with an 11G hit streak

GCL NATIONALS 5-4, T2nd place, GCL East, ½ game back

Good Nathan Karns 3G – 9┼ IP, 2H, 0R, 3BB, 14K
Bad Pedro Severino .087/.125/.130 in 23AB
Interesting Wander Ramos .314/.415/.714 in 35AB

DSL NATIONALS 12-16, 6th place, Boca Chica South Division of Dominican Summer League, 6½ games behind

Good Gilberto Mendez (Age 18) 2-0, 1.88ERA, 1.25WHIP, 24K in 24IP
Bad Wilman Rodriguez (Age 19) .132/.277/.170 in 53AB
Interesting Ivan Pineyro (Age 19) 38K in 27⅔ IP
May 132011
 

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

SYRACUSE 12-21, 6th place I.L. North, 7 games behind

Good Tug Hulett .288/.373/.404 in 15G
Bad Alex Valdez .145/.234/.290 in 25G
Interesting Jeff Mandel 0.65WHIP in 5G

HARRISBURG 16-17, 3rd place E.L. West Division, 1½ games behind

Good Archie Gilbert .324/.400/.765 in last 10G
Bad Jimmy Barthmaier 2.07WHIP in 18.1 IP
Interesting Chris Rahl .333BA in 17G

POTOMAC 12-20, 4th place C.L. North Division, six games behind

Good Danny Rosenbaum 1.16WHIP, 1.98ERA
Bad Cutter Dykstra .473OPS
Interesting Evan Bronson 1.42ERA in 3G

HAGERSTOWN 22-12, 2nd place Sally League Northern Division, .009 W% behind

Good Bryce Harper .395/.473/.702
Bad Chris McKenzie 10.23ERA, 2.14WHIP
Interesting David Freitas .286/.395/.467, 25RBI in 30G