Apr 092012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probables (’11 #s at Level)
Syracuse Lost, 10-0 vs. Scranton/WB,
6:00
Zach Duke (1-0, 8.44) vs.
Adam Warren (6-8, 3.60)
Harrisburg Won, 5-2 @ New Britain,
6:35 p.m.
Mike Ballard (8-3, 3.33) vs.
Alex Wimmers (2-3, 4.20 @ A+)
Potomac Lost, 3-2 OFF DAY n/a
Hagerstown Won, 8-6 vs. Lexington,
7:05 p.m.
Chris McKenzie (4-7, 6.97) vs.
Kyle Hallock (3-4, 2.63 @ NYPL)

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 10 Syracuse 0
• Lannan (L, 0-1) 2IP, 6H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, 1K, 0HR
• Arnesen 4IP, 4H, 0R, 3BB, 0K
• Martin ⅔ IP, 5H, 5R, 5ER, 1BB, 0K, 0HR
• Teahen 1-3
• Brown 0-2, 2BB

John Lannan did not make his case for being traded, instead getting pounded for five runs over two innings. Meanwhile, the Syracuse bats were held silent by the Yankees #16 prospect, D.J. Mitchell, and two veteran relievers. Mark Teahen’s fifth-inning single was the sole base hit for the Chiefs, who managed just six total baserunners. Erik Arnesen was solid in relief, throwing four scoreless innings, but Rafael Martin was not, giving up five hits and a walk over two-thirds of an inning as the Yankees doubled up their 5-0 lead to the eventual 10-0 final in the 7th. Bryce Harper’s defensive struggles continued with a fielding error and an offline throw that enabled a runner to move up.

Harrisburg 5 Bowie 2
• Rosenbaum (W, 1-0) 6IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 1K, 1HR
• Lehman (SV, 2) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Perez 2-4, R, 3B, BB, RBI
• Kobernus 1-3, R, BB, SB (5)

Danny Rosenbaum turned in a quality start for his first win of the season, allowing just a run on four hits and no walks over six innings. Rehabbing Michael Morse drove in the first three Harrisburg runs on an RBI groundout and a two-run double while Eury Perez led the rest of the lineup with a single, triple, walk and a run scored. Jeff Kobernus had his mutlihit game streak snapped with a mere 1-for-3 effort and his 5th stolen base in four games. Pat Lehman notched his second save with a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out the last two batters he faced. Harrisburg heads up I-95 to visit the New Britain Rockcats for three games before returning to Metro Bank Park on Thursday for the home opener.

Lynchburg 3, Potomac 2
• Oblrychowski (L, 0-1) 5IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 1K, 1HR
• Wort 2IP, 1H, 0R, 1BB, 1K
• Skelton 2-3, 2RBI
• W. Moore 1-3, R, 2B

Make that three straight losses for Potomac, as the P-Nats could only muster six hits against the Hillcats in a 3-2 loss. Adam Olbrychowski took the loss, giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks over five innings, including a two-run shot in the bottom of the first. Veteran backstop James Skelton paced the offense with a two-out, two-run single in the top of the 2nd and went 2-for-3 overall. Monday is an off day as the P-Nats head south to Myrtle Beach for three games before heading back to Woodbridge for the home opener on Friday night.

Hagerstown 8 West Virginia 6
• Turnbull (ND) 4IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 1K
• Hill (W, 1-0) 4⅓ IP 5H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 1K
• Meza (SV, 1) ⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Goodwin 2-5, HR, 3RBI, E (2)
• Martinson 1-3, 2R, 2BB, 3SB (5)
• Skole 1-2, R, 2B, 2RBI, 2BB

Kylin Turnbull didn’t fare so well in his pro debut, giving up three runs on five hits with no walks and just one strikeout, but a pair of three-run rallies gave him the no-decision as the Suns held off a late Power surge for an 8-6 victory and a 3-1 series win. Brian Goodwin connected for a three-run shot in the bottom of the third, taking the sting off his second error in four games. Jason Martinson stole third twice and second once to push his total to five steals in four games. Taylor Hill got the win in long relief, tiring in the 9th as West Virginia rallied for two runs before southpaw Christian Meza got the last two outs for his first save of 2012.

Apr 082012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probables (’11 #s at Level)
Syracuse Lost, 3-1 vs. Scranton/WB,
5:00 p.m.
John Lannan (10-13, 3.70 @ MLB) vs.
D.J. Mitchell (13-9, 3.18)
Harrisburg Won, 13-3 @ Bowie,
2:05 p.m.
Danny Rosenbaum (3-1, 2.29) vs.
Cole McCurry (4-0, 0.80)
Potomac Lost, 7-2 @ Lynchburg,
2:05 p.m.
Adam Olbrychowski (5-7, 4.16 @ A+) vs.
J.R. Graham (5-2, 1.72 @ Adv. Rk.)
Hagerstown Won, 4-3 vs. West Virginia,
1:05 p.m.
Kylin Turnbull (pro debut) vs.
Zach Fuesser (3-6, 3.74)

Syracuse 4 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 0
• Maya (W, 1-0) 6IP, 4H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Bibens-Dirkx (SV, 1) 3IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 4K
• Moore 3-4, R, RBI
• Bynum 1-4, R, HR, BB, RBI
• Harper 1-3, BB, K

Yunesky Maya and Austin Bibens-Dirkx combined on a six-hit shutout while every Chief in the lineup got a hit, as the Chiefs won their first game, 4-0. Tyler Moore led the 11-hit effort with a 3-for-4 game, while Seth Bynum homered. Bryce Harper shifted to RF for the game, with Corey Brown manning CF.

Harrisburg 13 Bowie 3
• Mandel (ND) 5⅔ IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, BB, K, HR
• Nelo 1⅔ 0H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Perez 3-6, R, RBI
• Johnson 2-5, R, 3B, 3RBI
• Lozada 2-5, 2R, 2RBI

My first in-person game of 2012 was a Saturday Afternoon In Bowie.

Lynchburg 7 Potomac 2
• Hansen (L, 0-1) 2IP, 5H, 4R, 3ER, 2BB, 0K, HR
• Applebee 3IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Nicol 2-2, 2RBI
• Rendon 1-1, 2B, BB

The pain of losing a second straight game pales in comparison to the possibility of losing Anthony Rendon to a leg injury for an extended period of time. Multiple online reports are stating that it was his left leg (he has fractured his right ankle twice), but Nationals officials are mum on the severity. Rendon slipped after rounding third, attempting to score on a Justin Blxom single. He had doubled toe lead off the inning and was attempting to score with just one out. Sean Nicol filled in admirably, going 2-for-2 and driving in both Potomac runs. Bobby Hansen took the loss, giving up a pair of runs in the first two innings on five hits (one HR) and two walks.

Hagerstown 4 West Virginia 3
• Meyer (W, 1-0) 5IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Barrett (SV, 1) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Skole 3-4, R, RBI
• Martinson 2-3, R, BB, RBI

Alex Meyer threw five shutout innings, allowing just two hits and no walks while fanning four to win his professional debut. Matt Skole and Jason Martinson combined for five of the Suns seven hits and each drove in a run. Hendry Jimenez made two costly errors in errors in the eighth, giving away the third Power run but also turned a double play to end the inning, helping Aaron Barrett notch his first save of the 2012 campaign.

Apr 072012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 3-1 vs. Scranton/WB,
4:00 p.m.
Yunesky Maya (4-9, 5.00) vs.
Manny Banuelos (2-2, 4.19)
Harrisburg Won, 5-2 @ Bowie,
2:05 p.m.
Jeff Mandel (0-0, 2.25) vs.
Jacob Pettit (7-0, 1.62 @ A+)
Potomac Lost, 9-3 @ Lynchburg,
6:05 p.m.
Bobby Hansen (5-1, 4.10 @ A) vs.
Ronan Pacheco (5-9, 5.00 @ A)
Hagerstown Lost, 5-3 vs. West Virginia,
7:05 p.m.
Alex Meyer (pro debut) vs.
Matt Benedict (5-3, 3.79 @ SS-A)

Rochester 3 Syracuse 1
• Roark (L, 0-1) 6IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 3K
• Severino ⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K, 2-0 IR-S
• Brown 3-4, R, 3B,
• Bynum 2-4, 2B, RBI
• Moore 0-4, 2K, 2GIDP

The clutch hit eluded the Syracuse batters, as they stranded seven runners and hit into three double plays as the Chiefs dropped their second straight, 3-1. Tanner Roark turned in six strong innings in his AAA debut, allowing just a run on three hits and three walks. Corey Brown went 3-for-4 and scored the only run as he tripled and Seth Bynum doubled with two outs in the 8th. Bryce Harper went 0-for-3 in his first three ABs against LHP Scott Diamond before singling to lead off the 9th.

Harrisburg 5 Bowie 2
• Demny (ND) 4IP, 5H, 0R, 3BB, 3K
• Lehman (SV, 1) 1IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Kobernus 2-5, R, SB
• Perez 2-5, R, SB, RBI
• Rahl 1-2, RBI

Rick Ankiel and Michael Morse both homered in a 5-2 win over the Baysox. Eury Perez and Jeff Kobernus both went 2-for-5 with a steal, but the clutch hit was few and far between as the Sens were just 2-for-12 with RISP. Paul Demny labored through four innings, throwing 84 pitches. Erik Davis got the win in relief but was touched for a two-run HR. For the second game in row, Chris Rahl got an RBI in the 9th, giving Pat Lehman plenty of cushion for his first save of the year.

Lynchburg 9, Potomac 3

• Winters (L, 0-1) 5IP, 6H, 5R, 5ER, BB, 4K, 2HR
• Freitas 1-3, R, HR, 3RBI, SF
• Rendon 1-3, R, 3B, BB

A three-run 5th by the Hillcats, with three extra-base hits (double, homer, triple) busted open a 2-1 game as Lynchburg pounded Potomac, 9-3 in the season opener. David Freitas drove in all three P-Nat runs, hitting a sac fly in the 4th, an RBI groundout in the 7th, and a solo shot in the 9th. Anthony Rendon tripled and scored in his regular-season debut. Kyle Winters took the loss, allowing five runs on six hits (including two home runs) over five innings while walking one and striking out four.

West Virginia 5 Hagerstown 3
• Dupra (L, 0-1) 3⅓ IP, 6H, 4R, 3ER, 2BB, 2K
• Karns 4IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 6K
• Goodwin 0-1, 4BB, SB
• Skole 0-3, 2BB, RBI
• Ramirez 0-3, BB, RBI

Hagerstown had more errors than hits… or runs, losing to West Virginia, 5-3. The Suns actually led the game 3-0 early, scoring twice in the first and once in the second without a base hit or an error as the Power throwers walked five, hit a batter, and unleashed three wild pitches in the first two innings. The Suns would draw 10 walks overall (four by leadoff man Brian Goodwin), but with just two bases-empty singles in the 6th and 8th, Hagerstown would lay eight goose eggs on the scoreboard the rest of the way. Starter Brian Dupra got knocked from the box in the fourth as the Power scored three times to take a 4-3 lead. Todd Simko stranded two runners and gave way to Nathan Karns, who gave up a run over the last four innings but struck out six and walked none — the only pitcher to do so on either team.
UPDATE: My man in Hagerstown wrote about the first inning in “A night with Nuke..Err Stetson Allie”

Apr 062012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 7-4 vs. Rochester,
4:05 p.m.
Tanner Roark (9-9, 4.69 @ AA) vs.
Scott Diamond (4-14, 5.56)
Harrisburg Lost, 4-2 @ Bowie,
7:05 p.m.
Paul Demny (10-10, 4.32 @ A+) vs.
Robert Bundy (1-3, 9.60)
Potomac OFF DAY @ Lynchburg,
6:05 p.m.
Kyle Winters (8-3, 4.10 @ A-) vs.
Gus Schlosser (2-0, 1.82 @ A-)
Hagerstown Won, 11-9 vs. West Virginia,
7:05 p.m.
Brian Dupra (4-4, 3.46 @ A-) vs.
Stetson Allie (0-2, 6.58 @ A-)

Rochester 7 Syracuse 4
• Atkins (L, 0-1) 5IP, 4H, 1R, 0ER, 5BB, 6K
• VanAllen 1IP, 4H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, 0K, HR
• Harper 2-4, 2B, SB, K
• Paul 1-3, 2B, BB, 2RBI

Bryce Harper did not disappoint in his AAA debut, singling, doubling, and stealing a base while playing error-free CF, but the Syracuse firemen were torched for six runs, including five runs in the 7th as the Chiefs fell to the Redwings, 7-4. Starter Mitch Atkins struggled with his control, but managed to give up just one unearned run over five innings despite issuing five free passes. The Chiefs plated all four runs in the 7th, aided by an error for the first run, an RBI single by Seth Bynum for the second tally, and a two-run double by Xavier Paul to finish the scoring.

Bowie 4 Harrisburg 2
• Gilliam (L, 0-1) 5IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 4k, HR
• Frias 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Kobernus 2-4, 2SB
• Johnson 1-2, R, 2B, BB

Despite having both Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel in the lineup on rehab assignments, the Harrisburg Senators could only muster six hits and fell to the Bowie Baysox, 4-2. Jeff Kobernus led the Sens with four bases: two singles, and two swipes of second. The MLBers were a combined 0-for-5 with a walk and two strikeouts. As a team, Harrisburg went just 1-for-8 with RISP and left six runners on base.

Hagerstown 11 West Virginia 9
• Estevez (ND) 4IP, 9H, 6R, 6ER, 0BB, 3K, 0HR
• Meza (W, 1-0) 2IP, 3H, 0R, BB, K
• Kreis (SV, 1) 1IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Goodwin 2-4, 2R, HR, BB, 4RBI, OF assist at 3B
• Skole 2-5, 2B, 3RBI

It was a slugfest at the Muni, with the Suns putting up three crooked numbers and 16 hits total, shorting the West Virginia Power, 11-9. Brian Goodwin led the hit parade with a 2-for-4 night, including a two-run homer in the three-run sixth that tied the game at 9-9. He also gunned down a runner at third. Wirkin “For The Weekend” couldn’t hold an early 6-1 lead, giving up runs in three of his four innings pitched. Christian Meza got the win in relief while Alex Kreis pitched around two singles in the ninth to earn the save.

Apr 052012
 

Filing from the remote office in Chicopee, MA… it’s the day we’ve all been waiting for: Opening Day!

Three of the four full-season affiliates start up today, with Syracuse hosting Rochester this afternoon, Harrisburg visiting Bowie, and Hagerstown hosting West Virginia.

Team Today’s Game Pitching Matchup (’11 Stats at Level)
Syracuse vs. Rochester,
2:00 p.m.
Mitch Atkins (3-7, 5.44) vs.
P.J. Walters (8-7, 5.17)
Harrisburg @ Bowie,
7:05 p.m.
Robert Gilliam (12-7, 5.04 in Cal. Lg.) vs. TBD
Hagerstown vs. West Virginia,
7:05 p.m.
Wirkin Estevez (6-3, 4.01 in NYPL) vs.
Nicholas Kingham (6-2, 2.15 in in NYPL)

A reminder from last year: The order in which the starters begin is not an indication of #1, #2, etc. but how the organization wants to align starters in the minors when it comes time for promotions. This is even more important to keep in mind with the notable names in XST. I think a look at the first starters illustrates this point.

Mitch Atkins is the listed starter for Syracuse per MiLB.com, as many of may have heard that John Lannan was supposed to start but has been shifted from today to Sunday. Robert Gilliam, a.k.a. the Other Guy We Got From Oakland, is scheduled for Harrisburg. Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez is slated for Hagerstown. Kyle Winters appears to be getting the assignment for Potomac tomorrow night.

None of these guys would be considered the ace of the staff in the traditional sense. But this isn’t “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain,” either. We all like results, but the goal is getting the work in and making progress. Some guys are going to be on pitch counts, for example, so keep that in mind before asking why did so-and-so only go five innings.

News & Notes starts back up tomorrow, and perhaps this afternoon we’ll find out the last of the spring releases.

Apr 032012
 

Okay, so it’s not Bryce Harper, but the second of the four full-season rosters to be announced ain’t too shabby. In terms of the watchlist, that’s 15 of the remaining 65 players. In terms of the draft, it’s nine 2011 picks.

Naturally, expectations will be high for this group, as they’re the bulk of the 2011 Auburn Doubledays — winners of the N.Y.-Penn League’s Pinckney Division and runners-up for the championship.

As noted earlier today, the “pushdown” continues with OF J.P. Ramirez and IF Cutter Dykstra dropping down from Potomac and five others repeating from last season.

Without further ado…

PITCHERS
Aaron Barrett
Brian Dupra
Wirkin Estevez
Taylor Hill
Greg Holt
Nathan Karns
Alex Kreis
Bobby Lucas
Christopher McKenzie
Alex Meyer
Christian Meza
Todd Simko
Kylin Turnbull

CATCHERS
Cole Leonida
Adrian Nieto

INFIELDERS
Cutter Dykstra
Jason Martinson
Justin Miller
Brett Newsome
Bryce Ortega
Matt Skole

OUTFIELDERS
Brian Goodwin
Angelbirth Montilla
Caleb Ramsey
J.P. Ramirez

According to the press release on the team site, the starting five will be Meyer, McKenzie, Estevez, Dupra, and Turnbull, which, if true, could signal the predicted conversion of Karns to closer.

The presence of 1Bs Miller and Newsome is most likely a sign that Skole will remain at third base, with Martinson and Ortega likely to fill the middle infield.

Caleb Ramsey, Brian Goodwin and Angel Montilla are most likely to man the OF from LF to CF to RF, respectively, but it will be interesting to see how the Ramirez and Dykstra are used defensively, if at all; both were often used at DH in Potomac.

Finally, the catching tandem of Nieto and Leonida are both back, and both likely to return to their last-season roles of starting and backup catcher.

Hagerstown opens at home with a four-game set against the West Virginia, followed by a three-game series against the Lexington Legends.

Dec 182011
 

It’s mostly quiet on the minor-league front, but since our last post there have a been a few signings:

  • UT Andres Blanco (Texas)
  • RHP Jeff Fulchino (Houston/San Diego)
  • 2B Manny Mayorson (Toronto)
  • OF Jason Michaels (Houston)
  • 1B/3B Tim Pahuta (re-signed)
  • RHP Luis Chirinos (McAllen, NAL)
  • RHP Marcel Prado (Margarita, VWL)
  • IF-OF Chad Tracy (Japan, ’11; Cubs/Marlins, ’10)
  • OF Xavier Paul (L.A. Dodgers, Pittsburgh)

As you can see, most of these moves fall into either the category of roster-filling or spring-training competition. Unfortunately, I am also awaiting the inevitable BA transaction post in which we’ll learn about some of the releases and retirements.

In other news…

Byron Kerr has tweeted that he expects an announcement regarding the minor-league coaching staffs early next week. I’ve heard nothing definitive elsewhere.

Lastly, there are rumblings from Hagerstown about upgrading Municipal Stadium (or else). Our favorite Hagerstown blogger makes some very good points in his latest post (and open letter) to the county officials.

UPDATE: Baseball America has issued its latest transaction update, and in red are two names that were added. Both pitched in the Venezuela Winter League on the same pitching staff as Ryan Tatusko this offseason. Chirinos pitched in the independent North American League this past summer, while Prado pitched in the Golden Baseball League in 2010.

UPDATE #2: A few more minor-league signings in blue, with the requisite invite to spring training (plus Brett Carroll), which was also extended to Sandy Leon, Cory Brown, and Rafael Martin.

Oct 202011
 

The 2011 season was the first winning season in the five years that Washington has been affiliated with Hagerstown. The 75-64 record was a 10½ game improvement over the 2010 season. But ultimately, the curse of high expectations that surrounds all things Bryce Harper made the 2011 season a disappointment in many fans’ eyes.

It may also surprise you to learn that for all for the rehab stints (Strasburg, Zimmerman, Wang, the immortal Doug Slaten) and the presence of Bryce Harper, attendance still fell by 126 per game over 2010 (2,057 vs. 1,931). Times are hard in Washington County, no doubt, but that’s still a bit of a shock to me. So I’ll leave it to you as to whether we should blame it on the economy, the rain, or the bossa nova.

Considering that, as a team, the Suns were mostly middle of the pack in the 14-team South Atlantic League — 6th in offense, 8th in pitching, 7th in defense — to have been in contention in both halves for most of the way should be considered a success. As we’ve done the past three weeks, let’s take a look at how Hagerstown compared to the rest of the league…
HITTING

PITCHING

The most encouraging thing to take away from the 2011 Suns is that this team was not afraid to take a walk or give up a walk — second in the league on both counts. It was also a team that could run (3rd), but unlike last season, they did it without a single 30-steal player and were successful 73.5% of the time. That’s encouraging if you’re a proponent of having a team that’s capable of playing it both big and small.

The pitching was a mixed bag. The starter that gave up the most hits had the most wins (Matt Grace). There were a couple of relievers with ERAs in the 1′s (Chris Manno, Neil Holland)… and a couple of relievers with ERAs in the 6′s (Shane McCatty, Greg Holt), while the team’s two swingmen (Paul Applebee and Matt Swynenberg) gave up the second- and third-most HRs on the team, yet were among the team’s more effective pitchers. Finally, two pitchers had their season cut short by unspecified injuries (Taylor Jordan and Bobby Hansen), and a third (Chris McKenzie) spent six weeks on the DL midseason and more than two months away from the Suns total.

Now it’s time to drill down to look at the top 12′s for the hitters. The full statistics for the team can be found here. (* = 2010 Draft Pick ** = DSL Graduate)
Bryce Harper’s numbers speak for themselves, with his rate statistics close to 100 points above the league average despite being barely old enough to vote. His removal from the lineup on the 4th of July, however, was largely covered by the emergence of Kevin Keyes, who hit .281/.355/.528 after the Sally League All-Star break. As you can see, the cluster of 2010 draft picks were the heart of this team. What remains to be seen is how they’ll develop. Thankfully, one of my spies in Hagerstown wrote about the Suns batters earlier this month, and I encourage folks to click on over to see what he had to say.

Next up, the pitchers, which I’m expanding to the top 15 to include three notables…
Eleven different pitchers made at least five starts for the Suns, thanks in part to the injuries to Jordan, Hansen and McKenzie and the delayed debuts of Cole and Ray, both of whom were held back until the first full weekend in May. Injury also delayed the start of Sammy Solis’s season until Memorial Day Weekend, which kept his inning count down and is arguably the primary reason why he’s repeating the AFL as a starter.

If Auburn is a barometer for the 2011 draft, then Hagerstown might be the same for 2010 (and to a certain extent, 2009). If the expression is that there three kinds of pitchers — young, old, and hurt — well, that pretty much sums up the draft class thus far.

The ground on the “young” Cole and Ray has been pretty much covered (though again, I point folks to my friend Shawn’s take). Old, of course is a relative term, but Grace and Solis will enter the 2012 campaign as 23-year-olds and the latter was touted as being ready for prime time in ’12. The same is true for ’09ers Swynenberg and Jordan. And of course, the “hurt” applies to Jordan, Solis and McKenzie (Hansen was an ’08 pick). Solis and McKenzie have since recovered from their injuries, but the outcome for Jordan, who appeared to be headed for Potomac a la Danny Rosenbuam in 2010, won’t be known until next spring.

OBLIGATORY TOP FIVE LISTS
We’re into crossover territory and I’m trying to avoid double-listing guys. Thus, a couple of honorable mentions to answer the question “Well, who would make it onto the list if X were rated at the next level instead of this level?”

Hitters
1. Bryce Harper
2. David Freitas
3. Kevin Keyes
4. Michael Taylor
5. Adrian Sanchez
HM: Jason Martinson

Pitchers
1. A.J. Cole
2. Robbie Ray
3. Taylor Jordan
4. Sammy Solis
5. Matt Swynenberg
HM: Matt Grace

Sep 092011
 

[Ed. Note: The fourth guest column from frequent commenter BinM]
A 2011 regular-season wrapup from another voice…

Syracuse Chiefs, 66-74; 4th in Northern Division, International League
The Chiefs and their fans suffered on many levels this year. Between a spotty offense, and an ever-changing pitching staff (31 total pitchers for the year), the team never really mounted a challenge for the playoffs, despite plenty of MLB experience (25 players appearing with prior MLB time over the course of the year). The 10-game drop in the standings from 2010 with what looked like a better team was disapointing, to say the least.
Hitter of the year
Chris Marrero, 1B — With a slash of .300/.375/.449, 114 runs produced and a .281GPA, he squeaks past Steve Lombardozzi, who compiled a .310/.354/.408 slash, with 71 runs produced, 16SB and a .261GPA over 69GP.
Pitcher of the year
Tom Milone, LHSP — More silly numbers from a guy most people overlook: 3.22ERA, 1.03WHIP, 9.1:1K-BB over 148⅓ IP over 24GS. Hands down, the best pitcher on the staff.
Biggest disappointment
Yunesky Maya, RHSP — 5.00ERA, 1.24WHIP, 2.96:1K-BB, and 14HR allowed over 129⅔ IP ove 22GS.

Harrisburg Senators, 80-62; 1st in Western Division, Eastern League

Despite losing two of their top hitters (Lombardozzi and Bill Rhinehart), and their #1SP (Brad Peacock) near midseason, this team managed to stay together & won their division. The additions of the OF’s Bryce Harper (promotion) & Erik Komatsu (trade), and LHSP Danny Rosenbaum (promotion) to the starting staff certainly didn’t hurt the team. Simply by making the playoffs, I have to call this a good year.
Hitter of the year
Tyler Moore, 1B — Despite how well Steve Lombardozzi played earlier this year, I’m giving the nod to Moore for the Senators. His overall compilation of a .270/.314/.532 slash, with 70 XBH, 129 runs produced, and a .274GPA over 137GP was enough to sway me.
Pitcher of the year
Brad Peacock, RSHP — With numbers like a 2.01ERA, 1.29WHIP, 5.2:1K-BB, and a 10-2 W-L prior to his promotion to Syracuse, he gets the nod over Erik Arnesen, and Shairon Martis for the season, who each had good seasons as well.
Biggest disappointment
Oliver Perez, LHSP — From a former MLB pitcher: a 3.09ERA, 1.39WHIP, 1.9:1K-BB, and 10HRA over only 75⅔ IP and 16GP at AA fails to impress on a lot of levels.

Potomac Nationals, 29-40, 1st half; 39-31 2nd half, 68-71 overall;
2nd Half Champ, North Division Carolina League

An up and down year, with ongoing field/venue problems and a poor 1st half record, the team managed a surprisingly steady 2nd half to make the Carolina League playoffs once again. The team suffered some key losses to the pitching staff, with callups for RHRP Pat Lehman and Rosenbaum, and an injury to RHSP Trevor Holder. The callups of LHSP Sammy Solis and RHRP Neil Holland helped cover those losses. A decent year overall, salvaged by another playoff appearance, but slightly off last years’ pace.
Hitter of the year
Destin Hood, OF — Could be considered the core of the team this season, contributing across the board offensively. Posted a .276/.364/.445 slash, 131 runs produced and 21SB with a .278GPA.
Pitcher of the year
Daniel Rosenbaum — Promoted to AA in late July, he managed a 2.59ERA, 1.17WHIP, and a 2.3:1K-BB over 20GP and 132.0IP for the P-Nats.
Biggest disappointment
J.P. Ramirez, LF-DH — This one is hard for me because I wanted him to succeed, but I can’t ignore the numbers: .223/.275/.342 slash, no speed and limited range defensively, all of which appear to be signs that he’s topped out at High-A.

Hagerstown Suns — 75-64, 35-34 2nd half; 4th place, Northern Division, South Atlantic League
With a fading finish in the 1st half, and some indifferent play in the 2nd half, the Suns missed out on both chances at a playoff spot this year. This was a huge disappointment, given the hitting (Harper, Blake Kelso, and David Freitas) and pitching (Cameron Selik, Solis, Taylor Jordan, Holland and Chris Manno) the team received in the 1st half of the season. The 2nd half was more a “grind-it-out and hope for the best” kind of year. All in all, a better record than 2010, but it still must be a bittersweet finish to the Hagerstown faithful.
Hitter of the year
David Freitas, C-DH — He gets my hat-tip over Harper the younger here. With a slash of .288/.409/.450, 127 runs produced, a .297GPA, and the fact that he catches earns him the honors.
Pitcher of the year
Christopher Manno, LHRP — With a 1.04ERA, a 0.81WHIP, a 4.0:1K-BB and 12Sv / 25GF in 34GP prior
to his trade, he beats out LHP Paul Applebee who compiled a nice 3.35ERA, 1.01WHIP, and a 6.5:1K-BB over 96.2IP and 31GP.
Biggest disappointment
The trade of Christoper Manno to the Reds for Jonny Gomes. Seriously.

Auburn Doubledays – 45-30; 1st place, Pinckney Division, NY-Penn.
With a steady season, the Doubledays reach the playoffs in 2011, only to face last years’ Nats affiliate (now the Oakland A’s), the Vermont Lake Monsters in the 1st round. The team received timely hitting from a number of players (Bryce Ortega, Matt Skole, Hendry Jimenez, Caleb Ramsey, Russell Moldenhauer, Justin Miller; even ‘Bowden’s folly’), and pitching to match (Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez, Taylor Hill, Brian Dupra, Nathan Karns, Richie Mirowski, Tyler Hanks, Manny Rivera and Ben Grisz). A good year, with a 9½ game improvement over the 2010 record.
Hitter of the year
Bryce Ortega, SS-3B — With a .314/.410/.392 slash and a .283 GPA over 56GP at SS, he beats out Matt Skole (.290/.382/.438 slash and a .281GPA at 3B) by the slightest of margins.
Pitcher of the year
Benjamin Grisz, RHRP — I’m going against the grain with this one, but regardless of his alleged off-field behavior, this kid was a solid reliever for the Doubledays coming out of college, posting a 1.35ERA, an 0.85WHIP and 4SV / 8GF in just 11GP.
Biggest disappointment
Benjamin Grisz (see above). If the allegations are true — that he made no further appearances after July 27, despite being named to the NYPL All-Star Team is telling — the lack of personal restraint could ruin a budding career.

Gulf Coast Nationals – 20-33, 4th place Eastern Division
An overall lack of offense couldn’t support spotty pitching, and the G-Nats post their worst record in three years as a result. The team’s most interesting hitters were all out of the DSL — OFs Wander Ramos, Narciso Mesa, Estarlin Martinez; IFs Jean-Carlos Valdez and Wilmer Difo. The pitching carried a few possibles as well, with LHSPs Jack McGeary (recovering from TJ surgery) and Gregory Baez showing promise, and RHRP Scott Williams and LHRP Bobby Lucas out of the bullpen. Not a lot in terms of the record, but some players to keep an eye on going forward.
Hitter of the year
Wander Ramos, RF-LF — A 21-y.o. corner OF up from the DSL, he compiled a .313/.401/.653 slash, with a .344GPA this year.
Pitcher of the year
Gregory Baez — Only 19-y.o., Baez moved up from the DSL to compile a 3.72ERA, a 1.59WHIP and a 1.28K-BB over 48⅓ IP.
Biggest disappointment
Hector Taveras, C — Released without a single 2011 appearance, another career possibly wasted by a lack of restraint.

Dominican League Nationals – 33-36, 5th place, BCS division
Another up-and-down season with little consistency and some questionable starting choices led to a bad overall record. There are some youngsters on this team whose numbers look promising, with Adderling Ruiz (20-y.o. C), Yermin Mercedes (18-y.o. C-DH), Diomedes Eusebio (18-y.o. 3B) all showing promise at the plate, and Ivan Pineyro (19-y.o. RHSP), Gilberto Mendez (18yo RHSP), and Joel Barrientos (18-y.o. LHRP) from the pitching staff. With a regression of 3½ games from 2010, not the best overall result.
Hitter of the year
Adderling Ruiz — Still a little sketchy defensively (5E), he produced at the plate with a .343/.417/.476 slash, and a
.307 GPA.
Pitcher of the year
Ivan Pineyro — Overall solid numbers for a SP (65.7IP, 1.64ERA, 1.08WHIP, 3.14K-BB).
Biggest disappointment
Brian Escolastico, LHRP — Great last name but horrid results, with a 17.72ERA, 3.84WHIP, and a 0.78:1K-BB over 11GP.

Sep 062011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Lost, 4-1
(5½ inn.)
END OF SEASON N/A
Harrisburg Won, 5-2 END OF SEASON N/A
Potomac Won, 8-4 END OF SEASON N/A
Hagerstown Won, 9-1 END OF SEASON N/A
Auburn N/A Game 1, NYPL
Divisional Round
@ Vermont, 7:05 p.m.
Nathan Karns (3-2, 3.44) vs.
Drew Granier (1-1, 1.91)

Lehigh Valley 4 Syracuse 1 — 5½ inn.
• Meyers (L, 6-5) 4⅔ IP, 9H, 3R, 2ER, BB, K
• Mock ⅔ IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 0K
• Curran 1-3, RBI
• Brown 1-2, R, 2B
• Nicol 1-2

Syracuse finished the season on a down note with a rain-shortened 4-1 loss to Lehigh Valley. Brad Meyers took the loss with three runs given up over four and 2/3rds innings on nine hits and a walk. The Chiefs were held to just five hits, with Chris Curran’s RBI single scoring Corey Brown for the lone Syracuse run. Garrett Mock continued his reversion to the mean with three walks given up over 2/3rds of an inning. Syracuse finished the season in 4th place with a 66-74 mark, 14 games behind Pawtucket in the I.L. North.

Harrisburg 5 Akron 2
• O Perez 4IP, 3H, 0R, BB, 3K
• C Martinez (W, 3-4) 3IP, 5H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 1K
• Norris 3-4, 2R, HR (20), RBI
• Pahuta 2-3, R, 2B, RBI

The Sens got off the schneid with a 5-2 win over Akron, stopping a three-game losing streak. Derek Norris started the scoring with a solo shot in the bottom of the 1st, his 20th of the year while Chris McConnell’s RBI double and Erik Komatsu’s two-run single in the 2nd extended the lead to 4-0. Oliver Perez got the start and went four scoreless innings on 49 pitches before giving way to Carlos Martinez, who earned the win with one run given up over three innings. Harrisburg finished the season at 80-62, best in the Eastern League and will host Richmond in the first round of the playoffs, which begin tomorrow.

Potomac 8 Kinston 4
• Olbrychowski 5⅔ IP, 10H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 3K
• Holder 1⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Peacock 2-4, R, 2B, 3RBI
• Kobernus 2-3, 2R, SB

Brian Peacock’s two-out, two-run double started a six-run scoring binge in the eighth that secured a 2nd-half title on a Monday Afternoon In Woodbridge

Hagerstown 9 Lakewood 1
• Swynenberg 2⅓ IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Applebee (S, 2) 4IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Cuevas 2-4, R, 2RBI
• Kelso 2-4, 2R, 3B, RBI

A five-run 4th combined with a solid “bullpen outing” sent Hagerstown on its way to a 9-1 win over Lakewood. Matt Swynenberg, Sam Brown, and Paul Applebee divvied up the pitching duties, with Brown getting the win and Applebee getting a four-inning save. Kevin Keyes was the sole Sun to go hitless, but did his part with a sac fly while Blake Kelso, Justino Cuevas and Brett Newsom each went 2-for-4 as part of the 11-hit attack. The win gave the Suns a tie for fourth place with Lakewood at 35-34 in the second half and 75 wins overall, the best season total since the Nats affiliation began in 2007.

Auburn Doubledays
The New York-Penn League Playoffs begin today with the Auburn Doubledays visiting the Vermont Lake Monsters in Game One of the best-of-three divisional series. Nathan Karns faces off against Drew Garnier in what will be just the fourth meeting between the two teams this year, but the first in Burlington. Click here to read the official MiLB.com preview on the NYPL playoffs.