AFL Update: Nov. 18, 2016

andrew-stevenson-11-18-16Alas, the Desert Dogs’ three-game win streak—capped by a 3-1 win over the Javelinas—to close out the 2016 AFL campaign wasn’t enough to get them to the title game, but did secure a winning record at 17-15.

Five Nationals appeared in the season finale: two of the three position players and all three relievers.

Andrew Stevenson (pictured) led off and played CF yet again. He reached base twice with a single and a walk while going 1-for-3 with a strikeout. Defensively, he collected five putouts and fielded eight balls total.

Drew Ward followed Stevenson in the lineup and matched his boxscore line (1-for-3, BB, K). In the field, he had four assists while playing 3B.

Jake Johansen stranded two baserunners in the 6th with a strikeout to end the inning then put on two runners in the 7th before getting two out. His line – 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K

Nick Lee kept ’em on by inducing a flyout to finish the 7th, then got the leadoff man in the 8th for a line of ⅔IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K

Ryan Brinley completed the Nats reliever sequence with a flyout and strikeout to finish the 8th and a ⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K line.

It was the fourth, third, and first holds respectively for Johansen, Lee, and Brinley.

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Sad-SpicklesWith the completion of the AFL schedule, the 2016 minor-league season (the seventh this site has covered) is in the books. A shoutout to Lee Magenheim, our photographer in Arizona, who’s provided the AFL pictures for the past FIVE seasons.

AFL Update: Nov. 13, 2016

ryan-brinley-11-13-16Glendale twice rallied back from one-run deficits to edge Scottsdale, 4-3.

Drew Ward was the Desert Dogs’ designated hitter and batted third. He went 1-for-4 with a double, his sixth of the fall season.

Two Nationals relievers saw game action. Jake Johansen dispatched the final two batters of the 8th inning to earn his third hold while Ryan Brinley (pictured) garnered the save with a 1-2-3, six-pitch 9th to notch his first save for Glendale.

The Desert Dogs remain 1½ games behind Surprise with four games left to play. Glendale hosts Mesa tomorrow, then hit the road for games against Surprise, Mesa, and Peoria.

PROGRAMMING NOTE
Tomorrow morning I go under the knife to fix what put me out of action in late August. Should be out of the hospital by the end of the week, but have no idea when I’ll be next be able to post. It’ll depend on the painkillers 😉

AFL Update: Nov. 9, 2016

drew-ward-11-9-16The Desert Dogs took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st only to see it vanish in the bottom half of the inning as the Scorpions stung them for 10 runs before an out was made in a 13-3 smackdown yesterday afternoon.

Drew Ward (pictured) doubled and scored the third Glendale run in the 8th. He finished the game at 1-for-4 with a strikeout and an assist on defense.

Andrew Stevenson lost his hit streak but extended his on-base streak to ten games with a walk as he went 0-for-4. He also stole two bases.

Jake Johansen came on in the 1st with the bases loaded and nobody out and let in all three runs and two of his own before getting three outs. He pitched a scoreless 2nd to finish with a line of two runs allowed on four hits and a walk and strikeout over two innings.

Glendale visits Salt River this afternoon with Austin Voth slated to make the start. The Desert Dogs remain 1½ games behind the Javelinas in the AFL West, but their elimination number was lowered to six.

AFL Update: Nov. 4, 2016

osvaldo-abreu-11-4-16It’s now a winning streak as Glendale took its third straight, 2-1 over Scottsdale, yesterday afternoon.

Austin Voth turned in a more Voth-like outing — 5IP, 3H, 0R, 2BB, 2K — to win for the frst time in five fall starts. He threw 65 pitches, 37 for strikes.

All three Nats position players got the start in their usual defensive positions.

Andrew Stevenson led off and went 1-for-3 with a walk and had one putout in center.

Drew Ward batted second and was hitless for the first time this fall. He combined with Voth on a 1-5 DP in the 3rd and started a 5-4-3 DP in the 6th.

Osvaldo Abreu singled twice and scored a run while batting from the No. 7 slot in the lineup. He also took park in double play (there were four total) taking a relay from left field to gun down a runner at the plate.

Jake Johansen also appeared in the game, retiring the only batter he faced to get the last out in the 7th.

The last-place Desert Dogs finish the shortened week with a trip to Peoria this afternoon to visit the first-place Javelinas.

AFL Update: Oct. 30, 2016

andrew-stevenson-10-30-16Powered by Andrew Stevenson’s three hits and three RBI, Glendale doubled up Salt River, 6-3 for its sixth win of the season.

Stevenson, who batted second and played CF, doubled twice and singled once while scoring a run in four trips to the plate. He also stole his fourth base (pictured) and made one putout.

Drew Ward and Osvaldo Abreu were also in the starting lineup for the Desert Dogs.

Ward played 1B and extended his hit streak to 11 games with a leadoff single in the 6th. Defensively, he committed an error but made 10 putouts.

Abreu was hitless from the No. 7 slot and handled all four defensive chances in the field (three assists, one putout).

Jake Johansen set the side down in order in the 6th for a hold and his fourth straight scoreless outing.

It’s a shorter week this week with the Fall Stars game on Saturday. Rosters will likely be announced tomorrow.

AFL Update: Oct. 26, 2016

jake-johansen-10-25-16The Desert Dogs couldn’t make it two in a row as they were shut out by the Saguaros, 4-0.

It was another busy day for the Nats, as four players saw game action.

Drew Ward hit safely for the ninth time with a 5th-inning single as part of a 1-for-4 afternoon with a whiff. In the field, he had a putout and two assists and no errors.

Andrew Stevenson started again in left field and got the first of Glendale’s four (4) hits with a two-out single in the 3rd. He stole second for his third swiped bag of the fall. Defensively, he made just one putout.

Jake Johansen (pictured) turned in his third straight scoreless outing, stranding a single in his first inning and denying a double in his second inning of work to lower his fall ERA to 1.17 in seven and 2/3rds innings total.

Ryan Brinley spun another 1-2-3 frame to remain perfect (0.00 ERA, 0H, 0BB) in five innings over four appearances. He threw eleven pitches, eight for strikes.

AFL West cellar dweller Glendale visits AFL East-leading Salt River this afternoon.

AFL Update: Oct. 21, 2016

afl-jake-johansen-10-20-16A two-out steal of third in the bottom of the 8th changed from dumb baserunning to a genius move when the Mesa catcher threw it away. That proved to be the gamewinner in a 3-2 win by Glendale that snapped a five-game losing streak.

It also made a winner out of Ryan Brinley, who pitched two perfect innings in the 7th and 8th with two strikeouts. He threw 20 pitches, 13 for strikes to maintain his 0.00 fall ERA.

Jake Johansen (pictured) also made a relief appearance, pitching a scoreless inning and 2/3rds. He stranded a runner in the 4th and worked around an error in the 5th. He walked one and struck none on 22 pitches (nine strikes).

Two Nats position players played:

• Osvaldo Abreu led off and played shortstop, but went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He committed the aforementioned error, but also took part in two double plays
• Drew Ward played 1B and made nine putouts without an error in the field while going 1-for-4 with two strikeouts at the plate.

The Desert Dogs finish the week with a pair of afternoon road games in Peoria today and Surprise tomorrow.

AFL Update: Oct. 18, 2016

austin-voth-10-17-16The Desert Dogs got good pitching from the starter, the first man out of the ‘pen, and the last man out of the ‘pen.

In between? Not so much as Peoria overcame a 3-1 deficit with four runs in the final three innings to beat Glendale, 5-4.

Austin Voth (pictured) made his second start and was much more effective, giving up one run (albeit on a home run) on two hits and no walks over four innings. He struck out seven and threw 57 pitches, 39 for strikes.

Jake Johansen followed and tossed two scoreless innings with two hits allowed and no walks or whiffs. He threw 31 pitches, 19 for strikes.

Ryan Brinley was the last reliever to appear, coming on with two outs in the 9th with the bases loaded. He left ’em that way as he retired the only batter he faced with a grounder to Drew Ward, who tossed across the diamond for the third out and his fourth assist.

At the plate, Ward reached base twice with a leadoff walk in the 4th and an RBI single in the 6th. He also grounded out and struck out looking and committed an error in the top of the 9th. He was the only Nationals position player to appear in the game.

The loss drops the Desert Dogs to 2-4 on the season. The two teams will rematch and switch venues for a night game in Peoria.

AFL Update: Oct. 14, 2016

osvaldo-abreu-10-12-16Osvaldo Abreu connected for a two-run double in the 9th (how novel) for 5-4 Desert Dogs walkoff win over the Scorpions.

Abreu (pictured from earlier this week) drove in three total with an RBI single in the 7th and finished the game 2-for-4. He started and batted eighth, but did make an error at shortstop on a missed catch.

To his right (on the field), Drew Ward played third base and and singled twice in four trips to the plate. He was caught stealing and fanned once, but made two assists (Abreu had three).

Two Nats relievers appeared in the game. Ryan Brinley came on with one out in the 5th and retired all five batters he faced over the next inning and 2/3rds, including two by way of the K.

Jake Johansen followed Brinley in the 7th and worked around a two-out single. He was not as fortunate in the 8th, as he loaded the bases with three singles and let in the fourth Surprise run with a sacrifice fly. He finished with a line of one run allowed on four hits over two innings with no walks and two whiffs.

The two teams play again tonight, with Glendale playing host. The Desert Dogs are now 2-1 and are tied for 1st place in the AFL west, percentage points behind the unbeaten (but twice tied) Peoria Javelinas (yeah, that does sound weird).

The NationalsProspects.com Top 10 Pitchers


As I expected, participation would be robust on this one — 15 ballots — and the top dog was the unanimous choice. A total of 24 pitchers were named, with four of the top five named on every ballot.

Before I continue, here’s the list:

                              1. Lucas Giolito
                              2. A.J. Cole
                              3. Reynaldo Lopez
                              4. Austin Voth
                              5. Erick Fedde
                              6. Matt Grace
                              7. Taylor Hill
                              8. Jefry Rodriguez
                              9. Felipe Rivero
                              10. Jake Johansen

Others receiving votes: Sammy Soilis, Nick Pivetta, Travis Ott, Rafael Martin, John Simms, Gilberto Mendez, Jake Walsh, Robert Benincasa, Wander Suero, Robbie Dickey, Luis Torres, Matt Spann, Matt Purke, Eric Fornataro

Now, the thoughts…

• This is the third straight year Giolito has been named the #1 pitcher, so no pressure to come to DC in 2015, right?

• Cole was also #2 for the second straight year, but turns 23 next month and we’re already seeing speculation as to when he’ll make his MLB debut. I’ll be the jerk who will note that he’d be an awfully good trade chip (see: Karns, Nathan).

• Lopez went from zero ballots in 2013 to the #3 pitcher in 2014. Saw him twice this past summer and this kid can deal. He got my #2 vote, one of two that Cole did not get.

• The other went to Fedde, who makes the list despite being in recovery from UCL replacement surgery. I’d scoff but Giolito is the knee-jerk “Yeah, but” and being the Nats top draft pick is going to carry some weight no matter what.

• As some of you noted, the list breaks down rather quickly after the first five or so names. The gap between #7 and #12 was just seven points. Until the last three or four ballots came in, there was basically a five-way tie for the last three slots.

• Grace’s addition to the 40-man is being read by quite a few of you as the lefthanded analog to Aaron Barrett from a year ago (OK, fine maybe that’s just me)

• Hill made the list despite getting hammered in two MLB starts and giving up five HR in his last 10 starts at Syracuse. He and Grace will be 26 in 2015, thus continuing the tradition of the old-guy skew

With the close of the winter meetings, which also saw the Nats go Yukon Cornelius on the Rule 5 draft, we’re now at the point where we wait for trades and transactions. In between, and as always, feel free to discuss in the comments.