Jul 042014
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 51-35, 1st place I.L. North, 2½ games ahead

Good Steve Souza .333 in April, .359 in May, .353 in June; .354 overall
Bad Josh Roenicke 6.18 ERA, 1.63 WHIP over last six starts
Interesting Emmanuel Burris .459/.565/.649, 4SB over last 10G



HARRISBURG SENATORS 33-51, 5th place E.L. West, 16½ games behind

Good John Simms 2-0, 1.35 ERA, 0.90 WHIP since promotion from Potomac (2GS)
Bad Adrian Sanchez 0-for-16 in last 10G played
Interesting Team #2 in batting HR’s, BB’s, K’s



POTOMAC NATIONALS 6-6, T1st place C.L. North, 1 game ahead (44-37 overall)

Good Mike McQuillan .344/.488/.625, 2HR, 13RBI in June (16G)
Bad Kylin Turnbull 0-2, 8.44 ERA, 2.25 WHIP in seven appearances
Interesting Tied for fewest SBs allowed, 2nd in most CS, fewest PBs in C.L.


HAGERSTOWN SUNS 9-6, 4th place Sally North, 4 games behind (53-32 overall)

Good Lucas Giolito 1.84 ERA, 0.85 WHIP since return to rotation on June 3 (6GS)
Bad 213 team batting BB — 13th in 14-team Sally Lg.
Interesting Rafael Bautista 43SB in 48 attempts, 15BB, .322 OBP



AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 8-11, 4th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 4½ games behind

Good Raudy Read .300/.435/.420, 7RBI in 15G
Bad Matt DeRosier 8.49 ERA, 1.46 WHIP in 11⅔ IP (4 appearances)
Interesting 18 pitching HBP in 19 games (2nd most in NYPL)



DSL NATIONALS 16-13, 3rd place Boca Chica South, 4 games behind

Good 19-y.o. Juan “Shorts” Bermudez 1-2, 1.46 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 24K in 24⅔ IP
Bad 17-y.o. Neivy Pilier .122/.146/.163, 4E in 11G
Interesting 20-y.o. Luis Vilorio 1BB, 6K in 50PA
Jun 082014
 

Velocity matters, but there’s a difference between throwing and pitching.

John Simms reminded us of that with a masterful 14-strikeout game in a 6-1 Potomac win over Wilmington. The 22-year-old Texan topped out at 91 mph and mostly threw in the high-80s. But as the old saw goes, hitting is timing and pitching is upsetting that timing.

The Blue Rocks batters were helpless against Simms’s changeup, which came in as slow as 73 mph. Not quite the Bugs Bunny slowball, but enough to induce 10 swinging strikeouts in which the batter was usually waaaaay ahead of the pitch.

Perhaps more impressive — Simms did this in just seven innings and walked only one. He did not hit a batter nor did he throw a wild pitch, for which catcher Cole Leonida, as all backstops should, deserves both mention and credit.

Thankfully, the masterful pitching was accompanied by more than enough offense, helped a little by some sloppy defense.

With one out in the 3rd, Randolph Oduber shot a bull past the Blue Rock matador playing third base to start the rally. Stephen Perez walked and the twosome pulled off a double steal to set up the No. 3 batter, Tony Renda.

Renda flared an opposite field single to deep right field to plate Oduber and Renda. Cleanup man Oscar Tejeda did just that by hitting his team-leading 9th HR with a blast to LF to complete the four-run binge and turn an early 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 advantage.

In the 6th, Will Piwnica-Worms and Cole Leonida led off with back-to-back singles to right and left, respectively. After Justin Miller tapped one to short, too slow to get more than one out, Wilmington relieve Aroni Nina threw one past the first baseman, sending in Piwnica-Worms and Miller all the way to third.

Estarlin Martinez waved at pitch up and out of the zone for a dribbler in front of the plate, but Blue Rocks catcher Cam Gallagher lost his grip and Martinez got the hometown scoring decision of a single. Oduber skied one to right to drive in Miller and complete the two-run binge that extended the lead to 6-1.

Simms, who had a streak of six straight K’s from the 3rd to the 5th, struck out the side in the 7th, with the last two looking (hoping) for his first win of 2014. Ian Dickson, who was the originally announced starter, came on in relief of Simms in the 8th and spun two scoreless innings to close out the game, striking out two.

With the win and a Lynchburg loss, Potomac’s magic number to clinch the first-half Northern Division title was reduced to six with one week left before the All-Star break. The two teams finish the series and their sixth game over the last six days with a matchup of Matthew Spann (4-0, 2.08) against Glenn Sparkman (2-1, 1.45) this afternoon.

Apr 282014
 

Moving On Up for NPP
The Hagerstown Suns have announced that two relievers — RHP John Simms and LHP Matthew Spann — have been promoted to the Potomac Nationals. Taking their place on the Suns roster are LHP Hector Silvestre, who was activated from the 7-Day DL, and RHP Michael Sylvestri, who was activated from XST.

Simms was 0-0 with three saves and a 0.98 ERA in five appearances with two walks and 20 strikeouts over 18⅓ innings for Hagerstown. The 22-year-old was twice drafted by the Washington Nationals: in the 39th Rd. of the 2010 Draft out of College Park HS in The Woodlands, TX and in 11th Rd. of last June’s draft out of Rice University. He posted an 0-3, 5.79 record for Auburn last summer but had terrific peripherals (2.2BB, 10.0K per 9IP), which earned him a spot on this site’s 2014 Watchlist.

Spann was the PTBNL in the strange saga of waiver-wire claim David DeJesus last summer, which earned him an entry as one of the Notable Arms on the aforementioned Watchlist. He was 2-0 with two saves and a 1.20 ERA in four appearances with four walks and 15 strikeouts over 15 innings for the Suns.

Potomac has had 11 pitchers on the roster since LHP Nick Lee and RHP Pedro Encarnacion were placed on the DL last week, which will bring them back to the usual complement of 13 pitchers. A corresponding move to reduce the Potomac roster to the 25-man limit has not yet been announced. If/when it is, this space will be updated.

UPDATE:
The Potomac Nationals announced the following roster moves this afternoon…

  • RHP Doug Fister removed from roster as MLB rehab
  • RHP Brian Dupra reassigned to Syracuse
  • OF Will Piwinica-Worms reassigned to Harrisburg

As noted last year, there are cases such as these in which the word promotion is not used because it’s pretty clear that the roster move is a needs-based assignment. This is not an indictment of the player but merely a reflection of that judgment (sometimes the clubs’ media folks themselves will use the word “transfer”). Sadly, this could also mean that I’m wrong about Spann and Simms, but that bell has already been rung.

This latest set of moves does appears to be a ripple effect from the placement of Bryce Harper on the parent club DL, which means that an OF from Harrisburg is likely on his way to Syracuse to replace Steve Souza, who was recalled to take Harper’s spot. If/when that news is received, I’ll update this space again.

UPDATE #2: The Syracuse Chiefs and Harrisburg Senators are announcing the following moves…

  • RHP Ryan Perry placed on the 7-Day DL
  • RHP Brian Dupra promoted from Potomac to Harrisburg
  • OF Will Piwnica-Worms reassigned from Potomac to Syracuse

Obviously, there’s some conflicting information here, which we’ll have to sort out tomorrow.

Apr 252014
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 10-10, T3rd place I.L. North, 1 game behind

Good Brian Goodwin 13BB in 20G, .388 OBP
Bad Josh Roenicke 0-2, 9.00 ERA, 1.75 WHIP
Interesting Syracuse pitchers, I.L.-best 42BB in 20G


HARRISBURG SENATORS 4-14, 6th place E.L. West, 6½ games behind

Good Relievers 3.44 ERA / 2.00 FIP / 1.26 WHIP
Bad Starters 2-11, 6.93 ERA / 4.63 FIP / 1.83 WHIP
Interesting 25 errors leads the Eastern League


POTOMAC NATIONALS 12-8, 1st place C.L. North, 3 games ahead

Good Khayyan Norfork .295/.367/.477, 4 triples (T1st C.L.) in 11G
Bad Travis Henke 9.35 ERA, 2.42 WHIP in 8⅔ IP
Interesting 99 runs scored, 99 runs allowed


HAGERSTOWN SUNS 15-5, 1st place Sally North, 4 games ahead

Good John Simms 0.98 ERA / 1.67 FIP / 0.82 WHIP, 3 saves
Bad Drew Ward 4E in 11G (yes, I’m reaching)
Interesting Six of eight saves, which leads the Sally League, have been 3 or more innings