Jul 112015

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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 34-56, 6th place I.L. North, 14½ games behind

Good Rafael Martin 2-1, 1.23 ERA, 0.82 WHIP in last 10 appearances
Bad Mario Lisson .172BA (5-for-29) in last 10G
Interesting Caleb Ramsey .317/.402/.382 since June 1

HARRISBURG SENATORS 43-45, 5th place E.L. West, 6 games behind

Good Matt Skole .316/.413/.579 in July (10G)
Bad Excluding rehab outings, Nick Pivetta was the 13th starting pitcher in less than 90 games
Interesting After breaking seven-game losing streak on June 9, Senators have won 21 of 31

POTOMAC NATIONALS 10-5, 1st place C.L. North, 1½ games ahead (43-42 overall)

Good Lucas Giolito 0HR allowed in 58⅔ IP
Bad Stephen Perez .171BA in July (10G)
Interesting Alec Keller .316/.366/.421 in 10G since promotion from Hagerstown

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 9-7, 2nd place Sally North, 3 games behind (44-40 overall)

Good Jose “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz .316/.413/.579, 13RBI since All-Star break (16G)
Bad Sam Johns 0-2, 1SV, 6.06 ERA, 1.35 WHIP in last 10 appearances
Interesting Suns 29-14 when they score first (15-26 vice versa)

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 8-11, 4th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 6½ games behind

Good Luis Torres 2-0, 0.64 ERA, 0.79 WHIP in five appearances
Bad Luis Guzman .423 OPS, 17K in 12G
Interesting Doubledays have outscored opponents 15-4 in the 9th inning

GCL NATIONALS 7-10, 4th place GCL East, 3½ games behind

Good Victor Robles .385/.492/.635, 10SB in 17G
Bad Steven Fuentes 0-2, 10.45 ERA, 2.23 WHIP in 3GS
Interesting Darryl Florentino .419 BA in 11G (hit .195 in 44G last year in GCL)

DSL NATIONALS 16-20, 4th place Boca Chica North, 11½ games behind

Good 20-y.o. Jeffrey Rosa 0-1, 2.63 ERA, 1.04 WHIP in 6GS
Bad 17-y.o. Yoel Andujar .526OPS, 24K in 24G
Interesting 18-y.o. Yonathan Ramirez 27K:6BB in 33IP
Jun 132015

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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 19-43, 6th place I.L. North, 19½ games behind

Good Paolo Espino 1-0, 1.63 ERA. 0.76 WHIP in 4GS
Bad 3.44 R/G, 14th in 14-team International League
Interesting Oldest batters (29), second-oldest pitchers in I.L. (28.4)

HARRISBURG SENATORS 25-35, 5th place E.L. West, 10½ games behind

Good Matt Skole 3HR, 12RBI, .289BA in last 10 games
Bad 8-21 road record
Interesting 2nd fewest doubles, fewest triples in Eastern League

POTOMAC NATIONALS 28-33, 4th place C.L. North, 6 games behind

Good Lucas Giolito 1.43 FIP (Car. Lg. Avg. = 3.39)
Bad Drew Ward 12 errors, 60 strikeouts in 57 games
Interesting John Wooten .404/.429/.723 in June (11 games)

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 30-30, 4th place Sally North, 8 games behind

Good Alec Keller .294/.351/.500 in June (9G)
Bad Robbie Dickey 0-2, 9.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP in four appearances
Interesting Anything hit to the left side of the IF — 32 of 53 team errors committed by 3B or SS

DSL NATIONALS 4-8, 9th place Boca Chica South, 4½ games behind

Good 18-y.o. Pedro Avila 0-1, 2.89 ERA, 0.54 WHIP, 15K in 9⅓ IP (2GS)
Bad 17-y.o. Jesus Morales .136/.208/.136 in 8 games
Interesting 17-y.o. Omar Meregildo .350/.435/.750, 2HR, eight 2B, one 3B, three E in 11G
May 232015

GBI for NPP 2

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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 16-25, 6th place I.L. North, 7½ games behind

Good Matt den Dekker .286BA (11-for-38) over last 10G
Bad Rich Hill 12BB, 4HBP in 17IP
Interesting Six (6) of 25 on current roster drafted by Washington

HARRISBURG SENATORS 18-22, 3rd place E.L. West, 5½ games behind

Good Richard Bleier 3-0, 2.77 ERA, 0.89 WHIP in May (4GS)
Bad Matt Skole .194BA, 44K in 37G
Interesting 13-11 at home, 5-11 on the road

POTOMAC NATIONALS 18-23, 2nd place C.L. North, 4½ games behind

Good Brandon Miller .311/.415/.622, 4HR, 8BB, 8RBI in May (15G)
Bad Justin Thomas 5.06 ERA, 1.59 WHIP in seven appearances
Interesting Team SB rate 79.1% (38-for-48)

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 21-20, 4th place Sally North, 6 games behind

Good Phillips Valdez 3-1, 0.82 ERA in May (4GS)
Bad Brennan Middleton .441 OPS in 19G
Interesting 245 batting K’s — fewest in the Sally League
Apr 252015

Not sure if there’s joy in Mudville, but I’m hoping this will help. After five years of being a Friday feature, we’re shifting this feature to the weekends (Saturday’s the goal, but I reserve the right to push it to Sunday 😉

For the newcomers…. this a silly little thing I began a few years ago on a lark. It’s somehow become one of the site’s staples. Stolen from Named after comedian Demetri Martin’s segment of the same name from his too-brief (2009-2010) run on Comedy Central, it’s another way of taking a look at who’s doing well, poorly, or something unexpected.

Invariably, it seems that whenever a player makes this list — good or bad — his fortune turns. Of course, that’s merely coincidence, but as much as we embrace science and statistics, superstition will always have a place in baseball narrative. Therefore, this effect is known as “the curse of the GBI.”

Now, for the usual disclaimers… it’s early, sample sizes are small, stats in the minors aren’t as meaningful as we think, void where prohibited, professional driver on closed course, etc.

And the usual reminder: The guys, their families, and their agents reading this, so keep it clean in the comments. This is just for fun.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 5-9, 5th place I.L. North, 5½ games behind

Good Jason Martinson .313/.365/.479, 2HR in 13G
Bad Manny Delcarmen 15.95 ERA, 2.73 WHIP in six appearances
Interesting Team 2.7 BB/9IP leads Int’l Lg.

HARRISBURG SENATORS 7-8, T3rd place E.L. West, 2 games behind

Good C’s Pedro Severino & Cole Leonida 2SB, 10CS
Bad Stephen Perez .465 OPS in 15G
Interesting Matt Skole 10BB, 20K in 15G

POTOMAC NATIONALS 9-6, 2nd place C.L. North, ½ game behind

Good Wilmer Difo .305/.379/.525, 3HR, 10RBI in 15G
Bad James Yezzo .138/.278/.207, 8K in 10G
Interesting 10HR in 15G — 1st in Car. Lg.

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 6-9, T6th place Sally North, 6 games behind

Good Austen Williams 2-0, 0.57/1.96/0.96 in 3GS
Bad Osvaldo Abreu 6E in 13G
Interesting One (1) hold in 15G
Dec 092014

While the participation wasn’t what I hoped it would be, it was enough to assemble a semi-decent Top 10 list.

One interesting trend is that youth seems to be getting served by virtue of Jakson Reetz as well as Dominican imports Wilmer Difo and Rafael Bautista, both of whom had breakout seasons with Hagerstown, with the former being added to the Nats 40-man roster.

Of course, some of that is attributable to three of last year’s Top 10 bats being traded away (Billy Burns, Zach Walters) or taken in the Rule 5 Draft (Adrian Nieto). And some of that is attributable to the “girl-watching” nature of prospect following (the prettiest one is the one that just walked by).

Anyway, a total of 15 players were named on the eight ballots received or submitted, which does include mine. I don’t find the 15 number all that disturbing since, as some put it, the bottom part of the list isn’t as clear-cut as the top, which was a near tie (77 points to 75 points) with Steve Souza the top pick on five.

And with that “said,” I present the list:

                              1. Steve Souza
                              2. Michael Taylor
                              3. Wilmer Difo
                              4. Drew Ward
                              5. Jakson Reetz
                              6. Brian Goodwin
                              7. Matt Skole
                              8. Spencer Kieboom
                              9. Rafael Bautista
                              10. Pedro Severino

Others receiving votes: Tony Renda, Drew Vettleson, John Wooten, Stephen Perez, Raudy Read

I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that half of these names won’t be on this list next year, given proximity to the majors, age, or “trade baitiness.” It’s tempting to conclude that that means we’re about to swing Broadway backward, but if past is prologue, those that move on will be replaced with players who had breakout seasons.

Next up: The pitchers, which always leads to much more discussion (dissension?)…

Nov 212014

Confession: This is a reclamation of a post that I began yesterday and couldn’t finish by the time the moves were made
With the additions of A.J. Cole, Willem Dafoe, Wilmer Difo, Brian Goodwin and Matt Grace, the focus now turns to who is now exposed to next months Rule 5 Draft. Grace is an outlier; usually once a guy is exposed to the Rule 5 draft at his age, he makes it through subsequent drafts. So let’s look at the Nats draftees who appear to be eligible for the first time (H/T to SpringfieldFan for her efforts in keeping the Draft Tracker updated):


Matt Skole* Caleb Ramsey* Khayyan Norfork Shawn Pleffner* Kylin Turnbull
Brian Dupra Manny Rodriguez Nick Lee* Travis Henke Bryan Harper
Richie Mirowski*

Asterisks are for 2014 watchlist players. Notable IFAs believed to be eligible include Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez, Wander Suero and Kelvin Rodriguez.

Bear in mind, this is for the MLB phase. The AAA and AA phases are impossible to guage because the protected lists aren’t made public. Organizational soldiers tend to go in those phases, and if folks will recall, only one player acquired by Washington last December played in the minors last season: 23-y.o. Martires Arias, who was returned to the Mets and pitched 57 innings in short-season ball. (Theo Bowe was the other and all indications are that he retired).

I had planned on predicting that either Matt Skole or Brian Goodwin would be exposed, as it seemed likely that either the former’s struggles or the latter’s injuries would be enough to take the risk. Had I been pressed in the comments, I would have leaned towards Skole because Tyler Moore is out of options while the ascendance of both Michael Taylor and Steven Souza could cushion the “loss” of Goodwin.

Another theory/explanation is that the Nats brass believes that Souza can still function as a 1B/OF type (defensively, he’s head and shoulders above Moore anyway). Viewed through that prism, the decision not to protect Skole makes sense.

Grace is a small surprise, until you consider that he’stough on lefthanded batters (.371 OPS in ’14) and generates ground balls (3.23 G/F ratio). He’ll get an audition in spring training and if he loses the numbers game, sent back to Syracuse to await a callup, perhaps assuming the role of out-of-options Xavier Cedeno.

I believe the selection of Difo says less about him — despite an MVP season in the South Atlantic League, including 14HRs, 90 RBI and 49 SB’s — and more about the other middle-infield options available at the upper levels and the fringes of the 40-man. With no offense to Jeff Kobernus, but it would seem he’s a candidate to get cut loose when the Nats are next looking to clear room.

Finally, there’s little to be said about the protection of A.J. Cole. Even F.P. Santangelo could have predicted this; it was that obvious. Conventional wisdom has always been that hard-throwing pitchers can be hidden in a bullpen, especially for a team that’s budget-conscious or realistic about its chances of contention.

Aug 222014

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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 75-55, 1st place I.L. North, 2½ games ahead

Good Matt Grace .114 OBA vs. LHBs
Bad 16-19 record in one-run games
Interesting 53 steals allowed, 2nd fewest in the I.L.

HARRISBURG SENATORS 49-81, 6th place E.L. West, 22½ games behind (eliminated)

Good Matt Skole 69BB, 2nd most in E.L.
Bad Team 21 holds, 2nd fewest in E.L.
Interesting 49 wins fewest since 2007, chance to “beat” 2004 team at 52 wins

POTOMAC NATIONALS 32-22, 1st place C.L. North Division, 5 games ahead (70-53 overall)

Good Kylin Turnbull 2-0, 0.79 ERA, 1.15 WHIP in August (5 appearances)
Bad Randolph Oduber 100K, 14BB in 112G
Interesting 17-17 road record, 1st half; 16-6 road record, 2nd half

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 38-22, 1st place Sally League North Divison, 2 games ahead (82-48 overall)

Good Reynaldo Lopez 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.52 WHIP, 16K since return to Low-A (23IP)
Bad Suns bullpen 5.81 ERA in August
Interesting 59-18 record when scoring first

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 27-36, 5th place Pinckney Division, N.Y.-Penn League, 11 games behind

Good Luis Torres 1-1, 1.63 ERA, 1.16 WHIP in 10 appearances (27⅔ IP)
Bad Osavldo Abreu 17E in 47G
Interesting 45 Pitching HBP, 2nd in 14-team NYPL

GCL NATIONALS 25-28, 3rd Place GCL East, 5 games behind

Good Jakson Reetz .341/.436/.477 in August (14G)
Bad McKenzie Mills 2.10 WHIP in 20IP
Interesting 8SV, tied for fewest in GCL

DSL NATIONALS 42-28, 3rd Place Boca Chica South Division, 8½ games behind (eliminated)

Good 17-y.o. Yonathan Ramirez 29K in 27⅓ IP
Bad 17-y.o. Luis Perdomo .520 OPS
Interesting 17-y.o. Telmito Agustin, 40BB, 25SB, 7CS

Editor’s note: The next GBI will be published in two weeks, after the close of the regular season.

Jun 272014

GBI for NPP 2Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 49-31, 1st place I.L. North, 6 games ahead

Good Aaron Laffey 4-0, 1.95ERA, 1.18WHIP in June (5GS)
Bad Brian Goodwin .147/.237/.235 in last 10G
Interesting Six-game division lead the largest since August 12, 1998
(H/T Kevin Brown, Syracuse Dir. of Media & P.R.)

HARRISBURG SENATORS 30-47, 5th place E.L. West, 16 games ahead

Good Matt Skole .299/.409/.571, 5HR, 24RBI in June (22G)
Bad Neil Holland 1-1, 6.60 ERA, 1.53 WHIP in last 10 appearances
Interesting Tyler Herron 1-0, 2SV, 1.88 ERA, 1.26 WHIP in last 10 appearances

POTOMAC NATIONALS 5-2, T1st place C.L. North, 1½ games ahead (43-33 overall)

Good Gilberto Mendez 3-1, 3SV, 1.80 ERA, 0.60 WHIP in last 10 appearances
Bad Estarlin Martinez .157/.228/.196 vs. RHPs (.261/.292/.391 vs. LHPs)
Interesting Will Piwnica-Worms .324/.366/.432, 1HR, 16RBI in June (21G)

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 6-2, T1st place Sally North, 1 game ahead (50-28 overall)

Good Isaac Ballou .310/.365/.448, 2HR, 15RBI, 6SB in June (24G)
Bad Hector Silvestre 2-3, 6.49 ERA, 6HR allowed in June (5GS)
Interesting Rafael Bautista 33SB since May 1 (54G)

DSL NATIONALS 13-10, 3rd place Boca Chica South, 2 games behind

Good 17-y.o. Davinson Pimentel .362/.448/.517 in 17G
Bad 18-y.o. Jose Nunez 7.71 ERA, 2.49 WHIP, 11BB in 11⅔ IP
Interesting 17-y.o. Victor Robles 13SB in 18G
May 022014

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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 12-14, T5th place I.L. North, 3 games behind

Good Ryan Tatusko 2.36/3.88/0.82 in 5G
Bad Erik Komatsu .121/.318/.152 in 14G
Interesting Jhonatan Solano .957OPS, 3HR & 12 RBI (active team leader all categories)

HARRISBURG SENATORS 7-17, 6th place E.L. West, 7½ games behind

Good Michael Taylor .467 SLG%, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 6 SB
Bad Gabriel Alfaro 11.91 ERA, 2.65 WHIP in 8 appearances
Interesting Matt Skole 7BB, 32K in 23G

POTOMAC NATIONALS 14-9, 1st place C.L. North, 4½ games ahead

Good Dakota Bacus 1-1, 2.08 ERA, 0.69 WHIP in 6 relief outings
Bad Brandon Miller .165BA, 27K
Interesting Brandon Miller 16 walks, 6 singles, 0 doubles, 0 triples, 7 home runs

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 19-6, 1st place Sally North, 5½ games ahead

Good Drew Ward .354/.440/.585, 3HR, 22RBI (T2nd in Sally Lg.)
Bad Dixon Anderson 6.33/4.98/1.36 4HB in 5 appearances
Interesting .981 FA, 44% CS, 19E — Best in the Sally Lg.
Mar 312014

As it has been historically, the Harrisburg Senators were the first of the four full-season affiliates to release their 2014 Opening Day Roster (2014 watchlist players in bold, 2014 notables in italics):

Gabriel Alfaro Justin Bloxom Destin Hood Mitch Canham
Colin Bates Cutter Dykstra Caleb Ramsey Sandy Leon
A.J. Cole Ricky Hague Michael Taylor
Rob Gilliam Jason Martinson Drew Vettleson
Matt Grace Sean Nicol
Tyler Herron Matt Skole
Neil Holland
Zach Jackson
Richie Mirowksi
Ryan Perry
Matt Purke
Felipe Rivero
Blake Schwartz

As it should be, this is a roster laden with the organization’s top talent — 17 of the 25 are on this site’s 2014 Watchlist along three of the Baseball America Top 10 prospects (Cole, Skole, & Taylor) and three more that were ranked in the Top 20 for the Nationals (Purke) and Tampa Bay (Rivero & Vettleson).

Busy day today, so I’m off to write up the next roster release…