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):

DRAFTEES ELIGIBLE FOR THE FIRST TIME

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):

PITCHERS INFIELDERS OUTFIELDERS CATCHERS
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…

Dec 072013
 

This seems to be a trend… for the second straight year, there was a consensus at the top of the list… then a free-for-all afterwards.

The two of the top three guys were each left off at least one ballot, while the number two guy was unanimously named, enabling him to garner the no. 2 spot without a single first-place vote.

A total of 24 players were named on 14 ballots, some of which had less than 10 names and/or an ineligible player. While I adjusted the points accordingly (e.g. #1 on a nine-player ballot = 9 pts vs. 10 pts. on a ten-player), it did not affect the rankings.

Without further ado, ze list:

                              1. Brian Goodwin
                              2. Matt Skole
                              3. Steve Souza
                              4. Billy Burns
                              5. Michael Taylor
                              6. Jeff Kobernus
                              7. Zach Walters
                              8. Drew Ward
                              9. Tony Renda
                              10. Adrian Nieto

Others receiving votes: Corey Brown, Eury Perez, Justin Bloxom, Randy Encarnacion, Narciso Mesa, Pedro Severino, Isaac Ballou, Brandon Miller, Cody Gunter, Rafael Bautista, Josh Johnson, Jose Marmolejos-Diaz, Bryan Mejia, Caleb Ramsey

Some observations:

• Goodwin received ten first-place votes, similar to how he was the near-consensus at #2 last year behind Anthony Rendon.

• This year’s #2 is a bit of a shock: Matt Skole was hurt all year long and struggled some in the Arizona Fall League, but moved up a spot from #3 to #2 nevertheless.

• Souza’s strong AFL campaign and addition to the 40-man roster seemed to stick out in many voter’s minds, vaulting him from an also-ran in 2012 to #3 with three first-place votes.

• Burns and Taylor nearly tied despite Taylor being left off two ballots, nearly closing the gap in points by receiving a pair of second-place votes (Burns’s highest was a third-place spot).

As it traditionally has, the list skews towards the upper minors; this year’s exception: Ward, who might have missed the cut — like Skole did in 2011 — were it not for the GCL Nationals’ championship run (likewise for his teammates that were in the “also-rans”). Still, I think a lot of this is simply the bias of familiarity, which also explains why a couple of players aged 27+ players received votes.

Next up: the pitchers, which is always contentious thanks to folks’ biases of starter vs. reliever, lefty vs. righty, fireballer vs. junkballer, floor wax or dessert topping, etc. Plus, with one less no-doubt pick (Robbie Ray), the last couple of spots ought to be closely contested.