Jul 262013
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 45-59, 6th place I.L. North, 11½ games behind

Good Mike Crotta 0HR in 43⅓ IP
Bad Kelly Shoppach .179/.324/.179 in first nine games
Interesting 271 batting BB dead last in I.L.



HARRISBURG SENATORS 58-48, 1st place E.L. West, 3 games ahead

Good Matt Swynenberg 1-0, 0.87 ERA, 1.16 WHIP in July (5 appearances)
Bad Jason Martinson .176BA, 16K in last 10 games
Interesting Taylor Hill 1.82/3.40/1.16 in six AA starts



POTOMAC NATIONALS 18-14, 1st place C.L. North, 4 games ahead (60-40 overall)

Good Billy Burns .364/.440/.489, 13SB in July
Bad Matt Purke 0-3, 8.34/4.70/1.99 in first five A+ starts
Interesting David Fischer 2-0, 2.08 ERA, 0.923 WHIP in July (6 appearances)



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 20-13, T1st place Sally North, .007 W% behind (58-42 overall)

Good Narciso Mesa .309/.397/.364 in 29G
Bad Ian Dickson 6HR in 28⅔ IP (9 appearances)
Interesting 37% CS rate by Suns catchers 2nd best in Sally League



AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 12-25, 6th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 11½ games behind

Good L.J. Hollins 1.35/3.20/1.20 in 13 appearances
Bad Cody Gunter 11E in 30G
Interesting Back-to-back wins thus far: 0



GCL NATIONALS 24-5, 1st place East Division, Gulf Coast League, 9 games ahead

Good Drew Ward .330/.435/.440 in 27G
Bad Travis Ott 8.31/6.20/1.85 in four appearances
Interesting Team Pitching No. 1 in GCL for ERA, Runs Allowed, and WHIP



DSL NATIONALS 21-17, 4th place Boca Chica South, 5&fra12; games behind

Good 18-y.o. Maximo Valerio 3-2, 1.39/2.78/0.93 in nine starts
Bad 19-y.o. Dionicio Rosario .146/.212/.188 in July
Interesting 18-y.o. Luis Reyes 8HBP in 36⅔ IP, 3.19 BB/9, 10.8 K/9
Apr 292012
 

There’s a fascination with velocity when it comes to pitching, as nearly inquiry here includes some variation of “how fast does he throw?”

On Sunday, Matt Swynenberg reminded us that sometimes keeping batters off-balance is just as important.

The 23-year-old needed just 94 pitches to retire 27 of 30 batters in tossing a three-hit, one-run complete game as the P-Nats took the rubber game of the series by a 2-1 margin.

Swynenberg got 12 batters out on the ground and 12 out in the air, but seven of those came to the opposite field or on a popup. Essentially, the only three balls that were truly well-struck produced the run and the three hits. From the second inning to the ninth, Swynenberg retired 19 straight batters before walking the #9 batter Josh Richmond to lead off the 9th.

He picked the right time to pitch so well, as the Pelican’s Roman Mendez was nearly as good. Like Swynenberg, he got weak contact with a half-dozen or so popups. Unlike Swynenberg, he got it done more with the strikeout — nine total, with Justin Bloxom as his favorite victim (0-for-3, 3Ks). He would finish with both Potomac runs allowed on four hits and three walks.

Myrtle Beach drew first blood in the top of the 2nd, as Yefry Castillo singled in Brett Nicholas with one, who had doubled to lead off the inning, but Castillo hesitated on Kevin Keyes’ throw to the plate, and backup backstop Beau Seabury made him pay for the mistake, drifting from the plate forward and firing to Francisco Soriano who relayed to Sean Nicol to nail him for the inning’s second out.

Potomac would tie the game on two ugly singles to shallow right field in the bottom of the 3rd, with Sean Nicol scoring on Blake Kelso’s two-out flare.

The gamewinner came without a base hit, as Soriano led off with a walk, took second on a wild pitch, third on a sacrifice bunt by Kelso, and scored on a deep flyball from Zach Walters.

The ten-game homestand continues with a four-game set against Winston-Salem, with Kyle Winters (1-2, 5.24) rematching against the Dash’s Ryan Buch (1-1, 4.76).

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

Aug 192011
 

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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 55-67, 4th place I.L. North, 14½ games behind

Good Steve Lombardozzi .322/.365/.441
Bad Atahualpa Severino 20BB in 26⅔ IP
Interesting J.D. Martin 2.90 ERA, 1HR in 31 IP as reliever; 4.71, 15 in 63 IP as a starter

HARRISBURG SENATORS 70-54, 1st place E.L. West, 2 games ahead

Good Danny Rosenbaum 2-0, 1.40 ERA in first three AA starts
Bad Stephen King .167 BA in August
Interesting Tim Pahuta .302/.318/.442 in August

POTOMAC NATIONALS 28-25, 2nd place C.L. North Division, 5 games behind (57-65 overall)

Good Marcos Frias 1.73 ERA, 0.92 WHIP since All-Star Break (18 appearances)
Bad Zach Walters .196/.233/.232, 2E in 15G
Interesting Adam Olbrychowski 5.63 ERA as a reliever, 3.88 as a starter

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 29-23, 2nd place Sally League North Divison, 2 games behind (69-53 overall)

Good Matt Swynenberg 2-0, 1.74 ERA, 0.97 WHIP in August
Bad Justino Cuevas .179/.265/.321 since return from GCL
Interesting Ryan Demmin 2.20 ERA, 1.07 WHIP since callup from Auburn

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 34-23, 1st place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, ½ game ahead

Good Hendry Jimenez .487 SLG, 7th best in NYPL
Bad Nathan Karns 1.94 WHIP
Interesting Christian Garcia 17K in 9⅓ IP

GCL NATIONALS 18-30, 4th place GCL East, 18 games behind (Eliminated)

Good Bobby Lucas 1.69 ERA in 21⅓ IP over 11G
Bad Deion Williams .163/.210/.163 in 98AB
Interesting Silvio Medina 36K to 9BB in 32⅓ IP

DSL NATIONALS 32-35, 6th place, Boca Chica South Division, 12½ games behind (Eliminated)

Good Adderling Ruiz (20 y.o.) .350/.427/.485
Bad Felix Moscat (20 y.o.) 0-3, 12.79 ERA in August
Interesting Diomedes Eusebio (18 y.o.) 6HR, 21E in 57G
Aug 202010
 

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

SYRACUSE 62-57, 3rd place IL North, 7½ games back

Good Leonard Davis .282/.331/.518 since All-Star Break
Bad Atahualpa Severino 0-2, 6.14ERA since All-Star Break
Interesting Brian Bixler .372/.400/.465 since acquisition on 8/9

HARRISBURG 64-59, T3rd place, 7 games back, EL (1 game behind wild-card)

Good Tom Milone 10-5, 2.87ERA, 12QS in 24G
Bad Adam Fox .156/.240/.265 in 54G
Interesting Steve Lombardozzi .345/.406/.414 since promotion (8G)

POTOMAC
29-22 in 2nd Half, 1st place by 1½ games in CrL North

Good Patrick McCoy 1-0, 3SV, 0.56ERA, 23K in last 10 appearances (16IP)
Bad Nick Moresi .172BA, 12K in last 10G
Interesting Signing Jamar Walton (.200/.239/.293) to replace Mike Burgess

HAGERSTOWN
22-31 in 2nd Half, last place in SAL North, 9½ games back

Good Eury Perez .412BA, 6SB in August
Bad Paul Demny 0-4, 5.82ERA in August
Interesting Josh Smoker .143 OBA, 3.00ERA as reliever

VERMONT
30-27, 1st Place Stedler Division of NY-Penn League, 1½ games ahead

Good Wade Moore .455BA in August
Bad Matt Swynenburg 13R, 19H allowed in last three starts (13⅔ IP)
Interesting Mark Herrera 30K in 23#8532; IP in 12G

GCL NATIONALS
19-28, 5th place GCL East Division, 12 games back, Eliminated

Good Christopher Manno 0.95WHIP, 1.42ERA, 21K in 12⅔ IP
Bad Rashad Hatcher .222/.263/.222 in 24G
Interesting 25th Rd. Pick Christian Meza 1.83ERA, .174OBA, 20K in 19⅔ IP

DSL NATIONALS
34-34, 5th place B.C. South Division, 10 games back, Eliminated

Good Edgar Gonzalez 39BB in 58G, .406 OBP
Bad Carlos David Alvarez 53G, 214PA
Interesting Adalberto Mieses 33BB, 5HR, 57H in 63⅓ IP = 2.98ERA?