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 18&#8531 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.

Sep 192013
 

Other Shoe DroppedOne month after the strange saga of David DeJesus, the Nationals announced today that 22-y.o. LHP Matthew Spann is the “player to be named later.”

Spann was drafted in the 25th round out of Central High School in Columbia, TN (that’s roughly 40 miles south of Brentwood, hometown of Robbie Ray) and was eased into starting his first year in the GCL (2010) before spending another short season as a starter (2011) and a full season at Low-A (2012).

As you might imagine with a low-round draft pick, scouting reports are few and far between. The most recent is this one from Robbie Knopf at RaysColoredGlasses.com where the upshot was this:

Right now, Spann lives and dies off the late movement on his fastball, with the remainder of his pitches showing flashes but no consistency. Spann throws from a high three-quarters arm slot and has trouble at times getting the finish on his pitches to keep them down in the zone, but when he does, he can be effective even though his arsenal is a long ways away.

That was, of course, last summer and a lot could have (and probably did) changed since then, as the Rays decided to move him to the ‘pen for 2013, where he had some good numbers (2.87 ERA, 3.2 BB/9) and some not so good (1.475 WHIP, 5.3 K/9). According to Baseball America’s Jim Callis, Spann is less of a beanpole — 220 lbs. vs. 185 — and pegged his velo at 86-90 m.p.h.

Best guess is that Spann will be in Woodbridge next summer. If used as a setup man, he’ll be mentioned in conjunction with several bridge puns, though my gut feeling is that we’ll see him used in long relief until he’s ready to start. Considering the dearth of age-appropriate-to-level pitchers in the Nats system, this is quite a return for waiver-claim pickup.