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
May 302014
 

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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 29-24, 1st place I.L. North, ½ game ahead

Good Taylor Hill 7-1, 1SV 1.57/3.38/0.90, 2CG in 11 appearances, 10GS
Bad 31 team HR, 11th in 14-team I.L.
Interesting Destin Hood .410/.452/.744, 3HR in last 10G



HARRISBURG SENATORS 18-34, 6th place E.L. West, 14½ games behind

Good Michael Taylor .370/.442/.730 in May (27G)
Bad Omar Poveda 5.82/4.21/0.94, 5HR in 3GS at AA
Interesting 23 pitchers, 12 starters, 2 position players have pitched in 52 games



POTOMAC NATIONALS 26-26, 3rd place C.L. North, 1½ games behind

Good Derek Self 2-0, 2SV 0.42/2.11/0.51 in 14 appearances (21⅔ IP)
Bad Mike McQuillan .111/.273/.111 in last 10G
Interesting 41% CS rate by catchers is No. 1 in eight-team Carolina Lg.



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 36-16, 1st place Sally North, 5½ games ahead

Good Wilmer Difo .317BA in May, .313 in April, .310 in last 10G
Bad R.C. Orlan 0-2, 6.35/4.24/1.68 in five appearances
Interesting Brendan Middleton .406/.500/.406 in last 10G
Apr 192013
 

It’s back! Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues. For the newcomers, this is a ripoff of tribute to comedian Demetri Martin’s segment from his old show on Comedy Central.

And of course, the obligatory caveats: sample sizes are here small, it’s early in the season, minors stats aren’t as meaningful as we think, past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance, etc.

Nevertheless, a reminder: the players, their families, and their agents are reading, so let’s not get carried away in the comments. It’s just for fun.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 6-7, 4th place I.L. North, 3½ games behind

Good Jeff Kobernus .463/.521/.659, 6SB in 12G
Bad Ryan Tatusko 7.11 ERA, 9BB, 2.84 WHIP in 6⅓ IP
Interesting Decision to not use a position player to pitch in a 27-9 smackdown, the day after a doubleheader

HARRISBURG SENATORS 8-6, T1st place E.L. West, ½ game ahead

Good Caleb Clay 2-0, 1.00WHIP, 14K in 17IP
Bad Justin Bloxom .503OPS, 23K in 14G
Interesting Trevor Holder 0.00 ERA, 0.78WHIP in 3G, 9IP

POTOMAC NATIONALS 6-7, 4th place C.L. North, 2 games behind

Good Jason Martinson 1.140 OPS, 15RBI in 13G
Bad Relievers – 5.82ERA, 1.42WHIP
Interesting Michael Taylor 10RBI, 13H, .228BA

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 8-7, T2nd place Sally North, 2 games behind

Good Dixon Anderson 0.68WHIP, 18K in 17⅔ IP
Bad Brandon Miller .172/.172/.345, 22K in 14G
Interesting Mike McQuillan 14-game on-base streak, 6SB
Oct 152012
 

For the second straight season, the Auburn Doubledays won the Pinckney Division and racked up a .600+ winning percentage. Alas, for the second straight season they fell short of the league championship, losing in the Divisional round this year instead of the Finals last year, two games to one.

As the year prior, the lion’s share of the Doubledays roster was 2012 draftees — seven of the top 12 batters in terms of PAs, five of the top 12 pitchers in terms of IPs. This, of course, is a product of the Washington focus on drafting collegiate players (26 of 40) in general and seniors in particular (16 of 24 signees). Not to, um, beat a dead horse, but my stance from last year that the Nats should consider drafting more HS players in light of the large number of 22-24-y.o.’s in the system remains the same.

That the parent club is now in a window of opportunity that has come sooner than most reasonable people would have expected (most of the “Natmosphere” pegged them winning about 85-87 games) solidifies that opinion. In other words, the organizatiom can afford to spend more time developing a hidden gem rather than playing it safe and hoping that a collegiate player can be pushed from a serviceable backup to an everyday player.

Continuing with our format, let’s examine how Auburn compared to the rest of the N.Y. Penn League…
HITTING

PITCHING

Like last season, the 2012 Auburn Doubledays could hit, leading the league in runs scored, hits, and batting average and were second in on-base percentage and slugging. They weren’t quite as proficient in stealing bases in terms of quantity, but were successful nearly 79% of the time, a slight dip from last year’s insane rate of 85.5 percent.

On the flip side, however, the pitching needed all that offense because it wasn’t up to snuff: 10th in runs allowed and hit batsman, 13th in ERA and home runs allowed, 14th in hits allowed. There are a couple of caveats worth noting. Just two starting pitchers were below league-average in terms of ERA, though it should be noted that a couple pitchers had huge ERA-FIP differentials, which is not uncommon in short-season ball, and roughly a half-dozen pitchers had better than a 3:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

I’m listing the Top 13* hitters and pitchers in terms of plate appearances and innings pitched and using defensive games played for the listing of position. The full statistics for the team can be found here.
(# = 2011 Draft Pick   ** = DSL Graduate)   *One extra because the #13 guy on both lists is worth noting

There is really little to complain about when it came to the offense — 10 of these 13 were above league average in GPA (link for those unfamiliar) and seven had isolated power rates (likewise) above the norm. Yes, you can write off some of this in the aggregate to age, but this was true last year and that carried over to Hagerstown this year (as predicted).

Defensively, the team was middle-of-the pack with one rather notable exception: catchers. Kieboom and Manuel (along with third-stringer Andruth Ramirez) combined to throw out 45% of the runners that attempted to steal against them and allowed a league-low 38 in 76 games, which is phenomenal when you consider how many opportunities teams had to run against them. Plus, the trio committed just six errors (four by Ramirez) for an aggregate fielding percentage of .991.

It’s not all sunny though, as we move along to the pitchers…

To be sure, there are some bright spots to be found here. Robert Benincasa’s outstanding walk and strikeout rates (1.2 BB/9and 12.3 K/9 for a ratio of 10.67 to 1) Derek Self’s 2.50 FIP, Nick Lee and Blake Monar’s HR rates (0.29 and 0.16 respectively). But you can also see a some high walk totals and as aforementioned, the team gave up the second-most HRs in the league. There are also quite a few innings there thrown by middle-relief/swingmen that had ERAs close to 5.00 (121⅓ between Medina, Waterman and Fischer, which sounds like a law firm, doesn’t it?).
OBLIGATORY TOP FIVE LISTS
For the third straight year, I was able to make it to an Auburn contest, albeit a single game in Aberdeen. Still, this mostly sight-unseen, like the GCL and DSL and prone to the same problems that lead to the same misjudgments in rankings. For example, I put Bryce Ortega ahead of Matt Skole last year and didn’t rank Nathan Karns as a Top 5 for Auburn (though in my defense, Karns had a WHIP of 1.473 over eight starts after blowing through the GCL). So I expect to be wrong on a couple of these, too (hence the honorable mentions, natch).

Top 5 Batters
1. Estarlin Martinez
2. Wander Ramos
3. Brandon Miller
4. Shawn Pleffner
5. Mike McQuillan
HMs: Spencer Kieboom, Narciso Mesa

Top 5 Pitchers
1. Nick Lee
2. Robert Benincasa
3. Derek Self
4. Brett Mooneyham
5. Pedro Encarnacion
HMs: Ivan Pineyro, Cody Davis

Oct 082012
 

Welcome to the saltines of the seven-course meal that is the Nationals minors — something that cleanses the palate before we get a taste of Auburn, where the more appetizing draft picks are usually sent.

What’s perhaps more frustrating is that despite being the oldest team in the league for the past three seasons, the GCL Nationals have been cellar dwellers. The pitching and defense were close to league-average (4.05 R/G vs. 4.00; .964FA vs. .963) but the offense was below average (3.72 R/G, 3rd worst). Winning and performance are supposed to be secondary to learning and indoctrination, but must they be mutually exclusive?!

Breaking it down statistically vs. the rest of the GCL…
HITTING

PITCHING
     
In a sample size of just 60 games, there are bound to be some anomalies. Such as the offense being above-average in most every major category but scoring runs, hitting for power, and staying out of the double play. The pitchers gave up more hits and homers than average but were also tied for giving up the fewest walks (in another oddity, the K and BB numbers of the team they tied, the GCL Rays, were identical) in the GCL. They also gave up the fewest balks and threw the fewest wild pitches.

Those are the kinds of things you hope to find when taking a closer look at the numbers — like the DSL, this is an exercise of scouting by boxscore. Now, let’s take a look at the Top 12 batters in terms of plate appearances, listing their position(s) in terms of games played. Players with an asterisk played in the DSL in 2011 or 2012; Players with a double asterisk are GCL repeats from 2011; Players with a carat(^) are NDFAs; Players with a plus symbol were promoted to Auburn and/or Hagerstown. The full statistics for the team can be found here.

Like last year, there were three GCL repeaters (Difo, Valdez, Severino), two of which were promoted in-season from the DSL. Unfortunately, of those three only Severino showed any significant statistical improvement. But Narciso Mesa is a good reminder that these numbers shouldn’t be taken as gospel — his line for 32 games looks bad (.229/.262/.297) yet in 32 games at Auburn he lit up the NYPL (.343/.391/.400). Therefore, it’s quite possible that next year this trio will go to Auburn like Estarlin Martinez, Wander Ramos, and Mesa did this year.

The two NDFAs — Matt Foat and Will Piwinica-Worms — are also intriguing players. Both were defensive standouts and both received more playing time than any other 2012 draftees (though the counter-argument is that they got Mock/Chico treatment). Unfortunately, both are 22 and even if that’s a “young” 22 (both born in 1990), it can’t be ignored entirely. Of the two, I lean towards Foat perhaps going a bit further up the ladder, though that’s based purely on his strong offensive numbers (.333/.404/.401).

On to the pitchers, listing the Top 12 in terms of innings pitched…
The most encouraging thing I saw here was how many of these guys were promoted during the season — three of the Top 12, six overall (Blake Schwartz, Leonard Hollins, and Michael Boyden were the others). Some of this, no doubt, was planned (e.g. Pineyro, Anderson) but after seeing so many rehabbers the past two seasons, it’s almost novel.

Four pitchers made the jump from the DSL, with two of them (Pineyro, Mendez) getting a look in Auburn. On the flip side, four were repeats from 2012 and only one (Heredia) made noticeable (on a numbers basis) progress, the others taking a step back or possibly getting hurt (2011 Watchlister Anthony Marcelino made just one appearance). If last year is any guide, we’re likely to see Vasquez and Barrientos pitching in Auburn next summer.

OBLIGATORY TOP FIVE LISTS
I’m probably going to get burned again, but I’ll pick two lists of five this year after dropping down to one list last year.

Top 5 Batters
1. Matt Foat
2. Wilmer Difo
3. Diomedes Eusebio
4. Bryan Lippincott
5. Will Piwinica-Worms
Honorable Mentions: Pedro Severino, Mike McQuillan

Top 5 Pitchers
1. Ivan Pineyro
2. Will Hudgins
3. Gilberto Mendez
4. Joel Barrientos
5. Daury Vasquez
Honorable Mentions: Blake Schwartz, Inocencio Heredia

Sep 072012
 

Our final 2012 look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues. Repeats from 2011 are in italics.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS
70-74, 5th place International League North Division, 14 games behind

Good Bat: Corey Brown .285/.365/.523, 25HR, 18SB in 126G
Arm: Zach Duke 15-5, 3.51 ERA, 26 starts, 164⅓ IP
Bad Bat: Koyie Hill .163/.226/.231 in 31G
Arm: Austin Bibens-Dirkx 0-3, 5.59ERA, 1.56WHIP in 29G, 46⅓ IP
Interesting Bat: Carlos Rivero .303/.347/.435 in 126G
Arms: Jeff Mandel 6-5, 2.58ERA, 1.12WHIP in 19G, 11GS
          Christian Garcia 1-1, 0.56ERA, 14SV in 27G

HARRISBURG SENATORS
64-78, 5th place Eastern League Western Division, 18½ games behind

Good Bat: Eury Perez .299/.325/.342, 26SB in 82G
Arm: Ryan Perry 2-4, 2.84 ERA, 1.11 WHIP
Bad Bat: Stephen King .185/.215/.218 in 47G
Arm: Chien-Ming Wang 1-5, 6.75ERA, 9HR in 9 starts, 45⅓ IP
Interesting Bat: Zach Walters .293/.326/.518 in 43G
Arm: Erik Davis 7-3, 2.52 ERA, 1.23 WHIP

POTOMAC NATIONALS
33-36 in 2nd half, 3rd place Carolina League Northern Division, 3½ games behind
31-39 in 1st half, 2nd place, 8 games behind
64-75 overall

Good Bat*: Justin Bloxom .259/.331/.478 in 65G
Arm: Nathan Karns 8-4, 2.26ERA, 1.02WHIP, 87K in 13 starts
*David Freitas was on track for this honor prior to his trade to Oakland
Bad Bat: Jeff Howell .225/.276/.282 in 20G after dropping down from AAA
Arm: Robbie Ray 6-12, 6.56 ERA, 1.62 WHIP in 105⅔ IP
Interesting Bat: Francisco Soriano .338/.430/.452 in 2nd half
Arm: Rob Wort 95K in 56⅔ IP (15.08/9IP)

HAGERSTOWN SUNS
40-28 in 2nd half, 1st place South Atlantic League Northern Division, 3 games ahead
42-27 in 1st half, 2nd place, 3½ games behind
84-55 overall

Good Bat: Matt Skole .286/.438/.574, 27HR in 101G
Arm: Alex Meyer 7-4, 3.10ERA, 1.13WHIP in 18 starts
Bad Bat: Hendry Jimenez .205/.259/.321 in 65G
Arm: Chris McKenzie 2-3, 8.64ERA, 2.05WHIP in 50IP
Interesting Bat: Steve Souza Jr. .290/.346/.576, 17HR in 70G
Arm: Christian Meza 8-1, 2.97ERA, 1.16WHIP in 88IP

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS
46-30, 1st Place Pinckney Division of New York-Penn League, 2 games ahead

Good Bats: Estarlin Martinez .319/.385/.455 in 66G
         Shawn Pleffner .329/.394/.458 in 55G
Arm: Brett Mooneyham 2-2, 2.55ERA, 1.23WHIP in 10G/9GS
Bad Bat: Jordan Poole .196/.256/.299, 47K in 31G
Arm: Ivan Pineyro 3-2, 5.50ERA, 1.66WHIP in 8GS
Interesting Bat: Wander Ramos .275/.377/.449 in 67G
Arm: Nick Lee 3-1, 3.77ERA, 1.35ERA in 13G/11GS

GCL NATIONALS
27-33, 4th place Gulf Coast League East Dvision, 8 games behind

Good Bat: Matt Foat .333/.404/.401 in 43G
Arm: Will Hudgins 4-3, 2.21 ERA, 1.04WHIP in 36⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Hayden Jennings .192/.254/.231, 70K in 47G
Arm: Adalberto Mieses 1-5, 5.05ERA, 1.61WHIP in 41IP
Interesting Bat: Mike McQuillan .375/.478/.429 in 19G (promoted to Auburn)
Arm: Joel Barrientos 4-1, 3.00ERA, 42K in 45IP (turned 19 in Aug.)

DSL NATIONALS
38-32, 3rd place, Boca Chica South Division of Dominican Summer League, 11 games behind

Good Bat: 19-y.o. Rafael Bautista .329/.419/.395, 47SB in 67G
Arm: 19-y.o. Hector Silvestre 5-3, 3.20 ERA, 1.20 WHIP in 76IP
Bad Bat: 17-y.o. Wester Suarez .130/.322/.152 in 24G
Arm: 20-y.o. Philips Valdez 2-2, 5.40 ERA, 1.97 WHIP in 48⅓ IP
Interesting Bat: 19-y.o. Jose “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz .298/.362/.490 in 69G
Arm: 17-y.o. Maximo Valerio 3-5, 3.55 ERA, 1.25 WHIP in 63⅓ IP
Aug 102012
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 58-61, 5th place I.L. North, 8 games behind

Good Carlos Rivero .371/.451/.649 since All-Star break (27G)
Bad 713 pitching K’s last in I.L. (next-worst, 824)
Interesting Mitch Atkins 0.87ERA, 0.39WHIP in last six relief appearances

HARRISBURG SENATORS 53-59, 5th place E.L. West, 13½ games behind

Good Justin Bloxom .281/.324/.344 last 10G
Bad Team OBP of .315 dead last in Eastern League
Interesting Team streaky — 3+ Wins, eight times; 3+ Losses, eight times

POTOMAC NATIONALS 21-25, T3rd place C.L. North Division, 1½ games behind (52-64 overall)

Good Current starters named Meyers or Karns: 1.73ERA, 0.93WHIP
Bad Current starters not named Meyers or Karns: 5.98ERA, 1.67WHIP
Interesting Steve Souza Jr. .875OPS in 12G

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 25-22, T3rd place Sally League North Divison, 1 game behind (67-49 overall)

Good Matt Skole 1.019OPS (Best in Low-A)
Bad Wilson Eusebio 7.71ERA, 1.88WHIP
Interesting Billy Burns .323BA, 3rd in Sally Lg. (.328 vs. RHBs, .315 vs. LHBs)
First full year of switch-hitting

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 30-20, 1st place Pinckney Division, N.Y.-Penn League, 4 games ahead

Good Mike McQuillan .300/.371/.488 in 23G
Bad Jason Smith 7.94ERA, 1.85WHIP in 22⅔ IP
Interesting Nick Lee 43K in 42IP

GCL NATIONALS 20-25, 4th Place GCL East, 8½ games behind

Good Joel Barrientos 3-0, 2.48ERA, 1.29WHIP
Bad Michael Albaladejo .483OPS
Interesting Hayden Jennings .281BA, 9SB in last 10G

DSL NATIONALS 31-26, 3rd Place Boca Chica South Division, 9½ games behind

Good 19-y.o. Younaifred Aguero .294/.397/.394 in 40G
Bad 20-y.o. Philips Valdez 5.80ERA, 2.01WHIP in 40⅓ IP
Interesting 19-y.o. LHP Hector Silvestre 2-1, 1.71ERA in last four appearances
Jun 292012
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 42-38, 4th place I.L. North, 3½ games behind

Good Zach Duke 8-2, 3.12ERA since May 1
Bad Koyie Hill .100/.171/.200 in 8G since signing as FA
Interesting Since April 22, Chiefs have gone 40-25 after starting 2-13

HARRISBURG SENATORS 40-38, 2nd place E.L. West, 7½ games behind

Good Zach Walters .317/.364/.610 since callup (10G)
Bad Walters, 5E in 10G at AA, 23 overall in 54G
Interesting Paul Demny, back-to-back outings of 7IP, 1R after 3IP, 11R on 6/16

POTOMAC NATIONALS 4-4, T1st place C.L. North Division, 1 game ahead (35-43, overall)

Good Trevor Holder 3-2, 3.18ERA, 1.19WHIP, 5QS in 8G as starter
Bad Matt Grace 20R, 21H, 2HR, 4BB, 3K in last two appearances
Interesting Rick Hague .316/.386/.579 in last 10G

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 6-2, T1st place Sally League North Divison, 1½ games ahead (48-29 overall)

Good Alex Meyer 3-1, 2.51ERA, 0.88WHIP in June
Bad Hendry Jimenez .167/.219/.433 in June
Interesting Cutter Dykstra .333/.378/.500 in last 10G (Happy 23rd Birthday)

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS SUNS 8-3, 1st place Pinckney Division, N.Y.-Penn League, 1 game ahead

Good Wander Ramos .391/.481/.609 in 9G
Bad Bryan Harper 10.38ERA, 2.77WHIP in 3G
Interesting Cody Davis 11K in 4⅔ IP

GCL NATIONALS 4-6, 4th Place GCL East, 2½ games behind

Good Ivan Pineyro 12K in 7⅔ IP
Bad Narciso Mesa 10K, .222BA in 9G
Interesting Mike McQuillan .435/.581/.435, 5E in 10G

DSL NATIONALS 14-8, T2nd Place Boca Chica South Division, 2½ games behind

Good 19 y.o. “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz .329/.404/.633 in 22G
Bad 18 y.o. Bryan Mejia .592OPS, 6E in 15G
Interesting 17 y.o. Jonathan Aquino 1.06 WHIP in 5G