We’re still here, just waiting out the rest of spring training. As is my offseason custom to keep the site from going stale, here are some stories to read.
Games start up on Thursday in the minors and I’m anticipating rosters to be released on the 7th. With a shorter window to work with in the mornings, I may not be able to write them up with much or any commentary, so my apologies in advance.
John Sickels has released his rankings of the MLB farm systems, with the Nationals coming in at No. 16, up from No. 22 last year. That’s what’s more important: not the ranking, but the acknowledgement that the system has improved.
Washington also came in at No. 16 on BA’s 2014 International Spending By Team. Be sure to read the caveats for they are significant, particularly as they relate to Cuban FAs.
Lastly, I’d like to give some play to a blog by San Francisco minor-leaguer Matt Paré called “Homeless Minor Leaguer,” recently featured on NBC Sports’ HardballTalk. I’m hyperlinking there because I think it’s the best place to start.
I’m always fascinated by these kinds of first-person accounts, even if many of them don’t live up to the standard set by Dirk Hayhurst. Sadly, the Nationals once had such a player but basically ordered him to stop.
That’s all for now. Next up (most likely) another transaction update.
We’re almost ready for the AFL to start, which is where we’ll lead off with this edition of Morning Reading (our fill-in post for when it’s slow on the minors front):
• This year the Nationals will fill out the roster of the Mesa Solar Sox. Nick Melotte has a preview on John Sickels’s site.
• Both Baseball America and Ballpark Digest have covered the recent front-office turnover in Syracuse. The good news? The Chiefs don’t appear to be going anywhere. The bad news? Neither story chose to discuss the role of economics or demographics.
• The Hagerstown Suns have formally applied to NAPBL and the South Atlantic League relocate to Fredericksburg for the start of the 2015 season. Worth noting — and not mentioned in the story — the Player Development Contract between Washington and Hagerstown expires after next season. While this may not prevent the Suns from leaving town, it does not preclude the Nationals from seeking a new team, either.
As I take a break from
humiliating training the new staff, let me pass along a few small news items while wait out the offseason.
The new ballpark saga in Hagerstown meanders on, despite some rather ominous signs that it’s going to fade away, like most ballpark proposals do.
In upstate New York, the mood is a little different. To borrow from Henny Youngman, it’s take our ballpark… please, as the county government seems eager to rid itself of the maintenance expense, which is typically a battle between governments and teams — especially when things break or degrade unexpectedly.
Finally, minor-league baseball wrapped up its organizational all-stars with Washington, choosing the best at each position (“regardless of age or prospect status”) with few surprises — I might have chosen Jeff Kobernus over Cutter Dykstra, but like the BA awards, we don’t know when the selections were made — as the accolades for the likes of Nathan Karns, Brian Goodwin, and Matt Skole continue.
Some stories to read before 2011 Spring Training *finally* starts…
Today’s the first game of Spring Training, which means we’ll have box scores to look at tomorrow and 234 tweets about Bryce Harper this afternoon. Tomorrow night, the tape-delayed game will be shown on the MLB Network, and for a preview, here’s a story by Bill “The Rocket” Ladson.
In between, a few stories of note that appeared from the rest of the beat guys over the weekend…
MASN’s Ben Goessling posted the roster of the mincamp, a.k.a. accelerated minor-league camp, a list of names we’re rather familiar with as 18 of the 22 pitchers, three of the five catchers, nine of the 10 infielders, and all six of the outfielders are on our watchlist. Goessling also had a nice post about the reuniting of college teammates Corey Brown and Adam Carr.
Steve Lombardozzi is among the infielders (oversight, note that there are nine names but “10” in the subhead), so perhaps the most notable omission is Tanner Roark. Cameron Selik, Mitchell Clegg and Hassan Pena are three pitchers that weren’t sent to the FIL (almost all the position players were), leading to the inference that they had been shut down for the year (that’s almost certain with Clegg, who was sent to the GCL for a stint). Otherwise, as noted in the comments, it appears that Michael Taylor is being converted to the outfield.
CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman filed one of the great staples of spring-training sportswriting, the upbeat teammates piece, profiling the Nats’ double-play combo of Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa, proclaiming they’re a “duo with ‘swagger.'” No word on whether father-to-be Desmond will be rockin’ the swagger wagon.
Washington Post beat writer Adam Kilgore gave us a rundown of Rule 5 pickup Brian Broderick’s faceoff against Bryce Harper, which ended with the 18-year-old going down on strikes just as he did when the two matched up in the Arizona Fall League. As I remarked in the comments, I think he’s going to see a steady diet of offspeed and breaking pitches until he proves he can hit them. In some ways, getting carved up like this a few times may prove beneficial, as it’s clear Mr. Harper is unlikely to be demoralized and more likely to accept his failure a la Pedro Cerrano as a challenge.
Some links to pore over with your coffee, Mountain Dew, Red Bull, etc.
You’ll forgive me for all the Bryce Harper news but when it comes to the Nats in the offseason it’s all Bryce Harper all the time. (Pay plenty of attention to that advertisement to your right 😉
Now that I’m done keyword stuffing, here’s a few links of interest before Chip Caray says something stupid on TBS this afternoon…
…As promised, a Bryce Harper update from Adam Kilgore, who has the time, salary, and budget that I don’t.
…Your newest member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association, Washington, DC chapter (that and $2 gets me a cup of coffee, much like my two Journalism degrees) voted for Espinosa, Lombardozzi, and Milone for the Minor League Player of the Year in the 2010 Player Achievement Awards, taking quite seriously the part about most destined for big-league success.
…This is a blog dedicated to the minors, but because it affects the 2011 draft, here’s a look at how Adam Dunn might be a Type B free agent.
…Finally, with the new ownership in place at Hagerstown, they’re making some requests about Municipal Stadium.
A few links to check out while we wait for 2011
Sadly, the BA shutout continues with no Nationals cracking its NY-Penn League Top 20. Next chance: tomorrow, when they release their Top 20 for the South Atlantic League…
…Reports from Viera have Jesus Flores healthy and hitting again, which would be great if baseball’s answer to crystal chandelier Chris Chandler can contribute and compete against Wilson Ramos to share time with Ivan Rodriguez.
…The PDC shuffle is nearly over, but here’s an interesting look at how it works. What’s left unsaid, of course, is that threat of losing affiliation isn’t as big as it used to be, thanks to the independents.
…Attendance is down at the MLB level (*ahem*) but the minors are doing fine.
…Fresh off signing a four-year deal, the quest for a new stadium for Potomac resumes, which naturally has the support of the local press that only mentions a strong competitor in the next county in passing.
A few links to check out while we wait for 2011
As we transition from the the day-to-day rhythm and routine of the regular season towards the less-structured offseason, I figure I’d pass along some links of some tangentially related stories and tidbits that I’ve spotted while I was waiting for news about Vermont and Hagerstown in the past day or so.
- In the wake of yesterday’s news, which yours truly felt coming but didn’t want to publish in the late afternoon and get missed, we see that Vermont will end up with Oakland as its parent club
Thanks for stopping by…