Jul 282014
 

Moving On Up for NPP
The moves first heard here in the comments are now being officially confirmed as 1B-3B John Wooten has been promoted from Low-A Hagerstown to Potomac and IF Oscar Tejeda has been promoted from Potomac to Harrisburg.

Wooten has been on a tear since returning to the Suns lineup earlier this month after taking a pitch to the face in mid-June, hanging a .413/.423/.652 line with 2HRs and 15 RBI in 12 games. Overall, he’s hitting .309 with eight HR and 54 RBI in 72 games for Hagerstown. The 23-y.o. was acquired last November from Oakland in a trade for Fernando Abad.

Tejeda, who was named the Carolina League’s Batter of the Week earlier today, returns to AA where he’s spent the past three seasons as a former farmhand for Boston, who signed him as an IFA in 2006, and Pittsburgh, where he spent 2013 largely as a backup for AA Altoona and AAA Indianapolis.

In a related move, OF Brandon Miller’s rehab stint with Auburn has been completed and he’ll be returning to the P-Nats. Miller had strained a hamstring in Frederick in mid-May and missed more than two months before returning to action in the GCL for six games, then spending a series with the Doubledays to play back into game shape.

Jul 252014
 

Moving On Up for NPP
Among the slew of transactions that were received today, the promotion of 22-year-old Austin Voth stands out.

The move comes despite his worst outing in High-A this past Wednesday when he gave up five runs on six hits to Winston-Salem, chased by his second HR in 37⅔ innings. He’ll join former teammate John Simms as one of two pitchers to advance two levels this season, which has been rare since current GM Mike Rizzo took the helm from leath..er, previous GM Jim Bowden in 2009.

Here’s a rundown of the other moves made today…
SYRACUSE
• OF Eury Perez optioned from Washington (end of rehab)
• RHP Ryan Mattheus activated from the 7-Day DL

HARRISBURG
• RHP Neil Holland reassigned from Syracuse
• RHP Sam Runion placed on the 7-Day DL
• LHP Matt Purke recalled to Washington, placed on the 60-Day DL

POTOMAC
• LHP Bryan Harper reassigned from Harrisburg
• LHP Hector Silvestre reassigned from Hagerstown
• OF Isaac Ballou promoted from Hagerstown

HAGERSTOWN
• IF-OF Cody Dent reassigned from Potomac
• RHP Reynaldo Lopez reassigned from Auburn
• LHP Joseph Webb activated from the 7-Day DL

AUBURN
• LHP David Napoli reassigned from Hagerstown

Now, it’s certainly possible that the corresponding moves of Silvestre and Lopez are also promotions, but in a season where it feels like I need to take an Ex-Lax to keep up with all the moves, I’m hedging my bets with the more neutral verb.

Apologies in advance… the GBI is going to be delayed a day or so as some of you may have noticed that my website was having server issues earlier.

Jun 272014
 

Moving On Up for NPP
The Harrisburg Senators announced today that RHP A.J. Cole has been promoted to Syracuse.

Yesterday, RHP John Simms was “moved on up” from Potomac and today it was announced that he would be starting in place of Cole, who had been listed as today’s starter in Senators media notes. Tomorrow’s starter for Syracuse is officially “TBA,” but it doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to suppose that the 22-y.o. Cole will be taking the hill against the Bisons tomorrow night.

Unlike many of the promotions this year, this one appears to be permanent, given Adam Kilgore’s report on Wednesday predicting this move. Cole was the only pitcher to make every start for the Senators since the season began, though he did miss one start with no official explanation.

Since that missed start in early June, Cole has gone 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA over four starts with one homer, five walks and 21 hits allowed over 21⅓ IP while striking out 22. Good, but not dominant numbers… much like his promotion last July that came two starts after getting rocked by Wilmington for seven runs on 11 hits over five innings.

The point? As much as we’d like to think that a player on a hot or cold streak is doing good or bad (*ahem*), the folks that make these decisions are looking for things that most of us are not able to see as readily.

Cole will be entering a rotation, that like much of the full-season affiliates, has been in flux with the semi-constant recalls of pitchers from upstate New York to the District, including Taylor Hill, Blake Treinen, Jordan Taylor, and of course, Xavier “Carry On” Cedeno. The Chiefs are also are in the middle of a 33-day stretch without a scheduled day off with 17 games to go, the last eight on the road.

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 18⅓ 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.

Apr 252014
 

Moving On Up for NPP
Late last night, the Potomac Nationals announced that 1B Kevin Keyes has been promoted to Harrisburg.

Keyes had been hitting .284/.346/.500 with four HRs and 17 RBI and was named the Carolina League’s Batter of the Week just this past Monday.

He’s the first true promotion from one minor-league level to the next this season, as the the majority of the player movement thus far this season has been between Syracuse and Washington for relief and bench help.

Corresponding moves have not yet been announced. The activation of Shawn Pleffner from the 7-Day DL to take Keyes’s place is probably more likely than a promotion from Low-A Hagerstown. As always, if/when that occurs within a reasonable period of time, this space will be updated.

UPDATE: As predicted, Pleffner has indeed been activated to take the roster spot vacated by Keyes. The Potomac Nationals also officially announced:

• LHP Nick Lee placed on the 7-Day DL
• RHP Pedro Encarnacion placed on the 7-Day DL
• OF Narcisco Mesa reassigned from XST

As noted in today’s “Last Night In Woodbridge,” Lee left the game after taking his warmup tosses in the 5th inning last night. Encarnacion pitched four and 2/3rds on Wednesday night but did not appear to be injured.

Aug 262013
 

Moving On Up for NPP
The Auburn Doubledays announced today that OF Isaac Ballou has been promoted to Hagerstown.

Ballou had been hitting .294/.405/.398 with two HRs, 20RBIs, and eight SBs while playing in 59 of 65 games for the Doubledays. Three weeks ago, Ballou was named the New York-Penn League Batter of the Week.

He’s the third position player to get the bump this month, following Brandon Miller and Billy Burns’s shuffle from Hagerstown to Potomac and Potomac to Harrisburg, respectively.

Corresponding moves have not yet been announced for either Auburn or Hagerstown. As always if/when that occurs within a reasonable period of time, this space will be updated.

Aug 212013
 

RippleAfter three summers of people complaining about Nationals being too slow to promote… this summer, those people can shut the trunk up.

As noted earlier this season, the increased movement has made it harder to call true promotions versus need-based fill-ins. Thus, you’re seeing verbs “assign” or “reassign,” which are a bit more benign, but also enables me to avoid using word “demoted” for when a player is returned (e.g. Taylor Hill).

My personal guideline has been to avoid calling any movement between the short-season leagues a promotion, but Lucas Giolito is an obvious exception. Likewise for Austin Voth and Jake Johansen, as all three are top draft picks and their transfers from the GCL to Auburn and Auburn to Hagerstown are difficult to characterize as anything but.

The roster moves for Giolito and Voth have been officially announced, with Giolito scheduled to make his New York-Penn League debut (on the road, natch) tonight. Auburn Citizen beat reporter Jeremy Houghtaling (@CitizenHough for those of you on “the Twitters”) says he’ll make the trip to Batavia, so we’ll have at least one independent account.

Voth appears to be slated to start tomorrow, weather permitting, as will Brett Mooneyham for Potomac, with the younger Pac-12 pitcher taking the place of the elder, who’s reportedly on his way to Potomac according to MASN’s Byron Kerr.

The moves for Johansen and Mooneyham have not been officially announced, but the speculation here is that Paul Demny will be placed on the Potomac DL to make room for Mooneyham (and take his place in the rotation) and similar move will be made for Hagerstown (more likely a reliever with Ian Dickson going to the ‘pen).

UPDATE: Auburn has officially announced the promotion of Johansen to Hagerstown. The Suns, in turn, have announced the promotion of Mooneyham to Potomac while LHP Jake Walsh has been reassigned to the GCL to accommodate the transfers of both Johansen and Voth. A corresponding move for Potomac has not yet been announced.

Aug 122013
 

Moving On Up for NPPThe Hagerstown Suns have announced that RHP Travis Henke has been promoted to the Potomac Nationals.

Henke was 3-1 with two saves, five holds, and a 2.72 ERA in 30 appearances with 17 walks and 41 strikeouts over 59⅔ innings.

The 6’6″ 25-year-old was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2011 Draft from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He spent two seasons in Auburn, posting an unimpressive ERA of 5.40 and a subpar WHIP of 1.518 in 2011 before lowering those numbers to 2.78 and 1.169 in 2012, which earned him a brief look-see last in Hagerstown last August (0-1, 12.00, 3IP in 2G).

Henke’s calling card, in addition to the surname he shares with his uncle, former Toronto Blue Jays reliever Tom, has been a decent walk rate of 2.6 per nine innings that he’s sustained throughout his professional career. He’ll be expected to help shore up a badly overworked Potomac bullpen.

A corresponding move to make room on the Potomac roster has not yet been announced.
UPDATE: RHP Cameron Selik has been placed on the 7-Day DL for Potomac, clearing a space for Henke on the roster.

Aug 022013
 

Moving On Up for NPPThe Potomac Nationals announced today that OF Billy Burns has been promoted to Harrisburg. Taking his place on the P-Nats roster is OF Brandon Miller, who was also promoted from Hagerstown.

Burns becomes the ninth P-Nat to get the bump this season, but just the second position player. He’s currently riding a 24-game hit streak, which has been aided by a recent propensity to get hit by pitches as he’s twice left the game without an official at-bat, which is one of the exceptions of the hitting-streak rule (10.24b).

For the season, Burns is hitting .308/.417/.387 with 51 stolen bases and 68 runs scored, which is first and tied for second respectively in the Carolina League. Burns was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2011 First Year Player draft out of Mercer University (Georgia) and has played the past two seasons at Auburn and Hagerstown.

Most notably, Burns resumed switch-hitting last season after abandoning it in college, a rather odd decision for an undersized outfielder (listed very, very generously at 5’9″) whose primary weapon is his speed. In the past few weeks, he’s been spotted trying to reduce his reliance on small-ball in favor of turning gap hits into doubles and triples, which he’s obviously had some success doing (five 2B three 3B in July).

Brandon Miller will take his place in Woodbridge, but will presumably continue to play right field where he can leverage his throwing arm as some 14 Sally League runners have walked off the field when trying to take the extra base against the former catcher. Miller has led the Suns all year long in HRs (18), RBIs (72), and strikeouts (135), totals that currently place him tied for fourth, second and tied for second in the Sally League batting leaderboard.

Replacing Miller on the Suns roster is utilityman Wes Schill, who was activated from the Hagerstown DL (placed on it eight days ago). Likewise, Brian Goodwin, who had missed the previous three games with a “stomach ailment” per Dave Sottile of PennLive.com was placed on the 7-Day DL to make room for Burns in Harrisburg.

Jul 232013
 

Moving On Up for NPPThe Potomac Nationals announced today that RHP A.J. Cole has been promoted to Harrisburg.

Also “movin’ on up” is RHP Richie Mirowski, while slidin’ on down is RHP Paul Demny, per the team release.

Cole becomes the third starting pitcher to make the jump this season, following Robbie Ray earlier this month, Taylor Hill last month, and Jordan Taylor in May — movement not seen since 2008 when Adrian Alaniz, Jordan Zimmermann, and Craig Stammen were all promoted during the season’s first half.

Unlike Ray, Hill, or Taylor, Cole’s success has been much more sporadic, which one would expect with “stuff” that’s electric but inconsistent. There’s not much doubt the 21-y.o. can bring the heat — reports of mid-90s readings have been personally spotted on radar guns — but the secondary pitches have been far behind. The feeling here is that the organization now wants him under the tutelage of Paul Menhart, who’s considered one of the best teachers of the changeup in the system.

Mirowski has suffered from bouts with the long ball (6 in 48IP) but has led the team in appearances (32) and wins (8) and posted strong peripherals (2.1 BB/9, 11.1 K/9, 6.0 H/9) in addition to pitcher’s triple-slash of 1.50 ERA / 3.05 FIP / 0.90 WHIP. He’ll be joining the Eastern LEague’s best pitching staff, one that’s already been fortified with a former Potomac pitcher, Matt Grace.

Demny continues a tradition of sorts in which a AA pitcher is dropped down in July, which began with Erik Davis in 2011 and continued last summer with Rob Gilliam. The redheaded Texan has been workhorse for most of his career (23+ starts annually from 2009-2012) with the Nationals, but has been relegated to the bullpen twice now in two seasons with the Senators and recently spent time on the disabled list.

It’s not immediately clear if Demny will start for Potomac, especially with the P-Nats roster down a man and corresponding moves above and/or below Potomac have not yet been announced.

As always, if those moves made today, this space will be updated.

UPDATE: No word from Potomac yet on who will fill the empty slot in either the roster or rotation, but the Senators have announced that Blake Treinen has been placed on the DL. Perhaps not coincidentally, Treinen last pitched on Saturday, the same day as Cole. Treinen is still officially listed as the starter for Thursday’s game in Portland. Thus, the logical deduction is that Cole will most likely make his AA debut on Thursday.