Jul 042013
 

Moving On Up for NPP
The Potomac Nationals announced today that LHP Robbie Ray has been promoted to the Harrisburg Senators.

This is a bit of surprise, given the hammering (7HR, .245OBA) he took in June (vs 2HR, .184OBA in April/May) but apparently the powers that be are satisfied that he has made enough progress to be challenged with the next level.

Indeed, compared to the pitcher he was a year ago (especially in the second half, when he would get hit early, often, and hard), the 21-year-old southpaw has improved by leaps and bounds, getting more ground balls overall and converting more of the long counts (which are still a little too frequent to not glaze over) into strikeouts.

For the season, Ray is 6-3 with a 3.11 ERA, 3.82 FIP, and a WHIP of 1.20 with 100 strikeouts and 41 walks in 84 innings. That’s 4.39 BB/9 and 10.71 K/9. The walk rate is actually a career high, while the home run rate is only down slightly (0.96 vs. 1.19).

While not officially confirmed yet by the Senators PR folks, it would appear that Ray is the “TBA” listed in yesterday’s media notes for the probable pitcher of first game in tomorrow’s doubleheader in Harrisburg.

Jul 012013
 

Moving On Up for NPP
The Hagerstown Suns have announced that LHP Matt Purke has been promoted to the Potomac Nationals.

It’s been a long, long, long time coming for the 22-year-old southpaw who was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 First Year Player Draft despite shoulder woes that inevitably led to his having surgery last offseason after making just three starts in 2012.

The past two seasons he’s made limited appearances in spring training and held back from joining a full-season minor-league team until mid-to-late May. Pitch counts limited his appearances in the early going in 2013, but have apparently increased of late as he’s been able to go five and six innings, respectively, in his last two starts.

For the season, he’s 1-1 with a pitcher’s line (ERA/FIP/WHIP) of 2.48/2.54/1.10 in his six starts with 7 walks and 41 strikeouts, which average per nine innings at 2.17 and 12.72 respectively.

With the recent spate of rainouts, as well as the promotion of Taylor Hill last week, it’s unclear when Purke will make his High-A debut. He last pitched on Friday, which with ordinary rest would have him pitching on Wednesday or Thursday.

Jun 182013
 

Moving On Up for NPP
The Harrisburg Senators have announced that RHP Caleb Clay has been promoted to the Syracuse Chiefs.

Clay, who was signed during the offseason as a minor-league free agent, was 6-3 with a pitcher’s line (ERA/FIP/WHIP) of 3.46/3.62/1.08 over 13 starts. He logged 75⅓ innings, averaging nearly 6 innings per start. He walked just 17 batters (2.03/9IP) and struck out 59 (7.05).

On June 1st, Clay tossed the first nine-inning shutout for the Harrisburg Senators since 2005. The three-hit gem earned him Pitcher of the Week Honors for the Eastern League for the period of May 27 to June 2.

The 25-year-old was originally drafted by Boston as a 1st Rounder (44th overall) in 2006, but saw his ascent up the Red Sox ladder stunted by TJ surgery in 2007. He made it up to High-A Salem in 2010 before shifting to the bullpen for AA Portland for the majority of 2011 and 2012.

He’ll most likely make his AAA debut against Charlotte tomorrow afternoon.

Aug 142012
 

It was first whispered on Twitter, then mentioned here in the comments, and now it’s been confirmed by the likes of MASN’s Byron Kerr — Anthony Rendon has been promoted from Potomac to Harrisburg.

One has to wonder if there is a timeline for Rendon that’s divorced from the usual developmental path. In other words, he was only going to be in Potomac for the month of April anyway and may have even been a three-level guy this year. The promotions of Bryce Harper and Brian Goodwin also lend credence to the theory that the usual rule of a level per year below AA doesn’t apply to certain guys.

No sense in me parroting Rendon’s bona fides or brief prospect history; Kerr does a fine job here. I liked what I saw over the four (4) games I got to see him, both offensively and defensively. And clearly the folks that know better (or have the power other than this virtual press) appear to agree.

Meanwhile, the champing at the bit for Matt Skole to join the P-Nats resumes. Perhaps today will be a good day all around for prospect watchers if indeed the Hagerstown third baseman is promoted to take Rendon’s place on the Potomac roster. The corresponding move to make room for Rendon in Harrisburg has not yet been announced. When it is, look for this space to be updated.

UPDATE #1
We still don’t know the corresponding move for Harrisburg yet, but as SpringfieldFan notes, the Senators have been carrying three catchers and it’s been the pattern to plug & play the backstops all season long. We do, however, know that 3B Matt Skole has been freed from Hagerstown and will replace Rendon on the Potomac roster. Replacing Skole for the Suns will be IF Khayyan Norfork from Auburn.

UPDATE #2
Longtime Nationals farmhand Devin Ivany was released to make room for Rendon on the Harrisburg Senators 25-man roster.

Aug 032012
 

The estimable Bill “The Rocket” Ladson is reporting that IF Zach Walters has been promoted from Harrisburg to Syracuse, which has been confirmed by MASN’s Byron Kerr.

The corresponding move appears to be the reassignment of longtime National farmhand Seth Bynum from Syracuse to Harrisburg, though OF Jesus Valdez has also been placed on the temporary inactive list, a move that appears to be related to the expected up-and-back for LHP John Lannan.
Walters was acquired at the 2011 trading deadline for RHP Jason Marquis and finished the season at High-A Potomac, which was essentially a promotion as he had spent the beginning of the 2011 season with Low-A South Bend.

Walters was a late addition to Washington’s 2011 Arizona Fall League team, ostensibly going in place of Anthony Rendon, but racked up a line of just .205/.253/.301 and made six errors. He began 2012, as predicted, at Potomac but slowly before heating up in mid-May and earning a promotion to Harrisburg in mid-June.

Walters has been touted as a potential backup to current middle infielders Danny Espinosa and Steve Lombardozzi, but make no mistake: It’s his bat, not his glove that has gotten him from High-A to AAA thus far, as the errors have continue to pile up since the AFL (30 in his last 100 games). Walters can switch-hit, but he’s stronger as LHB than a RHB and has played at second base and third base as well as shortstop.