Aug 012014
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 62-49, 1st place I.L. North +.001 W% ahead

Good Emmanuel Burris .351/.422/.514 in July (17G)
Bad Taylor Hill 0-3, 5.48/6.67/1.69, 5HR in 5 July GS
Interesting Rafael Martin 38 consecutive IP w/o an ER (19⅓ at AA; 18⅔ at AAA)



HARRISBURG SENATORS 45-65, 6th place E.L. West, 20 games behind

Good Scott McGregor 1-0, 2.25 ERA, 0.85 WHIP in July
Bad Senators third baseman not named Adrian Sanchez = 19E, .875 Fld. Pct.
Interesting Adrian Sanchez 2E in 39G at 3B (.971 Fld. Pct.)



POTOMAC NATIONALS 20-18, 1st place C.L. North, .001 W% ahead (58-49 overall)

Good Pedro Severino .304/.368/.468 since All-Star Break (26G)
Bad Dakota Bacus 6.33 ERA, 1.66 WHIP in July (5GS)
Interesting 752 batting K second-fewest in the Carolina League



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 26-14, 1st place Sally North, 1 game ahead (70-40 overall)

Good Lucas Giolito (duh) 5-2, 1.95/2.90/0.87, 10.3K/9IP in last 10 GS
Bad Narciso Mesa 6BB drawn in 46G
Interesting Zero CG through 110G (tied with Asheville; Savannah has 8)



AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 21-25, 4th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 10½ games behind

Good Raudy Read .319/.350/.532, 4HR, 16RBI in July (25G)
Bad Connor Bach 4.96 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, 18BB in 7 appearances (16⅓ IP)
Interesting 3.87 R/G = 13th in 14-team NYPL



GCL NATIONALS 20-16, 2nd place GCL East, 4½ games behind

Good John Feliz 3-1, 1SV, 1.23/2.04/0.82 in 14⅔ IP
Bad Ryan Ripken .453 OPS in 51AB
Interesting 2012 Avg. Batter Age = 20.9
2013 Avg. Batter Age = 19.7 (2014 Lg. Avg)
2014 Avg. Batter Age = 19.2



DSL NATIONALS 29-23, 4th place Boca Chica South, 8 games behind

Good 17-y.o. Telmito Agustin .877 OPS, 22SB, 5CS
Bad 19-y.o. Michael Archibald 1-0, 7.43 ERA, 2.10 WHIP in 13⅓ IP
Interesting 20-y.o. Angher Cespedes 4-0, 7SV, 3.49 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 38K in 28⅓ IP
May 162014
 

GBI for NPP 2

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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 20-20, 4th place I.L. North, 1 game behind

Good Taylor Jordan 0.82 ERA, 0.82 WHIP in first 2GS since demotion
Bad Will Rhymes .164/.230/.274 in May (13G)
Interesting Brian Goodwin 45K, 31BB in 40G



HARRISBURG SENATORS 11-26, 6th place E.L. West, 14 games behind

Good Quincy Latimore .371/.425/.514 in 18G
Bad Blake Schwartz 0-7, 7.04/5.47/1.83 in 8GS
Interesting 7-8 at home, 4-18 on the road



POTOMAC NATIONALS 20-16, 1st place C.L. North, 3½ games ahead

Good Bryan Harper 1.72/2.36/1.09 in 9 appearances, 14K in 15⅔ IP
Bad Narciso Mesa .342 OPS in 9 games
Interesting 58 team doubles, 8th in 8-team Carolina League



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 30-8, 1st place Sally North, 9 games ahead

Good John Wooten .396/.411/.698, 3HR, 9RBI in May
Bad 600 per game attendance, 14th in Sally Lg.
Interesting Sally Lg. 13th place team = 1,585 per game.
Jul 262013
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 45-59, 6th place I.L. North, 11½ games behind

Good Mike Crotta 0HR in 43⅓ IP
Bad Kelly Shoppach .179/.324/.179 in first nine games
Interesting 271 batting BB dead last in I.L.



HARRISBURG SENATORS 58-48, 1st place E.L. West, 3 games ahead

Good Matt Swynenberg 1-0, 0.87 ERA, 1.16 WHIP in July (5 appearances)
Bad Jason Martinson .176BA, 16K in last 10 games
Interesting Taylor Hill 1.82/3.40/1.16 in six AA starts



POTOMAC NATIONALS 18-14, 1st place C.L. North, 4 games ahead (60-40 overall)

Good Billy Burns .364/.440/.489, 13SB in July
Bad Matt Purke 0-3, 8.34/4.70/1.99 in first five A+ starts
Interesting David Fischer 2-0, 2.08 ERA, 0.923 WHIP in July (6 appearances)



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 20-13, T1st place Sally North, .007 W% behind (58-42 overall)

Good Narciso Mesa .309/.397/.364 in 29G
Bad Ian Dickson 6HR in 28⅔ IP (9 appearances)
Interesting 37% CS rate by Suns catchers 2nd best in Sally League



AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 12-25, 6th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 11½ games behind

Good L.J. Hollins 1.35/3.20/1.20 in 13 appearances
Bad Cody Gunter 11E in 30G
Interesting Back-to-back wins thus far: 0



GCL NATIONALS 24-5, 1st place East Division, Gulf Coast League, 9 games ahead

Good Drew Ward .330/.435/.440 in 27G
Bad Travis Ott 8.31/6.20/1.85 in four appearances
Interesting Team Pitching No. 1 in GCL for ERA, Runs Allowed, and WHIP



DSL NATIONALS 21-17, 4th place Boca Chica South, 5&fra12; games behind

Good 18-y.o. Maximo Valerio 3-2, 1.39/2.78/0.93 in nine starts
Bad 19-y.o. Dionicio Rosario .146/.212/.188 in July
Interesting 18-y.o. Luis Reyes 8HBP in 36⅔ IP, 3.19 BB/9, 10.8 K/9
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 022012
 

Like two years ago, the first couple of 2012 league Top 20s from Baseball America — Gulf Coast League, New York-Penn League — have been sans Nats.

That will most likely change with tomorrow’s Top 20 for the 2012 South Atlantic League, with Brian Goodwin, Alex Meyer and Matt Skole as good possibilities to make the list.

However, there was a mention in the BA chat held yesterday, which I’ll pass along:

Ben (Leland Grove): Did any of the Doubledays come close to making this list?

Aaron Fitt: As our college readers surely know, I’ve been a Tony Renda fan for a long time, and he was in the mix for a spot on this list. He’s an undersized second baseman who did not stand out for his performance in his pro debut, but he has an innate feel for his barrel that I think will carry him through the minors. He also made great strides defensively this summer, though he has a few more things to clean up in order to become an average defender. Brett Mooneyham had an encouraging debut, but he’s got to smooth out his delivery in order to harness his potential — I think there’s a lot of risk there. Robert Benincasa and Derek Self are a couple of college relievers who pitched very well this summer; both have polish, tenacity and solid stuff (working in that 90-93 range with solid-average sliders), and I think both could move quickly. And Estarlin Martinez is an interesting sleeper with some power potential — certainly a guy to keep an eye on.

The Doubledays, as you’ll be shocked to learn (no, not really), were one of the oldest teams in the New York-Penn League. This is a function, of course, of the organization’s tendency (philosophy?) towards collegiate players. It’s disappointing, of course, when there were two candidates (Martinez, Narciso Mesa) that put up stronger numbers than the four OFs that were tabbed, but two were younger and two were recent high-price/high-profile draftees — and let’s not forget BA’s tendency to favor youth and money spent when it comes to prospects.

Aug 242012
 

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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 63-70, 5th place I.L. North, 14½ games behind

Good Sandy Leon .371/.511/.600 in August (14G)
Bad Erik Arnesen 5.51ERA, 1.59WHIP since All-Star Break
Interesting Eury Perez 8BB in 34G at AAA (7 in 82G at AA)

HARRISBURG SENATORS 61-70, 5th place E.L. West, 15½ games behind

Good Destin Hood .289/.325/.447 in last 10G
Bad Rafael Martin 9H, 8ER, 3HR in last 3 appearances
Interesting Pat McCoy Home ERA: 5.47, Road ERA: 1.32

POTOMAC NATIONALS 27-32, 4th place C.L. North Division, 3 games behind (58-71 overall)

Good Aaron Barrett 1.26ERA, 0.77WHIP since callup (14G)
Bad Adrian Sanchez 15CS vs. 23SB (39.5%)
Interesting 40-27 home record, 3rd best in C.L.

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 35-24, 1st place Sally League North Divison, 2½ games ahead (77-51 overall)

Good Caleb Ramsey .452/.528/.710, three triples in last 10G
Bad Alex Kreis 6.75ERA, 2.34WHIP since return from GCL (8G)
Interesting Team batting 113HR in 128G

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 38-25, 1st place Pinckney Division, N.Y.-Penn League, 3 games ahead

Good Wander Ramos 27BB in 55G
Bad Silvio Medina 9HBP in 43⅓ IP
Interesting Team pitching 36HR — 14th in 14-team NYPL

GCL NATIONALS 26-32, 4th Place GCL East, 8 games behind (eliminated)

Good Mike Mudron 1.00WHIP in 24IP
Bad Narciso Mesa 2BB in 32G
Interesting Wilmer Difo 33BB in 52G

DSL NATIONALS 38-32, 3rd Place Boca Chica South Division, 11 games behind (eliminated)

Good 18-y.o. Raudy Read 9HR – 3rd best in DSL
Bad 18 y.o. Miguel Acevedo 7HBP in 32⅔ IP
Interesting 38 team wins most since “Smileygate”
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
Oct 052011
 

Believe it or not, the 2011 GCL Nationals were actually younger than the 2010 edition, which wasn’t exactly a tough achievement. As frequent commenter VladiHondo pointed out, this is largely due to the infusion of players from the D.R. — four bats, three arms — with Deion Williams as the sole American-born teenager.

Despite being nearly a year older than the league average (21.1 vs. 20.4), the G-Nats pitchers were the league’s worst at 5.74 R/G and that goes a long way towards explaining the 20-33 mark. The bats weren’t as proficient as last year’s edition (which led the league), but were fifth-best and pretty close to league average in terms of age (20.0 vs. 19.9).

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

PITCHING

A word about the “adjusted” totals… The G-Nats played the fewest games in the league (53) so I adjusted the numbers to the 58-game average for the league. Otherwise, I might say something like “well, they didn’t strike out as often” when in fact, they did. Unfortunately, that would also make the defense the league-worst in terms of total errors committed (actual 111, adjusted 122), which most of you probably already deduced from that huge gap between the team’s ERA and R/G allowed.

Like most losing teams, there are still bright spots to be found when looking at the team individually. The catchers, for example, threw out runners at a 34% rate, which was fifth-best in the league. As I did last year, I’m listing 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 2010 or 2011; Players with a double asterisk are GCL repeats from 2010; Players with an octothorpe(#) are IFAs. The full statistics for the team can be found here.

Unlike last year, none of the batters below the cutoff were 2011 draft picks that were bumped up. Just one notable batter was sent north that couldn’t be considered a rehab (Carlos Alvarez) and two of the remaining 12 batters were 2010 draft picks that were essentially demoted — Rick Hughes (in-season from Auburn) and Chad Mozingo (began and ended in the GCL after playing in Vermont in 2010).

Three of the Top 12 were repeaters from 2010 — Martinez, Ramos, and Rodriguez — with another two bats graduating from the DSL to begin the season (Mesa, Valdez) and a third coming up midseason (Difo). Two IFAs were placed here (Severino and Peguero) instead of in the DR. This is consistent with 2010 usage and placement, which means you’re likely to see Martinez and Ramos in Auburn, and Severino and Peguero repeating. What the Nationals do with Mesa, Valdez and Difo is certainly up for debate. That at least one of those three will repeat the GCL in 2012 is probably not.

On to the pitchers, listing the Top 12 in terms of innings pitched…
(**- = Repeat after demotion from Auburn to start year; ^ = Non-Drafted Free Agent; *** = Third Year at GCL)

My first instinct was to skip over Chico and McGeary as “rehabs” until I decided that their usage was emblematic of the GCL season. Had I done that, another NDFA (Scott Williams) and a 38th round draft pick (Nicholas Lee) at 13⅓ and 13 IP, respectively would have made the list. Just one (1) 2011 draftee was among the Top 12 in terms of innings pitched while the four most used pitchers were all repeating the level, including two that began the year in Auburn but were subsequently dropped.

As aforementioned, the pitching was ineffective. Whether you want to write that off to spring-training usage or spring-training mentality is one thing, but one thing’s for sure, it makes no sense to have separate…

OBLIGATORY TOP FIVE LISTS
…for the bats and arms of the GCL. Instead, a simple Top 5 with some honorable mentions should suffice.

1. Wander Ramos
2. Estarlin Martinez
3. Narciso Mesa
4. Wilmer Difo
5. Gregory Baez

Honorable Mentions: Arialdi Peguero, Jean Carlos Valdez