Sep 292011

If you just look at wins and losses, the 2011 campaign was a step back from 2010 for the DSL Nationals. If, however, you consider the trend of the team getting younger for the third straight year, then there’s a modicum of success for this year’s crew. The average batter was 18.1 years old, the average pitcher was 18.9 years old; the league averages were 18.5 and 19.0. In 2008, the year the DSL Nationals1 team won the league, those figures were 19.3 and 21.2 respectively.

Of course, the real sign of success is going to be how many of these kids “graduate” to the GCL and beyond. Three bats (four if you count Bowden’s folly) and six arms made the jump from the D.R. to the U.S. from 2010 to 2011. In the 2009 to 2010 offseason, four position players and three pitchers made that leap. Of those seven, only Manny Rivera made it north of Florida for any significant playing time in 2011. That’s not all bad news because among those six are a couple of teenagers (Estarlin Martinez and Gregory Baez, both 19).

Following my size 13B’s from last year, let’s take a look at how the team did as a whole vs. the league averages…

HITTING * GPA = Gross Production Average.


Like last year, the team was slightly above average on offense, though the tradeoff was more hits for fewer walks. The pitching wasn’t quite as good and it wasn’t helped by a defense that was 28th out of 33 teams in terms of errors committed. Sight unseen, I’d attribute many of these things to a younger team, particularly the lower walk totals.

So who were the 2011 DSL Nationals? Using 100PA as the cutoff and defensive games played, here’s how the position players broke down. Folks interested in seeing the full team and its stats can click here.

The fielding percentages are at the position listed (G/GP = Games At The Position/Games Played), except for the utilty/bench guys, for which the percentage is cumulative and the number of games at each position is listed between commas. As aforementioned, this was not a strong fielding club. It is, however, encouraging to see such strong GPAs from some of the teenagers.

Two names that did not make the “cut” but will get some play right here are Algenis Ramirez and Junior Geraldo. The former is a 17-year-old signed from the Dominican Prospect League, the latter we’ve since learned is an 18-year-old but little else can found on him outside of this site. Ramirez had the team’s best walk rate at 17.5%, Geraldo put up a sick .909 OPS — both in admittedly small sample sizes (63 and 71 PAs, respectively).

On to the pitchers, listing the Top 12 in terms of innings pitched…

I purposely included Miguel Navarro as the 12th pitcher even though he was tied for the position to illustrate the following: The D-Nats had four pitchers with four-digit ERAs, responsible for more than 20 percent of the total runs surrendered despite pitching just 37 innings combined, or roughly six percent of the team’s total innings pitched. The point? They were clearly willing to let these kids (three 18 yo’s, one 17-yo) take their lumps.

As you can see from the HBP and WP numbers, this was a wild bunch — even by DSL standards. But you can also see there were some guys that had strong peripherals: Ivan Pineyro, Gilberto Mendez, and Joel Barrientos all had K rates of 24% or better, stranded more than 71% of their baserunners and walked less than three batters per nine. Which of course brings us to our…

Last year’s #1 picks — Wirkin Estevez and Jean-Carlos Valdez — both “graduated” so a pat on the back. My #5 bat (Paul Chacin) got released, so a facepalm. I don’t feel quite so bad when more than a couple of the draft gurus I follow on Twitter have remarked that getting too excited about the DSL stats is an errand for the foolish. And let’s face it: This is basically looking at those numbers, factoring in age, and going with a gut feeling.

Top 5 Batters
1. Diomedes Eusebio
2. Dionicio Rosario
3. Jose Marmolejos-Diaz
4. Wilmer Difo
5. “Fred” Ortega
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Algenis Ramirez and Junior Geraldo

Top 5 Pitchers
1. Gilberto Mendez
2. Ivan Pineyro
3. Joel Barrientos
4. Hector Silvestre
5. Anderson Martinez

Oct 052010

Considering the turmoil from the spring of 2009, the seven-game improvement of the DSL Nationals to a winning season of 36-35 has to be considered progress. But perhaps more promising is that this was done with a crew that was younger than the year before (yes, even with “Smiley”) — the average batter was 18.9 years old, the average pitcher was 19.3 years old; a year ago, those figures were 19.3 and 19.7. Still more than the league averages (18.4, 18.8) but better than two years ago (19.3, 21.2).

As I ease into metaphorically big shoes of Mr. Oliver, let me also disclose fully that I’m modeling this review (and future reviews) after the ones he did back in ’07, which were the first ones I found while rummaging through his online morgue. Without further ado…


D-Nats 2246 312 534 14 274 459 .238 .338 .305 .228 110
Lg. Avg. 2184 301 512 15 275 481 .235 .334 .311 .228 99

* GPA = Gross Production Average. This is a stat that Aaron Gleeman invented several years ago that corrects the two problems with OPS: (1) it corrects the imbalance between OBP and SLG (simply put, OBP is about 80% more valuable) and (2) it puts it on a scale that everyone is familiar with (same as batting average). I like it because it’s relatively easily to calculate — (1.8*OBP plus SLG)/4 — compared to similar sabermetric exercises (wOBA, EqA) and achieves the purpose of an all-encompassing offensive stat nearly as well.


D-Nats 606.1 3.55 4.58 1.351 16 272 541 8.1 4.0 8.0 1.99
Lg. Avg. 590.1 3.39 4.27 1.333 15 275 481 7.8 4.2 7.3 1.75

As you might expect from a .507 team, the D-Nats were slightly above average on offense and slightly below average on pitching with the notable exception of strikeouts and walks, categories in which the Nationals were in the top third of the league.

Given the nature of the league, playing time is much more spread out but for the purposes of displaying who’s who, I’m using defensive games to determine “starters” and the 100AB mark as the cutoff for the bench. The full statistics for the team can be found here.

Position Name Age G/GP Fld% Err PA GPA
Catcher Adderling Ruiz 19 46/49 .978 8 153 .197
First Base Jean Carlos Valdez 17 25/60 .978 8 237 .228
Second Base Nelalexfred Ortega 17 63/63 .964 10 272 .204
Third Base Bienvenido Valdez 19 38/62 .893 12 245 .275
Shortstop Wilmer Difo 20 44/45 .911 20 169 .201
Left Field Jose Arismendy 17 39/51 .980 3 156 .183
Center Field Edgar Gonzalez ?? 53/59 .976 2 223 .256
Right Field Narciso Mesa ?? 45/58 .966 2 213 .193
Utility (1B, 2B, SS) “Smiley” Alvarez 24 14, 4, 24 .966 9 234 .320
Bench (1B, LF) Victor Chavez 21 3, 19 .850 3 167 .293
Bench (C, 1B) Paul Chacin 19 21, 13 .983 4 167 .244

I’m just as troubled as you might be to see those two “??” in the age column. Defensively, you can see that 1B, 3B, and C were a little bit of a merry-go-round in terms of playing time (fielding percentages are for the primary position only for the starters, the bench players are cumulative. Second base was the only stalwart, so it may be safe to say that “Fred” Ortega may be stateside by 2012 at the latest.

On to the pitchers, listing the top 12 in terms of innings pitched…

Antonio Guzman 22 14/13 4-5, 1 3.36 83 74 27 81 1.217 13 15
Wirkin Estevez 18 15/14 6-7, 0 2.61 82⅔ 74 12 95 1.040 5 8
Silvio Medina 20 13/11 5-4, 0 3.06 67⅔ 68 19 46 1.286 9 7
Adalberto Mieses 20 13/12 3-3, 1 2.98 63⅓ 57 33 40 1.421 5 7
Anthony Marcelino 17 14/7 0-2, 0 3.20 45 34 20 24 1.200 5 13
Inocencio Heredia ?? 26/0 3-3, 10 1.69 37⅓ 24 11 34 0.938 6 4
Wander Suero 18 15/4 2-3, 0 4.72 34⅓ 35 23 39 1.689 1 7
Jorge Hernandez 20 13/0 2-1, 4 2.05 30⅔ 21 9 38 0.978 1 1
Andy Santana 19 13/1 5-0, 0 1.27 28⅓ 19 14 24 1.165 0 1
Juan “Slim” Diaz 19 7/6 2-4, 0 5.74 26⅔ 25 10 28 1.312 4 5
Jesus Guzman 19 18/6 1-1, 0 3.43 21 18 18 23 1.714 3 3
Saskuel Herrera 20 18/6 1-0, 1 4.32 16⅔ 19 11 13 1.800 0 11

The too-old criticism may be valid here as it appears that only Wirkin Estevez and Anthony Marcelino will be Viera-bound in ’11, though the obvious caveat that perhaps one or two of the 19-year-olds may have that intangible that we can’t see from a box score (which is the caveat that applies to all of this review). Inocencio Heredia was a constant in our daily reports but the lack of a DOB has to raise a red flag.

Having seen these players as much as Rush Limbaugh has seen his name on college diploma, I present the five batters and pitchers to watch in ’11 with the full knowledge that I’m doing exactly what I hate: basing my judgment solely on stats and boxscores.

Top 5 Batters
1. Jean Carlos Valdez
2. “Fred” Ortega
3. Wilmer Difo
4. Adderling Ruiz
5. Paul Chacin

Top 5 Pitchers
1. Wirkin Estevez
2. Anthony Marcelino
3. Andy Santana
4. Wander Suero
5. Jesus Guzman

Aug 062010

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

SYRACUSE 57-55, 3rd place IL North, 8 games back

Good Boomer Whiting, .403OBP
Bad Dan Leatherman 12H 6R in 1st 6 apperances [Ed. Note: Written before demotion]
Interesting Josh Wilkie 1HR allowed in 53⅓ innings

HARRISBURG 59-53, 3rd place, 6½ games back, EL

Good Tom Milone, 9QS in 22 starts; 1.52BB/9
Bad Edgardo Baez .134BA in July/Aug.
Interesting Chuck James 0.00ERA as a reliever at AA

21-16 in 2nd Half, 1st place by 1½ games in CrL North

Good Tyler Moore 11HR, 40RBI since ASB (34G)
Bad Marcos Frias, 8.46ERA since return from GCL rehab
Interesting Dan Lyons .300/.475/.467 in last 10G

15-25 in 2nd Half, last place in SAL North, 9½ games back

Good Eury Perez .304BA, .441SLG, 17SB in July/Aug
Bad Josh Smoker, 7.38ERA in 19 starts; scoreless outings: 1
Interesting NDFA Billy Ott, 5IP 1H 0R 0BB 3K in SAL debut

25-21, 2nd Place Stedler Division of NY-Penn League, ½ game back

Good Ronnie Labrie .281/.384/.452 in 40G
Bad Taylor Jordan 23R, 32H, 3HR allowed in last 5 starts
Interesting Neil Holland, 1.77ERA in 12G as reliever

14-23, 5th place GCL East Division, 9½ games back

Good Nick Serino 0.98WHIP, 2.93ERA in 10 appearances
Bad Michael Taylor 12E in 23G
Interesting Adrian Sanchez, Billy Ott earning promotions to Hagerstown

27-29, 5th place B.C. South Division, 11½ games back

Good “Fred” Ortega 25SB in 50G
Bad Yamaicol Tejeda .050BA in 26G
Interesting Bienvenido Valdez 24BB, 37K in 50G
Jul 232010

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

SYRACUSE 54-45, 2nd place IL North, 3 games back

Good Justin Maxwell .342/.432/.605 in July
Bad Jason Jones 20H, 14R, 7HR in last three starts (yes, we can fickle)
Interesting Boomer Whiting .264BA as a LHB (began switching hitting this year)

HARRISBURG 49-50, 4th place, 9 games behind

Good Jesus Valdez .315BA, 18RBI in July
Bad 13E each for starting 1B, 2B, and SS
Interesting Chuck James as a reliever: 3-0, 0.00ERA in 15G

14-11 2nd Half; 45-50 Overall

Good Tyler Moore 18-for-30, 8-2B, 6HR, 19RBI in last 8G
Bad Nick Moresi .186BA in July
Interesting Justin Phillabaum, four runs allowed over last eight appearances
(vs. 11 runs allowed in first eight appearances)

10-17 2nd Half; 46-51 Overall

Good Eury Perez .328BA, 13SB in July
Bad Dean Weaver 0-2, five blown saves since return from DL on Jun. 16
Interesting Ben Graham 8K, 5H, 0BB in first four appearances (6⅔ IP) since promotion

22-11, 1st Place Stedler Division of NY-Penn League

Good David Freitas .443BA during 18-game hit streak
Bad Taylor Jordan 0-1, 7.94ERA in July
Interesting Neil Holland 0.66ERA, 1.02WHIP, 14K in 9 appearances (13⅔ IP)

11-15, 4th place GCL East Division, 7 games back

Good Adrian Sanchez .375/.390/.600 in 19G
Bad Estarlin Martinez .150/.209/.275 in 14G
Interesting Billy Ott 1-0, SV, 0.60ERA, 0.87WHIP in 5G

23-19, 5th place B.C. South Division, 4 games back

Good 18-y.o. Wirkin Estevez 5-3, 2.44ERA, 61K in 51⅔ IP
Bad Jorge De La Cruz, 9.28ERA, 2.25WHIP, 6HB in 7G
Interesting Nelalexfred Ortega 15/16 in stolen-base attempts