Aug 092013
 

GBI for NPP 2Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 55-64, 6th place I.L. North, 10 games behind

Good Yunesky Maya 3-1, 1.52 ERA since All-Star Break
Bad Syracuse catchers .205BA, .264SLG, 30RBI
Interesting .975FA 12th in 14-team I.L.



HARRISBURG SENATORS 63-55, 1st place E.L. West, ½ game ahead

Good Matt Grace 2-0, 1.46 ERA, 1.30 WHIP since All-Star Break (9 appearances)
Bad Carlos Rivero .567 OPS in 32G since demotion
Interesting Team Offense ranks in E.L. .240 BA (12th), OBP .321 (11th), SLG .371 (11th), R/G 4.16 (11th)



POTOMAC NATIONALS 27-17, 1st place C.L. North, 8 games ahead (69-44 overall)

Good Brandon Miller 12-for-27, HR, five RBI in first six games
Bad Paul Demny 0-1, 4.70ERA, 2.35WHIP in three starts since demotion
Interesting Excluding rehabs, 21 pitchers and 29 position players have been used thus far



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 28-19, 2nd place Sally North, 2½ games behind (66-48 overall)

Good Shawn Pleffner .320/.402/.430 since All-Star Break
Bad Bryan Harper 8HBP in 39⅓ IP
Interesting T3rd with 32 holds in 14-team Sally League



AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 16-33, 6th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 15 games behind

Good Austin Voth 1.42/1.31/0.89 in five starts (19IP)
Bad David Masters .466 OPS in 29G
Interesting NDFA Greg Zebrack .267/.368/.333 in 25G



GCL NATIONALS 37-6, 1st place East Division, Gulf Coast League, 18 games ahead

Good Rafael Bautista .340/.432/.410, 22SBs in 39G
Bad Michael Boyden 2.20WHIP over 10 appearances (what’s a small sample size?)
Interesting Today’s win clinched the GCL East title



DSL NATIONALS 31-25, 5th place Boca Chica South, 7 games behind

Good 18-y.o. Jose Morales 2-3, 1.36 ERA, 0.83 WHIP
Bad 18-y.o. Miguel Atencio .459 OPS in 21G
Interesting Team pitching 11th in 35-team DSL
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.

Jun 262013
 

Rosters for the 2013 Eastern League All-Star Game were announced today, and for the third straight year, five Harrisburg Senators made the Western Division squad:

• IF Josh Johnson

• OF Steve Souza Jr.

• RHP Aaron Barrett

• RHP Paul Demny

• RHP Taylor Jordan

This is the first All-Star team selection for Demny and the second All-Star team selection for Johnson (Midwest, 2006), Souza (Sally, 2010), Jordan (Sally, 2011) and Barrett (Sally 2012).

This year’s game will be held in New Britain, Connecticut on July 10th with a HR derby on the 9th. New Britain previously hosted the All-Star game in 2003 and 1987.

UPDATE: The accolades keep coming for Jordan as the 24-year-old was named to the 2013 All-Star Futures Game.

May 172013
 

GBI for NPP 2Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 15-25, 6th place I.L. North, 9½ games behind

Good Fernando Abad 1.26 ERA/1.94 FIP/1.05 WHIP, 86.7 LOB% in 16 app.
Bad Mike Costanzo 36K in 29G
Interesting Zach Walters 9HR, 9E, 41K in 38G

HARRISBURG SENATORS 18-22, T5th place E.L. West, 7 games behind

Good Anthony Rendon (duh) .348 (2nd) / .483 (1st) / .620 (1st) in E.L.
Bad 30E by Senator IFs in 40G
Interesting Paul Demny 2-1, 1.50 ERA, 1.111 WHIP in May (3 starts)

POTOMAC NATIONALS 22-18, T1st place C.L. North, .003 W% behind

Good Billy Burns .364/.455/.455 with runners on base (51PA)
Bad Brian Dupra 0-2, 8.25/3.87/1.58 in four appearances (two starts)
Interesting Justin Miller .400/.455/.667 in May with 2HR, 8RBI, 3SB

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 19-12, 1st place Sally North, ½ game ahead

Good Shawn Pleffner .298/.412/.452 with 2HR, 14RBI in 25G
Bad Kylin Turnbull 6HR in 4GS and 18IP
Interesting Ronald Pena starting on two days’ rest (5/15) after 2IP relief (5/12)
May 132013
 

It’s a Harrisburg sweep for the Eastern League’s weekly awards as Anthony Rendon and Paul Demny were named Player and Pitcher of the Week for the period of May 6 through 12.

Anthony RendonRendon hit safely in six of seven games, going 12-for-24 with six doubles, two home runs, and eight RBI for a .500 batting average. He also drew six walks and scored five runs. Despite his 15 days spent in the majors, Rendon is leading the Eastern League in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. He was the Nationals’ 1st round pick out of Rice University in the 2011 draft, and the 6th pick overall.

Paul DemnyDemny pitched just once during the timeframe, but nobody got a hit during the eight innings he pitched last Thursday as he combined with Ian Krol for the fourth no-hitter in Harrisburg Senator history. Demny walked three and struck out five for that night, but has struggled to marks of 4.62/3.96/1.38 for ERA/FIP/WHIP for the season with a record of 2-4 in seven starts. He was the Nationals’ 6th round pick out of Blinn (TX) Community College in 2008.

Rendon and Demny are the fifth and sixth Nats farmhands to win weekly honors, following A.J. Cole, Nathan Karns, Taylor Hill, and Jason Martinson (twice).

May 092013
 

Moving On Up for NPPThe Potomac Nationals have announced that RHP Taylor Jordan has been promoted to Harrisburg.

Jordan was 2-1 with a line of 1.24/2.46/1.02 (ERA/FIP/WHIP – It’s not a thing… yet) in six starts, including eight scoreless innings last Friday night. In 36⅓ innings, he allowed nine runs (five earned) on 31 hits with 29 strikeouts and six (6) walks.

As mentioned in “First Impressions,” Jordan has picked up where he left off in 2011, when he was 9-4, 2.48/2.92/1.20 in 17 starts for Hagerstown before undergoing Tommy John surgery (making him one of the M*A*S*H players on the 2013 Watchlist). He features a FB/SL/CH arsenal, but appears to have shelved (as predicted) the curveball spotted when I first saw him in 2010.

A corresponding move to backfill his spot on the Potomac roster has not yet been announced. Brian Dupra, promoted last week from Hagerstown, will take his scheduled start tonight in Wilmington, as the official release terms the move as a “spot start.”

As of this writing, Taylor is not scheduled to start tonight, however, as beat writer Geoff Morrow noted earlier today, tonight’s scheduled pitcher for the Senators — Paul Demny — has been struggling mightily and is a candidate to get moved to the ‘pen or demoted.

UPDATE: The Harrisburg Senators have sent RHP Brian Broderick to the DL to make room for Jordan, who will take Broderick’s spot in the rotation and make his AA debut on Saturday

Nov 192012
 

First, the stats…
BATTERS

PITCHERS
Now, the thoughts

  • Goodwin’s alleged baserunning gaffe not withstanding, the youngest of the AFL entrants acquitted himself just fine overall. He showed a lot more power than anyone might have expected — hitter-friendly environment or not. I still expect him to return to Harrisburg next year to work on his defense and refine his game.
  • Rendon fulfilled the lofty expectations placed upon him by both the prospect cheerleaders gurus and the casual Nats fans, who are already converting Ryan Zimmerman to first base before he turns 30 to make room for 2011 first-round pick. My inclination is to predict Harrisburg as his 2013 starting point, but can see him in Syracuse next April with a strong spring.
  • The party line is that Skole played first base merely to accommodate Rendon in the AFL, but that seems hard to believe that he’ll go back, given how well he played there and who’s ahead of him on the first-base path to DC (just Bloxom and Marrero). If the knock on his gaudy offensive numbers was that he was playing a level too low, then making him the Senators first baseman can kill two birds with one stone.
  • Martinson started horribly and finished strong. Will it be enough for him to not repeat Potomac? The Zach Walters experience suggests that he’ll sent back but Martinson is much older and played much more High-A ball. Keeping him at Potomac means keeping someone else at Hagerstown, much the way he was made to repeat to make room for Ricky Hague and Walters.
  • Options or not, Perry did not make a strong case to account the hype that he can be the #5 starter for the parent club. He’s likely to stay on the 40-man for now, but don’t be surprised if he’s returned to the bullpen next spring.
  • Demny is a Rule 5 possibility and as much as Rizzo covets hard-throwing righties, the bet here is that he won’t be protected. Demny’s future is in the bullpen and the whispers that the velocity has slipped are other reasons to believe he’ll be exposed.
  • Kimball may still be recovering from injuries, but it’s hard not to see him getting dropped from the 40-man today or tomorrow (if he hasn’t already) in the hopes that he’ll pass through waivers. What we’ll never know is whether that was the plan all along.
  • Barrett came into the AFL with a built-in excuse of inexperience (17 innings of High-A) but instead was used in the 7th and 8th innings and had seven scoreless outings out of ten. Alas, it probably won’t be enough for him to not repeat Potomac in ’13.
  • Next up: A look at the Nationals Rule 5 eligibles.

Nov 142012
 

The Scorpions stung the Rafters for seven first-inning runs en route to a 13-6 win that delayed Salt River’s title hopes for another day.

Paul Demny was among the pitchers victimized by Scottsdale, giving up three runs on six hits over three innings. The 23-year-old walked none and struck out threw 31 of 53 pitches for strikes.

Brian Goodwin led off as the Rafters DH but had an afternoon to forget: 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. The whiff has been the sore spot for Goodwin this fall, as the 22-year-old has racked up 24 in 19 games.

Anthony Rendon batted cleanup and reached base three times (two singles and a walk) while scoring a run. Defensively, he had two assists and no putouts while playing third base.

With the loss, Salt River’s lead over Scottsdale in the AFL East has been cut to 1½ games with two to play. The Rafters host the AFL West-leading Peoria this afternoon while Scottsdale hosts last-place Mesa tonight.

Nov 092012
 

Salt River rallied for three in bottom of the ninth, but it was too little, too late as the Surprise Saguaros handed the Rafters a 4-3 loss.

Just two Nationals made it into the game…

…Anthony Rendon moved up to the No. 2 spot and went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, hitting safely in eight of nine and extending his on-base streak to 10 games. Defensively, Rendon had no official chances but got a glove on an infield single and a double to left field.

…Paul Demny was the first man out of the ‘pen but was greeted with an RBI double to let in an inherited runner in the 5th, then gave up another double to lead off the 6th; the run scoring two batters later on a sacrifice fly. The final line was one run on two hits, no walks, and two strikeouts over an inning and a third.

Despite the loss, Salt River held on to its 1½-game lead in the AFL East, thanks to Scottsdale’s fourth straight loss. The Rafters host the last-place Solar Sox this afternoon, while the Scorpions head for Phoenix to face the Desert Dogs.

Nov 062012
 

A seven-run 4th proved to be too much for Salt River to overcome as the Rafters dropped a 10-7 decision to the Javelinas. It was Salt River’s third straight loss, and AFL West-leading Peoria’s third straight win.

Three Nationals saw game action:

• Matt Skole batted third and played first base, going 0-for-4 with a walk while making seven putouts and two assists on defense.
• Anthony Rendon hit sixth and manned third base. He drew two walks and scored a run, but went hitless in two ABs to halt his hit streak of six games. He caught a foul pop in the 4th for his sole defensive chance.
• Paul Demny pitched a 1-2-3 fourth inning, needing just 11 pitches to retire three batters.

The loss drops the Rafters to 11-10, but with a loss by Scottsdale they remain a ½ game behind the Desert Dogs in the AFL East with nine games left to play.