Jul 012011
 

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

SYRACUSE 33-45, 5th place I.L. North, 12 games behind

Good Ross Detwiler 3-1, 2.45 ERA, 1.06WHIP in June
Bad Jeff Frazier .182/.248/.311 in 68G
Interesting Jesus Valdez .286/.333/.441 in 43G

HARRISBURG 45-32, 1st place E.L. West Division, 4 games ahead

Good Bill Rhinehart .294 GPA, .894OPS
Bad Erik Davis 30BB in 62⅔ IP
Interesting Shairon Martis 5-3, 2.37ERA in last 10 starts

POTOMAC 4-4, T1st place C.L. North Division, 1 game ahead (33-44, overall)

Good Danny Rosenbaum 2-0, 1.63 ERA, 1.08WHIP in June
Bad Eury Perez .243/.254/.288 in June; .333/.337/.409 in May
Interesting Sandy Leon .307/.350/.387 in June; .165/.214/.203 in May

HAGERSTOWN 5-3, T1st place Sally League Northern Division, 1 game ahead (45-33 overall)

Good Kevin Keyes .306, 7HR, 16RBI in June
Bad Ben Graham 2-2, 5.54ERA, 1.69WHIP in June
Interesting Cole Leonida .385OBP in 27G as backup C

AUBURN 8-6, T2nd place, Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 2 games behind

Good Ryan Demmin 3-0, 1.69ERA, 0.94WHIP in three starts
Bad Rick Hughes .154/.195/.231 in 9G
Interesting Hendry Jimenez, Russell Moldenhauer, Matt Skole – each with an 11G hit streak

GCL NATIONALS 5-4, T2nd place, GCL East, ½ game back

Good Nathan Karns 3G – 9┼ IP, 2H, 0R, 3BB, 14K
Bad Pedro Severino .087/.125/.130 in 23AB
Interesting Wander Ramos .314/.415/.714 in 35AB

DSL NATIONALS 12-16, 6th place, Boca Chica South Division of Dominican Summer League, 6½ games behind

Good Gilberto Mendez (Age 18) 2-0, 1.88ERA, 1.25WHIP, 24K in 24IP
Bad Wilman Rodriguez (Age 19) .132/.277/.170 in 53AB
Interesting Ivan Pineyro (Age 19) 38K in 27⅔ IP
Oct 192010
 

At the time that I went to see them, the Vermont Lake Monsters were 7-3 and in the second game of an eight-game win streak that saw them roll up an 18-5 record before they would lose consecutive games.  After losing those two games, they ripped off three more wins to go to 21-7. They would not win two games in a row again until the final two games of the year, going 15-31 the rest of the way to finish at 36-38 and two games behind the eventual league champion Tri-City Valley Cats (coincidentally, the team I had visited the night before on my drive up).

Q: What the hell happened?
A: The pitching took a nosedive.

The top four starters had a combined ERA of 4.75, which is nearly a run higher than the league average of 3.80. The good news is that just one of those starters was a 2010 draftee; the rest of the 2010 draftees were relievers. The bad news is that two of the other three starters were from the 2009 draft.

As you might have already deduced (or guessed, Skipper), the hitting was in the top quartile of the league. As we’ve done the two reviews prior, let’s take a look at how Vermont compared to the rest of the league…

HITTING

TEAM AB R H HR BB SO AVG OBP SLG GPA SB
Vermont 2430 365 597 34 340 591 .246 .347 .353 .244 58
Lg. Avg. 2488 334 620 36 254 571 .249 .326 .362 .237 68

Bold = League Leader

PITCHING

TEAM IP ERA R/G WHIP HR BB SO H/9IP BB/9IP K/9IP K/BB
Vermont 649.0 4.47 5.07 1.408 43 266 587 9.0 3.7 8.1 2.21
Lg. Avg. 657.2 3.80 4.49 1.329 36 254 571 8.5 3.5 7.8 2.25

As it was with the GCL, there is some hope in the strength of team’s hitting. Leading the league in walks drawn is something that should not be taken lightly, especially for college bats adjusting to the wood-bat game. Those eighty or so “extra” baserunners helped offset league-average hitting and power, enabling the Lake Monsters to score 31 more runs than the league average.

Likewise, there is also some hope in the relievers that helped offset the poor starting pitching, as four relievers posted sub-3.00 ERAs while throwing more than 20 innings. Not surprisingly, three of those four piled up Ks at a rate of 10.2/9IP or more.

As before, I’m listing the Top 12 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.

Name Age Position(s) G @ Pos Fld% Err PA GPA
Jason Martinson 21 SS 68 .944 17 306 .242
Ronnie Labrie 23 1B 67 .990 6 280 .276
Chad Mozingo 21 CF/LF 42/17 .975 3 278 .239
Blake Kelso 21 3B/2B/SS 30/27/3 .949 10 274 .256
David Freitas 21 C 35 .994 2 261 .296
Wade Moore 22 RF/LF 57/3 .969 4 258 .275
Hendry Jimenez* 20 2B 45 .973 6 206 .201
Russell Moldenhauer 22 DH 1 @ 1B 1.000 0 162 .295
Kevin Keyes 21 LF/RF 35/3 .895 6 160 .214
Justin Miller 21 IF/OF 17/19 .902 8 155 .248
Connor Rowe 21 CF/RF/LF 11/21/7 .955 3 140 .195
Cole Leonida 21 C 31 .988 3 120 .154

Bold = 2010 Draftee      Italics = 2009 Draftee * = DSL Graduate

Obviously, the thing that jumps out is the usage of Russell Moldenhauer, the team leader in slugging percentage. With two catchers to evaluate (Freitas and Leonida), it was clear that when one would catch, the other would DH or sit, which begs the question: Why weren’t Labrie and Moldenhauer rotating at first base? The most logical deduction is that Moldenhauer is a terrible fielder, given that Moldenahauer did not play defensively at all for University of Texas this year and only played enough to register 53 putouts in the three seasons prior to 2010.

Seven of these twelve hitters were sent to the Florida Instructional League; a good sign that they’ll be in Hagerstown in 2011 and perhaps one may even jump to Potomac (best guess: David Freitas). Folks in Hagerstown should have another decent season in terms of offense, especially as the GCL standouts are mixed in with this bunch.

On to the pitchers, and should you be reading this past 5 p.m., this might be the time to pour yourself a cold adult beverage…

PLAYER AGE G/GS W-L, SV ERA IP H BB SO WHIP HBP WP
Matt Swynenberg 21 14/12 5-2, 0 4.60 62⅔ 65 17 43 1.309 6 2
Taylor Jordan 21 13/13 2-3, 0 4.94 62 73 17 54 1.452 5 3
Bobby Hansen 20 13/12 3-2, 0 4.79 56⅓ 72 19 51 1.615 7 7
Chad Jenkins 20 15/12 2-7, 0 4.67 54 40 34 52 1.370 13 3
Colin Bates 22 15/5 3-3, 2 5.40 48⅓ 55 8 45 1.303 6 2
Wilson Eusebio* 21 16/0 2-1, 0 4.26 44⅓ 44 26 32 1.579 3 11
Neil Holland 21 19/0 3-1, 3 2.20 32⅔ 25 9 37 1.041 2 2
Ryan Demmin 22 14/1 2-1, 2 1.45 31 25 10 32 1.129 1 0
Dustin Crane 23 19/0 2-2, 2 4.60 29⅓ 23 18 20 1.398 1 10
Cameron Selik 22 15/0 1-0, 1 2.54 28⅓ 22 13 32 1.235 2 2
Christopher McKenzie 20 8/6 1-2, 0 8.54 26⅓ 40 12 22 1.975 1 2
Mark Herrera 21 14/0 2-1, 1 2.88 25 20 8 31 1.120 2 4

Digging deeper into the usage, it would appear that the m.o. was to use last year’s college guys to start, and this year’s guys to relieve. The three ’09 draftees each started last season in the GCL. Two (Jenkins and Swynenburg) were sent up to Vermont and did not respond well to the challenge and thus, they repeated. Therefore, we may have some tea leaves to read in terms of guessing who’ll be in Auburn next summer and who won’t.

OBLIGATORY TOP FIVE LISTS
Finally, I can say I saw some of these guys (OK, maybe it was just once, but I can still say it). So here goes with the five bats and five arms to watch in 2011:

Top 5 Batters
1. David Freitas
2. Russell Moldenhauer
3. Wade Moore
4. Blake Kelso
5. Jason Martinson

Top 5 Pitchers
1. Neil Holland
2. Mark Herrera
3. Ryan Demmin
4. Taylor Jordan
5. Chad Jenkins