Jul 152011
 

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

SYRACUSE 39-51, 4th place I.L. North, 14 games behind

Good Atahualpa Severino 1-0, 2.70 ERA in last 10G
Bad Ryan Tatusko 2.28WHIP
Interesting Michael Aubrey .429/.455/.905 in July

HARRISBURG 54-36, 1st place E.L. West Division, 5½ games ahead

Good Archie Gilbert .305/.387/.474
Bad Tanner Roark 6.45 ERA, 1.58 WHIP
Interesting Pat Lehman 0.37WHIP, 4SV in 12G

POTOMAC 11-8, 1st place C.L. North Division, 1½ games ahead (40-48 overall)

Good Hector Nelo 10SV, 22K in 23⅓ IP
Bad Sandy Leon .179/.294/.357 in July
Interesting Justin Bloxom .320/.388/.547, 18RBI in 19G since All-Star Break

HAGERSTOWN 12-7, 2nd place Sally League Northern Division, 1 game behind (52-37 overall)

Good David Freitas .300/.414/.473
Bad Dean Weaver 10.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP (9.37, 1.78 @ Potomac)
Interesting Kevin Keyes .504 SLG (leads team)

AUBURN 15-12, 3rd place, Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 1 game behind

Good Colin Bates 2-1, 1.93 ERA, 1.11 WHIP
Bad Hendry Jimenez, 8E in 22G
Interesting Richie Mirowski 1.32 ERA, 13K in 13⅔ IP

GCL NATIONALS 8-13, 4th place, GCL East, 6 games back

Good Estarlin Martinez .324/.420/.606 in 21G
Bad Inocencio Heredia 10.29 ERA, 2.86 WHIP
Interesting Wes Schill 6SB in 17G

DSL NATIONALS 18-21, 5th place, Boca Chica South Division of Dominican Summer League, 6 games behind

Good Gilberto Mendez 3-0, 2.32 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
Bad Diomedes Eusbio 12E in 32G
Interesting Dionicio Rosario 5A, 3E, 2DP in 34G as an OF
May 142011
 

The ripple effect from the Kimball callup has resulted in a couple of transactions involving Ryan Tatusko and Tanner Roark, a.k.a. “The Guz Two”

Tatusko has been promoted to Syracuse. The 26-year-old went 1-3 with a 5.73 ERA for Harrisburg with 30 K’s in 33 IP. No word on whether he’ll start or relieve for the Chiefs.

Taking his place on the Senators roster will be Roark, who has been activated from extended spring training and will start tonight’s game. In the same press release, Harrisburg announced that Erik Davis will be placed on the DL. Taking Davis’s spot on the roster is Josh Johnson, who was activated from the DL today as well.

Dec 012010
 

This is a more difficult list to compile because, as noted in the comments recently, this system does not have much in the way of front-line starters poised for the near term. Of course, I’ve just described at least half the other organizations in MLB. That may not be much comfort, but the lament is common one. There’s a reason why you rarely see a position player traded for a starting pitcher, one for one.

What the Nationals do appear to have is a group of relievers that could make the jump in the next year or so. There’s something to be said for that. Some of you may have seen the MLB Network’s Prime 9 episode “The Most Lopsided Trades in MLB History.” Two of those nine involved relievers (oddly enough both trades involved the Red Sox) and it’s not hard to recall other past trades, particularly in late July, that involve uneven swaps of relievers for prospects.

Last year, the Nats appeared to have pulled off just such a trade (though in fairness to Minnesota, Wilson Ramos was blocked by a perennial All-Star). If just a couple of these prospects pan out, it could give Washington G.M. Mike Rizzo the chips to make another deal… or better yet make one of the team’s few strengths even stronger.

So with that in mind, I’m presenting our Top 10 List of Pitching prospects, a.k.a. “arms”…

  1. Sammy Solis — Struggled some in the AFL, but scouts are nearly in agreement that he can and will rise rapidly.
  2. A.J. Cole  — Tall (6’5″) wiry (190lbs) H.S. RHP but said to possess a plus FB (91-94, top 96) that will likely gain velocity as he gains weight and grows into his frame.
  3. Robbie Ray — A “pitchability” lefty that is projected to command three pitches for strikes (FB, CU, CH).
  4. Adam Carr — Hard-throwing RHRP that had strong finish in AAA and a good AFL and has proven he can throw multiple innings regularly.
  5. Cole Kimball — The surprise of the AFL with outstanding numbers and an improved fastball but lack of AAA track record gives Carr the higher ranking.
  6. A.J. Morris — Noticeable increase in velocity, sharpness, and effectiveness after converting from starting to relief in the last month of the season.
  7. Tom Milone — Outstanding control and plus breaking pitch, but scouts worry it won’t translate to the next level. This has been the refrain since 2008.
  8. Brad Peacock — Hard-throwing RHP that needs to have his changeup working to succeed. When it is, he’s very effective. When it’s not, he can and will get hit hard.
  9. Brad Meyers — 2010 was a lost cause, but folks much more experienced and knowledgeable than I am in prospect-rating still believe in him, so he gets the nod.
  10. Danny Rosenbaum — The sizable gap between his ERA (2.09) and FIP (3.27) is a cause for concern, but like Milone, has a good feel for pitching and can survive on the nights when his breaking ball isn’t working.

The “Nigel Tufnel” goes to Rob Wort. This is a pure “gut” pick based on what I saw down the stretch from him in Potomac: A tendency to pitch remarkably better with runners on base versus the bases empty.

Honorable Mentions go to Tanner Roark and Ryan Tatusko. If I had done Top 10s for both relievers and starters, there’s no doubt they both would have been mentioned. I decided not to include Yunesky Maya because of his advanced age, his international experience, and the small sample size of work, which was less than stellar (e.g. 21BB, 4HR in 46⅓ IP majors and minors combined). All three will be on the watchlist.

Sep 112010
 

While Potomac took the 2-1 lead it was seeking with a decisive 7-1 win over Frederick, the news was not so good from Harrisburg, as the Senators dropped a 7-2 decision to the Altoona Curve.

Curve prospect Justin Wilson battled with his control (five walks in six innings pitched) but the Senators could not solve the 23-year-old, who allowed just two hits and struck out seven. Meanwhile, Ryan Tatusko was touched for three runs in the third as he gave up eight hits and two walks total over six innings. For the second straight night, the Senator bullpen was ineffective, surrendering four runs in three innings.

But you can’t win if you don’t score, and the string of goose eggs on the board wasn’t broken until the bottom of the ninth, as Adam Fox homered to break up the shutout. Harrisburg would collect just six hits total and strand eight base runners, going 1-for-10 with RISP.

Tanner Roark (1-1, 2.50) takes the hill late this afternoon, opposed by Tony Watson (6-4, 2.67), as Harrisburg looks to force a Game 5 tomorrow afternoon in Altoona.

For the bullet-point folks…

Team Pitching Star Hitting Star #1 Hitting Star #2
Harrisburg Senators
L, 7-2
Cory VanAllen
1IP 0H 0R 0BB 0K
Josh Johnson
1-1, 3BB
Steve Lombardozzi
2-4, BB
Potomac Nationals
W, 7-1
Jimmy Barthmaier (W, 1-0)
5⅔IP 2H 0R 1BB 7K
Bill Rhinehart
2-3, R, BB, HR, 3RBI
Tyler Moore
2-4, R, HR, RBI
Aug 272010
 

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

SYRACUSE 68-63, 3rd place IL North, 11½ games back (5 games behind wild-card leader)

Good Erik Arnesen 2-0, 2.93ERA in August
Bad Seth Bynum .186BA in August
Interesting Adam Carr 5SV, 2.70ERA, 14K in 12 appearances

HARRISBURG 64-59, T3rd place, 7 games back, EL (1 game behind wild-card)

Good Mike Burgess .290/.405/.677 in 9G since promotion
Bad Aaron Thompson 0-2, 10.90ERA in August
Interesting Ryan Tatusko & Tanner Roark: 3-2, 2.23ERA as Senators

POTOMAC
31-26 in 2nd Half, 1st place by ½ game in CrL North

Good Sean Rooney .284/.352/.422 in 30G
Bad Justin Phillabaum 12.91ERA with Runners On, 17.42ERA with RISP
Interesting Joe Testa 1.10WHIP, 11K in 13⅔ IP

HAGERSTOWN
25-35 in 2nd Half, last place in SAL North, 9½ games back (Elimination No. is 1)

Good Eury Perez .341BA, 32/35SB-A since July 1
Bad Mitchell Clegg 1-2, 7.04ERA since return from GCL
Interesting SS’s Rick Hague & Adrian Sanchez, .321BA in 215AB combined

VERMONT
31-30, 1st Place Stedler Division of NY-Penn League, ½ game ahead

Good David Freitas .314/.407/.466 in 53G
Bad Aaron Barrett 16BB in 14⅓ IP
Interesting Ronnie Labrie 37BB in 56G (.390 OBP)

GCL NATIONALS
23-31, 4th place GCL East Division, 12 games back, Eliminated

Good Randolph Oduber .366/.434/.569 in 39G
Bad Gregory Baez 6.55ERA, 1.82WHIP
Interesting 19-y.o. Roberto Perez .314/.402/.419 in 34G
Aug 012010
 

On Friday, we examined the two players that the Nationals acquired in the Matt Capps trade. Today, we’ll take a quick peek at the two players that came with the trade of Christian Guzman.

RYAN TATUSKO
Tatusko may be the more famous of the two, thanks to his efforts to follow in the footsteps of Dirk Hayhurst in chronicling the minutia of minor-league life in The Backfield Diaries. Tatusko is 25 years old and is listed at 6’5″ and 200 lbs. Kevin Goldstein at Baseball prospectus describes him as a pitcher that works low in the zone with a high 80s-low-90s fastball, and a decent breaking ball, but “doesn’t have the stuff to miss bats.” John Sickels describes him as a Grade-C prospect.

TANNER ROARK
Roark is younger (turns 24 in October) and a little shorter (6’2″) but a little heavier (220 lbs) than Tatusko. Like Tatusko, he’s said to throw strikes consistently with a better fastball but weaker secondary pitches. Sickels also describes him as a Grade-C prospect, and sees both pitchers as “utility pitchers at the major-league level.