Dec 092014
 


While the participation wasn’t what I hoped it would be, it was enough to assemble a semi-decent Top 10 list.

One interesting trend is that youth seems to be getting served by virtue of Jakson Reetz as well as Dominican imports Wilmer Difo and Rafael Bautista, both of whom had breakout seasons with Hagerstown, with the former being added to the Nats 40-man roster.

Of course, some of that is attributable to three of last year’s Top 10 bats being traded away (Billy Burns, Zach Walters) or taken in the Rule 5 Draft (Adrian Nieto). And some of that is attributable to the “girl-watching” nature of prospect following (the prettiest one is the one that just walked by).

Anyway, a total of 15 players were named on the eight ballots received or submitted, which does include mine. I don’t find the 15 number all that disturbing since, as some put it, the bottom part of the list isn’t as clear-cut as the top, which was a near tie (77 points to 75 points) with Steve Souza the top pick on five.

And with that “said,” I present the list:

                              1. Steve Souza
                              2. Michael Taylor
                              3. Wilmer Difo
                              4. Drew Ward
                              5. Jakson Reetz
                              6. Brian Goodwin
                              7. Matt Skole
                              8. Spencer Kieboom
                              9. Rafael Bautista
                              10. Pedro Severino

Others receiving votes: Tony Renda, Drew Vettleson, John Wooten, Stephen Perez, Raudy Read

I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that half of these names won’t be on this list next year, given proximity to the majors, age, or “trade baitiness.” It’s tempting to conclude that that means we’re about to swing Broadway backward, but if past is prologue, those that move on will be replaced with players who had breakout seasons.

Next up: The pitchers, which always leads to much more discussion (dissension?)…

Oct 182014
 

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As some of you have noted already in the comments, the numbers haven’t been pretty thus far. According to manager Patrick Anderson (via Byron Kerr), it’s been “some pitches up to some decent hitters” (Felipe Rivero) and “balls right on the nose right at people” (Tony Renda). But it is what it is, the numbers don’t always tell you the real story, and it’s still early, right? Many of these things are true, or have a modicum of truth, but if I don’t mock the coachspeak, who will?

Now, for the numbers…

BATTERS

PLAYER G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG SB
Tony Renda 7 23 1 2 2 0 0 0 1 6 .087 .125 .174 1
Spencer Kieboom 3 10 1 5 1 0 1 3 2 1 .500 .583 .900 0
Pedro Severino 3 9 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 2 .111 .200 .111 0

PITCHERS

PLAYER W L SV ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Felipe Rivero 0 2 0 6.23 2 2 8⅔ 10 6 6 1 3 5 1.50
Derek Self 0 0 0 1.80 3 0 5 3 1 1 1 3 3 1.20
Neil Holland 0 1 0 14.73 3 0 3⅔ 7 6 6 1 3 2 2.73
Matt Grace 0 0 0 8.10 3 0 3⅓ 4 3 3 0 3 5 2.10


And now some more pics from Lee (don’t worry this isn’t in lieu of tomorrow’s scheduled post, it’s to get these pics in!)

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MattGracePitching101714 DerekSelfPitching101714
Oct 072014
 
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TonyRendaFielding100714 SpencerKieboom100714

The weekly posting plan still remains, but with a little time to spare — and some great pics to share — I’d figure I’d do a quick post to give folks a taste of fall ball while you await the outcome of the NLDS.

The Solar Sox were eclipsed by the Desert Dogs by a score of 9-3 this afternoon. As you can see, Felipe Rivero got the start but remained in 2014 Harrisburg form with four runs allowed on seven hits and two walks. He struck out three and gave up a solo home run.

Tony Renda and Pedro Severino both started on offense, but went 0-for-3 with a walk and 0-for-2 respectively.

Matt Grace and Derek Self both appeared in relief and both struggled, with Grace giving up two runs in one inning and Self giving up a HR in two innings of work.

See you on Sunday with a summary of the week’s happenings in the minors (and some more pics, no doubt).

Jul 112014
 

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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 56-37, 1st place I.L. North, 4½ games behind

Good Matt Grace 15⅔ scoreless innings in 9 appearances since promotion to AAA
Bad Will Rhymes 1-for-27 (.037) in last 10 games
Interesting 12 team pitching shutouts leads I.L.



HARRISBURG SENATORS 36-55, 5th place E.L. West, 17 games behind

Good Kevin Keyes .297/.381/.622, 4HR, 9RBI in July (10G)
Bad James Simmons 1-0, 6.58/4.76/1.29, 7HR in 39⅔ IP as a starter
Interesting Just two pitchers (Tyler Herron, Colin Bates) have been on the roster since Opening Day
(H/T Senators PR staff)



POTOMAC NATIONALS 9-9, 1st place C.L. North, ½ game ahead (47-40 overall)

Good Austin Voth (duh) 1-0, 0.47/2.72/0.53 in 3GS since promotion from Low-A
Bad Oscar Tejeda 10E in 46 games on defense
Interesting Pythagorean W-L 42-45, 19-9 record in one-run games


HAGERSTOWN SUNS 14-8, 2nd place Sally North, ½ game behind (58-34 overall)

Good Spencer Kieboom .419, 2HR, 8RBI in July (8G)
Bad Andrew Cooper 2-1, 1SV, 5.67 ERA, 1.63 WHIP in last 10 appearances
Interesting 11 holds = fewest in Sally League among teams with a +.500 record


AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 12-15, 4th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 7 games behind

Good Reynaldo Lopez 2-2, 1.01/3.00/0.75 in 5GS
Bad Osvaldo Abreu 5E, .375 OPS in 22G
Interesting 21 pitching HBP in 27 games


GCL NATIONALS 8-9, 3rd place East Division, Gulf Coast League, 5 games behind

Good Thomas Alvarez .343/.500/.686, 11BB in 13G
Bad Jose Morales 0-3, 9.35/5.49/2.54 in four appearances (8⅔ IP)
Interesting “Fred” Aguero six doubles in 13 games


DSL NATIONALS 20-15, 4th place Boca Chica South, 4 games behind

Good 17-y.o. Telmin Augusto 20BB in 28G
Bad 19-y.o. Miguel Vargas 5.89 ERA, 1.91 WHIP in 10 appearances
Interesting 17-y.o. Nector Ramirez 15BB, 30K, 4HBP in 23IP
Jun 132014
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 38-28, T1st place I.L. North, 5 games ahead

Good Warner Madrigal 1.08 ERA, 1.20 WHIP since return to AAA (8 appearances)
Bad Josh Johnson .161BA (and SLG, and OBP) over last 10G
Interesting Jhonatan Solano .462/.500/.731, 2HR, 8RBI in June



HARRISBURG SENATORS 26-38, 5th place E.L. West, 11½ games behind

Good Cutter Dykstra .316/.341/.421 in last 10G
Bad Team Pitching WHIP, 1.48 — 11th in 12-team E.L.
Interesting Caleb Ramsey .462/.523/.513 in June



POTOMAC NATIONALS 36-29, 1st Half C.L. North Division Winner

Good Robert Benincasa 1-0, 3SV, 0H, 3BB in last 5 appearances (5⅓ IP)
Bad Pedro Severino .178BA, 6E since May 1 (30G)
Interesting Randolph Oduber .309/.346/.443 since return from AA (38G)



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 42-23, 1st place Sally North, 2½ games ahead

Good Spencer Kieboom .348/.379/.551 since coming off the DL in May (23G)
Bad Nick Pivetta 10.61 ERA, 2.57 WHIP in last 3GS
Interesting Nine holds, T11th in 14-team Sally League



DSL NATIONALS SUNS 42-23, 1st place Sally North, 2½ games ahead

Good 18-y.o. Israel Mota .349/.391/.721, 3HR, 14RBI in 11G
Bad 19-y.o. Carlos Acevedo 11.81 ERA, 1.88 WHIP in 1st two appearances
Interesting 16-y.o. Anderson Franco 7E, 7RBI in 11G
Jun 032014
 


For the second straight season, six Hagerstown players have been named to the Northern Division’s entry into the Sally League’s All-Star game on June 17th. But, instead of just two coaches in 2013, manager Patrick Anderson, hitting coach Luis Ordaz, and pitching coach Sam Narron have been asked to join their charges at L.P. Frans Stadium in Hickory, NC.

Without further ado, here’s who’s been named:

  • 2B Wilmer Difo
  • C Spencer Kieboom
  • RHP Nick Pivetta
  • RHP Austin Voth
  • LHP Jake Walsh
  • RHP John Wooten

Also, for the second straight year — all six players appear to be going to an All-Star game for the first time. Manager Patrick Anderson was named to the same position on the 2013 GCL postseason all-star team after guiding the 2013 G-Nats to the GCL Championship.

For highlights on the Hagerstown players, visit the Suns official press release.

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