Oct 262010
 

Just three Nationals saw action in the Scottsdale Scorpions’ 5-4 loss to the Peoria Saguaros on Monday…

  • Steve Lombardozzi led off and played 2B, going 1-for-3 with a walk, a strikeout, and a run scored
  • Derek Norris played catcher and batted fifth, driving in a run on a sacrifice fly and drawing a walk but o-for-2 otherwise; no baserunners attempted to steal against him
  • Adam Carr pitched the fifth and sixth innings and gave up 2 runs on three hits but issued no walks and struck out one

Scottsdale remains in first place in the AFL American division, leading second-place Mesa by one game.  They host the Peoria Javelinas tonight.

Oct 252010
 

Here’s a look at how the Nationals fared over the weekend in the Arizona Fall League…

FRIDAY
The Scottsdale Scorpions pounded the Peoria Javelinas 12-4

  • Steve Lombardozzi led off and played second base, helping to turn two double plays and going 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI (via sac fly).
  • Sammy Solis started and got torched for four runs (all earned) on four hits and three walks over three innings. He struck out three.
  • Brad Peacock got his second hold with a scoreless inning of relief, alowing one hit and striking out two.

SATURDAY
Scottsdale cruised to its eighth win in eleven games with a 6-1 decision over the Phoenix Desert Dogs

  • Derek Norris caught and batted cleanup, swatting his second home run of the fall campaign in a 1-for-3 night with a run scored, a walk, a strikeout, and two RBI. He threw out another baserunner.
  • Michael Burgess batted seventh and played RF, going 1-for-4 with two RBI and a strikeout.
  • Bryce Harper was the DH and went 2-for-4 with a strikeout.
  • Cole Kimball was touched for a run on two hits and a walk while pitching the ninth.

After 11 games, the stats…

BATTERS

PLAYER G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG SB
Lombardozzi 6 24 6 6 4 0 0 2 4 2 .250 .367 .417 0
Burgess 7 24 2 6 1 0 0 4 3 8 .250 .321 .292 1
Norris 6 19 4 6 1 1 2 6 5 7 .316 .480 .789 1
Harper 2 8 0 3 1 0 0 2 0 1 .375 .375 .500 0

PITCHERS

PLAYER W L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO WHIP HLD GF
Solis 0 0 0 6.75 2 6⅔ 6 5 5 4 4 1.500 0 0
Peacock 0 0 0 1.50 4 6 4 1 1 1 12 0.833 2 0
Kimball 0 0 1 1.80 4 5 3 1 1 1 5 0.800 0 4
Carr 1 0 0 2.25 3 4 2 1 1 2 2 1.000 0 1
Oct 212010
 

By now, most of you have heard that Bryce Harper made his debut yesterday and went 1-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI, but for those that haven’t, here’s the story on MiLB.com. And if you haven’t seen Adam Kilgore’s story on Derek Norris, it’s worth a look.

Otherwise, it was a light night on the Nats front as the only player to see game action was Steve Lombardozzi. He batted leadoff, played second base, went 1-for-4 (double) with a walk and two runs scored in a 6-3 Scottsdale Scorpions win. He was also caught stealing.

Oct 202010
 

The debut of Bryce Harper is expected to be tonight, which should temper the stories about the hopes and anticipation and with any luck, put the focus on the field instead of the tone-deaf proclamations about the future (hence the picture).

Meanwhile, after a night in which just one Nat played, five saw action on Tuesday night…

  • Steve Lombardozzi drew a walk and scored a run while going o-for-3 and leading off and playing second base
  • Derek Norris caught and batted cleanup, tripling in a run but striking out three times. Defensively, he allowed a stolen base and a passed ball
  • Michael Burgess batted seventh and scored two runs while going 1-for-3
  • Brad Peacock earned a hold with two hitless innings, walking one and striking out three; he also picked off a runner
  • Cole Kimball pitched the final two innings for a save, allowing one hit and setting down one on strikes. He also threw a wild pitch

Scottsdale won 5-4 to improve to 5-2 in the AFL East and hosts the Mesa Solar Sox tonight.

Oct 182010
 

Here’s a look at how the Nationals fared over the weekend in the Arizona Fall League…

FRIDAY
The Scottsdale Scorpions pounded the Phoenix Desert Dogs, 11-4

  • Michael Burgess went 1-for-4 with 3 K’s as the DH
  • Brad Peacock struck out the side while pitching the sixth but gave up a run on two hits
  • Cole Kimball pitched a 1-2-3 ninth and struck out one

SATURDAY
With a 6-4 win over the Peoria Javelinas, the Scottsdale Scorpions improved to 4-1

  • Sammy Solis got the start and allowed a run on two hits and a walk over three innings while striking out one. He also picked off a runner
  • Adam Carr pitched two scoreless innings to get the win while walking one and striking out one
  • Steve Lombardozzi played 2B and batted leadoff, going 1-for-3 with a double and a walk and scored two runs
  • Derek Norris caught and batted cleanup, going 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, a run scored, and a stolen base. He threw out the only runner to attempt a steal against him

After five games…

BATTERS

PLAYER G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG SB
Lombardozzi 4 14 3 4 3 0 0 1 1 2 .286 .375 .500 0
Norris 3 9 3 4 1 0 1 3 4 3 .444 .615 .889 1
Burgess 3 10 0 2 0 0 0 0 3 4 .200 .385 .200 1

PITCHERS

PLAYER W L SV ERA G IP R ER HR BB SO WHIP HLD GF
Peacock 0 0 0 3.00 2 3 1 1 0 0 7 1.000 0 0
Solis 0 0 0 3.00 1 3 2 1 0 1 1 1.000 0 0
Carr 1 0 0 3.00 2 3 2 1 0 2 1 1.333 0 0
Kimball 0 0 0 0.00 2 2 0 0 0 0 4 0.000 0 2
Oct 152010
 

Four Nats saw action in yesterday’s 5-1 loss by the Scottsdale Scorpions to the Phoenix Desert Dogs…

  • Steve Lombardozzi was the DH and went 1-for-5 with a run scored
  • Derek Norris caught and went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout; he was 0-for-1 in throwing out runners
  • Michael Burgess played RF and went 1-for-3 with a walk, a strikeout, and a stolen base; he committed an error
  • Adam Carr pitched the 8th inning and allowed a run on two hits and walk and did not strike out a batter
Oct 142010
 

By now, you’ve heard that Bryce Harper has been assigned to the taxi squad and will play twice a week. As I put in one of the comments last night, I believe this is a move that has more to do keeping Harper under the watchful eye tutelage of one of the best baseball men in the system (Randy Knorr) than it is exposing him to high-level competition. From a PR standpoint, it’s also a nice gesture to appease the impatient DC fans (today’s submission from the department of redundancy department).

Anyway, just two Nationals saw action in yesterday’s 9-1 win by the Scottsdale Scorpions, but the results are what we love to see…

…Steve Lombardozzi doubled in his first two at-bats and went 2-for-6 overall while scoring a run. Defensively, he made just one play.

…Cole Kimball pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out the side, which included Minnesota’s Joe Benson, and San Diego farmhands Luis Martinez and Cole Figueroa (seriously, what was up with the name “Cole” in the mid-to-late 80s?).

Oct 122010
 

By now, you’ve read that the Arizona Fall League starts up today. And some 18-year-old named Bryce Harper won’t be playing. So there’s little I can add to that, except for some thoughts on the players I’ve seen…

Adam Carr – RHRP
Carr has been here before, playing in 2007 after his first full season in the minors and looked to be on the verge of becoming a factor for the parent club in late ’08 with a 1.78ERA at Potomac and Harrisburg. Unfortunately, he hit wall the next season, and struggled mightily at both levels. In ’09, he was converted to a starting pitcher in an effort to both salvage something out of a hard-thrower as well as give him a chance to pitch more often and learn more of the finer points of pitching. In ’10 he returned to relieving, mostly as a setup guy and long-man, but was solid and consistent enough to get a callup to AAA where he racked up nine saves in 10 chances and posted a 2.08ERA.

Cole Kimball – RHRP
Kimball is a similar pitcher to Carr, but started for his first three seasons before being turned into a reliever in ’09. Kimball doesn’t throw quite as hard, but can (and does) throw more breaking pitches. Served as the closer for Potomac in ’09 and to begin ’10 with solid numbers. At Harrisburg, Kimball saw his strikeout rate jump from the one-per-inning rate that’s relatively common to a more dominant 12.3/9IP.

Brad Peacock – RHSP
The last of the draft-and-follow picks, Peacock is a perfect example of what the A+ level is — a place where a guy needs to work on one more thing before making the biggest jump in the minors. That one thing? The changeup. Early in the ’10 season, Peacock would rack up double-digit strikeouts but couldn’t get much past the fifth or sixth inning because once folks realized he couldn’t throw anything offspeed for strikes, they’d wait him out and sit on that 94-95 heat. In late June, Peacock started to figure out, resulting in a complete-game shutout in early July. By month’s end, he was in Harrisburg and was a factor in the Sens’ playoff run.

Steve Lombardozzi – 2B
Lombardozzi is often overlooked because of what he is not. He’s not big. He’s not flashy. He’s not a home run hitter. What is he? A steady, reliable fielder (though not the strongest of arms) and a consistent hitter with gap power and slightly above-average speed but terrific baserunning instincts. Arguably the most consistent P-Nat this season and was able to bat anywhere in the top third of the lineup with little change in his production.

Michael Burgess – OF
Burgess was an enigma this season. Early on, it looked like he had finally solved his weakness against lefties and began rapping the ball the other way (in ’09, an opposite-field hit for Burgess was a grounder that went just to the left of the 2nd base bag). But after the league adjusted to him, his well-known weakness re-emerged — the inability to lay off soft-and-away pitches came back. He appeared to be readjusting his approach when a death in his family kept him out for a couple of weeks. In the final analysis, Burgess is still trying to figure out how to hit to all fields without sacrificing power and keeping the strikeouts down. There were times when he did, which is why he’s been given this challenge.

Derek Norris – C
Injuries wreaked havoc on Norris’s season and it was not until late August that he began to look comfortable as a hitter. As mentioned last week, Norris does struggle some with breaking pitches but as many people have remarked, you can close your eyes and pick him out of a BP lineup — the ball has a distinctive sound coming off his bat. The most promising thing is that no matter how low his batting average got, Derek did not press and held his OBP at the .400+ level all season long. Defensively, Norris is still a project, struggling with wild pitches and passed balls, but still threw out 51% of the runners that tried to steal off him.

Sammy Solis – LHP
Solis made just two appearances in Hagerstown, so I did not see him. Here is what the estimable John Sickels wrote about him prior to the draft:

A back injury redshirted Solis in 2009, so he’s a draft-eligible sophomore this year… Sizeable at 6-5, 220, he has an 89-92 MPH fastball, and both his curveball and changeup are major league quality. His command is considered excellent, and there is nothing wrong with his statistical performance this spring: 2.94 ERA with a 52/15 K/BB in 52 innings, 51 hits allowed. He should… interest any team looking for a lefty with polish who won’t need much minor league time.

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
Sep 072010
 

Our final 2010 look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues, with a focus on the level where the prospects shone the brightest, not counting some guy who made a tour for service-time reasons (*ahem*).

SYRACUSE 76-67, 2nd place IL North, 11 games back

Good Bat: Danny Espinosa .295/.349/.463 in 24G
Arm: Josh Wilkie 2.45ERA, 1.13WHIP, 2HR in 69⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Chris Duncan .191/.274/.302 in 82G
Arm: Collin Balester as a starter: 11.57ERA, .385OBA
Interesting Bat: Boomer Whiting .372OBP, 36/48 SB
Arm: Erik Arnesen 1.29WHIP, 3.95ERA in 107IP

HARRISBURG 77-65, 2nd place, 5 games back, E.L. West Division Wild Card

Good Bat: Chris Marrero .294/.350/.450 in 141G
Arm: Tom Milone 12-5, 2.85ERA ( in ’09, 12-5, 2.91ERA), 155K in 158IP
Bad Bat: Sean Rooney .165BA in 31G
Arm: Aaron Thompson 4-13, 5.80ERA, 1.59WHIP
Interesting Bat: Steve Lombardozzi .295/.373/.524 in 27G
Arm: Tanner Roark 1.22WHIP, 2.50ERA in 6 starts since acquisition

POTOMAC
39-30 in 2nd Half, 70-69 overall — 2nd-Half CrL North Division winner by 2½ games

Good Bat: Tyler Moore 31HR, 111RBI, .552SLG
Arm: Dan Leatherman 0.92WHIP, 57K in 46⅔ IP in 31G w/ 11SV
Bad Bat: Chris Curran .226/.293/.305 in 74G
Arm: Justin Phillabaum 0-6, 6.87ERA (13.17 at home), 1.77WHIP in 29 appearances
Interesting Bat: Derek Norris .300/.535/.575 with RISP; .210/.359/.347 bases empty
Arm: Brad Peacock 5.1K/9 at A+ in ’09; 10.27K/9 in ’10

HAGERSTOWN
29-41 in 2nd Half, 65-75 overall

Good Bat: J.P. Ramirez .296/.341/.470 in 132G
Arm: Danny Rosenbaum 2.32ERA, 1.22WHIP in 18G
Bad Bat: Adrian Nieto .195/.291/.253, 13E in 60G
Arm: Josh Smoker 7.38ERA, .319OBA as starter
Interesting Bat: Justin Bloxom .309/.355/.476 in ’10; .228/.346/.303 in ’09 at Vermont
Arm: Rob Wort 2.08ERA, 185OBA; 3.91ERA, .247OBA in ’09 at GCL

VERMONT
36-38, 3rd Place Stedler Division of NY-Penn League, 2 games back

Good Bat: David Freitas .307/.408/.450 in 62G
Arm: Neil Holland 1.04WHIP, 37K in 32⅔ IP in 19G
Bad Bat: Hendry Jimenez .218/.291/.279 in 51G
Arm: Chris McKenzie 1.97WHIP, 8.54ERA in 26⅓ IP over 8G (6GS)
Interesting Bat: Wade Moore .287/.394/.392, ’10 D-2 draftee
Arm: Mark Herrera 1.18WHIP, .220OBA, ’10 Juco draftee

GCL NATIONALS
24-32, 4th place GCL East Division, 13 games back

Good Bat: Randolph Oduber .366/.434/.569 in 39G
Arm: Nick Serino 1.01WHIP, 3.16ERA in 25⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Rashad Hatcher .200/.241/.218 in 32G
Arm: Mike Gallo 8.38ERA, .291OBA in 19⅓ IP
Interesting Bat: Angel Montilla .285/.350/.383 in 51G
Arm: NDFA Billy Ott 0.83WHIP, 1.17ERA in 23IP

DSL NATIONALS
36-35, 5th Place, Boca Chica East, 10 games back

Good Bat: Victor Chavez .309/.420/.412 in 46G
Arm: Wirkin Estevez 1.04WHIP, .233OBA in 82⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Yamaicol Tejeda .042BA in 48AB over 32G
Arm: Jorge De La Cruz 9.88ERA in 11G
Interesting Bat: 18-y.o. Paul Chacin .281/.355/.336 in 50G
Arm: Adalberto Mieses 1.42WHIP, 33BB, 5HR, 2.98ERA