Sep 062013
 

Our final look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues. Repeats from 2012 are in italics.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS
66-78, 6th place International League North, 14½ games back

Good Bat: Zach Walters .253/.286/.517, 29HR, 77RBI in 134G
Arm: Tanner Roark 9-3, 2SV, 3.15 ERA, 33 appearances, 11 starts, 105⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Danny Espinosa 101K in 75G, .566 OPS
Arm: Chris Young 1-2, 7.88 ERA / 7.17 FIP / 2.00 WHIP, 9HR in 32IP
Interesting Bat: Chris Rahl .293/.308/.431, 14SB in 111G
Arm: Caleb Clay 5-2, 2.49/3.37/0.99 in 14 appearances (13 starts):

HARRISBURG SENATORS
77-65, 1st place Eastern League Western Division, 1 game ahead

Good Bat: Steve Souza .300/.396/.557, 15HR, 20SB in 77G
Arm: Nathan Karns 10-6, 3.26/3.48/1.18, 155K in 132⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Jose Lozada .529 OPS, 11E in 81G
Arm: Ryan Perry 2-5, 4.43/4.86/1.21 in 22⅓ IP (18 appearances)
Interesting Bat: Billy Burns .325/.434/.360, 20SB in 30G
Arm: A.J. Cole 4-2, 2.18/2.56/0.90 in 45⅓ IP (7 starts)

POTOMAC NATIONALS
42-28 in 2nd half, 1st place Carolina League Northern Division, 9 games ahead
42-27 in 1st half, 1st place, 6 games ahead
84-55 overall

Good Bats: Michael Taylor .263/.340/.426, 51SB, 87RBI, .986FA, 21 assists in 133G
Adrian Nieto .285/.373/.449, 11HR, 53 RBI in 110G
Arm: Robbie Ray 6-3, 3.11/3.82/1.20, 100K in 84IP (16 starts)
Bad Bat: Adrian Sanchez .278OBP (17BB in 120G)
Arm: Derek Self 4-2, 4SV, 6.29/4.52/1.66, 4BS in 23 appearances
Interesting Bats: Cutter Dykstra .308/.459/.456, 50BB in 55G
Arm: Blake Schwartz 11-4, 2.65/3.52/1.08

HAGERSTOWN SUNS
42-28 in 2nd half, 2nd place South Atlantic League Northern Division, 3 games behind
38-29 in 1st half, 1st place, ½ game ahead
80-57 overall

Good Bats: Tony Renda .294/.380/.405, 43 doubles, 30SBs in 135G
Brandon Miller .243/.308/.456, 18HR, 72RBI in 103G
Arm: Brett Mooneyham 10-3, 1.94/3.65/0.98 in 93IP (17 starts)
Bad Bat: Pedro Severino .608 OPS in 84G
Arm: Will Hudgins 2-1, 4.79/5.96/1.60 in 20⅔ IP (16 appearances)
Interesting Bat: Shawn Pleffner .288/.386/.399 in 101G
Arm: Gilberto Mendez 3-2, 7SV 0.91/2.53/0.94 in 29⅔ IP (24 appearances)

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS
26-49, 6th Place Pinckney Division of New York-Penn League, 22 games behind

Good Bat: Isaac Ballou .294/.405/.398, 20RBI in 59G
Arm: Jake Johansen 1-1, 1.06/2.77/0.92 in 42⅓ IP (10 starts)
Bad Bat: David Masters .183/.254/.242 in 45G
Arm: Deion Williams 0-6, 9.42/4.35/1.99 in 28⅔ IP (8 starts)
Interesting Bat: Jean-Carlos Valdez .374 SLG as a 20-y.o. in 48G
Arm: Austin Voth 2-0, 1.47/0.95/0.82 in 30⅔ IP (7 starts)

GCL NATIONALS
49-9, 1st place Gulf Coast League East Dvision, 24½ games ahead

Good Bat: Randy Encarnacion .349/.437/.523 in 34G
Arm: Wander Suero 8-1, 1.65/2.77/0.82 in 49IP (13 appearances, 3 starts)
Bad Bat: 17-y.o. Luis Guzman .222/.278/.265 in 36G
Arm: 23-y.o. Michael Boyden 0-0, 4.61/5.25/2.27 in 13⅔ IP (13 appearances)
Interesting Bat: Drew Ward .292/.402/.387, 28RBI in 49G (turns 19 in Nov.)
Arm: Nick Pivetta 1-0, 2.13/2.41/1.03 in 3GS (promoted to Auburn)

DSL NATIONALS
38-32, 3rd place, Boca Chica South Division of Dominican Summer League, 11 games behind

Good Bat: 19-y.o. Kelvin Gutierrez .255/.333/.337 in 60G
Arm: 18-y.o. Deibi Yrizarri 5-3, 1.99/2.66/1.10 in 68IP (14 appearances, 13 starts)
Bad Bat: 18-y.o. Miguel Atencio .183/.246/.183 in 23G
Arm: 22-y.o. Adrian Green 0-2, 5.40ERA, 2.00 WHIP in 10IP (12 appearances)
Interesting Bat: 17-y.o. Oliver Ortiz .307/.402/.386 in 26G
Arm: 18-y.o. Luis Reyes 5-3, 2.82/2.76/1.07 in 54⅓ IP (promoted to GCL)
Aug 062013
 

No, I Said The White PhoneBetween the impending shutdown of Taylor Jordan and the injuries to the Rosses (Ohlendorf and Detwiler), a callup of a minor-league pitcher was expected this week — preferably a starter or long reliever.

However, it’s not Nathan Karns, but Tanner Roark.

Roark’s contract was purchased this afternoon as Detwiler was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day DL and Xavier Cedeno was optioned back to Syracuse. It’s the third time this season that a player has been added to the 40-man without a waiver claim (Taylor, Jeff Kobernus) as Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has proven extremely reluctant to add players during his tenure.

Roark is famously known as one of the “Guz Two,” acquired along with Ryan Tatusko from the Texas Rangers at the July 2010 trading deadline. He’s been workhorse ever since, making 27 starts for Harrisburg in 2010 and 2011, and 26 starts last summer for Syracuse, totaling 300+ innings over that timeframe.

This year, the 26-year-old has been used both as a reliever and as a starter, exiting the Chiefs rotation in late April with the ill-fated Chris Young experiment, and re-entering two months later when a spate of rainouts and ineffectiveness from other Syracuse starters forced the switch.

Since returning to the rotation on June 23, Roark has gone 6-0 with an ERA of 2.15 and a WHIP of 0.89 over 50⅓ innings.

Roark features the classic arsenal of fastball, curve and change. In relief, he can hit the mid-90s but tends to work in the low-90s as a starter. He’s always been a control pitcher, but in 2013 has dropped his BB/9 rate from 2.9 to a Milonesque 1.7. While not a strikeout pitcher per se, he’s averaged around seven per nine innings the past four seasons after starting his career with two seasons of 10+ per nine innings.

Jul 192013
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 42-55, 6th place I.L. North, 11½ games behind

Good Chris Rahl .389/.397/.593 in July
Bad Tyler Robertson 0-1, 7.45ERA, 2.28 WHIP in 11 appearances
Interesting Tanner Roark 3-0, 3.24 ERA, 0.72 WHIP since return to rotation (4 starts)



HARRISBURG SENATORS 55-44, 1st place E.L. West, 4 games ahead

Good Justin Bloxom .313/.463/.500, 9BB in last 10 games
Bad Team BA .247, worst in E.L. (pay no attention to offense 6th overall)
Interesting Jimmy Van Ostrand .393/.452/1.000, 5HR since AA All-Star Break (seven games)



POTOMAC NATIONALS 14-10, 1st place C.L. North, 1 game ahead (56-37 overall)

Good Richie Mirowski 3-0, 2SV since Hi-A All-Star Break (9 appearances)
Bad Mike Gilmartin .162/.244/.297 in last 10 games
Interesting 152 doubles, 7th in Carolina League (offense overall, 2nd)/td>



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 16-11, 2nd place Sally North, ½ games behind (54-40 overall)

Good Pedro Encarnacion 7-5, 3.23 ERA/ 3.97 FIP / 1.13 WHIP
Bad Stephen Perez 16E in 88G
Interesting Team offense #2 (5.22 R/G) in Sally League (Municipal Field 1.04 park factor for runs)
#1 Asheville (5.38 R/G, McCormick Field 1.359 park factor for runs)



AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 10-19, 5th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 7½ games behind

Good Brenton Allen .290/.405/.484 in 10 games since callup from GCL
Bad Team ERA 5.13, 14th in NYPL (No. 13 – Batavia, 4.20)
Interesting Jake Johansen 2BB, .000 OBA vs. RHBs (35PA); 10BB, .200 OBA vs. LHBs (35PA)



GCL NATIONALS 17-5, 1st place East Division, Gulf Coast League, 5½ games ahead

Good Jefry Rodriguez 3-0, 2.18 ERA / 2.18 FIP/ 1.16 WHIP in 5 starts
Bad Luis Guzman .173/.204/.212 in 16 games
Interesting Team 3rd in runs scored, 2nd in OBP and BA in the GCL



DSL NATIONALS 21-17, 4th place Boca Chica South, 5&fra12; games behind

Good 20-y.o. “Fred” Aguero .447/.462/.500 in last 10G
Bad 18-y.o. Jean Ramirez 7.94 ERA, 2.12 WHIP in 11⅓ IP
Interesting 18-y.o. American-born Thomas Alvarez 22BB in 36G
Jun 142013
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 27-37, 6th place I.L. North, 10 games behind

Good Tanner Roark 2-0, 2.36 ERA/2.76 FIP/0.93 WHIP as a reliever
Bad Micah Owings 63K in 49G
Interesting 19 holds, 2nd in I.L.



HARRISBURG SENATORS 35-31, T1st place E.L. West, 2½ games ahead

Good Taylor Jordan (duh) 5-0, 0.66ERA, 1.49FIP, 0.78WHIP
Bad Brian Goodwin .182/.308/.333 in last 10G
Interesting 171 BB fewest in E.L., 38 HBP 2nd most in E.L.



POTOMAC NATIONALS 39-26, 1st place C.L. North, 4.5 games ahead (clinched)

Good Caleb Ramsey .333/.360/.458 in June
Bad David Fischer 17BB in 14⅓ IP
Interesting .975 FA best in Carolina League


HAGERSTOWN SUNS 35-28, 2nd place Sally North, 1 game behind

Good Will Piwinica-Worms .294/.415/.441 in June
Bad Nick Lee 1.61 WHIP in first five appearances
Interesting Eight team shutouts, T1st Sally League


DSL NATIONALS 8-3, 1st Boca Chica South, 2 games ahead

Good 18-y.o. Luis Reyes 1.86 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 11K in first two starts
Bad 18-y.o. Thomas Alvarez .212 OPS in 29PA
Interesting 18-y.o. Kelvin Gutierrez .371/.488/.543 in 10G
May 242013
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 19-27, 5th place I.L. North, 7½ games behind

Good Chris Rahl .320/.346/.440 in May
Bad Chris Young 47H, 8HR in 31IP – 7.26 ERA/6.68 FIP/1.90 WHIP
Interesting Tanner Roark 12⅔ scoreless innings in last 7 appearances



HARRISBURG SENATORS 23-24, 4th place E.L. West, 6 games behind

Good Ricky Hague .362/.403/.609 in May
Bad 42 pitching HRs surrendered, second-worst in E.L.
Interesting 36 batting HR, third-best in E.L. (14 in April, 22 in May)



POTOMAC NATIONALS 23-22, 3rd place C.L. North, 1½ games behind

Good Taylor Hill 45⅔ IP in eight GS (5&#8532+ innings per start)
Bad Randolph Oduber .194/.293/.333 in May
Interesting Colin Bates 4HBP, 4BB in 20IP


HAGERSTOWN SUNS 27-16, 1st place Sally North, 2 games ahead

Good Ivan Pineyro 3-0, 2.28/2.52/1.01 in May
Bad Wes Schill .258 slugging pct.
Interesting Will Hudgins 2-0, 1SV 1.09 WHIP
Jul 302012
 

Tanner RoarkOn the strength of his complete game win yesterday, Tanner Roark was named the International League’s Pitcher of the Week for the period of July 23 to 29.

Roark twice went seven innings during the week, winning both starts giving up just a run in each outing. He allowed nine hits and two walks while striking out 13 batters combined.

The 25-year-old was acquired at the 2010 trade deadline along with Harrisburg Senator RHP Ryan Tatusko from the Texas Rangers for Christian Guzman, which has led to the nickname of “The Guz Two,” by regular readers here.

Roark currently leads the Syracuse Chiefs in strikeouts, walks, and losses but is also third in innings pitched, and has exceeded 100IP for four straight seasons.

Jun 082012
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 29-32, 5th place I.L. North, 10 games behind

Good Jim Negrych .333/.429/.611 in June
Bad Tanner Roark 0-3, 10.80 ERA, 2.18 WHIP in last 3 appearances
Interesting Team SLG .384, minus Brown/Moore/Paul (.561 combined) = .331

HARRISBURG SENATORS 32-27, 2nd place E.L. West, 5½ games behind

Good Hector Nelo 0.82ERA, 5SV, 15K last 10 appearances
Bad Chris McConnell .168/.213/.218 in 38G
Interesting Team 67 steals leads E.L.

POTOMAC NATIONALS 26-32, 3rd place C.L. North Division, 4 games behind

Good Zach Walters .429/.432/.743, 3HR, 6RBI in last 10G
Bad Paul Applebee 6HR allowed in 27⅔ IP
Interesting Team Pitching: 8th in every major category but BB;
Team Fielding: 1st in E’s, 2nd SBs allowed, CS%, Fld% and PB’s

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 36-23, 2nd place Sally League North Divison, 3½ games behind

Good Steve Souza .341/.392/.651 in 35G
Bad Chris McKenzie 9.13 ERA, 2.12 WHIP, .337 OBA
Interesting Colin Bates 2-0, 1.80 ERA, 2HR, .147 OBA in first 5 appearances (10IP)
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.