Apr 072014
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 3-0;
Lost, 5-0
@ Pawtucket,
6:15 p.m.
Treinen (6-7, 3.64 @ AA in ’13) vs.
C. Hernandez (3-9, 5.72 in ’13)
Harrisburg Lost, 10-5 @ New Britain,
6:35 p.m.
Cole (4-2, 2.18 in ’13) vs.
Gilmartin (3-9, 5.72 @ AAA in ’13)
Potomac Won, 6-4 OFF DAY N/A
Hagerstown Won, 6-2 vs. Delmarva,
6:35 p.m.
Johansen (0-2, 5.79 in ’13) vs.
Urban (3-5, 3.32 @ SS-A in ’13)


Syracuse 3 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 0 — GAME ONE
• Hill (W, 1-0) 6IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 5K
• Mattheus (SV, 1) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Peterson 2-3, 2B, 2RBI
• Rhymes 2-2, 2-2B

Two Syracuse pitchers combined for a three-hit shutout while a pair of veterans combined for four hits and three doubles in a 3-0 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the opener. Taylor Hill tossed six innings, allowing all three RailRiders hits, no walks while fanning five for his 1st “W” of ’14. Ryan Mattheus shook off an error to the leadoff batter and set down the next three in order to preserve the shutout and earn the save. Brock Peterson went 2-for-3 with a two-run double while Will “Don’t Call Me Buster” Rhymes doubled twice in as many ABs to lead the Chiefs offense.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 5 Syracuse 0 — GAME TWO
• Tatusko 3IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K, HBP
• Roenicke (L, 0-1) 1IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 0K
• Walters 2-3, 2B
• Peterson 1-3

The RailRiders broke a 0-0 tie with a four-run 5th as they returned the favor by shutting out the Chiefs, 5-0 in the nightcap. Starter Ryan Tatusko put two runners on base by a walk and a hit batsman in his three innings before the bullpen was called upon. The line between rest and rust was crossed as Josh Roenicke retired just three of nine batters faced in the aforementioned inning, giving up four hits and a walk to suffer the loss. Zach Walters singled and doubled while Brock Peterson singled to account for all three (3) Syracuse hits. Roster move: 1B-OF Tyler Moore recalled to Washington.

Bowie 10 Harrisburg 5
• Purke (L, 0-1) 3IP, 9H, 7R, 6ER, BB, 2K, 2WP
• Bates 3IP, 3H, R, ER, 0BB, 1K
• Nicol 3-4, 2B
• Martinson 2-4, 2B, BB, 2RBI
• Skole 0-2, 2R, 3BB

Bowie completed its four-game sweep with a 10-5 pounding of Harrisburg. Matt Purke pitched a scoreless inning in the 3rd as the BaySox rested after pummeling the southpaw for seven runs in the first two innings of his three-inning start. He gave up nine hits and walked one while striking out two in the loss. Five Sens had multiple hits, led by Sean Nicol’s 3-for-4 effort but failed to capitalize on seven walks drawn (three by Matt Skole) as Harrisburg left 12 runners on base. The Senators defensive woes also continued as they doubled their season error total to eight with four more miscues.

Potomac 6 Carolina 4
• Encarnacion 4IP, 2H, R, ER, 4BB, 2K, HBP
• Henke (W, 1-0) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• S. Perez 2-4, R, 2B, RBI, SB
• Severino 1-2, R, BB, RBI, SF

Potomac rallied for three in the 8th and two in the 9th and held off a late Carolina charge for a 6-4 win and a split of the four-game series. Starter Pedro Encarnacion needed 84 pitches to get through four innings, as he walked four and hit a batter but minimized the damage with just one run on two hits while striking out two. Travis Henke got the win for pitching a 1-2-3 seventh while Robert Benincasa got the save, though he gave up a one-out double that came around to score on a wild pitch and a groundout. Stephen Perez was only P-Nat with multiple hits as Potomac maximized its limited offensive opportunities by scoring six times on just five hits and three walks.

Hagerstown 6 Rome 2
• Silvestre 5IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 6K, BK
• Anderson (W, 1-0) 4IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Manuel 2-3, RBI
• W. Rodriguez 2-4, R, 2B, RBI
• Ballou 2-5, R, 3B, 3K

Hagerstown took advantage of three Rome errors to score the game’s last six runs to take the game, 6-2 and the series, 3-1. The R-Braves scored twice in the first on four singles but Hector Silvestre shook it off to go five innings and only allowed one more and hit and two walks while striking out six. The win went Dixon Anderson, who pitched the final four innings in his first appearance since last June. Craig Manuel, Wilman Rodriguez, and Isaac Ballou each had two hits as the Suns scored six times despite going 1-for-12 with RISP.

Apr 062014
 

The Nationals have recalled Tyler Moore from the Syracuse Chiefs for the second time in three Aprils. He will take the place of OF Scott Hairston on the Washington Nationals 25-man roster. Hairston was placed on the 15-day DL with what Nats officials say is a left oblique strain.

Perhaps not coincidentally, an MRI was performed on Ryan Zimmerman’s ailing right shoulder after being removed from last night’s 6-2 loss to Atlanta. Given that Zimmerman is the primary backup to 1B Adam LaRoche, the timing of this move allows Moore to assume that role should Zimmerman require a trip to the DL. Until 2012, 1B was the only position Moore played defensively.

A corresponding move by the Syracuse Chiefs has not yet been announced. Via Twitter, Syracuse media officials announced that the Chiefs would play with 24 players in today’s scheduled doubleheader. Both Syracuse (RI) and Harrisburg (CT) will be traveling to New England for a three-game series from Monday to Wednesday. Potomac is idle on Monday, while Hagerstown remains at home.

Thus, it’s possible for a series of moves to be made following this afternoon’s games to backfill Moore’s spot (and any others should Zimmerman be placed on the DL as well). A similar shuffle occurred last April after an injury to Eury Perez.

Apr 032014
 

Catching Up On Transactions
Rather than clutter tomorrow’s News & Notes with this many moves, here are the transactions that have come to our attention (yes, the daily games notes are coming in to the inbox again)…

SYRACUSE
• RHP Brad Meyers, C Brian Jeroloman, UT Josh Johnson placed on the 7-Day DL

HARRISBURG
• C Brandon Bantz assigned from Washington
• RHP Paul Demny, Rafael Martin reassigned from Potomac, placed on the 7-Day DL
• LHP Sammy Solis, placed on the 7-Day DL

POTOMAC
• 1B Shawn Pleffner reassigned from Hagerstown, placed on 7-Day DL

HAGERSTOWN
• LHP Kylin Turnbull, RHPs Wirkin Estevez, Cody Davis, OF Narciso Mesa placed on 7-Day DL

Apr 022014
 

After Sandy Leon was a no-show for the Mayflies Senators media day yesterday, it was no mystery as to which catcher on the Washington 40-man roster would get the call today. This afternoon, the Nationals officially placed C Wilson Ramos on the 15-Day DL and recalled Sandy Leon from Harrisburg.

In a related story, veteran minor-league catcher Brandon Bantz was signed to a minor-league deal today as well. Bantz spent 2013 with the Mariners organization, splitting time between AA Jackson and AAA Tacoma, with a one-game sojourn to Seattle last June 8th, which was his MLB debut. Combined, Bantz hit .219/.282/.307 in 59 minor-league games, but was released at the end of spring training this year.

Rotoworld.com is reporting that Bantz has been assigned to Syracuse, which is in line with previous catcher shuffles. If this turns out to be the case, journeyman Jeff Howell will be reassigned from the Chiefs to the Senators to take Leon’s place on the Harrisburg roster.

As always, if/when the corresponding moves are announced, this space will be updated.

Mar 302014
 

Transactions for NPP
While we patiently await the finalization of the four full-season rosters, here are few more transactions to pass along (H/T to Springfield Fan):

  • OF Wander Ramos released (Hagerstown)
  • UT Francisco Soriano released (Potomac)
  • LHP Christian Meza released (Hagerstown)

Obviously, the jettison of “Help Me” is a bit of a shock (though it could just be yet another misjudgement of a DR guy) but it’s hard to say the same of Soriano, who’d stalled at High-A, and Meza, who hit the wall at High-A.

I’m expecting another transaction post from BA today, so if there are any other notable moves this space will be updated.

UPDATE #1
Late Saturday afternoon, the Nationals signed lefty Aaron Laffey to a minor-league deal after the Cumberland, MD native was released by the Orioles. Late this afternoon, the Nationals acquired righty Omar Poveda from the White Sox for “cash considerations.”

Laffey, who turns 29 next month, has bounced around several organizations since being traded away from Cleveland to Seattle in the spring of 2011 and has surpassed 100 innings at the MLB level just twice (2009, 2012). He spent most of 2013 at the AAA level, pitching 110⅔ innings for the AAA affiliates of the Dodgers and Brewers, after getting released by the Mets after four lackluster appearances last April and the Blue Jays after one.

Poveda signed with Texas as a 17-y.o. in 2005 and rose to AAA by age 21 in 2009 before developing Nationals elbow and undergoing UCL replacement in 2010. He pitched for Florida’s AA affiliate in 2011, split time between Jacksonville (AA) and New Oleans (AAA) for the Marlins in 2012, and spent all of 2013 (164IP) pitching for Atlanta’s AAA farm club in Gwinnett. He turns 27 in September.

Both pitchers are candidates to pitch for the Syracuse Chiefs in 2014, the rosters for which are expected to be released Monday or Tuesday.

UPDATE #2
BA posted its latest transactions post, “End of Spring Avalanche,” which included the following releases that were previously unreported:

  • RHP Kelvin Perez (offseason pickup)
  • IF Mike Fontenot (offseason pickup)
  • IF Drew Rossi (offseason pickup)
  • OF Joe Dunigan (offseason pickup)
  • C Chris Snyder (offseason re-sign)
Mar 212014
 

So Long
As noted in the comments, the Nationals have released the following minor-leaguers:

• RHP Clay Hensley (offseason pickup)

• 2B Kyle Attl (GCL, Auburn)

• 2B Taylor Wrenn (offseason pickup)

• LHP Casey Selsor (Auburn)

• RHP Greg Holt (Potomac)

• RHP Martires Arias (Rule 5 Draftee, AAA Phase)

As was the case a year ago, there aren’t any real surprises here. Except that I believe there may be more coming because this is the earliest I’ve written this post the past three springs. Baseball America has already done a Transactions post for this week, which covered the week of March 6-12. Most of these releases were dated yesterday.

If not, the standard caveat applies… this is likely the end of the line for most of these guys, so remember that before commenting.

UPDATE: This afternoon Baseball America did indeed have more names in its weekly post, which were as follows:

• RHP Kelvin Rodriguez (GCL)

• C Kevin Flynn (GCL)

• LHP Joel Barrientos (Auburn)

• LHP Elliott Waterman (Auburn)

• OF Jordan Poole (Auburn)

• RHP Silvio Medina (Auburn)

• C Thor Meeks (Hagerstown)

• IF Wes Schill (Hagerstown)

• RHP Cameron Selik (Potomac)

• RHP Rob Wort (Potomac)

Kelvin Rodriguez becomes this year’s GCL surprise — a pitcher that put up decent numbers, which should remind us of the perils of scouting by boxscore. Most of the others, particularly the large contingent from Auburn, which was a major disappointment last summer, should not be considered a shock.

Mar 172014
 

Rained-Out-2014The Nats got an extra day off (well, kind of) just before the one official off day in spring training with a rainout of the Nationals-Tigers game in Lakeland.

In a related story, the Nationals announced that Ross Detwiler has been dropped from the battle for the 5th starter’s spot and will being the season in the bullpen. As noted on Twitter, the logical deduction is that Sammy Solis will remain a starter.

Sure enough, within an hour or so, the Nats announced that Eury Perez and Steve Souza were optioned to Syracuse, Solis was optioned to Harrisburg, while Brian Goodwin, Mike Fontenot, and Koyie Hill were reassigned to minor-league camp.

While searching for the appropriate bulldog pic this post was being written, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reported that Hill was subsequently traded to the Phillies for a PTBNL or cash. Two days ago, the Nationals made a similar deal with the Royals for journeyman IF Brandon Laird.

While there may or may not be a relationship between those two trades, one could also infer that Chicago may be edging towards making a decision on Rule 5 pick Adrian Nieto. Yesterday, Tyler Flowers was named the starting catcher for the White Sox, thus, the battle for who will back him up has been whittled down by one and there are rumors that Chicago is interested in Yankee backup Francisco Cervelli. Therefore, the trade of Hill may be a signal that Nieto is returning to the organization, which is not a particularly clairvoyant observation as Rule 5 position players are far less likely to “stick” than Rule 5 pitchers.

Feb 232014
 

Transactions for NPP
The Lobaton trade aside, it’s been a pretty quite month for minor-league transactions, but let’s get caught up anyway. Since the end of January, the Nats have signed the following players to minor-league contracts:

  • C Koyie Hill
  • RHP Luis Ayala
  • RHP Josh Roenicke
  • 2B Drew Rossi

Hill spent part of 2012 with Syracuse, batting .163 in 31 games before getting released in early August. The almost-35-y.o. was also invited to Spring Training and remains in camp as one of several catchers perhaps now vying for the backup spot with the Chiefs or Senators.

Ayala returns to Washington after pitching for the Mets, Twins, Marlins, Orioles and Braves from 2009 to 2013, spending all of 2010 in the minors. He was also invited to Spring Training and reportedly has the delusion impression he’ll make the club.

Roenicke has twice been waived in the past three seasons by Toronto and Colorado, spending all of 2013 with Minnesota where he went 3-1 with a save and line of 4.35/4.64/1.60 in 63 appearances. The 31-y.o. Maryland native is married to Nikki Desmond, sister of Ian, and is also in camp as a non-roster invitee.

Rossi is a non-drafted free agent with one season of professional experience, batting an even .300 over 20 games in 2011 as a 22-y.o. with Washington (PA) in the Frontier League. The now-25-y.o., who twice cut from Can-Am League teams in 2012 and 2013, is the son of veteran scout Phil Rossi.

Feb 132014
 

So Long
RHP Nathan Karns was dealt away today to the Tampa Bay Rays for backup catcher Jose Lobaton, LHP Felipe Rivero, and OF Drew Vettleson. The move is expected to put an end to one of the few position battles this spring and clouding the future for a pair of longtime backstops, Jhonatan Solano and Sandy Leon, who both have one option left.

To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Erik Davis was placed on the 60-man DL with what Washington officials are calling an elbow sprain.

Karns (2012) also becomes the sixth minors’ player or pitcher of the year to be traded since GM Mike Rizzo assumed the helm in 2009, following Derek Norris (2009), Tommy Milone (2010), Brad Peacock and Steve Lombrdozzi (2011), and Billy Burns (2013). (Perhaps the award should be nicknamed Kemmerich’s Cleats?)

Rivero was signed as an IFA in 2008 out of Venezuela and was ranked as Tampa Bay’s #17 prospect overall in the 2014 Baseball America Prospect Handbook. He was 9-7 in 23 starts with pitcher’s line of 3.40/3.88/1.37 for High-A Charlotte (FL) in the (usually) pitcher-friendly Florida State League.

He works off a 91-94 FB and features a sharp 12-6 curve and changeup. Both BA and this guy have noted that he has trouble maintaining his speed, which could signal a move to the bullpen. BA was projecting him to pitch for AA Montgomery, so the logical extension is a ticket to Harrisburg this summer.

Vettleson is a 2010 HS pick (1st Rd., supplemental) out of Silverdale, WA and has moved up steadily in his first three years, progressing from advanced rookie Princeton in 2011 to Low-A Bowling Green in 2012 to High-A Charlotte in 2013. He suffered a bit of a power outage in FSL, which both BA and Sickels attributed to issues with plate discipline.

Defensively, Vettleson’s arm is considered above-average but his footwork is considered substandard. Like Rivero, Vettleson was considered on track to play at AA Montgomery, which could force either Caleb Ramsey or Randolph Oduber to repeat Potomac.

Feb 012014
 

Transactions for NPP 2

February has finally arrived… and so has the latest transaction post from Baseball America (and with any luck, my copy of the handbook is in the mail truck I can hear going by; yes, I’m that pathetic).

The Nats have recently signed the following players:

  • LHP Zach Jackson
  • RHP Juan Bermudez
  • RHP Warner Madrigal
  • OF Luis Perdomo

Jackson, who turns 31 in May, is among the plethora of LHPs that the Nats are stockpiling this season. He was originally drafted by Toronto in 2004 and has spent the majority of his career as a starter, making a total of 17 starts for Cleveland and Milwaukee in 2006, 2008, and 2009. He pitched exclusively as a reliever in 2013, making 33 appearances in AA and two in AAA in the Kansas City organization for a total mark of 2-1 with a 1.32 ERA and a WHIP of 0.98.

Bermudez appears to be an IFA, given his surname and the lack of an entry on any of the major baseball stats sites.

Madrigal, 30 next month, is returning to the U.S. after having been sold to the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Central League by the Arizona Diamondbacks last summer. He made 31 appearances and had a 2-0 record with a 3.23 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP He was originally signed by the Angels in 2001 as an outfielder and converted to pitching in 2006.

Presuming that BA did not misidentify the 29-y.o. RHP Luis M. Perdomo who pitched in AAA for Minnesota last season or the 20-y.o. RHP Luis D. Perdomo of the St. Louis Organization, then this one would also appear to be an IFA.