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.

Aug 162013
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 59-68, 6th place I.L. North, 10 games behind

Good Tyler Moore .366/.449/.653, 6HR, 30RBI since All-Star Break (27G)
Bad Ryan Tatusko 5.78 BB/9IP (64 in 99⅔ IP)
Interesting Josh Johnson .328/.458/.478 in 28G



HARRISBURG SENATORS 66-58, 1st place E.L. West, 1 game ahead

Good Billy Burns .312/.429/.319, 5SB in 12G since promotion
Bad Rob Gilliam 0-4, 5.15 ERA, 1.34 WHIP since All-Star Break
Interesting Tyler Herron 0-1, 3SV, 1.50 ERA in last 10 appearances



POTOMAC NATIONALS 31-20, 1st place C.L. North, 8 games ahead (73-47 overall)

Good Colin Bates 2.10 ERA/3.02 FIP/1.01 WHIP in 30 appearances
Bad Mike Gilmartin, bases empty: .313/.425/.493
Gilmartin, RISP: .167/.258/.241
Interesting Greg Holt 4-0, 2.33 ERA, 1.26 WHIP since All-Star Break (15 appearances)



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 33-20, 2nd place Sally North, ½ game behind (71-49 overall)

Good Nick Lee 10.2K/9 (93K in 82IP)
Bad Wes Schill .160/.323/.160 in last 10G
Interesting 1st in runs scored, T12th in home runs (50, 18 by Brandon Miller)



AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 18-36, 6th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 15 games behind

Good James Yezzo .294/.306/.412 in August
Bad Mike Mudron 1.75 WHIP, 6.38 ERA in 15 appearances
Interesting 38 of 69E committed by 3B or SS



GCL NATIONALS 41-7, East Division Champions, 20½ games ahead

Good Lucas Giolito 0.64 ERA, 0.86 WHIP in August (3GS, 14IP
Bad Luis Guzman 17-y.o. .219/.281/.257 in 32G
Interesting Need to finish 7-5 to set GCL record for best W% (1994 Royals, 47-12)



DSL NATIONALS 34-28, 4th place Boca Chica South, 10 games behind

Good 17-y.o. Israel Mota .361 OBP
Bad 18-y.o. Jonathan Aquino 1.58 WHIP in 19⅔ IP
Interesting Pitchers T2nd with 8 shutouts in DSL
Aug 052013
 

Tyler MooreTyler Moore kept the International League Batter of Week award in Syracuse for another week, earning the recognition for his play the week of July 29 to August 4th. It’s the second time this season Chiefs batters have won the award back-to-back, both times following Zach Walters (June 10-16, July 22-28).

Moore singled just once last week, but doubled four times, and hit three home runs to drive in 13 runs. He scored seven times and put up a line of .308/.379/.808. Since his demotion last month, the 26-y.o. Missippi native has hit safely in 17 of 20 games and raised his AAA average from .184 to .307 with a 29-for-76 binge, including seven doubles, five HRs, and 24 RBI.

Moore is perhaps most famous for the run he made in the second half of the 2010 season, in which he won the Carolina League Batter of the Week Award four straight weeks en route to winning the Carolina League MVP, the MiLBY High-A Batter of the Year, and the Nationals Batter of the Year while leading the Potomac Nationals to the Carolina League Championship.

May 282012
 

No, I Said The White PhoneWith OF/PH Chad Tracy being placed on the 15-Day DL with a groin injury, the Washington Nationals have indeed made the move to recall Syracuse OF Corey Brown, as suggested in this morning’s news & notes. Yesterday, Brown was flown from upstate NY to Florida in anticipation of this development, which was also signaled by the activation of OF J.R. Higley from the Potomac DL and the placement of RHP Rafael Martin on the Temporary Inactive List.

Brown is currently riding a five-HRs-in-five-games HR streak and has been red-hot in the month of May, hanging a line of .359/.450/.772 including 9HR and 23 RBI in 24 games. He’s also stolen six bases in nine tries as the Chiefs leadoff batter and has two errors in 55 games on defense. This is his second stint with the parent club, the previous coming last September when he was hurt after just three pinch-hit appearances.

For those wondering why the more experienced Harrisburg OFs Jesus Valdez and Chris Rahl were bypassed, consider that two key Senators starters — Jeff Kobernus and Destin Hood — have been day-to-day with nagging injuries. It’s possible, if not probable, that one of those two will swap places with Higley once Hood is able to return to action, or perhaps even as soon as Martin is eligible to reactivated from the Temporary Inactive List on Wednesday.

Brown, who was acquired along with Rolaids dispenser RHP Henry Rodriguez in the December 2010 trade with Oakland for OF Josh Willingham, is expected to come off the bench. How long his stay in DC will depend on the parent club’s decisions to be made once OF-1B Michael Morse is deemed healthy enough to return to action for Washington. Morse is expected to play with Potomac this week on a rehab assignment and could be activated as soon as Friday, according to Nats Insider Mark Zuckerman.

UPDATE: The Harrisburg Senators have announced that OF Destin Hood has been placed on the 7-Day DL, retroactive to Friday, May 25, with no corresponding move. Both the Syracuse and Harrisburg rosters stand at 24, one short of the full 25. Stay tuned to this space if an additional move is made this afternoon.

UPDATE #2: Multiple online sources are reporting that Jhonatan Solano will be called up with 1B-LF Tyler Moore returning to Syracuse. As noted on Twitter last night, the presence of Solano on the 40-man and three catchers already on the Chiefs roster made this an unsurprising turn of events, not to mention the popular opinion that Moore was gathering dust on the bench as he was given more than two plate appearances just twice in 12 games and 19 overall in four weeks.

Apr 292012
 

Multiple online sources are reporting that 1B-LF Tyler Moore has been recalled from Syracuse and will join the Washington Nationals. According to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, UT Mark DeRosa will be placed on the DL to make room for Moore.

The 25-year-old Moore is one of two minor-leaguers (Paul Goldschmidt) to connect for 30+ home runs in 2010 and 2011. He was drafted three times by the Nationals (41st Round, 2005; 33rd Round 2006) before finally signing in 2008 as a 16th Round draft pick. His 7 HRs and 20 RBIs for Syracuse this season thus are both tied for third-best in the International League.

Moore racked up a slew of awards in 2010, including the Carolina League MVP, and made the Eastern League postseason All-Star team in 2011.

Moore is expected to come off the bench to play 1B and LF, though it’s most likely he’ll be used as PH against LHPs as an adequate defender at first and just a handful of pro games in left field.

Apr 202012
 

It’s back! Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues. For the newcomers, this is a ripoff of tribute to comedian Demetri Martin’s segment from his old show on Comedy Central.

And of course, the obligatory caveats: sample sizes are here small, it’s early in the season, minors stats aren’t as meaningful as we think, past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance, etc.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 3-11, 6th place I.L. North, 7½ games behind

Good Tyler Moore .296/.361/.611, 5HR, 14 RBI in 14G
Bad Corey VanAllen 7BB in 7⅔ IP over 5 appearances
Interesting Mitch Atkins 0.75ERA in 1st two starts despite 7BB

HARRISBURG SENATORS 10-5, 1st place E.L. West, ½ game ahead

Good Danny Rosenbaum 2-0, 1.25 ERA, 0.65WHIP in 3 starts
Bad Chris McConnell 0-for-15, 2E since reassignment from AAA
Interesting Jeff Kobernus .403 OBP (.313 in ’11)

POTOMAC NATIONALS 6-6, 2nd place C.L. North Division, 2½ games behind

Good David Freitas .333/.419/.611, 8RBI (tied for team lead)
Bad Justin Bloxom .159/.255/.205, 5E in 12G
Interesting Kyle Winters 17K in 17IP

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 7-8, 4th place Sally League North Divison, 3 games behind

Good Jason Martinson .319/.437/.534, 8SB in 15G
Bad Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez 1.53 WHIP, 8.16 ERA in 3 starts
Interesting Taylor Hill 2-0, 2.45 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 1.93 FIP in 3 appearances
Mar 182012
 

Tyler Moore homered and doubled and drove in two runs to highlight an otherwise ugly 11-7 loss by the Nats to Detroit on Sunday afternoon. The 25-year-old, who has hit 62 home runs the past two seasons for Potomac and Harrisburg, respectively, is expected to play everyday for the Syracuse Chiefs, but remains in camp thanks in part to the injuries to Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche. Despite talk of him playing in the outfield during the offseason, he has appeared exclusively at 1B and DH, just as he has for the past four seasons in the minors.

Moore’s double came in the bottom of the ninth after Bryce Harper shook off four straight strikeouts for a two-out double. Harper split time on defense between right field and centerfield, but had no defensive chances. Harper’s whiffs came both looking and swinging, with starter Doug Fister (RHP) getting him twice, and relievers Duane Below (LHP) and Jose Ortega (RHP) getting him once apiece. As the parentheticals hint, it’s not just southpaws that are giving the 19-year-old problems; righthanders are figuring out how to work the offspeed stuff against him, too.

Steve Lombardozzi was the only other notable prospect to see time, going 1-for-2 while filling in at shortstop.

With an off day tomorrow, the Nationals are expected to* announced that Harper, Moore, and Jhonatan Solano have been optioned to AAA Syracuse. Joining them in the minor-league camp will be non-roster invitee Mark Teahen. Earlier today, the Nats signed veteran OF-1B Xavier Nady to a minor-league contract, a move no doubt predicated by the decision to hold Adam LaRoche and Michael Morse from game action for the next week. Outfielder Rick Ankiel, who has been nursing a sore hamstring, is expected to return to game action on Tuesday.*Yes, I was checking my Twitter feed while editing/writing

None of these moves are particularly surprising, including Harper. As noted last month, most of the competition for the Opening Day roster is for the bench, the ‘pen, and the No. 5 starter. It’s encouraging to see how well Lombardozzi is playing, but in my tendency towards pessimism (disclosure: I grew up in New England during the ’70s and ’80s), I still lean towards him going back to Syracuse so he can play everyday (and maintain his trade value).

Nov 292011
 

Last year, I wrote “The people have spoken,” referring to the poll for next steps regarding rankings and watchlists. This year, the sentiment’s the same but this time, it’s a little more literal.

That’s because this year’s list is based on the opinions of those that wrote in to my query for submissions, not just my own. Is it scientific? Hell, no — it’s subjective. But the theory is that a bunch of like-minded seamheads are going to produce a better list than this one did last year.

The methodology is pretty simple: I took the submissions, put ‘em in a spreadsheet and then added up the points in reverse (#1 vote = 10 points, #10 vote = 1 point). Top vote getter is #1, second-most is #2, etc. A couple of ballots mixed in pitchers and I tried to count them anyways but that actually produced a couple of ties, so I tossed ‘em and that worked to break the ties.

The sample size isn’t terribly big (19) but it was about what I was hoping for (20). So here are the results, in reverse order with points in parentheses. A perfect score was 190 and I’m sure you’ll be *shocked* to learn that it was achieved.

10. Eury Perez (28)
9. Michael Taylor (33)
8. Tyler Moore (56)
7. Chris Marrero (74)
6. Destin Hood (87)
5. Steve Lombardozzi (95)
4. Brian Goodwin (103)
3. Derek Norris (150)
2. Anthony Rendon (152)
1. Bryce Harper (190)

Others receiving votes: Zach Walters, Jeff Kobernus, Rick Hague, Kevin Keyes, Jason Martinson, Jhonatan Solano, Matt Skole, Chris Curran, David Freitas, Corey Brown, Erik Komatsu, Blake Kelso

That’s 22 players receiving votes. You’ll note that I used “position players” instead of “bats” this year in the headline. Some folks took that to mean strictly hitting prowess, even though I tend to use it as a synonym like “arms” for pitchers. But I stuck with bats because I like the picture, opting against a visual pun (this time; I’ve been saving that one since last winter).

I think you can see from this variety of names that some folks are factoring in defense (e.g. Curran) some give props to knocking on the MLB door (Solano) and some give props to raw tools (Keyes). Three players appeared on all ballots: Harper, Rendon, and Norris. Goodwin was left off one; Moore, two; Lombardozzi, Hood, and Marrero: three; Perez, eight; Taylor, ten. The others receiving votes are in order of points, but it wasn’t close: Walters received 15 points.

The two names that missed that kind of surprised me were David Freitas and Rick Hague. Say what you will about his defense, but an .858 OPS over two years might have gotten a little more respect. Conversely, a season-ending shoulder injury didn’t dissuade folks from voting for Hague, even though as the votes for Martinson and Walters attest, he’s no longer the shortstop in waiting that he was this time last year.

Ultimately, like all things hot stove, this is an exercise that mainly serves to pass the time and the winter. But that’s going to stop me from soliciting votes for the pitchers as my next project ;-)

Editor’s Note: This was largely written prior to the news that Chris Marrero had torn his hamstring. Clearly this is a blow to both the prospect and the organization. It may also open the door for Tyler Moore. But one has to also wonder if this makes Lombardozzi the trade chip in lieu of Marrero, given the interest in Mark DeRosa.

Nov 022011
 

For some, the memory of the 2011 Harrisburg Senators will not be how the team took first place in late April and won the division, leading nearly wire-to-wire, despite losing its ace pitcher, its all-star second baseman, and its #3 hitter to promotions and a trade. Nope. It will be this and the wondering if things might have turned out differently if that hadn’t happened.

The more painful reality is that probably didn’t make that big of a difference. The Flying Squirrels won 13 of 21 regular-season meetings and just seemed to have the Senators’ number whenever they matched up. They lost eight of their last 11 games, scoring more than two runs just three times, and scored a total of three runs in three playoff games. Simply put: The Senators were cold going into a short series against a team they had trouble with even when they were playing their best baseball.

This is not to dismiss the disappointment — it’s funny to me to see proclamations each September about how winning in the minors is overrated… or underrated, though it does seem to depend on how your organization is doing at the time — but to remind folks that it was quite a journey to get to the playoffs, as one of our contributors first wrote on this site a few weeks ago.

So let’s take a look at how the 2011 Harrisburg team compared to the rest of the Eastern League, shall we?
HITTING

PITCHING

The Senators were 9th in runs scored despite leading the league in home runs. Likewise, they were 11th in on-base percentage but third in stolen bases and triples. It’s an unusual combination, though I think we’re seeing a trend across the organization when it comes to running (GCL, 5th; NYPL, 3rd; Sally, 3rd; Carolina, 1st) and getting on base (6th, 1st, 3rd, 3rd). Unfortunately, the closest player to possessing both skills is Steve Lombardozzi, so the folks reading this site looking for the answer to the problem with Ian Desmond at leadoff might be disappointed.

Pitching was this team’s strength, as they were first in strikeouts and WHIP, second in ERA, walks and HRs allowed, third in runs allowed. The defense wasn’t so bad either, finishing fifth in terms of percentage and seventh in terms of errors committed, and second in terms of stolen bases allowed. Admittedly, some of this can be chalked up to the veteran nature of the pitching staff (e.g. Erik Arnesen, Oliver Perez), but it should be noted that 24-year-olds (the league average age) accounted for 31.5% of the innings thrown and 62 of the 142 games started. Until the likes of Wirkin Estevez, A.J. Cole and Robbie Ray come to town, an older pitching staff is probably going to be the norm for the forseeable future.

Now, let’s drill down to the Top 16′s for the batters and pitchers — an expansion from the Top 12′s so as to include notables such as Bryce Harper and Erik Komatsu as well as Danny Rosenbaum and Pat Lehman. Full statistics for the team can be found here.

Now when I say that we’re hurting for age-appropriate position prospects at AA and AAA will folks believe me? Just six of the Top 16 batters were 24 or younger. This is why when I see folks elsewhere chiming that the farm has been rebuilt, intimating the job is complete, I cringe. It’s true that three of those six are likely to be in DC by Opening Day 2013, but need I remind folks that unfortunate incidents occasionally occur?

Age aside, you can see from the totals that the team compensated for its low OBP with some serious slugging (.316 ISO for Dolla?!) while nearly everybody was a decent fielder and/or had above-average speed — perfect complements to the aforementioned veteran pitching.

Lastly, in case anyone was wondering… 18-year-old Bryce Harper “struggled” to only reach the league averages for the triple-slash rate stats, hitting it on the nose for OBP and SLG, and missing BA by .003. I’m not prone to fanboy one-handed typing, but that’s pretty damn impressive.
Quite a few extremes, no? That’s part of the reason I like to drill down to the individual stats: Because the guys that were good, were really good — offsetting the guys that weren’t up to snuff, though one thing I did notice is that nearly all of the high ERA guys had significantly lower FIPs (e.g. Ryan Tatusko, 5.94 ERA, 3.97 FIP), which make sense with a team that’s in the upper half of the league in terms of defense.

Like the hitters, one gets the feeling that Washington is building the uppermost levels of the farm to be interchangeable between AA and AAA, creating an environment in which prospects bubble up to the bigs while surrounded by veterans. That’s just what jumps at me when I look at this list of guys that seemed to be either 24 or 27. Of course, that inference could be drawn into a comic like this.

OBLIGATORY TOP FOUR LISTS
That’s no typo. I just can’t pick a #5 for either the batters or the pitchers with a straight face. I’m already including a couple of guys that may be voting for president next year for the third time. Pat McCoy, Stephen King, Erik Komatsu, Tanner Roark are the requisite ages, but none really had that good of a season. I’m already sure that next week it’ll be a Top 5 for the entire Syracuse team (that’s what I did last year), but I felt like doing that here and now might be misconstrued. This is what I mean when I say that the rebuilding job is not complete: There simply aren’t 10 guys at the so-called marquee level of prospects that fit the bill.

Batters
1. Bryce Harper
2. Derek Norris
3. Steve Lombardozzi
4. Tyler Moore

Pitchers
1. Brad Peacock
2. Danny Rosenbaum
3. Brad Meyers
4. Pat Lehman

Oct 282011
 

Ho hum. Another day, another four RBIs for Bryce Harper.

Granted, the last three did come on a walkoff home run that turned a 7-5 deficit into an 8-7 win for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Harper went 2-for-5 overall while once again playing left field. Defensively, he was charged with his third error of the fall on an errant throw but made three putouts.

The news was not all good though as Matt Purke had yet another rough outing, giving up three runs on four hits in the 5th inning. He walked none but struck out one and also threw a wild pitch. As the old saw goes, you know things are going bad when such an outing lowers a pitcher’s ERA — from 30.86 to 29.70

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Brad Peacock was chosen the best AA starter in the 2011 MiLBYs, minor-league baseball’s desperate attempt to feed the PR beast postseason awards. It’s the second award given to a Nationals farmhand since its inception in 2005, when it was known as “This Year in Minor League Baseball Awards,” with Tyler Moore named the best Class-A Advanced hitter last season.

In transaction news, the Nationals have released Johan Rodriguez (GCL) while resigning veterans Chris McConnell and Chris Rahl. Rodriguez appeared in 66 games over two years in Viera, but posted an OPS of just .510 while committing 20 errors on defense. McConnell and Rahl were both key cogs for the Senators in 2011 and will likely be asked to be role players in either Harrisburg in Syracuse in 2012.