Aug 082014
 

GBI for NPP 2Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 66-51, 1st place I.L. North, 2 games ahead

Good Manny Delcarmen 0-1, 1.26 ERA, 0.63 WHIP in last 10 appearances
Bad Josh Johnson .043 ISO
Interesting 803 batting K 3rd fewest in 14-team I.L.



HARRISBURG SENATORS 47-70, 6th place E.L. West, 18½ games behind

Good Quincy Latimore .323/.462/.742 4HR, 11RBI in last 10G
Bad Current pitchers with a sub-3.00 ERA: 1 (Derek Self, 2.67)
Interesting Paolo Espino 10HBP, 1.97 BB/9IP, 4.3 K:BB ratio



POTOMAC NATIONALS 26-18, 1st place C.L. North, 4 games ahead (64-49 overall)

Good Ian Dickson 1-0, 2.76 ERA since return to rotation (3GS)
Bad Khayyan Norfork .188/.257.250 in last 10G
Interesting Lead league with intentional walks drawn (12)



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 29-18, T1st place Sally North, 2 games ahead (73-44 overall)

Good Wilmer Difo .454 SLG%, 40SB, 32-game on-base streak
Bad Wirkin Estevez 0-2, 9.18 ERA, 1.98 WHIP in five Low-A starts
Interesting 0-for-6 in pinch-hitting



AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 24-28, 2nd place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 8½ games behind

Good Mario Sanchez 4-0, 3SV, 2.49 ER, 1.07 WHIP in 12 appearances
Bad Chris Riopedre .447 OPS in 14G
Interesting .964 Fld. Pct. 11th in 14-team NYPL



GCL NATIONALS 22-21, 3rd place GCL East, 5½ games behind

Good Jorge Tillero .316/.381/.368 in 23G
Bad Daury Vasquez 0-2, 9.22 ERA, 2.27 WHIP in eight appearances
Interesting 2nd fewest passed balls (7), 2nd worst CS% (24) in the GCL



DSL NATIONALS 34-24, 3rd place Boca Chica South, 6½ games behind

Good 18-y.o. Wilber Pena 2-0, 1.62 ERA, 0.96 WHIP in last three GS
Bad 19-y.o. Sandy Guerrero .167/.300/.292 in last 10G
Interesting Team batting 6th in 36-team DSL (6.34 R/G)
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
Oct 132011
 

After wading through the worst affiliate last week, it’s time to look at and reflect on what was — on won-loss basis anyways — the best. It’s also a yardstick of sorts for the 2011 draft*, which was decidedly tilted towards college players in general (36 of 51 drafted, 26 of 30 signed) and seniors in particular (13 of those 26). Consequently, the Auburn team was the second-oldest in the league and that does in part explain some of their success.

*I’m no draft expert and am quite honest in my distaste for discussing it, but it’s not lost on me that this emphasis on upperclassmen isn’t ideal — especially when the new normal for player advancement is one level per year. It’s great that Washington is putting more money into the D.R. and getting more players to come stateside, but that can’t be the only source of teenage talent. I can understand shying away from drafting high school pitchers (before you chime in with Peacock, Cole, or Ray, remember McGeary, Smoker, and Willems) but it just seems to me that now might be the time to start taking chances again on some high school hitters.

As we’ve done the two reviews prior, let’s take a look at how Auburn compared to the rest of the league…
HITTING
PITCHING
Too old or not, the Auburn Doubledays were the class of the New York-Penn League on offense, leading the league in runs scored, hits, doubles, RBI, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging. They could also run, finishing third in the league in total steals with 95 but were caught just 16 times for an 85.5% success rate.

The pitching was pretty close to league average in nearly every stat, with the rather notable exception of HRs allowed (fewest in the league), strikeouts (11th of 14 teams), and hits allowed (4th least). Unlike last season, the pitching didn’t take a nosedive. Of course, it helped to get some rehab innings from Brad Meyers, eight starts from the MIA in ’09 and ’10 Nathan Karns, and 18 innings from a AA reclamation project in the person of Christian Garcia.

As before, I’m listing the Top 12 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.
(* = 2010 Draft Pick   ** = DSL Graduate   Italics = 2009 or earlier Draft Pick)

Defensively this looks like a poor bunch, but the Doubledays were actually second in the league in terms of fielding percentage, fourth in terms of fewest errors committed. Unfortunately, the catchers were abysmal at throwing out runners, with a team rate of 23% and Nieto showing serious rust (14%) before returning to form in Hagerstown (36%).

Five of these twelve hitters were assigned to the FIL (Skole, Burns, Ramsey, Ortega, Nieto). Last year, I was fooled into thinking that at least one of them might skip over Hagerstown, and even though three of them will turn 23 this fall, I will make no such assertion for 2012. But I will repeat the guess that the Suns offense should be decent again.

On to the pitchers…
This year’s draft picks made 26 of 75 starts, a marked increase from the 11 of 74 the year before (hey that rhymes!). Unfortunately, much of this can be attributed to the aforementioned upperclassmen taken. None of the starters were lights-out — Brian Dupra had the lowest ERA and WHIP of 3.46 and 1.207 respectively among the Top Five — and a fair amount of relief innings (134) came from guys with ERAs above 4.00. Ultimately, when you have a team that can mash, the pitching need only be mediocre for the team to be a winner and that’s pretty much what it was.

OBLIGATORY TOP FIVE LISTS
For the second straight year, I was able to make it to the NYPL, so it’s not completely sight unseen as it is with the GCL and DSL. Without further ado…

Top 5 Batters
1. Bryce Ortega
2. Matt Skole
3. Hendry Jimenez
4. Adrian Nieto
5. Billy Burns

Top 5 Pitchers
1. Wirkin Estevez
2. Taylor Hill
3. Brian Dupra
4. Manny Rodriguez
5. Christian Meza*

* This is a tough choice because I’m disinclined to choose an older player simply for the sake of have five players ranked. Digging deeper into his numbers, what jumped at me was the differential between his ERA (5.68) and FIP (3.31). Considering his age (turned 21 in August) and low HR and BB rates, I’m giving him the edge over older players (e.g. Colin Bates) or players that weren’t among the Top 12 in usage (e.g. Richie Mirowski).

Oct 052010
 

Considering the turmoil from the spring of 2009, the seven-game improvement of the DSL Nationals to a winning season of 36-35 has to be considered progress. But perhaps more promising is that this was done with a crew that was younger than the year before (yes, even with “Smiley”) — the average batter was 18.9 years old, the average pitcher was 19.3 years old; a year ago, those figures were 19.3 and 19.7. Still more than the league averages (18.4, 18.8) but better than two years ago (19.3, 21.2).

As I ease into metaphorically big shoes of Mr. Oliver, let me also disclose fully that I’m modeling this review (and future reviews) after the ones he did back in ’07, which were the first ones I found while rummaging through his online morgue. Without further ado…

HITTING

TEAM AB R H HR BB SO AVG OBP SLG GPA* SB
D-Nats 2246 312 534 14 274 459 .238 .338 .305 .228 110
Lg. Avg. 2184 301 512 15 275 481 .235 .334 .311 .228 99

* GPA = Gross Production Average. This is a stat that Aaron Gleeman invented several years ago that corrects the two problems with OPS: (1) it corrects the imbalance between OBP and SLG (simply put, OBP is about 80% more valuable) and (2) it puts it on a scale that everyone is familiar with (same as batting average). I like it because it’s relatively easily to calculate — (1.8*OBP plus SLG)/4 — compared to similar sabermetric exercises (wOBA, EqA) and achieves the purpose of an all-encompassing offensive stat nearly as well.

PITCHING

TEAM IP ERA R/G WHIP HR BB SO H/9IP BB/9IP K/9IP K/BB
D-Nats 606.1 3.55 4.58 1.351 16 272 541 8.1 4.0 8.0 1.99
Lg. Avg. 590.1 3.39 4.27 1.333 15 275 481 7.8 4.2 7.3 1.75

As you might expect from a .507 team, the D-Nats were slightly above average on offense and slightly below average on pitching with the notable exception of strikeouts and walks, categories in which the Nationals were in the top third of the league.

Given the nature of the league, playing time is much more spread out but for the purposes of displaying who’s who, I’m using defensive games to determine “starters” and the 100AB mark as the cutoff for the bench. The full statistics for the team can be found here.

Position Name Age G/GP Fld% Err PA GPA
Catcher Adderling Ruiz 19 46/49 .978 8 153 .197
First Base Jean Carlos Valdez 17 25/60 .978 8 237 .228
Second Base Nelalexfred Ortega 17 63/63 .964 10 272 .204
Third Base Bienvenido Valdez 19 38/62 .893 12 245 .275
Shortstop Wilmer Difo 20 44/45 .911 20 169 .201
Left Field Jose Arismendy 17 39/51 .980 3 156 .183
Center Field Edgar Gonzalez ?? 53/59 .976 2 223 .256
Right Field Narciso Mesa ?? 45/58 .966 2 213 .193
Utility (1B, 2B, SS) “Smiley” Alvarez 24 14, 4, 24 .966 9 234 .320
Bench (1B, LF) Victor Chavez 21 3, 19 .850 3 167 .293
Bench (C, 1B) Paul Chacin 19 21, 13 .983 4 167 .244

I’m just as troubled as you might be to see those two “??” in the age column. Defensively, you can see that 1B, 3B, and C were a little bit of a merry-go-round in terms of playing time (fielding percentages are for the primary position only for the starters, the bench players are cumulative. Second base was the only stalwart, so it may be safe to say that “Fred” Ortega may be stateside by 2012 at the latest.

On to the pitchers, listing the top 12 in terms of innings pitched…

PLAYER AGE G/GS W-L, SV ERA IP H BB SO WHIP HBP WP
Antonio Guzman 22 14/13 4-5, 1 3.36 83 74 27 81 1.217 13 15
Wirkin Estevez 18 15/14 6-7, 0 2.61 82⅔ 74 12 95 1.040 5 8
Silvio Medina 20 13/11 5-4, 0 3.06 67⅔ 68 19 46 1.286 9 7
Adalberto Mieses 20 13/12 3-3, 1 2.98 63⅓ 57 33 40 1.421 5 7
Anthony Marcelino 17 14/7 0-2, 0 3.20 45 34 20 24 1.200 5 13
Inocencio Heredia ?? 26/0 3-3, 10 1.69 37⅓ 24 11 34 0.938 6 4
Wander Suero 18 15/4 2-3, 0 4.72 34⅓ 35 23 39 1.689 1 7
Jorge Hernandez 20 13/0 2-1, 4 2.05 30⅔ 21 9 38 0.978 1 1
Andy Santana 19 13/1 5-0, 0 1.27 28⅓ 19 14 24 1.165 0 1
Juan “Slim” Diaz 19 7/6 2-4, 0 5.74 26⅔ 25 10 28 1.312 4 5
Jesus Guzman 19 18/6 1-1, 0 3.43 21 18 18 23 1.714 3 3
Saskuel Herrera 20 18/6 1-0, 1 4.32 16⅔ 19 11 13 1.800 0 11

The too-old criticism may be valid here as it appears that only Wirkin Estevez and Anthony Marcelino will be Viera-bound in ’11, though the obvious caveat that perhaps one or two of the 19-year-olds may have that intangible that we can’t see from a box score (which is the caveat that applies to all of this review). Inocencio Heredia was a constant in our daily reports but the lack of a DOB has to raise a red flag.

OBLIGATORY TOP FIVE LISTS
Having seen these players as much as Rush Limbaugh has seen his name on college diploma, I present the five batters and pitchers to watch in ’11 with the full knowledge that I’m doing exactly what I hate: basing my judgment solely on stats and boxscores.

Top 5 Batters
1. Jean Carlos Valdez
2. “Fred” Ortega
3. Wilmer Difo
4. Adderling Ruiz
5. Paul Chacin

Top 5 Pitchers
1. Wirkin Estevez
2. Anthony Marcelino
3. Andy Santana
4. Wander Suero
5. Jesus Guzman

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
Jul 232010
 

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

SYRACUSE 54-45, 2nd place IL North, 3 games back

Good Justin Maxwell .342/.432/.605 in July
Bad Jason Jones 20H, 14R, 7HR in last three starts (yes, we can fickle)
Interesting Boomer Whiting .264BA as a LHB (began switching hitting this year)

HARRISBURG 49-50, 4th place, 9 games behind

Good Jesus Valdez .315BA, 18RBI in July
Bad 13E each for starting 1B, 2B, and SS
Interesting Chuck James as a reliever: 3-0, 0.00ERA in 15G

POTOMAC
14-11 2nd Half; 45-50 Overall

Good Tyler Moore 18-for-30, 8-2B, 6HR, 19RBI in last 8G
Bad Nick Moresi .186BA in July
Interesting Justin Phillabaum, four runs allowed over last eight appearances
(vs. 11 runs allowed in first eight appearances)

HAGERSTOWN
10-17 2nd Half; 46-51 Overall

Good Eury Perez .328BA, 13SB in July
Bad Dean Weaver 0-2, five blown saves since return from DL on Jun. 16
Interesting Ben Graham 8K, 5H, 0BB in first four appearances (6⅔ IP) since promotion

VERMONT
22-11, 1st Place Stedler Division of NY-Penn League

Good David Freitas .443BA during 18-game hit streak
Bad Taylor Jordan 0-1, 7.94ERA in July
Interesting Neil Holland 0.66ERA, 1.02WHIP, 14K in 9 appearances (13⅔ IP)

GCL NATIONALS
11-15, 4th place GCL East Division, 7 games back

Good Adrian Sanchez .375/.390/.600 in 19G
Bad Estarlin Martinez .150/.209/.275 in 14G
Interesting Billy Ott 1-0, SV, 0.60ERA, 0.87WHIP in 5G

DSL NATIONALS
23-19, 5th place B.C. South Division, 4 games back

Good 18-y.o. Wirkin Estevez 5-3, 2.44ERA, 61K in 51⅔ IP
Bad Jorge De La Cruz, 9.28ERA, 2.25WHIP, 6HB in 7G
Interesting Nelalexfred Ortega 15/16 in stolen-base attempts