Jun 062014
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 34-26, T1st place I.L. North, 4½ games ahead

Good Zach Walters .275/.310/.600, 3HR, 8RBI since return from MLB (10G)
Bad Zach Jackson 0-2, 10.38 ERA, 2.08 WHIP in last 10 appearances
Interesting Ryan Mattheus 1BB, 1H, 0R allowed in last 7 appearances (10IP, 33BF)



HARRISBURG SENATORS 18-34, 6th place E.L. West, 14½ games behind

Good Rafael Martin 2-0, 0.00ERA, 0.52 WHIP in last eight appearances
Bad 472 team batting K’s, 11th in 12-team Eastern League
Interesting Still have not won three games in a row (H/T Mayflies & Bigflies)



POTOMAC NATIONALS 32-27, 1st place C.L. North, 2½ games ahead

Good Tony Renda .366/.435/.537 in last 10G
Bad Ian Dickson 1-2, 8.10/4.44/1.58 as a starter (6GS), 7HR total in 48⅓ IP
Interesting Travis Henke 1-0, 2.41 ERA, 1.23 WHIP since May 2 (2-0, 9.35, 2.42 in April)



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 41-19, 1st place Sally North, 6 games ahead

Good Ryan Ullmann 2-0, 1.36 ERA, 1.12 WHIP in 11 appearances
Bad 170 team BB, 9th in 14-team Sally Lg.
Interesting 320 team K, 1st (fewest) in 14-team Sally Lg.
Dec 072013
 

This seems to be a trend… for the second straight year, there was a consensus at the top of the list… then a free-for-all afterwards.

The two of the top three guys were each left off at least one ballot, while the number two guy was unanimously named, enabling him to garner the no. 2 spot without a single first-place vote.

A total of 24 players were named on 14 ballots, some of which had less than 10 names and/or an ineligible player. While I adjusted the points accordingly (e.g. #1 on a nine-player ballot = 9 pts vs. 10 pts. on a ten-player), it did not affect the rankings.

Without further ado, ze list:

                              1. Brian Goodwin
                              2. Matt Skole
                              3. Steve Souza
                              4. Billy Burns
                              5. Michael Taylor
                              6. Jeff Kobernus
                              7. Zach Walters
                              8. Drew Ward
                              9. Tony Renda
                              10. Adrian Nieto

Others receiving votes: Corey Brown, Eury Perez, Justin Bloxom, Randy Encarnacion, Narciso Mesa, Pedro Severino, Isaac Ballou, Brandon Miller, Cody Gunter, Rafael Bautista, Josh Johnson, Jose Marmolejos-Diaz, Bryan Mejia, Caleb Ramsey

Some observations:

• Goodwin received ten first-place votes, similar to how he was the near-consensus at #2 last year behind Anthony Rendon.

• This year’s #2 is a bit of a shock: Matt Skole was hurt all year long and struggled some in the Arizona Fall League, but moved up a spot from #3 to #2 nevertheless.

• Souza’s strong AFL campaign and addition to the 40-man roster seemed to stick out in many voter’s minds, vaulting him from an also-ran in 2012 to #3 with three first-place votes.

• Burns and Taylor nearly tied despite Taylor being left off two ballots, nearly closing the gap in points by receiving a pair of second-place votes (Burns’s highest was a third-place spot).

As it traditionally has, the list skews towards the upper minors; this year’s exception: Ward, who might have missed the cut — like Skole did in 2011 — were it not for the GCL Nationals’ championship run (likewise for his teammates that were in the “also-rans”). Still, I think a lot of this is simply the bias of familiarity, which also explains why a couple of players aged 27+ players received votes.

Next up: the pitchers, which is always contentious thanks to folks’ biases of starter vs. reliever, lefty vs. righty, fireballer vs. junkballer, floor wax or dessert topping, etc. Plus, with one less no-doubt pick (Robbie Ray), the last couple of spots ought to be closely contested.

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 292013
 

For the second straight season, multiple leagues have begun issue the press releases for the postseason awards — rather than waiting until, say, after the regular season,

Here’s a rundown of how the Nationals farmhands have been honored thus far…

SALLY LEAGUE
Tony Renda was named to the Sally League Postseason All-Star team as its utility infielder, with Micah Johnson (and his Mr. Spock eyebrow) taking the honors at 2B. Renda currently leads the Sally League with 42 doubles and is fourth in walks drawn (42) and sixth in on-base percentage (.381) and seventh in batting average (.295). Hagerstown skipper Tripp Keister was also honored as the Manager of the Year.

CAROLINA LEAGUE
Three P-Nats got the nod, including two-thirds of the outfield. Billy Burns and Michael Taylor — the top two thieves on the basepaths at 54 and 45 repsectively — were named to the all-league squad. Robert Benincasa, despite only pitching in 23 games, was named the top reliever (though his 15 saves does lead the circuit).

INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE
Just one Syracuse player was named and it should shock no one that the sole midseason all-star would be the sole postseason all-star. Soon-to-be 24-y.o. Zach Walters was named the league’s best shortstop, in large part due to his corner-infielder offensive production of 29 HRs (1st), 250 total bases (1st), and 77 RBI (3rd).

No Harrisburg Senators were named to the Eastern League postseason team, which is hardly a surprise when you consider that the most likely candidates (Anthony Rendon, Taylor Jordan) were making their contributions in DC, not PA. The New York-Penn League has not yet announced its postseason team, but the odds of a Doubleday making the cut are pretty slim.

At 49-9, it’s probably safe to bet on at least a couple of G-Nats making the postseason team, which also has not yet been announced.

Aug 022013
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 51-60, 6th place I.L. North, 8½ games behind

Good Zach Walters .404/.417/.936, 5HR, 11RBI since All-Star Break (14G)
Bad Cole Kimball 10.80 ERA/7.30 FIP/2.30 WHIP in 11 appearances
Interesting After game on July 4th – last place, 16½ games behind
After game on August 1 – last place, 8½ games behind



HARRISBURG SENATORS 61-51, 1st place E.L. West, 1½ games ahead

Good Brian Goodwin 24 multi-hit games, seven three-plus hit games
Bad Pat McCoy 6.75 ERA, 1.88 WHIP since All-Star Break
Interesting Starting Pitchers ERA, 3.40; Relievers ERA, 3.56 (through 8/1)



POTOMAC NATIONALS 24-14, 1st place C.L. North, 8 games ahead (66-41 overall)

Good David Fischer 2-0, 2.12 ERA, 1.06 WHIP in July (7 appearances)
Bad Cole Leonida .150/.250/.225, 13K in July (14 games)
Interesting Cutter Dykstra 26BB in July (29BB from April to June)



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 24-16, 2nd place Sally North, 1½ games behind (62-45 overall)

Good Brett Mooneyham 7-3, 2.48 ERA, 4.19 FIP, 1.10 WHIP
Bad Estarlin Martinez .171/.262/.229 in last 10G
Interesting 430 Batting BB leads Sally League



AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 13-31, 6th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 15½ games behind

Good Isaac Ballou .277/.382/.362 in 39G
Bad Deion Williams 0-6, 9.42 ERA, 1.99 WHIP in eight GS
Interesting League-worst pitching, T4th fewest HRs allowed



GCL NATIONALS 30-6, 1st place East Division, Gulf Coast League, 13 games ahead

Good Wander Suero 4-0, 0.84 ERA/2.54 FIP/0.75 WHIP
Bad Willie Medina .505 OPS in 21G
Interesting 2012 Avg. Batter Age = 20.9
2013 Avg. Batter Age = 19.7



DSL NATIONALS 27-22, 5th place Boca Chica South, 5½ games behind

Good 18-y.o. Kelvin Gutierrez .316/.341/.500 since DSL All-Star Break
Bad 17-y.o. Yorlin Reynoso 13BB in 25⅓ IP
Interesting 17-y.o. Oliver Ortiz .314/.333/.343 in first 10G (assigned July 23)
Jul 292013
 

Zach WaltersSyracuse SS Zach Walters was named the I.L. Batter of the Week award in Syracuse for the second time this season, the third position player to win it twice this season (Jason Martinson, Michael Taylor). Pitcher A.J. Cole is also a two-time winner this season.

Walters went 12-for-23 with four doubles, a triple, and three HRs for a .522/.522/1.174 line with five RBI, eight runs scored and a stolen base during the July 22-28 period. Since June 1st, the 23-year-old Wyoming native has hit .325 with 14 home runs and 36 RBI and is batting .264/.291/.552 overall. Walters leads the International League with 55 extra-base hits. His 24 HRs is 3rd in the league.

Originally drafted in 2010 by… wait for it… Arizona, Walters was picked up in a deadline deal in July 2010 for RHP Jason Marquis.

Jul 032013
 

The Syracuse Chiefs have announced that SS Zach Walters has been named to the International League All-Star team.

Zach WaltersWalters, who was recently named the I.L. Player of the Week, leads the Chiefs with 18 home runs and is second to Chris Marrero with 44 RBIs. With 40 extra-base hits total (20 doubles, two triples), he’s third in the International League, three behind Atlanta farmhand Joey Terdoslavich.

Overall, Walters is hitting .246/.275/.508, but since June 1, he’s hit .316 with 8HR and 20RBI. Originally drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010, the 23-y.o. Wyoming native was picked up in a trade of RHP Jason Marquis at the July 2011 trade deadline.

Jun 212013
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 28-43, 6th place I.L. North, 15½ games behind

Good Zach Walters .382/.417/.836, 6HR in June
Bad Mike Crotta 0-4, 4.87 ERA, 2.00 WHIP since May 1 (17 appearances)
Interesting .973 Fielding Pct. – dead last in I.L.



HARRISBURG SENATORS 39-33, T1st place E.L. West, 1 game ahead

Good Steve Souza Jr .570 SLG%
Bad Rob Gilliam 5.27 ERA / 5.47 WHIP in last three starts
Interesting Senators pitching in June – 1.75ERA (28ER, 144IP)



POTOMAC NATIONALS 42-27, 1st place C.L. North Champs, 6 games ahead

Good Taylor Hill 1-0, 0.42 in last three starts
Bad Randolph Oduber 8BB in 47G (9 in 52 overall)
Interesting 11 wins trailing or tied after 7 innings


HAGERSTOWN SUNS 1-0, T1st place Sally North, 1 game ahead (39-29 overall)

Good Robert Benincasa 0.82 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 16K in last 10 appearances (hence the promotion)
Bad Derek Self 7.14 ERA, 2.12 WHIP, 6K in last 10 appearances (hence the demotion)
Interesting Estarlin Martinez HR last night 1st since 9/3/12 = 144AB (per Hagerstown Suns Fan Club)


DSL NATIONALS 12-5, 1st Boca Chica South, 2½ games ahead

Good 19-y.o. Dionicio Rosario .280/.410/.400 in 15G
Bad 18-y.o. Yefri Pena 9.39 ERA, 2.74 WHIP in four appearances
Interesting 17-y.o. Yorlin Reynoso 1.08 ERA, .172 OBA in four appearances
Jun 172013
 

For the second time this season, three Nationals farmhands earned weekly honors as the pitcher or player of the week for the period of June 10-16.

Zach WaltersZach Walters broke the Syracuse shutout for weekly awards as he won the I.L. Player of the Week award with 11 hits in six games, including three home runs, three doubles and seven RBI for a .579 batting average and an 1.157 slugging percentage. For the season, Walters is hitting .233/.265/.483 with 14HR (4th best in the I.L.) and 32RBI (2nd to Chris Marrero’s 44 for the team lead). The 23-y.o. Wyoming native was originally drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010 and acquired by the Nationals in July 2011 in exchange for RHP Jason Marquis.

Taylor JordanTaylor Jordan kept the E.L. Pitcher of the Week Honors in Harrisburg with five-hit shutout last Thursday against Richmond. The 24-y.o. Floridian walked one and struck out a career-best 11 batters. His season ERA between Potomac and Harrisburg is 0.93, the lowest in minor-league baseball, thanks in no small part to his streak of 19 scoreless innings. His 2013 ascendance mirrors, if not exceeds, that of Nathan Karns in 2012 in his second season since having TJ surgery in the summer of 2011. Jordan was drafted by Washington in the 9th Round in 2009 out of Brevard Community College (Cocoa, FL).

A.J. ColeA.J. Cole “only” struck out 10, and “only” went seven shutout innings, allowing four hits, during his Thursday-night start against Frederick. But it was good enough for the 21-y.o. to earn the Carolina League Pitcher of the Week award for the second time this season. For the season, Cole has an overall ERA of 4.16 (an FIP of 3.38, which is slightly worse than league average), having given up four or more runs five times in 13 starts. However, he’s also turned in six quality starts, three in his four appearances. Cole was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 4th round of the 2010 Draft out of Oviedo HS in Florida, then famously traded away in December 2011 as part of the Gio Gonzalez trade. He returned to the organization this past January as part of the Michael Morse trade.

May 172013
 

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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 15-25, 6th place I.L. North, 9½ games behind

Good Fernando Abad 1.26 ERA/1.94 FIP/1.05 WHIP, 86.7 LOB% in 16 app.
Bad Mike Costanzo 36K in 29G
Interesting Zach Walters 9HR, 9E, 41K in 38G

HARRISBURG SENATORS 18-22, T5th place E.L. West, 7 games behind

Good Anthony Rendon (duh) .348 (2nd) / .483 (1st) / .620 (1st) in E.L.
Bad 30E by Senator IFs in 40G
Interesting Paul Demny 2-1, 1.50 ERA, 1.111 WHIP in May (3 starts)

POTOMAC NATIONALS 22-18, T1st place C.L. North, .003 W% behind

Good Billy Burns .364/.455/.455 with runners on base (51PA)
Bad Brian Dupra 0-2, 8.25/3.87/1.58 in four appearances (two starts)
Interesting Justin Miller .400/.455/.667 in May with 2HR, 8RBI, 3SB

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 19-12, 1st place Sally North, ½ game ahead

Good Shawn Pleffner .298/.412/.452 with 2HR, 14RBI in 25G
Bad Kylin Turnbull 6HR in 4GS and 18IP
Interesting Ronald Pena starting on two days’ rest (5/15) after 2IP relief (5/12)