Final AFL Stats & Thoughts

A look at the final AFL numbers and thoughts on the Nats in the AFL for 2010

First, the stats…


Lombardozzi 21 82 16 24 8 2 0 4 10 8 .293 .385 .439 2
Burgess 18 65 8 16 3 3 2 20 4 20 .246 .286 .477 1
Norris 16 54 10 15 5 2 4 19 11 18 .278 .403 .667 2
Harper 9 35 6 12 3 2 1 7 4 11 .343 .410 .629 1


Solis 1 0 0 3.80 6 23β…” 22 13 10 7 12 1.225 0 0
Carr 1 0 1 2.08 10 13 6 3 3 3 8 0.692 1 4
Peacock 0 0 0 4.50 9 12 10 6 6 3 17 1.083 2 1
Kimball 0 0 1 0.82 11 12 8 1 1 2 15 0.833 0 11

Now, the thoughts…

  • Bryce Harper managed to make his mark despite only playing twice a week. Now, we will wonder for the next four and a half months where Rizzo will have him start. Hagerstown is the official word, but I can’t see him starting there unless he has a terrible spring, or unless the plan is to have Harper make a tour of the full-season minors no matter what.
  • Lombardozzi did nothing to dissuade our opinion of him, but now we’ll have to wait until the prospect guides to come out whether or not he changed anyone else’s minds. I suspect not because even in our own Natmosphere his game-winning double in the AFL title game was barely mentioned.
  • Derek Norris has shown that much of his “struggles” this season were because he was hurting, finishing the AFL with the third-highest slugging pct. and the fourth-highest OPS. His defensive deficiencies were also displayed but a full season under the tutelage of Randy Knorr in Harrisburg ought to help immensely.
  • Michael Burgess also did nothing to dissuade the growing perception that his prospect days are behind him. He’ll start as the Harrisburg RF in 2011, but how long he’ll stay is the question. The signal may just be when he starts playing LF and DH more often than RF.
  • Brad Peacock showed flashes of brilliance as a reliever, leading to some speculation that he was auditioning for a midseason ’11 callup, but by the end of the AFL season it was clear that this was done to limit his innings. Possible Opening Day starter for the Senators.
  • Sammy Solis got a baptism by fire, but nothing that one couldn’t attribute to his lack of pro experience or the long layoffs between the draft and after the end of the regular season. Some question as to whether he’ll start in Hagerstown or Potomac, but given Rizzo’s track record, I’d bet on Potomac until late June, then Harrisburg through late August.
  • Cole Kimball is probably the biggest surprise of the AFL, at least relative to the success shown in twelve appearances. I’m not entirely sold that he’s for real, but hopeful that he can continue to contribute and assist the parent club in its quest to build middle relievers from within and not overpay for FA relievers. Could make the parent club with a strong spring.
  • Adam Carr has come a long way in just a year. In November ’09, he was finishing up his first season as a starting pitcher, including an August in which he posted a 7.34ERA and walked more batters than he struck out. He returned to Senator ‘pen and found his niche as the two-inning man, then had success as a closer for Syracuse. Like Kimball, he’s a dark horse to make 25-man roster by March 31, the day before his 27th birthday.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

26 thoughts on “Final AFL Stats & Thoughts”

  1. Sue – I’ve been wondering about Lombardozzi’s potential future as a Jamey Carroll-type super utility guy. Unless one of either Desmond or Espinosa are traded, I would think the Nats would want the two guys with the power, range and arm in the everyday lineup. But having a young guy like Lombardozzi rather than some creaking old veteran on a one year deal as a backup seems like a much better option.

  2. It was mentioned yesterday that Lombardozzi doesn’t have the range for short, and I would add that I don’t think he has the arm for third. For a while there, it looked like Leonard Davis was going to be that kind of guy you’re describing.

  3. Regarding Harper, doesn’t Hagerstown have a new ownership group? If so, the parent organization may be throwing them a bone by giving them Harper for a short period of time before he moves up.

    1. If we’re being cynical, let’s pull out our tin foil hats and look at the schedule… πŸ˜‰

      Hagerstown starts on the road and then has a nine-game homestand in mid-April (15th-23rd) goes back on the road, and then has a stretch of 18 home games in 24 days in May (5th-28th). Twenty-seven games is almost 40% of the home schedule.

      Potomac starts at home and then doesn’t have an extended homestand until June, in which it has a monster, 14-game skein from the 6th to the 19th, and then is home for 16 games in July. That’s more than 40% of the home schedule.

      Harrisburg goes on the road in early August, but it’s all in Pennsylvania and then is home for 17 games from the 9th until the end of the season. With no half system, Harper could be the proverbial “juice” to the lineup to win a pennant.

      Now, do I believe that will happen? No, but it sure makes for a fun conspiracy!

  4. Sue, great stuff and thanks for the recap. Solis’ numbers sure don’t show how he finished in the AFL. He drew the most praise as a pitcher next to Montgomery of the Royals.

    Of course Bryce Harper had all the buzz although his strikeout ratio wasn’t great. I love his attitude and the excitement he will bring to a MLB bench like the Nationals where there aren’t a lot of big egos. His hustle is so refreshing after watching a MLB season of so many lazy players.

    I think Bryce Harper will start in A ball to get a taste of it and then move quickly to High A then after he crushes A ball the test will be in AA but I think the way Bryce played in the AFL this will be just a stepping stone to the MLB in June 2012. Now for the real challenge as to whether there is any way Rizzo allows Bryce to be a September 2011 callup!

    Lombardozzi made a great showing for himself and just may have given Rizzo the idea of using him as a trade chip or middle infield utility guy on the Nats bench for 2011. Only problem is you still have Alberto Gonzalez which is a good problem.

    Kimball has some nasty stuff and in the AFL had the best K ratio to BB at 7.5. He gets the batters biting on balls in the dirt and just making the hitters look bad. Just not sure how that will translate to the MLB as veterans may not be swinging at his junk.

    All in all, a lot to be excited about!

  5. How would Lombardozzi not have an arm for short??? In High school he played that the whole time. He excelled there and statistically has done better than the shortstop for the Suns and Nationals in his errors. He knows what he is doing and how to do it. I mean come on his father (Steve Lombardozzi Sr.) Played for the minnesota twins and won the world series in 1987 so obviously Steve has a background in baseball and knows his capability. I believe if you put him at short you will see results.

    1. @baseballlover
      Range is the issue for short. Arm is more the issue for 3rd base defensively. 3rd is where prospects go to die in the Nats system as long as Zimmerman is around. Short is the issue. If he could play short, you’d think that the system and the scouts would be smart enough to play him there because it’s not like we have other prospects at his level of the minors who are pushing him elsewhere on the diamond now that Espinosa’s going to be playing for the big club.

      He seems to lack a lot of the physical tools that scouts like in speed, range, power, or a cannon arm and has gotten short thrift in prospect lists in the past. He masters each level with competent above average stats and the AFL was no exception. Be interested to see where he ranks on Sickels upcoming Nats prospect list.

    2. I saw Lombardozzi play more than 50 times at Potomac. I have a pretty good idea about his strengths and weaknesses, and his throwing arm is the latter not the former. All three of his AFL errors came while playing short and he only played there four or five games. The reason they played him there was because they were also playing Charlie Culberson, the Giant prospect who’s been searching for a position and it appears to be 2B, as he committed 15 errors there in ’10, after 40 errors at 3B in ’09, and 35 errors at SS in ’08.

      1. Thanks for the tidbit on the errors there, Sue. Really wish Lombo had a better glove beyond 2B because it would solve a whole bunch of issues if he had a utility guy floor.

  6. Thanks for the stats and analysis. Good to see our boys performing so well for the most part.

    I think Burgess is toast. Stop the presses: Another toolsy Bowden outfielder fails to put it together!

    1. I’m not ready to completely give up on Burgess yet. Burgess job this year was to show that he could solidly handle the Carolina League and improve his contact. He did that. Burgess wasn’t ready for the AFL and I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone or to the organization. I think that the org sent him there as a challenge to him to give him a laundry list of things to work on for AA and to help motivate him to have another productive offseason by having him work around all of the other elite prospects. He got an up close and personal look at what the achievements of other toolsy prospects and extended sense of what he needs to do.

      Burgess’ platoon splits and defense are of great interest to me. Right now, you’re hoping Burgess can show signs of plus arm, better fitness and defense, and the ability to show potential as an MLB platoon player.

      Certainly wish that he’d had a better AFL, but I’m not totally giving up on him yet. I’d still rate him as a C+ guy who’s still in our top 20.

      1. souldrummer: My concern with Burgess is that his AFL numbers look a lot more like HAR 2010 (mediocre) than POT 2010 (reasonably good); That’s why I was suprised when he was named to the AFL squad. I just see him as being closer to his top-end at AA+ than you’d want him to be as a ‘prospect’. He could very well prove me wrong (he is only 22) with a breakout year; I’m just not banking on it.

        I think most of us held high hopes for Justin Maxwell (more athletic, can field all three OF positions), who has pretty much topped out as a AAA OF at 27 due to his bat.

        1. Certainly see the justification for your thoughts on Burgess. Does Burgess’ bat have more value since it’s lefthanded? I do realize that I’m probably biased towards Burgess because of his Potomac season. I guess I can understand why they put him in the AFL, but it was widely agreed that he was likely to be overmatched.

          He had a good offseason last year; he really needs a good one this year as well to matriculate up the org at Harrisburg.

  7. Sue , I see that you mentioned about 5 players on your under the radar list or should I say sleeper list, can you shed soem light on each of the players,I am especially interested in pitching, but I would love if you could give me a brief description of each player, sorry to be a pain


  8. I think you may be referring to this list that I posted on Sickels’s discussion board:

    Tom Milone – LHSP, turns 24 in February. Throws mid-to-upper-80s, featuring a fastball, curve, change, and a cutter. Outstanding control. Expected to start at AAA in ’11
    Steve Lombardozzi – 2B, turned 22 in September. Steady fielder, can hit leadoff, but not likely to be a SB threat at the upper levels.
    Daniel Rosenbaum – LHSP, turned 23 in October. Throws a little harder than Milone but control not as good. Also features a cutter.
    Rob Wort – RHRP, turns 22 in February. Just gets guys out without especially flashy stuff. Pitches better under pressure than with bases empty.
    Randolph Oduber – OF, turns 22 in March. Yet to see in person, but put up Harper-like numbers in the GCL with .359/.428/.562 line.
    Christopher Manno – LHP, turned 22 three weeks ago. A Nats redraft that struck out 29 in 18 GCL innings. Said to have plus changeup and a funky (deceptive) delivery.
    Wirkin Estevez – RHSP, turns 19 in March. Likely to pitch in the GCL in ’11 but posted a 2.61ERA and struck out more than a batter per inning over 14 starts in the DSL.

  9. Wally and Sue, just a touch more on Chris Manno
    LHP I would not at all call him Funky, but certainly deceptive only because he hides the ball so well
    6″3 think lanky frame with a fast ball that sits around 88-89 , touches low 90’s with a plus change and very good slider

    Now my opinion his frame and his height, if he gains solid weight below the waist and comes back to camp strong, he will be the someone to recon with

    Love his makeup and love the way he enjoys the game.Watched him at the cape and by far one of the better pitchers that year

  10. quick note , I did see our guys in Arizona, and boys and girls I am happy to report the future is a bit brighter. Harper can play the game, hard nose , pete rose type of player. Love it old school
    Just a bit of info. I want to chime in about The LHP Manno. Watched him as at the Cape in a allstar game , and he comes in with the bases loaded and no outs , yes he strikes out the side. His next inning he strikes out 2 of 3 . Now he is not 95 plus but if you look at his stats online with Duke university, you will see that he strikes out a bunch of guys . In fact he was 3rd in the nation his sophomore year in 16 strike out per nine inn. So as a old time scout I have to dig deeper and see why, and ask the batters that I have faced him, and the answer I got on more then several occasions was , I do not like facing him. He is smart and deceptive and throws a heavy ball, with crazy movement. Listen in this day of radar guns , Manno is not a first round pick, but he is the type of pitcher you want on your staff.

    1. Thanks, Frank, your eyes are a valuable addition. There was a guy named Mel on the old NFA who raved quite bit about Manno. I don’t see how someone who was quite the star at the Cape lands up hanging around til the 36th round. Good news for us!.
      You have to figure he starts at Hagerstown in 2011; probably heading to Potomac sooner rather than later, which means we’ll all be able to seem him a lot.

  11. Sue,

    Great stuff as always. I just thought I’d let you know that the word around here (Harrisburg) is that Knorr will be promoted to manage Triple-A Syracuse next year. I guess they typically wait until after every spot is filled before they make formal announcements and as of yet I don’t think they have anyone in place yet for here.


    1. I hope you’re wrong about that because Knorr is better off working with the high-end prospects and Jewett has the demeanor and mind-set to keep the 4A’s on their toes. I do, however, remember them flip-flopping AAA and AA managers a few years back. You’re preaching to the choir when it comes to Knorr… I think he could be the big-club manager someday.

  12. Max I am a huge Manno fan, I do not hide that at all. I know him very well because he is a local NY kid that I watched from a very young age. I also tell it like it is , anyone that knows me tell me its my greatest flaw. Just remember, Manno was drafted Junior year in the 36th round , only after making it crystal clear that he wanted to graduate from Duke. I totally understand his point, and it might of cost him some $$$ but you have to love the nationals. They liked him very much last year enough to draft him higher in the 26th round. I again want to tell it like it is. Manno is a 26th round pick who will not have many chances as say a Solis. So Manno is going to have to impress at the next level. I like him, and I think he has a shot at being a important part of the Nats future. Time will tell

  13. 2011 should be interesting for the Big 12 kids everyday and on the mound. No wonder Cathcart joined Henley down in the system. How much lightning in the Longhorn kids?
    Happy Thanksgiving one and all.

  14. @Souldrummer,

    I don’t see Burgess ever making the majors … at least with the Nationals. Its why I think Rizzo may have made an early play for Justin Upton. And I wouldn’t count him out for BJ Upton as well. Willingham is an ex-catcher and was almost exclusively that in his minor league career until his back said otherwise. He is not athletic and does not have a plus arm. His bat is good but he is now 31 going on 32. Morgan is also 30+.

    They need a new outfield for 2012-2012. Harper looks like one component. Is Eury Perez? Destin Hood? JP Ramirez? And then there’s Justin Bloxom? Rick Hague? And will they try to make Tyler Moore into the next Dunnkey? Perhaps they move Norris to first base? He is a higher OBP hitter and in the AFL his power came back. It all depends on how he does in AA/AAA learning the defensive part of his game either catching or at some other position?

    All of these players will likely rise (or fall) during Harper’s minor league tutelage as he progresses toward the majors. You have to wonder if this is the reason Rizzo balks at signing high priced older FA position players to longer term contracts. He must feel these guys are legitimate enough to avoid blocking them. A 23 year old Justin Upton would be an entirely different story; he could be like having a second Harper.

    And in the end its the pitching that’s going to start winning games. And when it comes to starting pitching (outside of the return of a healthy Stras) the Nats are sorely lacking. So, then you wonder whether they will trade some of these prospects to make up for the system’s failure on the pitching side of the house?

    Happy Holidays to all!

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