Thursday’s News & Notes

Harper’s grand slam highlights Wednesday night in the minors

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Won, 4-2 @ Norfolk, 12:15 p.m. Yunesky Maya (1-2, 3.55) vs.
Chris George (2-2, 4.23)
Harrisburg Senators Lost, 13-2 @ Richmond, 7:05 p.m. Ryan Tatusko (1-3, 6.35) vs.
David Mixon (0-0, 0.00)
Potomac Nationals Won, 10-4 OFF DAY N/A
Hagerstown Suns Won, 11-5 vs. Delmarva, 6:35 p.m. A.J. Cole (0-1, 4.91) vs.
Jacob Pettit (3-0, 2.89)

Before folks comment on names you might see in the box score, I plan to do a transaction catchup post later this afternoon. Most notable: Sammy Solis has been assigned to Potomac

Syracuse 4 Norfolk 2
• Stammen (W, 2-2) 7⅓ IP 5H 2R 2ER 0BB 6K 1HR
• Wilkie (S, 3) 1⅔ 0H 0R 0BB 3K
• Brown 2-3, 2R, BB
• Aubrey 2-4, R, 2B, 2RBI
• Marrero 2-4, RBI

With a 4-2 win over Norfolk, the Syracuse Chiefs have put together their first three-game win streak of season. Starter Craig Stammen went seven and 1/3rd innings for his second win of the season while Josh Wilkie retired the last five batters, three by way of the K, for his third save. Corey Brown, Michael Aubrey, and Chris Marrero went 6-for-11 collectively with three runs and three RBIs, a double, and a walk between them.

Altoona 13 Harrisburg 2
• Davis (ND) 2IP 4H 2R 2ER 0BB 2K
• Barthmaier (L, 0-2) 3IP 7H 5R 5ER 0BB 5K 2HR
• Chico 2IP 5H 5R 4ER 0BB 1K 1HR
• Rhinehart 1IP 1H 0R 0BB 1K
• Antonelli 2-4, R
• Valdez 2-4, 2B, RBI

The bullpen woes of the Senators continued with three relievers coughing up 11 runs over six innings in a 13-2 beatdown. Starter Erik Davis went the first two innings but left with a knee injury after pitching to two batters in the third inning (both inherited runners scored). Bill Rhinehart became the first position player to pitch for Harrisburg and was the most effective pitcher yesterday, retiring three of four batters faced on 14 pitches. Matt Antonelli and Jesus Valdez both went 2-for-4 to lead the offense, which was held to just six hits.

Potomac 10 Winston-Salem 4
• Demny (W, 1-2) 6IP 4H 4R 4ER 2BB 6K 2HR
• Frias 2IP 2H 0R 0BB 1K
• Bloxom 1-3, 3R, 3B, 2BB, RBI
• Ramirez 2-5, R, RBI
• Perez 2-4, RBI

While perhaps aided by the cozy dimensions of BB&T park, the P-Nats scored a season-high 10 runs, highlighted by a four-run sixth and three ejections. Francisco Soriano and manager Matt Lecroy were both tossed after the shortstop argued a called third strike in the fifth. Two innings later Steven Souza followed suit. Starter Paul Demny notched his first win of the season with four runs allowed over six innings on four hits, two of which were home runs. Joze Lozada, subbing for Soriano, J.P. Ramirez and Eury Perez each collected two hits.

Hagerstown 11 Delmarva 5
• Jordan (W, 6-0) 6IP 7H 5R 2ER 0BB 0K
• Holland (S, 1) 3IP 3H 0R 0BB 2K
• Harper 4-5, 2R, HR, 5RBI
• Sanchez 4-5, 4R, 2B, 3B, RBI
• Martinson 2-3, 2B, RBI

Bryce Harper extended his hitting streak to 15 games in grand fashion, slamming in four runs in the bottom of the third as Hagerstown scored the last 11 runs in an 11-5 rout of Delmarva. The 18-year-old also went 4-for-5 to raise his average to a Sally-League-leading .396, his RBI total to 30 (tied w/ 2 others), and his slugging percentage to .712. Taylor Jordan returned from the DL to get his sixth win with all five runs allowed (two earned) on seven hits while Neil Holland got the rulebook save with three scoreless innings, allowing three hits, walking none and striking out two.

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.

25 thoughts on “Thursday’s News & Notes”

  1. How long will Harper continue to torment Low A pitching? I see him at Potomac sooner rather than later. I definite want to see him one more time either at Woodbridge or Frederick before he goes to Harrisburg. Then forget Syracuse, I will see him in September at NATS park.

    1. You figure that he has to get bumped soon. I bet he is in Potomac by June 1. From my reads of the box scores, Harper doesn’t need to learn how to hit a fastball or lay off a breaking ball, he needs to learn how to adjust to smarter pitchers who have an intelligent game plan against him that takes advantage of his aggressiveness. Will he be able to take a walk from the guys that are simply pitching around him or will he chase balls outside of the zone? How does he react to guys pitching backwards against him?

      I am excited to see him move up and meet these challenges.

  2. he needs to learn how to play the outfield. He made a blooper rail error in center last night and also almost had another collision. He needs more practice tracking balls, but yes he is making a mockery out of Sally league pitching.

    The kid is the real deal. I would love to see him finish out May and then head straight for Harrisburg. I am biased because I want the Suns to win the first half and they need Harper to do it.

  3. Guys I have seen the last 5 home games at Hagerstown

    one statement on Harper. OH MY GOD
    the HR he hit last night was a complete blast. I have a very unoffical measurement . I see it at 498

    Guys it was a bombbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

    Jab make a very good point . He is a very very good athlete playong the outfield and will out run balls. But if he wants to be a awesome OF he has to learn how to get jumps and communicate with his co-workers. But again I have to say fantastic. I think he stays in Hagerstown until the end of May. He is much more selective then he was at the beginning of the season. Love this Kid.

  4. Who gets demoted (Ramirez, Perez, Hood) if Harper gets promoted to Potomac? I’m thinking he goes straight to Harrisburg…

    1. Most likely? An “injury” to an infielder that will ensure that the DH spot is used by whichever OF isn’t playing the field. As for the likelihood of a player jumping from Low-A to AA, you can read all about it on the sign that’s on Jimmie Dimmick’s lawn.

      1. Agreed. Anybody who thinks Harper’s going straight to Harrisburg hasn’t been paying attention.
        I hope they keep Adrian Sanchez in the #2 spot, it seems to agree with him. He’s still a puppy.

        Judging by the box score, Bill Rhinehart’s a better pitcher than Chico.

        1. Chico has got to be feeling like his days are numbered with the Nats and his pitching is reflecting it.

          Too bad, his work in ’07 showed a lot of guts. The game he pitched in Philly on the last day of the season is on my short list of best Nats games. Unfortunately the Mets lost too or the Philthies would have been eliminated.

  5. Stammen is really pitching well – my guess is he’ll be traded along with Marquis and Coffey at some point during the season. I wonder what that package (Stamen+Marquis+Coffey) would bring in return?

  6. OK, enough of A ball. He still has to learn outfield defense, but he can do that at Potomac and higher as he moves up. 1 June–no later–move him up.

  7. Can we get a scouting report on Rhinehart the pitcher? BTW, who’s the better pitcher… Rhinehart or Harper? (Didn’t know Dolla’ could pitch!!) I heard Harper could throw 95mph.

  8. Can someone give me two or three short reasons why we don’t jump a talent like this from low A to AA? I have read above about defense and I get that but there must be other reasons as well. Are there financial benefits as well to keeping him in the minors. I realize we did not bring SS up immediately last year and I am guessing they will do the same thing next year with BH. That is not a big deal to me if it helps keep him here longer but I am confused about why he needs to have a steady progression and how the jump would hurt his progress.

    Thanks to all who try and educate me

    Go Nats

    1. I can give you two reasons Ian Desmond, he was promoted from low A to AA and failed miserably and was then sent to high A where he belonged. This move set his development backwards and took him several years to recover. Yes, Harper can hit, but even his manager Brian Baubach stated today on WJFK that he needs to learn his position, he needs to learn defense, he needs to learn to communicate with his teammates, and from what I have seen he needs to learn how to hit a cut-off man.

    2. Two words: Bill Rhinehart. That’s what happens when you jump a guy from Low-A to AA too fast.

      In terms of adjusting to pitchers, it generally goes like this…

      …Low-A guys can survive on one good pitch but few have control or command of a decent secondary pitch. Harper has been feasting on these guys.

      …High-A guys can succeed with a primary and one secondary but can’t make the jump to AA without a decent third pitch to keep hitters honest. Harper has yet to face guys with this kind of control and needs to see breaking pitches that get thrown for strikes more consistently.

      …AA guys can throw three or more pitches for strikes and at least two pitches consistently. Hitters that are impatient or can’t handle a certain pitch will stall here. Harper has yet to face guys that have both command and control on a regular basis.

    3. sjm: A jump from low A to AA for a hitter is thought to be a difficult step primarily due to the quality of pitching he’ll face. In low A, he’s up against un-polished prospects & mid-level draft picks for the most part; Guys with an avg or+ fastball, possibly a sinker, maybe a decent curve/slider that they’re trying to refine. In AA, the pitchers have usually been professionals for 2-4 years, have far better command of the strike zone & can vary speed / hit their spots with most of their pitches.

  9. Sue_D: You beat me to the punch – Guess I owe you a beverage tomorrow night (Fbx C-4).

  10. everyone is dead on Do not rush this kid and Desmond is a good example listen we invested 10 Million in this kid nuture him and guide him remember, big difference between say Harper and Strausberg was a 3 year college kid, big big difference

    1. elliot: True, the Nationals under Bowden pushed way too hard in advancing players, but with an all-but gutted system, he didn’t have many options. Rizzo has taken a far more conservative approach to promotions, but has convinced ownership to invest in draft picks. I like the current direction the team is taking, as it looks much more sustainable than the ‘toolsy’ oversell the fans got from Bowden & Kasten on players in the past.

  11. I’m not sure we should compare Harper with lesser talents like Ian Desmond or Bill Rhinehart.

    I was checking out the path of some young supertalents. The numbers are games played.

    Jason Heyward

    Age 17 12 (rookie)
    Age 18 120 (A), 7 (A+)
    Age 19 49 (A+), 47 (AA), 3 (AAA)
    Age 20 ML

    Mike Trout

    Age 17 39 (rookie), 5 (A)
    Age 18 81 (A), 50 (A+)
    Age 19 27 (AA) in progress

    Andruw Jones

    Age 17 63 (rookie)
    Age 18 139 (A)
    Age 19 66 (A+), 38(AA), 12 (AAA), 31 (ML)

    What other players are worth looking at (other than HOFers like Griffey and ARod)?

    1. Elvis Andrus

      Age 16 46 (rookie), 6 (adv. rookie)
      Age 17 111 (A)
      Age 18 126 (A+)
      Age 19 118 (AA)

      Desmond and Rhinehart aren’t comparisons, they’re examples — a very talented player *might* survive being mishandled, but a “lesser talent” obviously cannot.
      And these examples merely prove the original point, which is that ballplayers need time at every level to succeed.

      And FWIW, the old-timers tell me that as good as Harper is, he can’t hold a candle to Tony Conigliaro at the same age (.363, 24HR, 42 2B in 83G) but that’s no crack against Harper, mind you. Tony C was arguably the greatest “what might have been” talent of the last 50 years.

  12. I am perfectly fine with not rushing him, just wanted to understand the logic and thanks to this group I am now “educated” and will not give any of you credit as I expound on why Harper should stay put and move slowly to my STH group.(ha, ha)

  13. how much did heyward, jones and trout sign for , and remember, each oof those big league teams were always in the hunt for a playoff spot

  14. What is up with Tatusko? I know he only gave up one earned run, but how inefficient could he have been? 94 pitches in 4 2/3 IP with 57 strikes is not going to get it done. In that 4.67 IP he gives up 6 hits and two walks; that is a 1.71 whip. Is this guy a AA pitcher or does he need a stint at Potomac?

    1. I saw last Tatusko’s start and he was laboring then, but he was getting hit much harder. I’ll take the progress and see if he can revert to the form that he showed in the two starts prior. And if I truly knew what was wrong, well, I’d be in a different line of work 😉

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