Good, Bad, Interesting – Vol. 14

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

SYRACUSE 43-54, 4th Place I.L. North, 13 games behind

Good Steve Lombardozzi .357/.396/.468, 5SB, 0E in 29G
Bad Corey Brown .161/.217/.268 in July
Interesting Defense — 2nd-best FPct. (.983), 3rd-fewest errors in I.L.

HARRISBURG 56-41, 1st place E.L. West Division, 2½ games ahead

Good Shairon Martis 2.94 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 7QS in last 9GS
Bad Bryce Harper .175/.250/.175, 9K in 12G
Interesting Rafael Martin 2-1, 0.54 ERA, 0.84 WHIP

POTOMAC 16-10, T1st place C.L. North Division (45-50 overall)

Good Francisco Soriano .306/.342/.667 in last 10G
Bad Eury Perez .214/.290/.250, 2CS in last 10G
Interesting Joe Testa 5-0, 1.11 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 2SV, 6 holds in 26G

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 15-12, T2nd place Sally North Division, 3 games behind (55-42 overall)

Good Robbie Ray 2-1, 2.12 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 66K in 63⅔ IP
Bad Wade Moore .181/.286/.278
Interesting Matt Swynenburg 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP in 52IP

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 18-16, 2nd place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 1 game behind

Good Adrian Nieto .292/.375/.469, 4HR in 27G
Bad Travis Henke 7.36 ERA, 1.91 WHIP, 3 Blown Saves
Interesting Ben Grisz 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP in 9G

GCL NATIONALS 11-16, 4th place GCL East, 7½ games behind

Good Bobby Lucas 0.68 ERA, 17K in 13⅓ IP
Bad Deion Williams .121/.171/.121, 10E in 18G
Interesting That it took this long to release Matt Chico

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

Good Edgar Gonzalez (18 y.o.) .291/.371/.372 in 27G
Bad Miguel Navarro (18 y.o.) 14.59 ERA, 2.51 WHIP in 6G
Interesting Joel Barrientos (17 y.o.) 2.55 ERA, 1.02 WHIP in 11G

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.

21 thoughts on “Good, Bad, Interesting – Vol. 14”

  1. Laugh out loud over the Chico comment.
    I’m stunned at how great Lombardozzi’s been doing, literally getting better at the higher levels.

    Sue, your constant reminders of how tough it is for hitters to go from Low A to AA in one jump has been vindicated with Harper. I understand why they did it with the field at the Pfitz, but there are consequences.

    Other than him, almost all of the stories out of Harrisburg have been great ones.

    1. Harper will adjust. They are making the assumption that, so far, he has been able to handle that sort of adversity even though he is still very young. I think its one HUGE “skill” he is acquiring in the minors.

      In the majors when he hits the wall and ends up in a slump he will know that he will come out of it and he will have the tools necessary to make it happen quickly.

  2. Sue, why do you think guys have had so much trouble with the jump from AA, to AAA as I thought that was one of the easier ones

    1. Assuming you’re referring to Corey Brown… my gut instinct says that AAA is becoming older than it used to be. It may or may not be statistically significant, but the average age of batters and pitchers this year is ~26.7; 20 years ago, it was 25.8.

      This is something I noticed while doing the 2010 Syracuse season review — AAA is being used differently nowadays, and my assumption is that the increase in age is evidence to support that hypothesis.

      1. Might actually help both to have Corey Brown and Harper on the same team? They both need to conquer the same adversity. It seems Harper is better at it … up to this point … maybe its something another former 1st rounder Brown could benefit from?

        1. As Sue_D notes, AAA is picking up older players. I read that as MLB teams are hanging onto more of the 4A-type players as possible ‘band-aids’ for the big club. The high-end prospects are spread out between AAA & AA now, while they used to accumulate in AAA, waiting for the last step to the majors.

          AAA-level may be getting tougher to get past, as more experienced pitching is being accumulated there by a lot of teams.

          1. Most especially relief pitching and catching. Its interesting to note that Syracuse currently has one of the highest fielding percentages even given the use of Seth Bynum all around the infield.

            In the Nats case, looking at the roster, their Syracuse AAA affiliate seems a lot younger than almost all the other teams they face in the IL. I think it might actually be quite a bit younger than AA Harrisburg if you leave out Harper?

            Based on what many have said here that should be considered an improvement. But it also may the Nats with less major league ready depth.

            There really isn’t a Joel Peralta, a Logan Kensing, or a Mike MacDougal to call upon when needed this year. Clearly, the first was
            far superior the latter 3.

  3. I’m not saying Bryce Harper is going to just suddenly figure out AA, but anyone remember how he was hitting in Hagerstown in his first dozen or so games? He clearly doesn’t have another magical eye exam in him to get rolling, but I think he’s got a solid baseball IQ and will start to make adjustments.

    And if nothing else, this should quell all the “promote him to DC now!!!” ridiculousness.

    1. Agreed. Regular readers know that some of that labeling is my impishness. I’ve been waiting for the chance to tweak the slobbering fans; it’s a testament to Harper that he’s denied me for so long.

      1. I’m with ya’. Let’s let the 18yo develop, take his time, etc.

        I’m excited for him to struggle, I want to see how he handles it. Will he start throwing bats and being a jerk? Or will he work harder? I want him to learn these lessons now at AA away from the cameras (to the extent he can hide). And for the Nats to learn how he reacts too.

  4. Harper: overrated, overhyped … has BUST written all over him. While he had decent numbers in A ball, he should have as the No. 1 draft pick, as the pitching at that level is nothing but glorified high-school strength. He can’t hit decent lefthand pitching (.071, 6Ks in 14 ABs at Harrisburg), and gets overpowered by pitchers with a good fastball. Nats fans may not like what they’re wishing for if/when he makes it to DC, as he’ll be dragging the lumber back to the dugout after a K a lot more than he’ll be getting a base hit. I saw him play a lot in Vegas, and in addition to everything else, the kid has an incredible entitlement attitude … the bottom line is that he’s really a jerk!

    1. Nice snap judgement – Not. Show me a 17-y.o. BMOC who doesn’t act like the world is their oyster. Harper has probably excelled athletically at every level since he was a pre-teen.

      He needs to be challenged, and the jump to AA was a big one. I have to believe he’ll adapt to the new challenge, just like he has previously, but he might repeat at HAR to start next year. The kid’s gifted, but might take a year longer to develop than some in the blogosphere wanted.

    2. You are wrong about A ball being “glorified high school strength.” In my opinion, low-A is the equivalent of Division I college baseball.

      1. Agreed, perhaps with the exception of the pitchers, which tend to be A+ quality — as MarkL always notes, it takes a few hundred ABs for the college bats to “get the aluminum out of their swings.”

  5. Realist : I totally respect what you have to say but I want to say to you that you are 100% wrong
    Let me go over your points
    Firstly the pitching at the low A level is not even close to H.S pitchers, that is just a bad comment . I have been in baseball for 37 years , and in many ways Low A and High A pitching is very very similar. If you said that about GCL I would agree.
    Secondly , it is not written that any 1st rounder has complete success the minute they walk on a professional field. Take a look at some of the 1st rounders the last couple of years. Some can hit thier weight . Now lets get to Harper, and lets project him without any hate.
    His bat speed is tremendous
    His strength to all fields is fantastic
    His arm is a 70-80(which is about as good as it gets)
    So he can hit for power, hit for average, He runs very well and has a strong arm. To me thats a five tool player, to you he stinks(hard to understand that)

    Now I totally understand from a fans point of view that he must grow up and have good parental and coaching guidance. It is important to his game that all of the above happens. But do not sell this kid short, he will be a complete player and a major league all star

    1. Having seen Harper up close and personal in different situations, he is a talented ball player, but a major league brat. Sue’s comments/assessments are about the total player, not merely his athletic prowess.

      @Mel – the biggest issue for Harper is Harper’s willingness/ability to accept guidance. It’s been and being provided. However, you can lead a horse (or donkey) to water, but you can’t make him drink.

      1. I’ll get the fire extinguisher/toss a few logs in the fire:
        1. Harper definitely has the skills. Seeing him at instructs in a pretty “non-threatening” environment definitely showed his skills, and watching him at the Muni most of this season did show off the five-tool player possibilities, but…

        2. All are correct about his attitude and willingness to accept coaching/his “rookie” position. I had first hand (other player) knowledge of one instance he was sat down because he just wouldn’t listen and tried to shove an “I” in the word team.

        The baseball world is full of players that never made it. I am praying that Harper isn’t one of them, because financially and mentally, this would be a huge hit to our up and coming Nats major league team. I’m not a huge fan of this kid because of reason #2. He’s got the Charlie Hustle attitude, but seemingly for the wrong reasons. Maybe when the thinking baseball player comes out in him, he’ll make the proper choice on plays and open his ears to all the incredible mentoring that’s available to him. In the end, the world is his baseball oyster.

        I will let you all know that I’m still cheering for him though to figure out what’s wrong (or what to do right) so he can help our big league team. 🙂

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