Projecting The AFL Guys

In a couple weeks, we should learn who the six or seven guys that will get named to the Arizona Fall League for Washington. Bryce Harper is the no-brainer, especially since Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has made it clear that that’s part of the plan. The one player allowed below AA should be Destin Hood, but his nagging injuries, his age (21) and Rizzo’s proclivity for following the letter of the rules first, the spirit second (don’t get me wrong, there’s value in that mindset, even if it drives me crazy).

It would not surprise me in the least if Rizzo were to send nobody from Potomac or Hagerstown. The single-A exception is just that: an exception, not a requirement. I think if he could get away with it, he’d send Paul Demny (Rule 5 eligible) or, but more likely is that Josh Smoker, along with Pat McCoy, gets sent in much the same way that Adam Carr and Cole Kimball went last fall, since lately the AFL has become a means for GMs to get a last look at Rule 5-eligible guys

After that it gets fuzzy real fast. Most of the Rule 5 candidates are either knocking at the door (e.g. Tom Milone, Brad Peacock, Steve Lombardozzi) or went last year (Derek Norris). The rest are on the margins (Chris Curran, Steve Souza, Stephen King, Jose Lozada, Paul Demny, J.R. Higley) or hurt (Jack McGeary).

No, I’m not forgetting about Tyler Moore. That’s one where I say this is why GMs get paid to make hard decisions. We don’t know where Tyler Moore fits in the long-term plans, and you can certainly make the case Moore is blocked by Marrero, who in turn, is blocked by Mike Morse currently and Adam LaRoche next year.

The question is whether sending Moore to the AFL makes him more of risk to get taken in the Rule 5 draft. Answer: probably not, but we certainly hope that Moore gets the honor/exposure that he’s earned with his performance this year and last.

Then there’s Danny Rosenbaum, who got the bump in late July and has had two strong starts thus far for Harrisburg. The timing would suggest that that was done to qualify for the AFL, but my gut says “no” because he’s not the prototype to get converted to relief. I also think that if Tom Milone wasn’t sent, neither would Rosenbaum — even if Danny throws harder.

Lastly, the recent draft picks. I’d have to say Alex Meyer and Anthony Rendon are the most likely to get sent. But I’m not convinced that either (or any) will go. The big X factor in all this is that the Nationals aren’t the only organization supplying the roster for this year’s team, the Scottsdale Scorpions. The only thing I’m certain of is that somebody, somewhere will be disappointed in the selections.

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.

23 thoughts on “Projecting The AFL Guys”

  1. You are right who should go versus who will go are two entirely different things. I think the following guys will go:

    Harper OF
    King IF or Kobernus IF*
    Rendon (to get him back in shape after injury) 3B
    Smoker RP
    ______ SP**

    _______ C***

    * I would love for Destin Hood to get an exception and go to the AFL so he can play on a real field, but for the reasons you cite he probably will not.

    ** I would like Meyer to go but I doubt Rizzo sends a pitcher who he drafted highly and threw lots of innings already this year.

    *** I throw a catcher in here because that fills out the Nats formula the past few years, of sending an OF, RP, SP, IF and C to the AFL. This could be another spot where the exception could be used on Sandy Leon.

    As a way out there thought, what about the Nats using the exception on Matt Skole?

  2. Hood has to be going. It’d be a damn shame if he doesn’t. We need to prepare him for AA ball next year, because he could be on the fast track.

  3. The Rule 5 draft gets scarier as your team gets better, doesn’t it? I would be surprised if the Nats draft anyone this year.


    1. and we can’t get rid of Elvin Ramirez… can we? We can’t return him to the Mets until he is healthy.

    2. Yeah, because as your parent team gets better (and deeper), you run the risk of exposing more talent to the RuleV draft. The Nationals are at the tipping point imo, where there is more minor-league talent than there are ‘safe-haven’ spots on the 40-man roster.

  4. I would think the Nats would protect Moore even with no AFL, same with Norris, Milone, Lombo, Meyers, Peacock. The 7 I would send are

    Destin Hood, Josh Smoker/Rafel Martin(depending if we can get 2 A+ guys) Bryce Harper, Tyler Moore, Cory VanAllen, Erik Komatsu, and Pat McCoy/Ryan Tatusko/Eric Arnesen.

    Destin Hood-I would send him becuase, quite simply he could be a guy that could be a starter for the big club/good trade bait. He has earned the trip becuase he has learned to take a walk(something Mr. Perez hasnt learned) and he is sarting to devlope his power.

    Josh Smoker/Rafel Martin-Smoker becuase of the rule 5 draft thing, but if we cant get a second A+ guy then I would send Martin, as its time to figure out if he is a legit prospect

    Bryce Harper- For obvious reasons

    Tyler Moore-another player that could develope into a starter for the big club, or good trade bait. Its time to start to really prep him for the majors.

    Cory VanAllen- A guy that I could see helping the big club as soon as next year with the lack of good leftys(Burnett and Slaten arent sure things, and Severino is the only other option). I think they need to decide if they want to protect him or not.

    Erik Komatsu-Another guy that I could see getting a September call-up next year, so its time to start preping him for the majors.

    Pat McCoy/Ryan Tatusko/Eric Arnesen-All guys that could have value to the big club, but its not a sure thing. We need to figure out if McCoy’s results will ever match up with his stuff. Which Tatusko is the real Tatusko, the first half one or the second half one. Was this year just a fluke for Arnesen, or can he be a productive major league swing man.

  5. With the MLB deals signed by Rendon & Purke, predicting the September callups got a lot harder, imo. The WSH roster is currently maxed out at 42/40 (E.Ramirez & S.Strasburg on 60-DL). Once SS finishes his rehab (around Sept. 6th), he’ll need a clear spot on the 40-man; the team will probably move LaRoche to the 60-DL to make space. If Slaten makes it back, he’ll need the same treatment in mid-September; More likely that they’ll prove him to be healthy, then trade or release him (like they did with Gaudin).

    The team could additionally shift Carr & Kimball to the 60-DL as well to create two other openings for non-40 players like Lombardozzi & Milone or Peacock, protecting them from RuleV exposure and getting a glance at them ‘in the show’.

    For players who are already secure on the 40-man & not likely to go to the AFL (Marrero, Bernadina, C.Brown, Maya, Mock, Stammen, Severino), they should get called as soon as their MiLB season is over. Harper will come back to the roster in the off-season (post AFL). Any other roster additions prior to the GM meetings will likely be done to backfill for FA’s & non-tenders.

    1. BiM – 40 man rosters are cleared of DL labels shortly after the season ends, correct? If so, using the 60 day DL shift for Carr/Kimball opens a spot for a Sept callup, buts does not protect players from Rule V exposure. Carr & Kimball would have to be added back to the 40 man or waived at that point. I can see using the spots vacated by free agents as a stop gap, but eventually Team Rizzo are going to have to make a decision on whether Mock/Stammen/Severino are worth keeping around at the expense of Smoker, Milone and the other Rule V guys.

      Moore’s situation reminds me of Josh Whitesell, though Moore does have a little more in the way of talent blocking his rise to the majors than Whitesell did. It would be a shame for the Nats to end up losing Moore for nothing.

      I also relook at the Willingham trade now with the roster crunch. Sure would have been nice to have at least 1 of those 2 spots available on the 40 man.

      1. “but eventually Team Rizzo are going to have to make a decision on whether Mock/Stammen/Severino are worth keeping around at the expense of Smoker, Milone and the other Rule V guys”

        One would think that, but it’s been mystifying as to why these players have been deemed so valuable to be on the 40-man, yet have been passed over time and time again when the need arises. It’s particularly frustrating with Mock, who was struggling so badly early in the season that the odds of him getting claimed on waivers was practically nil. It’s also contradictory to his mantra of “flexibility.” It’s almost like a child that refuses to admit that he’s outgrown his favorite pajamas.

      2. The thing with the DL in the offseason, is that you can be over the limit, as I think the Nationals had more than 40 guys on it till Strasburg went on the DL. I think thats what happened, but dont quote me on it. The only reason I support giving some of the deadwood on the 40 man a Spetember call-up, is to see if they are worth keeping, or not

        1. There is no DL during the off season. Either you are on the 40 man or you are not once the season ends. Really only matters for 60 day DL guys who have to be reinstated on the roster.

          1. Yes, but I think that the day you have to get your roster down to 40 is after the day the DL starts. I remeber we had a 40+ man roster for most of the offseason.

      3. sck: Correct, the end of the season (actually the end of the World Series) forces a reset of the Big League roster back to a true 40-man, with no injury exceptions. Strasburg will be off that list by the first week of September, but a decision will need to be made with Elvin Ramirez (the RuleV pick from the Mets).

        Should Rizzo decide to increase the 60-DL list (LaRoche, Kimball) in order to add a couple on non-roster players in September (Milone, Lombardozzi, Brad Peacock), then some quick decisions will need to be made regarding who gets non-tendered or released from the current roster. Pudge, Slaten, Cora, Bixler, Ankiel, L.Nix, Livo, Wang, Gorzelanny, & Coffey are all under their last contract year by my count, so are possible FA’s. It becomes a question of who does Rizzo tender, and who does he let walk away?

        The Nationals have a number of players who could be exposed to the RuleV draft this off-season, listed by position below: NOTE – This list does not include minor-league free agents, as far as I am aware.
        CA = J.Solano-SYR, D.Norris-HAR, B.Peacock-POT.
        1B = T.Moore-HAR, S.Souza-POT.
        2B = S.Lombardozzi-SYR.
        3B = S.King-HAR, J.Lozada-POT.
        SS = “Bowden’s Folly”.
        LF = none.
        CF = C.Curran-HAG.
        RF = J.Higley-POT, A.Montilla-AUB.
        SP = T.Milone (L)-SYR, B.Peacock (R)-SYR, B.Meyers (R)-SYR, B.Arnesen (R)-HAR, P.Demny (R)-POT, McGeary (L)-GCL.
        RP = J.Mandel (R)-SYR, J.Wilkie (R)-SYR, R.Tatusko (R)-HAR, H.Pena (R)-HAR, C.VanAllen (L)-HAR, P.McCoy (L)-HAR, J.Smoker (L)-POT, W.Eusebio (R)-HAG.
        With way more RuleV eligibles than spots available, the Nationals’ braintrust have some hard choices to face.

  6. Running down the current MiLB rosters, I could see where Rizzo might have an AFL ‘short list’ comprised of the following players…
    Draft picks (40-man) = A.Rendon (3B), M.Purke (SP).
    SYR = J.Solano (CA), B.Peacock (RSP).
    HAR = T.Moore (1B), B.Harper (LF), E.Komatsu (CF), C.Rahl (RF), E.Arnesen (RSP/RP), D.Rosenbaum (LSP), R.Martin (RRP), P.McCoy (RRP),
    POT = J.Kobernus (2B), D.Hood (RF), J.Smoker (LRP).
    HAG = M.Grace (LSP).

    That’s 12 players with no prior MLB experience at AA or higher, and four others for the A-level exception. I tend to agree with Sue_D in that Hood is the best-case for the exception, but due to the wear & tear, he probably won’t get named. That leaves us with six out of 12 probables; Here’s my best guess atwho will fill the slots.
    Jhonathan Solano (SYR) – CA
    Bryan Harper (HAR) – OF
    Tyler Moore (HAR) – 1B
    Anthony Rendon (WSH) – 3B
    Brad Peacock (SYR) – RhSP
    Erik Arnesen (HAR) – RhRP

    I’m pretty sure I’ll be wrong on at least half of these, but that’s who I’ve got as of now.

    1. I’d like to see them consider Komatsu as others have written. Any chance they’d send Purke after he gets his arm back in shape in Viera??

  7. Peacock and has to go. Its obvious that Bharp34 will be there. It would be nice to see Milone and Arnesen there as well. I would even support sending Komatsu, even though I haven’t seen much yet; so far I like what I see.

  8. I might be the only person who reads this blog and understands your use of image.

    CARN THE BOMBERS! (Black with Red sash).

      1. Some of us got it (Aussie Football League), but don’t have the leg up on the colors/teams like Gus does. Well played, nontheless.

  9. Just for grins, here are the teams represented, L-R, front to back.
    Front Row = Melbourne, Gold Coast, Hawthorne, North Melbourne, Collingwood, Western, Essendon, North Melbourne.
    Back Row = Richmond, Sydney, Weat Coast, St. Kilda, Fremantle, Brisbaine, Adelaide, Carlton, Port Adelaide.

  10. Aak! Front row should be Melbourne, Gold Coast, Hawthorne, Geelong, Collingwood, Western, Essendon, North Melbourne.

  11. Very good BinM. It’s Hawthorn, no e and Western Bulldogs, who are the only team where you need to include their nickname in the official name. For those who care, the season is almost at finals stage, and collingwood and Geelong look like being the teams to beat 🙂

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