At The Wire…

[Ed. Note: The fourth guest column from frequent commenter BinM]
A 2011 regular-season wrapup from another voice…

Syracuse Chiefs, 66-74; 4th in Northern Division, International League
The Chiefs and their fans suffered on many levels this year. Between a spotty offense, and an ever-changing pitching staff (31 total pitchers for the year), the team never really mounted a challenge for the playoffs, despite plenty of MLB experience (25 players appearing with prior MLB time over the course of the year). The 10-game drop in the standings from 2010 with what looked like a better team was disapointing, to say the least.
Hitter of the year
Chris Marrero, 1B — With a slash of .300/.375/.449, 114 runs produced and a .281GPA, he squeaks past Steve Lombardozzi, who compiled a .310/.354/.408 slash, with 71 runs produced, 16SB and a .261GPA over 69GP.
Pitcher of the year
Tom Milone, LHSP — More silly numbers from a guy most people overlook: 3.22ERA, 1.03WHIP, 9.1:1K-BB over 148⅓ IP over 24GS. Hands down, the best pitcher on the staff.
Biggest disappointment
Yunesky Maya, RHSP — 5.00ERA, 1.24WHIP, 2.96:1K-BB, and 14HR allowed over 129⅔ IP ove 22GS.

Harrisburg Senators, 80-62; 1st in Western Division, Eastern League

Despite losing two of their top hitters (Lombardozzi and Bill Rhinehart), and their #1SP (Brad Peacock) near midseason, this team managed to stay together & won their division. The additions of the OF’s Bryce Harper (promotion) & Erik Komatsu (trade), and LHSP Danny Rosenbaum (promotion) to the starting staff certainly didn’t hurt the team. Simply by making the playoffs, I have to call this a good year.
Hitter of the year
Tyler Moore, 1B — Despite how well Steve Lombardozzi played earlier this year, I’m giving the nod to Moore for the Senators. His overall compilation of a .270/.314/.532 slash, with 70 XBH, 129 runs produced, and a .274GPA over 137GP was enough to sway me.
Pitcher of the year
Brad Peacock, RSHP — With numbers like a 2.01ERA, 1.29WHIP, 5.2:1K-BB, and a 10-2 W-L prior to his promotion to Syracuse, he gets the nod over Erik Arnesen, and Shairon Martis for the season, who each had good seasons as well.
Biggest disappointment
Oliver Perez, LHSP — From a former MLB pitcher: a 3.09ERA, 1.39WHIP, 1.9:1K-BB, and 10HRA over only 75⅔ IP and 16GP at AA fails to impress on a lot of levels.

Potomac Nationals, 29-40, 1st half; 39-31 2nd half, 68-71 overall;
2nd Half Champ, North Division Carolina League

An up and down year, with ongoing field/venue problems and a poor 1st half record, the team managed a surprisingly steady 2nd half to make the Carolina League playoffs once again. The team suffered some key losses to the pitching staff, with callups for RHRP Pat Lehman and Rosenbaum, and an injury to RHSP Trevor Holder. The callups of LHSP Sammy Solis and RHRP Neil Holland helped cover those losses. A decent year overall, salvaged by another playoff appearance, but slightly off last years’ pace.
Hitter of the year
Destin Hood, OF — Could be considered the core of the team this season, contributing across the board offensively. Posted a .276/.364/.445 slash, 131 runs produced and 21SB with a .278GPA.
Pitcher of the year
Daniel Rosenbaum — Promoted to AA in late July, he managed a 2.59ERA, 1.17WHIP, and a 2.3:1K-BB over 20GP and 132.0IP for the P-Nats.
Biggest disappointment
J.P. Ramirez, LF-DH — This one is hard for me because I wanted him to succeed, but I can’t ignore the numbers: .223/.275/.342 slash, no speed and limited range defensively, all of which appear to be signs that he’s topped out at High-A.

Hagerstown Suns — 75-64, 35-34 2nd half; 4th place, Northern Division, South Atlantic League
With a fading finish in the 1st half, and some indifferent play in the 2nd half, the Suns missed out on both chances at a playoff spot this year. This was a huge disappointment, given the hitting (Harper, Blake Kelso, and David Freitas) and pitching (Cameron Selik, Solis, Taylor Jordan, Holland and Chris Manno) the team received in the 1st half of the season. The 2nd half was more a “grind-it-out and hope for the best” kind of year. All in all, a better record than 2010, but it still must be a bittersweet finish to the Hagerstown faithful.
Hitter of the year
David Freitas, C-DH — He gets my hat-tip over Harper the younger here. With a slash of .288/.409/.450, 127 runs produced, a .297GPA, and the fact that he catches earns him the honors.
Pitcher of the year
Christopher Manno, LHRP — With a 1.04ERA, a 0.81WHIP, a 4.0:1K-BB and 12Sv / 25GF in 34GP prior
to his trade, he beats out LHP Paul Applebee who compiled a nice 3.35ERA, 1.01WHIP, and a 6.5:1K-BB over 96.2IP and 31GP.
Biggest disappointment
The trade of Christoper Manno to the Reds for Jonny Gomes. Seriously.

Auburn Doubledays – 45-30; 1st place, Pinckney Division, NY-Penn.
With a steady season, the Doubledays reach the playoffs in 2011, only to face last years’ Nats affiliate (now the Oakland A’s), the Vermont Lake Monsters in the 1st round. The team received timely hitting from a number of players (Bryce Ortega, Matt Skole, Hendry Jimenez, Caleb Ramsey, Russell Moldenhauer, Justin Miller; even ‘Bowden’s folly’), and pitching to match (Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez, Taylor Hill, Brian Dupra, Nathan Karns, Richie Mirowski, Tyler Hanks, Manny Rivera and Ben Grisz). A good year, with a 9½ game improvement over the 2010 record.
Hitter of the year
Bryce Ortega, SS-3B — With a .314/.410/.392 slash and a .283 GPA over 56GP at SS, he beats out Matt Skole (.290/.382/.438 slash and a .281GPA at 3B) by the slightest of margins.
Pitcher of the year
Benjamin Grisz, RHRP — I’m going against the grain with this one, but regardless of his alleged off-field behavior, this kid was a solid reliever for the Doubledays coming out of college, posting a 1.35ERA, an 0.85WHIP and 4SV / 8GF in just 11GP.
Biggest disappointment
Benjamin Grisz (see above). If the allegations are true — that he made no further appearances after July 27, despite being named to the NYPL All-Star Team is telling — the lack of personal restraint could ruin a budding career.

Gulf Coast Nationals – 20-33, 4th place Eastern Division
An overall lack of offense couldn’t support spotty pitching, and the G-Nats post their worst record in three years as a result. The team’s most interesting hitters were all out of the DSL — OFs Wander Ramos, Narciso Mesa, Estarlin Martinez; IFs Jean-Carlos Valdez and Wilmer Difo. The pitching carried a few possibles as well, with LHSPs Jack McGeary (recovering from TJ surgery) and Gregory Baez showing promise, and RHRP Scott Williams and LHRP Bobby Lucas out of the bullpen. Not a lot in terms of the record, but some players to keep an eye on going forward.
Hitter of the year
Wander Ramos, RF-LF — A 21-y.o. corner OF up from the DSL, he compiled a .313/.401/.653 slash, with a .344GPA this year.
Pitcher of the year
Gregory Baez — Only 19-y.o., Baez moved up from the DSL to compile a 3.72ERA, a 1.59WHIP and a 1.28K-BB over 48⅓ IP.
Biggest disappointment
Hector Taveras, C — Released without a single 2011 appearance, another career possibly wasted by a lack of restraint.

Dominican League Nationals – 33-36, 5th place, BCS division
Another up-and-down season with little consistency and some questionable starting choices led to a bad overall record. There are some youngsters on this team whose numbers look promising, with Adderling Ruiz (20-y.o. C), Yermin Mercedes (18-y.o. C-DH), Diomedes Eusebio (18-y.o. 3B) all showing promise at the plate, and Ivan Pineyro (19-y.o. RHSP), Gilberto Mendez (18yo RHSP), and Joel Barrientos (18-y.o. LHRP) from the pitching staff. With a regression of 3½ games from 2010, not the best overall result.
Hitter of the year
Adderling Ruiz — Still a little sketchy defensively (5E), he produced at the plate with a .343/.417/.476 slash, and a
.307 GPA.
Pitcher of the year
Ivan Pineyro — Overall solid numbers for a SP (65.7IP, 1.64ERA, 1.08WHIP, 3.14K-BB).
Biggest disappointment
Brian Escolastico, LHRP — Great last name but horrid results, with a 17.72ERA, 3.84WHIP, and a 0.78:1K-BB over 11GP.

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.

19 thoughts on “At The Wire…”

  1. I’ll never understand this. The Nats didn’t want to give Crow an extra $500,000 but were more than happy to give J.P Ramirez over $1,000,000. Ahhhh, the genius of Bowden…..

    1. That’s why I don’t give any credence to signing bonuses – they’re not a reliable indicator of value, only cost.

  2. Sue, can you go a little more in depth about Freitas? He put up some very good numbers, especially for a catcher, but there’s been very little hype/love for him from Baseball America. Any reason?

    1. He’s only a month younger than Derek Norris but isn’t considered as polished a hitter, and gets the same knocks on his defense. Both came to the position late in their schoolboy careers.

      Sickels gave him a Grade C, which is similar to Seiler said in his 2010 draft review by noting that Freitas profiled as an minor-league OG.

      I was really hoping to see Freitas this season and thought that he had done enough at Vermont last season to leapfrog Nieto and Leon. Now I have to wonder with Nieto’s resurgence if he might find his way back to 1B.

    1. John: While Antonelli was a good find by Rizzo & played very well at Syracuse, he got nudged out of a shout-out by the duo I did mention from the Cheifs.

    1. Somebody mentioned something about an off-field incident here in the comments but I have no further information. Hence, the word “allegation” and its variants. Truth be told, even if I did know more than that I probably wouldn’t discuss it here because I’m not about to lurch into the sports-gossip territory any more than I have to.

    2. He was suspended for an undetermined time for a alcohol related incident after a game. As usual, if there was no more press about it, the Nats F.O sure won’t say anything.
      He came out of Duke as an UFA, so maybe the Nats just sent him home temporarily or permanently.

  3. I don’t care too much about the minor league records, I know it is great if players are “learning to win” but think that is of less value than having the legitimate prospects learn to play and advance through the system. So while Syracuse’s record stunk, the guys who were there to develop did, and the filler did its job.

    Maybe with defense Komatsu helped Harrisburg, but certainly not with the bat.

    Anyone have a clue what the path forward with Ollie Perez is?? Struggled at AA, cut ties or are they going to invest another season in the hopes they can fix his issues?

    Was defense the big issue for Potomac?

    1. Perez is a free agent this offseason, so obviously if he comes back it’ll be on the cheap, i.e. what they typically pay AAA veterans. I would think he’s gone.

      I wish minor-league stats were easier to parse in terms of time and teams, so I can’t back up my statements to follow with hard numbers without doing excruciating work.

      Potomac had problems in every facet of the game in the first half — offense, defense, pitching. All were bad. All improved in the second half, particularly the pitching. The defense probably improved the least, and it’s been exacerbated by the continual use of players at positions for which they are not suited (Bloxom) or haven’t played very often (Soriano, Nicol, Dykstra playing OF).

      Overall, it’s hard to be too critical about Potomac because it’s the first time they’ve *ever* had an age-appropriate team as a Nationals affiliate. And while I’m not confident they’ll go far in the playoffs, getting there has to be a measure of redemption for the guys that suffered through a second-half collapse last year in Hagerstown and the aforementioned abysmal first half of this season.

    2. I called out Ollie Perez (and his numbers at Harrisburg) as an example of a player with prior MLB experience who was placed in a position to succeed, but failed imho. Matt Chico suffered a worse fate, tumbling down (and ultimately out of) the system ranks. Yet Shairon Martis was placed in the same position, yet put together a good enough year to re-establish some value.

    3. Regarding Potomac, I’m basically in agreement with Sue, but will say this: The problem on the left side of the IF stemmed from the injury to Hague at SS, then the callup of King to Harrisburg. Both positions became gaping holes that LeCroy rotated players in & out of for the remainder of the year. The SS spot was stabilized when Rizzo acquired Walters late in the year, but they never settled on a 3B.

  4. Good stuff, BinM, a quality in-depth look here.
    I’m excited for McGeary; he’s been invited to the FIL and with any luck we’ll see him in Potomac next year.
    Some really nice players in Auburn, should get everybody in Hagerstown eager for 2012.

    Nothing but good things coming out of Harrisburg until Lee hit town. Incredible photo!

    1. Thanks – These pieces have been fun to write, and hope to have a chance at more in the future.

      I’d also like to offer a special thanks to Sue_D for not only publishing this series, but jumping into the fray on this piece, offering feedback to you folks while I was otherwise occupied with the thing that helps me pay the bills. Muchas gracias!

  5. The biggest disappointment for Syracuse was Jeff Frazier. In 2010 with Toledo he hit 25 HRs and this year hit only 10. His 10th coming during the last week of the season. Also during the month of August when the Chiefs were pretty much out of the playoff hunt did he finally get his average over .200. He was signed for the Chiefs for his power but 2011 for Frazier was a power failure.

Comments are closed.