Season Review: 2011 GCL Nationals

Believe it or not, the 2011 GCL Nationals were actually younger than the 2010 edition, which wasn’t exactly a tough achievement. As frequent commenter VladiHondo pointed out, this is largely due to the infusion of players from the D.R. — four bats, three arms — with Deion Williams as the sole American-born teenager.

Despite being nearly a year older than the league average (21.1 vs. 20.4), the G-Nats pitchers were the league’s worst at 5.74 R/G and that goes a long way towards explaining the 20-33 mark. The bats weren’t as proficient as last year’s edition (which led the league), but were fifth-best and pretty close to league average in terms of age (20.0 vs. 19.9).

Breaking it down statistically vs. the rest of the league…


A word about the “adjusted” totals… The G-Nats played the fewest games in the league (53) so I adjusted the numbers to the 58-game average for the league. Otherwise, I might say something like “well, they didn’t strike out as often” when in fact, they did. Unfortunately, that would also make the defense the league-worst in terms of total errors committed (actual 111, adjusted 122), which most of you probably already deduced from that huge gap between the team’s ERA and R/G allowed.

Like most losing teams, there are still bright spots to be found when looking at the team individually. The catchers, for example, threw out runners at a 34% rate, which was fifth-best in the league. As I did last year, I’m listing the Top 12 batters in terms of plate appearances, listing their position(s) in terms of games played. Players with an asterisk played in the DSL in 2010 or 2011; Players with a double asterisk are GCL repeats from 2010; Players with an octothorpe(#) are IFAs. The full statistics for the team can be found here.

Unlike last year, none of the batters below the cutoff were 2011 draft picks that were bumped up. Just one notable batter was sent north that couldn’t be considered a rehab (Carlos Alvarez) and two of the remaining 12 batters were 2010 draft picks that were essentially demoted — Rick Hughes (in-season from Auburn) and Chad Mozingo (began and ended in the GCL after playing in Vermont in 2010).

Three of the Top 12 were repeaters from 2010 — Martinez, Ramos, and Rodriguez — with another two bats graduating from the DSL to begin the season (Mesa, Valdez) and a third coming up midseason (Difo). Two IFAs were placed here (Severino and Peguero) instead of in the DR. This is consistent with 2010 usage and placement, which means you’re likely to see Martinez and Ramos in Auburn, and Severino and Peguero repeating. What the Nationals do with Mesa, Valdez and Difo is certainly up for debate. That at least one of those three will repeat the GCL in 2012 is probably not.

On to the pitchers, listing the Top 12 in terms of innings pitched…
(**- = Repeat after demotion from Auburn to start year; ^ = Non-Drafted Free Agent; *** = Third Year at GCL)

My first instinct was to skip over Chico and McGeary as “rehabs” until I decided that their usage was emblematic of the GCL season. Had I done that, another NDFA (Scott Williams) and a 38th round draft pick (Nicholas Lee) at 13⅓ and 13 IP, respectively would have made the list. Just one (1) 2011 draftee was among the Top 12 in terms of innings pitched while the four most used pitchers were all repeating the level, including two that began the year in Auburn but were subsequently dropped.

As aforementioned, the pitching was ineffective. Whether you want to write that off to spring-training usage or spring-training mentality is one thing, but one thing’s for sure, it makes no sense to have separate…

…for the bats and arms of the GCL. Instead, a simple Top 5 with some honorable mentions should suffice.

1. Wander Ramos
2. Estarlin Martinez
3. Narciso Mesa
4. Wilmer Difo
5. Gregory Baez

Honorable Mentions: Arialdi Peguero, Jean Carlos Valdez

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.

8 thoughts on “Season Review: 2011 GCL Nationals”

  1. The one thing that jumps out to me, going into next year, is how young McGeary still is. It’ll be interesting whether he starts in Hagerstown or Potomac next year.
    I’m presuming they kept him in Viera to monitor his rehab.

    1. Mark L: Just one man’s opinion, but I’d think that short of a trade or a spring training ‘breakout’ performance, both Karns & McGeary start 2012 in Hagerstown.

  2. What are the scouting reports on Wander Ramos? I seem to remember that homers in the GCL are pretty rare- 5 or 6 not being bad – so his double figures-worth is quite something.

    Does he have any other projectable tools?

    1. I couldn’t find any… but you’re right the 12HRs was 2nd in the league and only three players total were in double figures. Unfortunately, most of the hits in Google were for my website or Fangraphs or

      1. Maybe I’m growing too skeptical as I get older, but the statistical improvement shown by Wander Ramos from 2009 to 2011 raises a yellow flag in my head.
        At 19, he scuffled through 26GP in the DSL, posting an odd-looking .198/.381/.297 slash line; The OBP apparently earned him a trip to the FIL for a closer look by the Nats brass. 2010 finds him promoted to the GCL, he becomes a part-timer with the G-Nats, posting a very modest .253/.303/.308 slash over 25GP. Passed over on a FIL invite to end the 2010 season, he comes back to the G-Nats in 2011 and tosses off a .313/.401/.653 over 43GP.

        Maybe at 21, he’s just growing into that advertised 6’3″ frame, but I have concerns when a player shows that big a power jump without benefit of additional supervised training.

        1. And he’s from the DR, where most of the Nats’ suspendees (?) have been…. I think that skepticism is healthy. I seem to recall someone making that mistake with Hector Taveras last year, which was part of the reason why I refused to rank 10 players.

          1. Guilty as charged. They only found the needle kit in Taveras’ case, not the vial(s), so it went on the books as a ‘recreational’ drug violation (even more damning for the player), but it could well have been his case that turned me.

          2. Actually, far more U.S.-based Nationals players currently in the system have been ‘popped’ for violations than IFA/DSL promotions…
            5 – Nieto (Draft-’08), Souza (Draft-’07), King (Draft-’06), S. Bynum (Draft-’03), Higley (Draft-’08)
            1 – J. Hernandez (IFA [DR]-’10).

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