Guessing The Rosters, Part Three

Our last installment in this little exercise takes a pass at the position players for the Harrisburg roster. For the folks that are new here, I can’t help but repeat that the jump from Low-A and High-A is relatively short, but the gap between High-A and AA is often a chasm for a lot of players.

If I’m right that most of the ’11 P-Nats will become the ’12 Sens, this could be the youngest AA team since the early “aughts.” If you value continuity, a lot of these guys will have been teammates for multiple seasons with manager Matt LeCroy at the helm. But if you worry about this group starting slowly, as it did last year, there’s no half system to wipe the slate clean.

So here’s a crack at the Sens:

CA – Sandy Leon
1B – Steve Souza
2B – Jeff Kobernus
SS – Chris McConnell
3B – Carlos Rivero
DH – Justin Bloxom
OF – Eury Perez
OF – Destin Hood
OF – Chris Rahl
BIF – Francisco Soriano or Tim Pahuta
BIF – Stephen King
BCA – Devin Ivany or Beau Seabury
BOF – J.R. Higley

This came together too easily. Even with the hedges, there’s still room for me to be wrong:

…I’m not hopping aboard the Carlos “Me llaman Guillermo Rowell” Rivero train, it’s still possible he could make it to AAA.

…The same goes for Chris Rahl, but both are competing against more-established players (e.g. Jarrett Hoffpaiur, Brett Carroll) that could accept assignments to Syracuse.

…That same “pushdown” could put Higley at Potomac, though I still think his defense will keep him in the backup OF mix.

…Beau Seabury has a reputation as a catch-and-throw receiver that’s only recently started to hit, but Ivany is more of a known quantity in both the role and at the level.

…McConnell gets the nod over King, but I feel stronger about King being kept than McConnell. Always possible for Josh Johnson to return for third season.

As always, discuss in the comments. We’ve still got another nine days until the voice of the turtle will be heard.

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.

37 thoughts on “Guessing The Rosters, Part Three”

  1. Two players who keep climbing through the system and seldom do much of anything are Steve Souza and Stephen King. I don’t quite get it. I’d much rather see Bloxom at first. I assume he’d be good defensively as they actually played him at third. And yes, I realize he was a poor third baseman.
    Some players seem to hang in there no matter how poorly they play, such as the starting pitcher, Tucker.

    1. King and Souza were HS picks. They’re both athletes with tools, but translating those tools into skills is so much easier said than done. The hope for them is that they break out like Hood did last year.

      King was relegated to platoon/bench role last season, so it’s hard to say he was given preferential treatment. The same could happen for Souza, which is even easier to envision with Bloxom being a switch-hitter.

    2. Jeeves: While I think Souza could be overmatched at AA, I felt he adapted to 1B quite well last year. Bloxom, on the other hand is a bat without a position. His misadventures at 3B are near-legend on this board, but I also recall a few gaffes at 1B as well; One that sticks out was a play last year (May or early June) where the opposing batter hit a simple popup down the 1B line, beyond the pitchers’ mound but in front of the bag. Bloxom (at 1B) absolutely froze on the play, forcing the pitcher to make a late break for the ball. Result = infield single on a 70-foot popup.

  2. Agree 100% with you on Souza and King, they are still young and souza just got his vision corrected at the end of last season.

  3. Not much reason to put Chris Rahl at AA this year. The more experienced players he’s up against are not necessarily better. If the organization is serious about promoting talent then they should run a real competition in Spring training and promote the best players.
    Rahl has nothing left to prove in AA especially after hitting .291 in the PCL in 2010 his first year in AAA. His speed and ability to play defense is something the organization shpild try to cultivate not hide.

    1. Like I said, plenty of room for me to be wrong, which is why I called out Rahl as one of my picks I’m not feeling terribly confident about.

  4. Souza. The discussions on him could go on forever. He has spent 5 years in A ball and never hit above the .230s. His defense has ranged from tolerable to terrible. I understand he considered to be very intelligent, and there was obvious potential there. But Souza’s problem comes down to one thing – attitude. He does not respond well to instruction, is poster child anti-social, and has a temper of serious magnitude. After his season-ending escapade last year, the Nats should do themselves and him a favor and let him move on to another organization, if anyone has the nerve to try him. It would be no loss.

  5. My Harrisburg roster predictions

    SP: Danny Rosenbaum
    SP: Tanner Roark
    SP: Sammy Solis
    SP: Paul Demny
    SP: Adam Olbrychowski
    RP: Pat Lehman
    RP: Hassan Pena
    RP: Pat McCoy
    RP: Joe Testa
    RP: Hector Nelo
    RP: Josh Smoker
    RP: Marcos Frias
    1B: Justin Bloxom
    2B: Jeff Kobernus
    3B: Stephen King
    SS: Josh Johnson
    C: Sandy Leon
    OF: Destin Hood
    OF: Eury Perez
    OF: Jesus Valdez
    BN: Chris McConnell
    BN: Beau Seabury
    BN: J.R. Higley
    BN: Tim Pahuta
    BN: Francisco Soriano

  6. Eight days until P&C reporting, and what, 23 (March 3rd) until ST games begin. Snow may be falling outside, but spring is less than a month away.

    1. Jeff550 can handle the McConnell question, but I’ll point out that the rosters right now are completely meaningless. Beau Seabury is also on the Chiefs’ roster but nobody in their right mind thinks he’ll skip AA after repeating High-A at ages 25 and 26.

      1. I have Johnson over McConnell at this point because I feel that Johnson has more potential to make it to the majors than McConnell. Johnson has yet to be tested at AAA I belive, and think that they will want Johnson to earn his way to AAA and see what he can do there.

  7. Michael Taylor got another shout-out today from ESPN’s Keith Law; a lot of people are high on him.
    Good thing the crack scouting staff @ NP will be there to monitor his every game at the PFitz.

  8. Carlos Rivero in Harrisburg? After two seasons in AA? With a definite upward trend in the important statistical categories?

    Nope AAA Luke. That’s where they’ll send him to see if he is about to take that big step. If not then perhaps its back to AA.

    1. Well, I did write “it’s still possible for him to make it to AAA,” and “there’s still room for me to be wrong.” Sometimes I feel like Wayne & Garth with Handsome Dan.

      My picks tend to skew conservative because there haven’t been many aggressive moves the past two springs. Who else the Nats are going to sign to fill out the Syracuse roster is another huge unknown, too. Believe me, I’m hoping that news comes soon because I’m hurting for pegs for posts this week.

      1. I suspect they might release him if he proves unable to handle offense at the AAA level. If he does have a break out? Rivero at 23 plus Rendon at the same age?

        You would have a more than few pegs to analyze if that happened. Throw in Lombo plus Moore and the Chiefs might have an interesting infield.

  9. I think both will be in aaa or gone. My gut tells my hoffpauir will win the uif job over lombo, but I think it is down to blanco, lombo, hoffpauir, and blanco for the job in washington

    1. I have a feeling that Lombardozzi could win the UI job but get sent down anyway because (A) he has options (B) they’d prefer to have him playing every day.

      1. Agree 100% one this one, if Desmond or Espinosa has a poor first half and Lombo is at .310 in AAA then he’s the replacement part. Obviously a better fit at 2B with Espinosa at SS in my view.

  10. The AAA roster construction depends to a large part on the real expectations of the front office for the 2012 team. By real expectations I don’t mean the ones that are given to the media to sell tickets, but rather what they think is realistic in their heart of hearts.If this team is expected to be a legitimate contender in 2012 than the AAA roster will be full of replacement part AAAA players (i.e.) Tehan. If the expectation is that 2012 will be close but no cigar than there will be more players who could develop or grow into a role in 2013 (i.e. ) Johnson.
    My personal opinion is that they should not simply stash retread players who have no upside at AAA. Instead they should put Lombo, Johnson, Rahl, Moore, etc. in AAA and see who can develope into useful pieces for the next few years.

  11. No way Lombo is on the big teams bench, he will be in AAA Blanco will, He has more big league time and plays ss.
    Tehan plays 3rd and out field bench player
    Harper is terrible in the out field… needs more time in the minors

  12. Fans keep saying put Esposito at ss. If he were a better ss than Desmond they would play him there …so I have to think he is not a better ss,

    1. If you’d seen both play the position over a significant period of time (vs. a game or two), you’d have a different opinion.

    1. Which is what makes it more maddening. Every organization, though, has a guy like Desmond — the tools guy that everybody thinks is “gonna put it all together someday.” The problem is a lot of fans having been hearing this since 2005 and are tired of waiting. Espinosa, to his fault, could make this a no-brainer by simply hitting more consistently, which is why Desmond gets the nod.

      At NFA, we used to talk about how maybe the organization missed its chance to do what they’re clearly doing now with Michael Taylor: turn the toolsy athlete into a flycatcher and if the arm ever becomes accurate, it’s just gravy.

      1. So your saying if Esposito could hit they move him to ss?? I don’t get it
        You have both players in your line up so you could flip flop them at their positions if Esposito were the better glove at ss.
        Since they are not playing him there Desmond must be (should be ) the best defensive ss

        1. I’m not sure how I can I make it more plain: I believe Espinosa is the superior defender at SS but hasn’t hit enough for the Nats to shift him there and either move Desmond to the bench, trade him, or put him at 2B. Why the Nationals believe the latter option is not viable is not something I can answer. Maybe they believe he’s too set in his ways to make the shift. Maybe they believe he’ll interpret such a move as a demotion and his offense will suffer. But to infer that the decision is based purely on defense is just naive.

          1. SS is a defensive position and 2nd is more of an offensive position. The player with the most range, best glove, quickest release,arm and foot work will play ss Its a harder position to play than 2nd. At ss there is no room for error, at 2nd you bobble the ball and still get the runner out
            Teams are willing to give up offense for a defense at short.
            They are also going to give a player a two or 3 yrs to play himself off the position.

  13. Lombardozzi needs to play every day and that is not going to happen in DC this year, I cannot see him starting 2 games a week at SS, 2 games at 2B and then a couple of Ph/defensive replacement games. He will be in AAA and a guy like Blanco, who has MLB time is much better at adapting to an occassional role. I suspect 2013 will be the year to talk about Lombardozzi being in the Show.

    1. I’d agree it is not going to happen in April. But if Desmond or Espinosa is under the Mendoza line come the all star break and Lombardozzi is hitting .300 at AAA then his time may get pushed up a bit.

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