Projecting The AFL Guys

It’s the post you’ve been nagging asking for — a look at who might get sent to the Arizona Fall League.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that as the parent club improves, this kind of information becomes pushed to the periphery by the mainstream media. In other words, there’s going to be a lot more written about who might get called up in September than who’s going to play in the greater Scottsdale area in October. It’s already happening in the comments here, a niche site devoted to the future Nats, not the present Nats, as much as some folks want to bridge that gap like Evel Knievel with the Snake River Canyon.

Like last year, there is one clear choice: Brian Goodwin. Leapfrogging him from Hagerstown to Harrisburg has to have an AFL angle to it, which is not to say the only reason why the move was made. The next choice with little doubt is Anthony Rendon, assuming he doesn’t get hurt between now and then. A little less certain is Jeff Kobernus, though there is some question as to whether he’ll be healed by then (fractured rib).

As discussed previously, Zach Walters seems like a candidate to go back after being added to the taxi squad last fall, but repeats in the AFL aren’t very common. Likewise for Chris Marrero, who’s the right age and could use the playing time, especially since it’s unlikely he’ll be playing winter ball this year.

Less clear is whether Destin Hood or Justin Bloxom gets the call. Hood has been beset by injuries for a good chunk of this season, leaving some doubt as to whether his struggles at AA have been a matter of health or having hit a bump in the road developmentally. That kind of uncertainty is precisely what GMs want when it comes to the Rule 5 draft, which Hood will be eligible for in December. Bloxom might not get sent simply because the other teams responsible for filling out the roster of the Salt River Rafters have more attractive candidates (e.g. Matt Davidson, Toronto) at first base.

If Rendon is indeed the Single-A exception, then it might be safe to say that Nathan Karns and Alex Meyer might be held back, especially in the name of limiting innings with both in their first full professional season. I’ve heard whispers that Ricky Hague might be this year’s Zach Walters (taxi squad player), though that was when Hague was on a hot streak and has since cooled some.

With the new CBA, there just aren’t the late-sign, high-profile pitchers that would make obvious choices (e.g. Stephen Strasburg, Matt Purke). Folks suggesting Lucas Giolito need to share what they’re ingesting (tomorrow is his first outing, and I suspect it’ll be limited to one inning or 20 pitches, whichever comes first). We were surprised last year at the selections of Rafael Martin and Pat Lehman, neither of whom was on the verge of Rule 5 eligibility, but there just aren’t any pitchers that fit that mold at AA or AAA.

Perhaps we’ll see one or two out of the trio of Trevor Holder, Pat McCoy, and Paul Demny. That’s the safest guess at this point (and to be clear, without knowing which pitchers the other five organizations are likely to send, it’s a guess). Like last year, the only thing I’m sure of is that somebody, somewhere is going to be disappointed with 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.

22 thoughts on “Projecting The AFL Guys”

  1. Ricky hague and Anthony rendon are the players I’ve heard going. They both are very talented ad need more play time from coming off injuries. We’ll see but it would be smart to send both considering them being high draft picks and they are a strong left side infield together since being the best in college baseball together at Rice university.

    1. From the AFL site:
      “One foreign player is allowed, as long as the player does not reside in a country that participates in winter ball, as part of the Caribbean Confederation or the Australian winter league.”

      1. If you live in the US from the middle of February to October or November, don’t you “reside” here? 😉

  2. Agree that Rendon and Goodwin are going. Also, Chris Marrero is not going. Doubt he will be in the Nats organization in 2013. The Nats are loaded at 1st base, Marrero has been injury prone, lacks the power needed to play 1st and his defense is spotty.

    1. Unless you’re suggesting we trade him, it would be silly to just let Marrero go. He’s just turned 24, and despite injuries has put up decent numbers in the minors this season.

      And now that the Nats big league roster is much more stable, there’s less need to stash a bunch of AAAA players on the 40 man roster (Kimball, Maya, Wang, 5 catchers, for example).

      1. The Nats will not release Marrero, but I don’t see him on the 40 man roster next year. So, any other team willing to add him on their 40 man roster can have him. If he remains property of the Nats, it will be because no else wanted to add him to the roster.

        Given that this is his 7th season of professional baseball, he is a non-prospect at this point.

  3. Is there any limit on players with previous big league experience?

    The reason I ask is Ryan Perry would make a good candidate. It might make sense to get him a few more starts so the Nats have a better idea of what they’ve got with him. His innings pitched this season are still quite low, so there’s little concern about that. It would also be good to stretch him out a bit more for a full season of starting next year.

    1. Yes: “No players with more than one year of credited Major League service as of August 31.”

      Perry, according to, has 2.109 years of service.

      1. Ah thanks.

        Does that prohibition extend to non-local major league players in the Latin American winter leagues?
        If not do you think Perry might play there, like Tatusko last season?

        1. No, that’s just an AFL rule.

          Whether or not Perry pitches in the Winter Leagues depends on whether he wants to do it, if there’s an interested team, and if the Nats are willing to grant permission. I think it’s a good idea if they’re truly committed to making him a starter and not just trying to solve a problem for this season.

    1. Yes, he could put it right next to the Eury Perez walk counter, making this an even more fun site. 🙂

      1. Appreciate that. Unlike a lot of social media folks, I don’t use Twitter to exhort that you like my Facebook page or +1 me on Google or any permutation thereof, and pretend that it’s unique content for each. I write the posts and link ’em on all three so that you can get here whichever way you choose. Most folks come here on their own w/o the unique links, and that’s the way it ought to be.

  4. Anyone agree or think Rick Hague will be going to AFL? For sure Rendon. I don’t know about Goodwin.

    1. I’d say that is an indication that he will probably be going. It also opens up a spot for someone below AA should they choose to pursue it.

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