Morning Reading

Morning Reading 2As I get older, I’m convinced that Januaries are like watching your preferred gender walk on by… but in reverse. Each one seems uglier than the last.

Now that we’ve dispensed with the obligatory comment on the weather, here are a few items to pass along as we wait out this [expletive deleted].

Keith Law has ranked the Nationals farm system 18th this year, moving up from 21st last year despite the graduations of Anthony Rendon and Taylor Jordan and the trading away of Robbie Ray (hey, that rhymes!). As others have noted, the improved health of Lucas Giolito along with the rebound of A.J. Cole and the 2013 Draft class has boosted the system’s perceived depth. Giolito, Law revealed, was among his Top 50 due out today.

Baseball Prospectus ranked three Nationals in its Top 101, placing Giolito 13th, Cole 53rd, and Brian Goodwin 86th (Ray did not make this list). Jason Parks, who took over as the chief prospect guy when Kevin Goldstein was hired away by the Houston Astros (the #1 system according to Law), had ranked Giolito 70th and Goodwin 74th last year (Rendon was #35).

Finally, the Hagerstown Suns have announced the game times for this season with all 10 Sunday games scheduled for 5:05 p.m. and weekday games beginning at 6:35 p.m. in April, then moving back to 7:05 p.m. for Thursday and Friday games beginning in May. Clearly, the latter is a concession to the common complaint about the cold while the former addresses the problem with the heat in the summer, if not the traffic on the major highways that many teams choose to avoid with the twilight start time.

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.

26 thoughts on “Morning Reading”

  1. Everybody notice the expanded depth charts
    By position in USA today on nats org ??
    John Wooten platoon with Mike McQ in potsnats?
    We like Mesa patrolling CF in W- bridge

  2. So, in Law’s 2013 writeup for the team he noted that he liked the top 5 guys but that there was a significant gap afterwards. Going back and looking at my notes, Law’s top 5 guys went Rendon, Goodwin, Giolito, Cole and Karns. Then a gap, then he went Skole, Garcia, Rivero, Purke and Taylor. So, no mention of Jordan or Krol (who graduated), no mention of Ray (who he’s never liked), no mention of Kobernus (who did get some MLB innings but isn’t considered a prospect), no mention of Perez, obviously no mention of Roark. Law did say that if Solis got healthy again he’d be back in the running for his top 100. Rivero, a waiver claim who ended the year demoted to AA, was his 8th best prospect for the system, quite an indictment at the time. Well, either that or a blind spot for Law, who is more impressed by tools.

    Anyway, now here we are in 2014; we’ve improved slightly but not much. You have to think Law’s top 5 for the system now starts Giolito/Cole/Goodwin but then who knows where it goes from there. I know from other comments that Law is down on Purke now, that he didn’t ever really rate Johansen or Ward. Does Karns still qualify as a prospect? Solis came back and performed post injury but was he that impressive in 2013?

  3. Another comment apropos of nothing (not related to Law’s rankings but commenting on Baseball Prospectus’s Top 101 rankings that came out two days ago): Jason Parks ranked Sean Manaea #78 and in his post-posting chat talked about how nasty this guy’s stuff is and how he’s going to shoot up the rankings of minor league prospects.

    Why does Sean Manaea’s mention give me pause? Because Manaea was on the board and readily available for draft when the Washington Nationals’ would-be spot came and went … but we didn’t have a pick thanks to the Rafael Soriano signing.

    Ask your self; would you rather have a top 100 lefty starting pitching prospect or another year of the surly, expensive and not-really-that-effective a closer Soriano?

    1. I’d rather the Nats had won the 2013 World Series, but that ain’t the way the cookie crumbled. “Win now” moves are pretty much always bad when the team fails to win now. Doesn’t mean there isn’t a time and place for them.

    2. The irony of it is Rizzo was able to take advantage of the Twins overvaluing of a closer ,Matt Capps, to get Wilson Ramos.
      Then it’s his time to do it by signing a chronic malcontent who throws a straight fastball up in the zone.
      I know nothing of Maneea, but would rather have him right now.

    3. I bet Mike Rizzo would violently agree and want that lefty. Now, perhaps, hopefully he is after a guy who is similar in Sean Doolittle for the bullpen. Much better choice than Blevins because he’s a shutdown lefty with nasty stuff but is likely a keeper for Billy Beane.

      But, we both know that you never know who will be left on the board when your turn comes up? Of course the Nat’s got lucky and managed to get both Rendon and Giolito by placing themselves in the path of random chance and baseball opportunity.

      1. I’ve longed believed the Soriano signing was not Rizzo’s idea. It flies in the face of previous deals where he was able to trade overvalued closers (redundant perhaps, like tall basketball player or moronic talk radio) for players that plugged holes elsewhere. He also is (constantly) described as a scouting guy, and scouts *loathe* giving up draft picks.

        1. I’ll agree with this sentiment 100% (that signing Soriano wasn’t Rizzo’s idea). Makes you wonder what is really going on in the front office. Is Rizzo using the Soriano signing/underperformance as an example of what happens when owner meddling occurs? Is this his “Scott Boras” lesson to Lerner?

          1. I will point out that there is no guarantee that the Nats draft Manaea with that pick even if they had not forfeited it. If Rizzo (or any GM) could look at the players available when they drafted one year later and decide who they wanted to choose based on hindsight, well, they’d be a lot better at what they do. Fans have no problem exercising hindsight and beating executives about the head and shoulders with it.

            I guarantee you that if the Nats had not signed Soriano and he had pitched the way he did in 2012 for someone else while Storen melted down and Clippard struggled due to overuse and the bullpen blew enough games to keep an otherwise strong team out of the playoffs then there would be many fans on these boards savaging Rizzo for passing up an opportunity to address something that cost them (the argument would go) both a spot in the ALCS in 2012 AND a playoff spot in 2013. Add in the fact that the team may well have used the pick on a player who didn’t sign (or simply was a bust), and that would have been used as criticism as well despite the fact that miss rates on any draft picks outside the top ten are sizeable.

          2. Yes, no way we can ever know who Rizzo and Minniti had at the top of their chart. Unless someone gets a small drone into Rizzo’s office and looks around …

            Boras is renowned of going around the GM to the owner which I deem happened with Werth as well. Hopefully, Ted has seen the light relative to that at this point.

            And I wonder about the trade of Blevins who as not very effective at all last season for the A’s. He wasn’t even used in the playoffs for that reason! The guy to go after I think was Sean Doolittle who is a left-handed Clippard … except better. If this was Rizzo and the scouts call let’s hope they saw something we didn’t because Blevins is no where near a shutdown lefty and might even be a guy who could potentially end up on the waiver wire at some point midseason.

  4. Would definitely rather have Manea, Todd Boss. I really feel that Soriano has had a negative effect on the team, not just in terms of the Storen/Clippard dynamic, but overall. When one is as cocky as he is, at least back it up. In my opinion, despite the over forty saves, Mr. Untuck did not do that.

    1. It does seem that way doesn’t it? I suspect Matt Williams was selected to deal with such issues. No more mellowed grandpa to dote on the kids eh? Okay, I think they are definitely going to miss Davey Johnson. No doubt in my mind. I think the learning curve for Matt will be tough but if he’s anything he’s a grinder and he’ll make his way through that process and at least become a good if not great major league manager.

  5. My sister now has two bulldog puppies, a male and female. They are very cool … the male makes all sorts of snorting noises especially when he is eating. He loves to eat. The snoring in their crate/fortress solitude is hilarious. I guess it makes sense to have bulldogs if you live in Georgia. Pheobe and Hamisch. I can ask if they want to help with the editing? 😉

      1. Yes, I know … ~laughing~ just try to feed the cats near their crate at 5 in the morning … they love cat food but my sister was told they need special food to stay healthy and cat food isn’t on the list just like people food. 😉

  6. I think Rizzo could work out something with the Astros for Chapman. Maybe Moore and Espi. Maybe Rourk. Needless to say the Astro manager knows the Nat’s players and I heard somewhere where there was interest in Moore by Houston.

    1. Houston is rich with prospects right now, they’ve got Stassi, Heineman, and Perez as top catching prospects. If any deal is made for T-Mo, Espy, et al I expect it will be for left-handed Jason Castro who might just be what the doctor ordered given the nature of Ramo’s knee reconstruction.

  7. Peric, not sure I agree with your assessment of Blevens. But I certainly think that they need another better lefty than he is. And I want Det in the rotation.

  8. Keith Law just put up his Nats Top 10 and the big surprise is he has Pedro Severino at # 5 (!!!). Luke, you saw him a lot, do you agree? Law likes him a lot.
    Jefry Rodriguez at #6 is the other surprise, he’s someone I’ve not followed so far and he’s very young. Voth at #11 and Drew Ward at #12 were promising mentions. I know Todd Boss is really high on Voth and we should all get a good look at him this year.

    1. My Hagerstown guy saw him a lot, and raved about his defense — especially the arm, which he said was better than Leon’s.

  9. Jeff here !
    Yes Pedro was a young Latin kid playing
    In cooler hags but still exhibited warrior
    Traits behind the plate plus his bat will come along
    Also consider that he probably was adjusting
    At his age to different diets / caloric intakes
    He is ahead of Spencer Kieboom who is all leather
    And light bat.
    Luke. Looks like another reliever added to AAA pile in madrigal
    With Kline connections .
    Luis Perdomo listed as a rookie level OF from cards
    But he seems mound bound
    Juan B must be another Latin kid addition .
    All this Astro possibilities may stem on
    Jeff Baker signing
    Sipp to San Diego
    Does brass bring back bray and Smoker??

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