Minors Pitching Staff Analysis, Part Four

The last of our predictions is finally here with the forecast of the Hagerstown pitchers.

If I’m right about the composition and wrong about the timing, this is arguably the most exciting starting five of the four full-season affiliates*, with four of the team’s Top 30 pitching prospects per Baseball America, including the #1 overall, Lucas Giolito.
* Tickets, I’ve heard, are readily available.

But before we get too far down that road, let’s look at my choices for the 2013 Suns:

Blake Schwartz Dixon Anderson Leonard Hollins
Brian Rauh David Fischer Cody Davis
Nick Lee Derek Self
Blake Monar Robert Benincasa
Pedro Encarnacion Michael Boyden
Brett Mooneyham

That’s more like it. After only getting one or two wrong in parts one through three, missing on four serves as a reminder that this is still a guessing game. Plus, a reminder that short-season ball is fickle and inferences suspect.

Case in point: Michael Boyden, who was bumped up from the GCL to Auburn after six scoreless appearances in 2012. Not only did he not make it to Hagerstown in 2013, he didn’t return to Auburn, repeating the GCL and was ultimately released.

So maybe I’ll be very wrong on the two swingmen below, but I still feel like somebody from the GCL is going to skip Auburn, and it seems more likely that it’d be older guys used in relief (and a lot) than teenagers like Jefry Rodriguez.

Without further ado, the final set of picks:

Lucas Giolito Hector Silvestre David Napoli
Jake Johansen Wander Suero L.J. Hollins
Austin Voth Cory Bafidis
Nick Pivetta Jake Joyce
R.C. Orlan Derek Self

Before you ask, “What about__________?” a reminder that I’ve purposefully excluded guys that I know or believe were hurt. Besides, information regarding players’ health and/or injuries is sparse and the Nationals kinda sorta have a history of being less than truthful when they do release such information.

Also, I don’t know precisely who’s been released yet or who’s retired. In part, because I do know the players, their friends and families, and their agents are reading, I’m not keen on predicting or speculating on those two outcomes. If someone’s not mentioned, take it face value: a guess at who the 12 pitchers will be this year at a given level.

Now, we return to the wait-and-see mode until the games begin (and the fluffing of Matt Williams stops).

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of NationalsProspects.com. 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.

14 thoughts on “Minors Pitching Staff Analysis, Part Four”

  1. Not really disputing the potentially exciting pitching staff, Luke. But your picks (and mine too) at the double A level have five members in the top thirty, three in the top ten. Potentially, a pretty exciting group there as well.

  2. And this still leaves Casey Selsor
    And Elliott Waterman on Auburn scrolls
    Maybe Ian Dickson could learn the knuckler?

    1. I’m sure he might if/when BA decides to re-rank the prospects, but I’m going by the book. I do know Mayo put Cole/Solis/Purke in the top 10 of his top 20, which is somewhat meaningful… if you’re inclined to believe Sandy Leon is a better prospect than Drew Ward.

  3. There are going to be plenty of A- hitters contemplating their futures outside of baseball after they face Giolito, Johansen, and Voth back-to-back-to-back. Obviously the Nats hope that all three spend at least part of the summer in Woodbridge. There seems to be a significant pitching quality dip at Potomac between the guys at AA and A-.

    For those interested, here is an update on Robbie Ray from the Detroit Free Press:

    1. No. Hoping to see him in Hagerstown, but it’s tough to coordinate between work, the animals, and the dogs.

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