Thursday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 3-0 @ Norfolk,
12:05 p.m.
Hill (8-2, 1.75) vs.
Escalona (1-1, 3.78)
Harrisburg Lost, 5-4 vs. New Britain,
7:00 p.m.
Brach (1-0, 0.00) vs.
Dean (4-2, 4.48)
Potomac ALL-STAR BREAK @ Lynchburg,
7:05 p.m.
Hagerstown ALL-STAR BREAK @ Greensboro,
7:00 p.m.
Silvestre (2-4, 4.79) vs.
Townsley (1-1, 2.31)
Auburn Postponed @ Mahoning Valley,
5:30 p.m.
L. Torres (1-0, 0.00) and
R. Lopez (0-0, 0.00) vs.
Brady (0-0, 11.25) and
Santana (0-1, 5.79)
DSL Nationals Won, 5-2 vs. DSL Orioles2,
10:30 a.m.
N. Ramirez (1-1, 3.60) vs.
J. Valdez (1-1, 1.50)

Syracuse 3 Norfolk 0
• Laffey (W, 9-3) 7IP, 5H, 0R, 2BB, 1K
• Madrigal (SV, 5) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Laird 2-3, 2R, HR, 2RBI
• Peterson 1-3, 2B, RBI

Brandon Laird broke up the no-hitter with a single in the 5th then cracked a two-run homer in the 7th as the Chiefs shut out the Tide, 3-0. Starter Aaron Laffey pitched seven strong innings, giving up five hits and two walks as he won his tie-for-the-league-lead 9th game. Mike Gonzalez retired just one of three batters faced, putting on two runners with a walk and a single allowed, but Daniel Stange stranded them to close out the 8th. Warner Madrigal retired the side in order in the 9th for his fifth save. Brock Peterson doubled in Laird in the 5th while Jhonatan Solano singled ahead of Laird to round out the four-hit assualt by Syracuse.

New Britain 5 Harrisburg 4
• Kroenke 5⅓ IP, 7H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 3K
• Benincasa (BS, 1; L, 0-1) ⅔ IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, BB, K
• Keyes 2-3, R, 2B, BB
• Taylor 2-4, R, HR, RBI

Harrisburg’s losing streak was extended to three with 5-4 collapse in the 9th to New Britain. Starter Zach Kroenke went the first five and a 1/3rd innings, charged with two runs on seven hits and three walks with three strikeouts. Colin Bates let in one run but finished the 6th and Tyler Herron gave up one in the 8th after a scoreless 7th. Robert Benincasa made his AA debut in the 9th, but it was rough one as as he retired just two of seven batters faced for the blown-save-loss. Matt Skole and Michael Taylor both homered while Kevin Keyes reached base three times with a single, walk, and a double as the Senators posted a modest eight hits and drew three walks on the afternoon. Roster move: RHP Robert Benincasa promoted from Potomac.

Potomac opens on the road with three against Lynchburg and then returns home for three against Salem as they continue a bizarre schedule with only four sequences of more than three days in any one place over the next 11 weeks.

Hagerstown — ALL-STAR BREAK
The Suns and Grasshoppers rematch to begin the 2nd half with a four-game set in Greensboro, then come home for a pair of four-game series against Lakewood and Delmarva. Roster move: IF Cody Dent activated from the 7-Day DL.

Auburn vs. Mahoning Valley — PPD
It would appear that, weather permitting, it’s doubleheader for yours truly in Niles, Ohio. (Don’t worry, if I get a chance to write it up, I’m going to title it “Last Night In Mahoning Valley,” even though I did think about using this pic).

DSL Nationals 5 DSL Cardinals 2
• J. Baez (W, 2-1) 6IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 4K
• Cespedes (SV, 3) 1⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• J. Ramirez 3-4, 2R, 3B
• Franco 2-3, RBI
• Robles 2-5, R, 2B, 2RBI

Eight of nine batters hit safely as the D-Nats built a 4-0 lead early and cruised to a 5-2 win over the D-Cards for their 10th win in 16 games. Joan Baez tossed six shutout innings, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out four to win his second game. Angher Cespedes got the last four outs, stranding two in the 8th as he notched his third save Joshual Ramirez led the 12-hit parade with a pair of singles and a triple.

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.

14 thoughts on “Thursday’s News & Notes”

  1. Ok, but seriously, when does Taylor get a promotion? The only possible criticism of Taylor’s game this season is his strikeouts, but he’s consistently improved each month. His K% for June is only 18.6%.

    The argument for promotion? Well, for one, he’s the 6th best player in all of the minors leagues according to OPS. He’s also got the 6th best wOBA, the 6th best wRC+, the 7th most HRs, 50th most SBs, and probably towards the top in OF assists to go with his plus defense. All together, if there was some sort of WAR metric for the minor leagues, Taylor just might be the best player in the minor leagues this season. And that’s against all minor leaguers, not just the age-appropriate.

    And now, with Hood on the DL, the Chiefs have only two outfielders on their entire roster. Josh Johnson, with an OPS of .437 at age 28, is getting starts in on the Chiefs OF. Sure, Hood will be back at some point (any insight on his injury?), but Taylor is the better prospect. Why should Hood’s development be prioritized over Taylor’s?

    Either way, this could all be resolved if Rizzo would own up to the mistake of giving McLouth (who’s hit .238 over the past 6 seasons) a two year contract, DFA him (or trade him for a bag of balls named Tanner Roark or Zach Walters) to make space for Steven Souza, giving Taylor a starting spot in Syracuse without taking playing time from Hood or Goodwin.

    1. Not sure that Taylor’s development would benefit by playing in AAA as opposed to AA. While AAA has older players, AA has long been considered as good if not better for developing prospects into MLB players. Also, not unusual for prospects to skip AAA and go straight from AA to MLB. The Nats current OF situation makes a 2014 call-up for Taylor very unlikely anyway (other than a Sept promotion to be a defensive replacement and pinch runner); so, would guess the thinking is to give Taylor a full AA season, have him play in the AZ Fall League; and then give him chance to win an MLB roster spot next Spring.

    2. What’s the rush? He can develop just as well in Harrisburg as Syracuse. The Eastern League has some of the best pitching prospects in baseball. Let him play out the season and then go to the Arizona Fall League. With increased exposure in the second half, we will get to see how he adjusts when the pitchers adjust to him, another part of development.

    3. I agree with NatsFaninTX. There is no reason to push him to AAA. AA is where a lot of the top prospects are anyhow. It is also pretty early into a contract to tell Rizzo to own up and DFA McLouth. McLouth started out in a major slump going 2 for 30 to start the season and is sitting on a really low .224 BABIP. Yes his numbers look ugly but he did provide a solid at bat last night to plate the go ahead run and since his awful start he has an OBP of .320 and according to both fangraphs and baseball reference has played league average D. Again nothing exciting and yes Rizzo overpaid for him but I would say there is little to no chance he gets DFA’d any time soon.

      If you were looking for a major league spot for Souza I would look in the direction of Greg Dobbs for a DFA.

      1. They need to not just promote Souza, but give him some regular ABs. There’s no better time for that than the next two weeks before Harper comes back. Why not try Souza in place of Span in the lineup and learn what he can do. Same goes for Walters/Espy. Bringing those guys up and letting them rot on the bench is painful.

  2. Luke, I envy you getting the greatest
    Gift in baseball : a make- up DH.
    How is the unconscience harmony between
    Abreau and Meiija as DP partners?
    I guess Benincasa to chiefs means Self
    Will close for Sens
    Great job lately with all the promotions
    In italics

  3. Wil, I agree in your McLouth comment
    Even Grady Sizemore would contribute
    Maybe Michael Taylor stays in Harrisburg
    To avoid a further collapse in the Sens
    Offense or awaiting Drew Vettleson back
    From Vermont
    Speaking of the poor soul, I wonder if
    Drew has picked up the Eric Komatsu
    Slump bug since coming over from Tampa!

    1. Sizemore has been worse than McLouth this season. No point in swallowing McLouth’s contract to pick up someone who in this stage of their careers is a worse defender and gets on base less.

  4. Draft Signings update

    3rd round Jackson Reetz – C – signed for $800,000 which is $232,700 above slot. – Reetz, 6-1 / 195 lbs, was named 2013-14 Gatorade Nebraska Baseball Player of the Year. He hit .487 with 8 HR, 37 R and 37 RBI in 2014. Nebraska hasn’t produced a high school player drafted in the top five rounds since 1996. En route to pitching parts of seven seasons in the Majors, Buddy Carlyle went in the second round — about the same area in which Reetz figures to go in June. Reetz made a name for himself during the summer, earning MVP recognition at the Perfect Game All-America Classic and batting .435 with a team-high five extra-base hits to help the U.S. national team win the 18-and-under World Cup in Taiwan. While there’s some doubt as to whether top-rated prep catching prospect Alex Jackson will stay behind the plate, there are no such concerns with Reetz. The Nebraska recruit is athletic for a backstop and moves well behind the plate. He has a strong arm, and once he gets accustomed to handling pro-caliber pitchers, he should become a solid receiver. Reetz can hit, too. He has a quick bat that produces line drives to all fields, and he’s strong enough to develop average power. As a bonus, he runs better than most catchers. Reetz was a top-60 caliber player, and for the Nationals to get him at No. 93 is considered a steal.

    5th rounder Drew Van Orden – RHP – signed for $75,000 which is $236,400 under slot – Van Orden was 6th in the ACC in strikeouts (91) while leading the Duke staff in innings pitched (87.1), strikeouts and games started (14). Van Orden becomes the first Duke pitcher since Marcus Stroman was selected in the 22nd round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012. Van Orden appeared in 15 games with 14 starts on the mound and registered career bests in ERA (3.19), innings pitched (87.1) and strikeouts (91) last season for Duke, including a his first career shutout in his final start against Georgia Tech during the ACC tournament.

    6th rounder Austen Williams – RHP – signed for $233,000 right at slot. – Williams went 8-3 with a 3.65 ERA (40 ER/98.2 IP) in 15 starts for the Bobcats. He struck out 96 batters and posted a .239 batting avg. After spending the first two years of his college career in the bullpen, Williams moved into the Friday night starter’s role for Texas State this spring. He throws his fastball in the low-90s, topping out at 94 mph. Williams’ curveball and changeup both show the potential to become average offerings. He throws strikes with all of his pitches and aggressively attacks hitters. Williams will need to smooth out his delivery and build up his endurance as a professional. If he can do so, his stuff and size (he’s listed at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds), give him all the makings of a solid starting pitcher.

    7th Rounder D.K. Carey – CF – signed for $60,000 which is $114,800 under slot – Carey, 6-2, 207 lbs. led Miami in hitting (.305), doubles (16), and was 2nd in home runs (7), and stolen bases (16). Carey has long been considered one of the best athletes in college baseball, and he finally seemed to put everything together as a senior. He led Miami with a .305 batting average and hit seven home runs, almost tripling his career total. Carey has a simple, balanced swing, though it has a tendency to get long. He has some pull power, but he is at his best when he is driving the ball to the gaps. Carey is an above-average runner, though he is still learning how to use his speed. He is a solid defender who profiles best in center field. Scouts see Carey as a potential fourth outfielder.

    10th rounder Matthew Page – RF – signed for $30,000 which is $107,600 under slot. – Not much on him. Page is a former NAIA Player of the Year

    That means so far the Nationals have accrued $226,100 in savings so far just from these picks. I would assume Erick Fedde and Andrew Suarez will also both come in a bit under slot as well. That is a good sign since the team drafted several solid HS prospects later in the draft. They should have a good $500,000 to try to lure one or two of them away from their college commitments.

  5. GCL nats start Friday with season
    Who will Barrett run out on mound
    And line – up ??

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