As Promised…

As promised, I’m providing a spot for discussion, even if there ain’t a whole hell of a lot to talk about in terms of the farm. Ordinarily by now we would have heard/read/seen who’s going to instrux or who the Nats Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year are, but so far… nada. I hope this is just a byproduct of the parent club chugging towards the playoffs, but it still seems a little weird to me.

If you missed it in the comments, Karl Kolchak has begun a blog with a minors focus, which began with a post about the DFA of Eury Perez and is now counting down his Top 30 prospects.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t pass along Zach Spedden’s post wrapping up the 2014 Minor-League Season, which is written through the lens of the 2014 Draft Class. Spedden also runs the Hagerstown Suns Fan Club.

I think that’s about it for now. Please feel free to discuss things in the comments and keep the conversation going until my next post.

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.

53 thoughts on “As Promised…”

  1. Time will tell which guys are not back in 15
    Such as Matheus , Kobernus , Moore,
    Burriss….a year from now we may be talking more
    Of the Latin names who emerged out of the woodwork .
    Well back to 100 Rifles with Raquel Welch.

    1. Mattheus has got to be gone. Moore deserves to be liberated. Kobernus and Burriss I hope stick around. Burriss was a great story this year for the Chiefs, and I’d love to see him earn some time with DC. That said, I don’t see real opportunities to get back to the bigs by sticking around with his hometown organization. His lack of a DC callup due to the Cabrera trade had to be personally deflating for him. Great as Cabrera has been, we ultimately didn’t need him if we’re lapping the field in the division and Zimmerman’s going to be back for the playoffs. If Zach Walters turns out to be a stud and we don’t win the World Series, we may come to regret that win now trade. That said, Walters lack of a glove means he really isn’t a great fit for what The rZo seems to be looking for in his squad: pitching, defense and quality at bats that don’t go cold in the heat of the playoffs. Sounds similar to the Yankees in their great run to me.

      1. We both forgot about how Cutter and Skole
        Will bump Laird to another org.
        Cud is to farm staff laffey and laird gem
        Minor league signings.
        Still think those minor league arms Simmons,
        Espino , Piveda and mcGregor will contribute
        In AAA/ AA.

      2. How come JohnC et al don’t give you grief for wanting Emmanuel Burriss to get rewarded for what for his was a certainly career year.

        Laird might have been up for league MVP were it not for Souza. At age 26 he was a definite FIND. Cutter Dykstra doesn’t compare.

        1. Laird indeed deserves appreciation for stepping it up another level. Brock Peterson he was not. We’ll know soon enough what his future is; if he in not added to the 40 man when the free agents and Hairstons and others are released, he will certainly find opportunity elsewhere. He may, anyway, unless his agents convinces him that Zim’s questionable future at 3B is his opening….

          Skole is not a 3B. Dykstra is not a 3B either; certainly does not have the bat to displace the mashing Laird brought this year.

    1. Giolito is probably not going to pitch very much, if at all, in the games — they more or less want him there to monitor his health and work with the coaches.

      Also notable four guys who spent most of ’14 in the DSL — Israel Mota, Victor Robles, Anderson Franco, and Joan Baez. A fifth would be Gilberto Ramirez, but I would caution folks about getting too excited — he was 21, which is ancient for the DSL — and didn’t exactly light up the GCL after he was moved up.

      1. not seeing Voth on this list in concerning. after his late season struggles I would feel a lot better is someone had intel that all is okay with his health.

        1. Voth was shut down with “fatigue”, but then, so was Simms.

          Yezzo is an interesting omission, especially since his bat really warmed up and he is one of the few power prospects in the system right now. Perhaps he and other folks not on this list have plans in the off season for workouts back at colleges and other US based resources that the new Dominican immigrants do not.

          Or family/academic obligations, etc.

  2. Agree Luke. Randy Encarnacion might have more
    Upward movement than Gilberto.
    Perez is just the tip of the iceberg with
    Roster clearing. right, Luke ?
    The lead off guy on DSL not too shabby either
    96-97 wins not bad with all the injuries
    Always nice to see braves pitch their tent
    and pony home. Kkkkk

    1. Braves are in shambles. That BJ Upton deal is the type of deal that a midmarket team cannot make and they sacked their GM as a result. The Braves will be fine because they’ll have more cash once they move into their new stadium, however. Nats really need to take advantage of this 2014-15 window and get a World Series out of it because I don’t think they can keep all of Desmond, Harper, Strasburg, Zimmermann, and Fister on this team going forward, and I know that I’m leaving some guys out. We’re not the Yankees.

    2. re: roster clearing

      Yep. The first full-fledged Rizzo draft class (2010) is done with Year Five, the first post-Smiley draft class (2009) will be FAs after next season, while the final Bowden picks (2008) are FAs come November. Whenever there was a perceived conflict between two guys, you could bet on Rizzo favoring “his guy.” It will be interesting to see how that plays out once they’re ALL his guys.

  3. Save and soul drummer : Ty daveb on roster
    Let’s hope dray ton Moore ( one time expo employee
    As was Wren ) does not leave KC for peach tree
    We can all agree that instructional league is to
    Mentally or physically conditions kids for the next
    Step according to the nats play book .
    Still amazed that several more GCL kids were not
    Invited: Guzman , Guerrerro, T Agustin or
    D. The Italian Venezuelan stallion .
    No news in that 3 b signed in the Latin pool?

  4. PS soul drummer. The MASN contract in litigation
    Should be an interesting decision .
    I had a feeling that the move would be good until
    The salary cap would rip off key parts coupled
    With the imbalanced MASN pact

  5. Well, here is my first log for the dogs….

    Minors concluding thoughts….

    Part One)

    As always, the most exciting aspects of the year are those who have the most long-term impact on player potential within the Nats system or even as major leaguers.

    The following players took the most dramatic steps forward in the system:

    1) Rey Lopez – from low mileage unknown to Hagerstown star at 20
    2) Wilmer Difo – from muddlin minor league vet to Hagerstown MVP
    3) Blake Treinen – from inconsistent AA starter to an arm that looks, starter or reliever, like it belongs on the Nats roster in 2015
    4) Aaron Barrett – from AA to major league fixture and future closer
    5) Michael Taylor – from A+ with promise and batting holes to the most exciting player in Eastern League
    6) Steven Souza – from AA with tools, talent, and fragility to dominant AAA rookie season featuring bat speed and pitch selectivity and MVP
    7) Taylor Hill – from AA starter with overshadowed promise to all-star AAA performer ready for the majors with someone
    8) John Simms – the improbable first graduate from the draft class of 2013 to AA; faded late but there to stay in 2015
    9) Austin Voth – The rage of the lower minors starters after blowing through A- and A+ and showed he could make it in AA
    10) Hector Silvestre – In a system suffering its heaviest and abrupt depletion of lefthanded starting in memory (trade of Ray, injuries of Purke, Rivero, Lee, Solis, Rosenbaum, decay of Mooneyham, non-sgning of Suarez), saved his best for last, emerging at the top of a Potomac rotation that won its championship and striking out the side for his 2014 finale.
    11) Manny Rodriguez – Drafted as a recently converted pitcher, then two TJ surgeries later, then rocketed in his return up to A+ as a 25 year old virgin-arm and became the key setup man in the Potomac run.
    12) Mario Sanchez – With all of the talk of the 2013 baby Nats, it was the 19 year old who was in DSL in 2013 who was an Auburn all-star out of the bullpen.
    13) Ian Dickson – went from the bag of balls we received for HRod (and Jeff’s source of neck whiplash) to a streak of dominant starts and an instructional league invite.
    14) Anderson Franco – when an organization with a great scouts eye for bargain basement decides to spend on someone, that should say a lot. His 2014, at his age, showed that a wise shopper can spend and still spend wisely (you sometimes do get what you paid for).
    15) Stephen Perez – Off the radar. Now on it, at least until he is passed by Difo.

      1. Wally, good point. Grace actually became a reliever in 2013 and turned into a man with a future, but his performance this year was not only outstanding, but outstanding at both levels in which he pitched. He and Cedeno reflect a roster decision this winter; hard to believe he will be in the organization if not protected.

    1. Great post and this type of comment helps ease the sting of Luke choosing to shift his focus from end of season wrapups to real life. Will anybody from this board be attending the Arizona Fall League? I don’t think it’s that sexy a class for our guys, but I have had a desire to go. Resources like make that a 2015 goal, not a present one.

  6. Frank Wren is a great baseball mind and has Expo bonafides. People learn from mistakes; he made his (as had John Hart) but made some great decisions too. He might be a terrific addition to the braintrust of this Nats organization. Expanding the scouting/development budget a must; the formula is working, give the scout in Chief more toys.

    1. Bringing Frank Wren here to add to Rizzo’s brain trust would be a ballsy move, and I hope that it’s under consideration.

  7. Per above list, I neglected to mention Joan Baez. It wasn’t his singing that got him kicked off the island. He showed promise in the GCL, too, and got that instructional invite.

    and finally, Destin Hood. He still gets overshadowed in the OF discussions, but he took a big leap forward. In an atmosphere in which patience follows the development of Brian Goodwin, the same attitude may reward this organization in 2015, especially as Rizzo speaks of being “35-45 deep.” Great philosophy.

    That, and the Eury Perez-Florimon trading places, tells me he already has clarity on his 40 man roster pre-winter meetings.

    1. I was ecstatic with Hood’s growth this year. He probably needs to get out of the organization, but he’s gone from not a prospect to a guy who has 4th OF potential outside of the Nats next year. I hope that he gets moved to a place where he’ll get a real chance for a callup in 2015. At the beginning of the year, I was expecting him to announce he was going back to football at the end of this year. Well done, Destin.

      1. I think the Nats find a way to keep Hood and that was part of the reason they parted so readily with Perez. Hood’s power is emerging and that may redefine his potential considerably by this time next year. Hard to cast off someone who clearly may not have peaked. Perez improved his walks but again, is a replaceable talent within the organization (Taylor/Bautista/Ballou).

        Power bats coming up in the Nats system are in short supply, and Hood may be able to take that leap. The Nats are better off keeping him in the system long enough to figure that out.

  8. Granted not everyone can be invited to instructional
    League camp . James Yezzo is a guy who could
    Use more lessons around 1b to improve his
    Leather skills around the bag .

    1. Exactly. Folks not getting invited isn’t necessarily an indictment (re: Voth) on their skillset or health.

          1. Your calling attention to your rhymes is a lyrical crimes. I demand compensation in dimes or else I shall arrive at your house and bang my chimes. Wil is the Rhymes that I respect, sir!

          2. Luke, I am one of many fans rooting for B miller ( time)
            To turn the corner shoeing his Samford power
            And alley consistently !
            Harrisburg after an eye opening March would
            Speak wonders for senators roster.
            Should be interesting how the manager chairs
            Stay the same on farm or change
            DaveB. Trading depth for kids always brings up
            The possibility of yet another rizzo/ beane.
            Guys on the block ? Matheus, Treinen. McLouth ,
            Moore ( coveted by many AL clubs for sure)
            Kobernus ( his dad with Oakland in his days )
            Hairston let loose or traded.
            Interesting winter ahead after WS for Nats.
            Trades, Rule five , minor league signings .

  9. Luke and nats congregation :
    Is this the league camp where C Gunther
    Gets a transition to oF for Hagerstown
    Flexibility ???
    Wondering , Luke, about the health of
    Tommy John d. Catcher Matt Restterer ?
    We know rizzo lives his lefty hitting catchers
    Just to have lefty on bench. .
    Winter league assignments next to look forward
    To besides NHL

    1. What has Gunther ever shown (aside from being relatively young) to inspire enthusiasm? He may be too young to give up on, but the lights have not yet gone on for him…

  10. No concern on Voth. Healing with Luke and
    Nick P were about the only consistent true
    QS guys in system while most teams
    Played two starters a night routine.
    For that reason that’s why Potomac amazed
    Us with all hands pitching in .

  11. Wally, I would think that instructional league
    Is focused on polishing ( mentally and physically )
    The repetitions understood in nats blue book
    On how to approach game inside/ outside the chalk lines
    No I missed manny Ramirez in hags .
    Matty Grace has taken thAt extra step towards
    Being on the threshold in reaching big club.
    We can actually say that this summer we saw the
    Deeper Latin fruit blooming in the vine after so
    Many years Johnny DiPuegla had to turn the soil
    On the tainted Jose Rijo farm under leather pants
    Luke , would you agree that a couple guys
    Might reconsider leaving pro baseball?
    Bowe and W3.

    1. Jeff – I was actually directly the Grace comment on Forensicane’s ‘step forward’ list, since it seemed like he came out of nowhere this year.

  12. Wally, I failed to say that instructional league
    Seems to target the kids bound for
    A ball affiliates. Reinforce the repetition
    Habits mentally and physical according to nats
    Way of being a nasty Nat ( as the ole white sox
    Announcer pinned on Washington years ago)
    Curious to see which Latin arms further
    Step up in GCL next season

  13. Forensicane: I have seen Gil Mendez but considering
    How many pitchers I have watched especially
    In Hagerstown in two years. My mind cannot
    Post date the outing memory . Good stuff
    Should be part of a good bullpen mix .
    Benincasa , Henke mixed with lefties
    And middle innings guys should make for solid pens
    aAA and AA

  14. Giolito and Souza named as Nats Players of the Year … I hope, recent trends aside, that neither is about to get traded. I’m looking forward to seeing Souza as the 4th/5th OF in DC next year.

  15. Daveb. No worries. Souza will be under the
    Eagle eye of Werth whose contract value lies
    In priceless mentor ship and leadership .
    These DHs for nats might actually turn out to be good
    In providing further compressed game time to focus
    And bear down .
    We could add further names to that instructional
    Camp list such as Wake Forest alum Coner Kinery.
    A guy who could break camp next March with suns .

    1. Yep … I was referring to the Nats recent history of trading away their MiLB POY (e.g., Burns, Karns, Milone, Norris).

      Obviously Rizzo has done pretty well with most of those, so not really worried, but I am hoping to get a chance to see more of Souza, so hope he can stick around. (I don’t think there’s much chance they will trade Giolito)

  16. DaveB: many of us agree that Scott Hairston will not
    Return opening up a slot for SSjr.
    Many of us agree that extra reps and special 1-on1
    Attention to masters and Davidson could help
    Them achieve Potomac next April leaving
    Hagerstown with an interesting infield blend :
    Gunther , Kevin G, M-Diaz, Diomedes, Lora
    , Abreau, Funky Cold Medina, plus our guy Kinery.
    Leaving a few guys in XST like Fred Aguero
    Or Thomas A.

  17. Baseball America has started its year end top prospects lists: Gulf Coast League was yesterday. I don’t have access, but Reetz had a question and answer in the Q&A section:

    Mike (Rockford): Ben, I was a big fan of Jackson Reetz before the draft. Looks like he had a great first run at pro ball. Can he possibly be an everyday catcher in the big leagues?
    Ben Badler: Yes. He’s a solid defender who gives you the chance for a good OBP for the position. He’s further along than Derek Norris was when they had him, both at the plate and on defense.

    1. Also interesting is that BA ‘ranked’ all the individual minor league MVPs. Souza came in 5th overall; and Difo 8th. Their little pen-pic comments were as follows (not behind firewall):

      “Souza might not have one overwhelming tool, but his new middle-field hitting approach helped him get to his power more often while leading the International League in average (.350), on-base percentage (.432) and slugging (.590). The Nationals called him up four different times during the season, but that didn’t stop him from knocking 18 homers and stealing 26 bases at Syracuse. He could hold down an outfield corner for years to come.”

      “Lightly regarded coming into the season, the switch-hitting Difo put himself on the Nationals’ prospect map with his MVP campaign. While the boldest black ink on his résumé comes via his South Atlantic League-leading 176 hits, he ranked high up the league leaderboard in batting (sixth), RBIs (fourth), stolen bases (second), extra-base hits (third) and runs (fourth). With a line-drive stroke, plus speed and the defensive chops to play either middle-infield position, Difo is a prospect on the rise.”

  18. Nice to know the catching depth chart has
    Read, Michael Barrett favorite Jorge Tillero
    And the blue chip boy Reeeetz.

  19. Forensicane. I agree that Difo has skill set
    Different than Persz but by the ETA for both
    Is @ hand the combination on a roster could
    Be special . My likey. ? Both switch- hitters.
    Plus behind them are B Mejjjia, Kinery,
    And a half dozen and more Latin kids

  20. I’m just wanted to say how thrilled I am that this site still generates so much info and is quite the tribute to Luke. This really a community that just won’t go away.

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