Final Winter League Update

Final Winter League Update
In lieu of a 2015 review, for which I just couldn’t find more than a couple of truly good stories (never mind ten), here’s a final look at how players in the Nationals organization are doing in the Winter Leagues for the 2015-16 offseason. All statistics as of 12/31/2015.


Marquez Smith PWL 43 136 28 39 10 1 4 27 28 29 .287 .425 .374 7
Rafael Bautista DWL 40 104 14 29 5 1 0 6 9 11 .279 .348 .346 8
Jose Lozada PWL 37 122 13 38 7 0 0 14 15 17 .311 .403 .369 1
Brian Goodwin VWL 35 133 21 42 8 1 3 18 19 28 .316 .401 .459 5
Reegie Corona VWL 30 89 12 21 5 0 0 4 12 18 .236 .327 .292 2
Pedro Severino DWL 23 58 9 12 4 0 2 4 2 14 .207 .233 .379 0
Isaac Ballou PWL 17 62 11 12 3 1 0 4 10 8 .194 .333 .274 0
Jose Marmolejos-Diaz DWL 3 9 0 3 0 1 0 2 0 1 .333 .333 .556 0
Melvin Rodriguez PWL 1 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 0
Estarlin Martinez DWL 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0


Paolo Espino VWL 2 3 0 4.28 10 10 40 48 24 19 5 18 33 1.65
Jon Velasquez PWL 1 0 4 2.03 14 0 13⅓ 9 3 3 1 5 12 1.05
Stephen Shackleford VWL 2 2 0 3.65 14 0 12⅓ 11 5 5 0 7 10 1.46
Rafael Martin MWL 1 2 0 3.60 10 0 10 7 4 4 1 1 12 0.80
Wander Suero DWL 0 0 0 5.40 2 0 1⅔ 3 1 1 0 0 1 1.80

The Venezuelan and Mexican Leagues finished up on Tuesday; the Puerto Rican Winter League ends on Monday. Before folks get too excited about Lozada and Smith, both are 30 years old (Smith turning 31 in March) and are doing precisely what they ought to be against the uneven pitching found in the winter leagues. Sadly, the latter part of that caveat should also apply to Goodwin, even if it seems fairly obvious that the Nats may only value him as a trade chip at this point.

Enjoy your New Year’s Eve and stay safe. See you in 2016.

Finally Some Minor-League Signs

minor leagues signs 2
After nearly three weeks, BA has finally issued a transactions post. Some of the names have been previously reported, but for the sake of discussion, I will re-post them:

RHPs: Tim Alderson, Nick Masset, Andrew Robinson, Sam Runion, Stephen Shackleford, Jon Velasquez
LHP: Aaron Laffey
C: Brian Jeroloman
1B: Marquez Smith
UT: Cutter Dykstra
OF: Zach Collier

I’ve hyperlinked the “new guys” so folks can look them up (and because time is short this morning).

Most of these FAs will fill out the rosters of Harrisburg or Syracuse; it’s folly to project to one destination or the other because GM Mike Rizzo seems to plug and play these types on an as-needed basis. But I know that won’t stop some of you from trying 😉

The 2016 Watchlist

2016 WatchlistOK, fine. So it’s a little late this year—but it’s here.

Part of this is that I was waiting to see if a trade would be made that might [mess] things up, but with the spate of FA signings that seems to be highlighted by Daniel “not bad just unlucky on defense” Murphy, that seems less likely.

Thus, I present the sixth annual watchlist. These are the folks that we’re paying a bit more attention to than the others for a variety of reasons. I am quite well aware that more than a few of them are only considered prospects in our little bubble, but I’ve never denied that there’s a fan component to this site (pro tip: check the tagline above).

Now is when we dance for the caveats…

It’s not a depth chart – Players are listed primarily by the highest level they’ve played. This mostly applies to the pitchers and outfielders, but it’s unwise to assume that the player at the top of the list is better than the guy at the bottom.

It’s not a prediction of usage – In the early iterations, I listed pitchers by whether they started or relieved. Now, I simply list them by right or left, which works until the Nats draft the next Pat Venditte. Some players could be listed elsewhere, but let’s not forget that positions changes are kind of commonplace.

It’s not fair – You may notice some names have been dropped and/or shuffled around since the preliminary list was released. This is when and where you find out if my mind has been changed. It happens.

You can see that I’ve already added it to the tab above, but I’ll repeat it below to save you a click. Over the next few weeks, I’ll work on the player capsules and hyperlink the category pages when I’m done.

In the meantime, feel free discuss in the comments (or make corrections; remember who’s my copyeditor).

C 1B 2B SS 3B OF
Severino Skole Difo Turner
Ward Ballou
Kieboom Marmolejos-Diaz Bostick Abreu Gutierrez Bautista
Read Kerian Mejia Lora Franco E. Martinez
Tillero Ortiz Dulin
Schrock Keller
RHPs LHPs DSL Bats DSL Arms Notable Arms
Notable Bats
Cole Grace Corredor Avila Br. Harper Goodwin
Giolito N. Lee
Perdomo Peguero Bacus Mesa
Voth Bach Ventura Y. Ramirez J. Rodriguez Wiseman
Guilbeau Medina Chu
Baez Reetz
De Los Santos Hearn Evangelista
Duran Serrata
Mapes Borne
R. Lopez Watson
A. Williams
P. Valdez
A. Lee

Player Name = Traded or released
Player Name = Graduated from prospect status
Player Name = On the 40-man roster

Happy Holidays

Wut doo yu meen thair for Santuh?

The weather sure doesn’t seem like it, but it’s almost time for the final Friday of December, which is Christmas for some, December 25th to others, and a day off for most people outside of the retail and restaurant industries.

As I’ve done the past few years, my post-solstice wish is that by the time you read this, you’ve checked off everything on your list, have arrived at your preferred place to be, and can spend time with folks who you want to be with (and, ideally, vice-versa ;-).

Be happy, stay safe, and be grateful. Regardless of your religion or your beliefs, it’s a sentiment that applies to everyone, everywhere no matter what the season.

All Quiet on the Minor-League Front

No, we haven’t gone dark… there’s just not much going on right now.

Like some of you have noted in the comments, there’s the wondering how the Nats farm will be tilled to fulfill the proposed trade for Brandon Phillips. If you want some amusement, take a look at the philistine commenting about the delay being about DC. Thankfully, he or she is getting piled on like the plates at a holiday buffet.

The hope here is that the trade will have a domino effect and will start the process of signing minor-league free agents, which has been noticeably slower this year, Bill “The Rocket” Ladson’s story this week notwithstanding. (Thanks for “ruining” the next BA post on transactions, Bill 😉

With that I return you to you families and/or loved ones on what retailers refer to as “Super Saturday.”

The Top 10 Pitchers


For the fourth straight, Lucas Giolito snagged the top spot in this (quite) unscientific poll for the fourth straight year and was the unanimous choice for the second. With that suspense ruined….

  1. Lucas Giolito
  2. Reynaldo Lopez
  3. Erick Fedde
  4. Austin Voth
  5. A.J. Cole
  6. Austen Williams
  7. Koda Glover
  8. John Simms
  9. Andrew Lee
  10. Abel De Los Santos

Others receiving votes: Taylor Hearn, Phillips Valdez, Nick Lee, Mariano Rivera, Tyler Mapes, Dakota Bacus, Jefry Rodriguez, Tyler Watson, Maximo Valerio, Robbie Dickey, Joan Baez, Sammy Solis, Rafael Martin

Now, for the thoughts, as threat…er, promised:

• If the only questions regarding Giolito are his health and service time, then expect a Strasburg-esque recall from the minors in June. It’s not like Rizzo could have been just playing to the crowd with the recent “invite to spring training” comments.

• Despite a 2015 that paled in comparison to 2014, Reynaldo Lopez’s stock did not drop. Then again, it’s not like the Nats have an abundance of younger-than-the-level pitchers with his potential, either.

• Erick Fedde moved up, with perhaps a lot of folks hoping for his 2015 to equal Giolito’s 2013, which would mean a breakout 2016.

• Austin Voth held steady at #4 despite a strong showing (2.92/3.07/1.11) for a weak Harrisburg team and winning the 2015 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award.

• A.J. Cole, who turns 24 next month, might be suffering from prospect fatigue, not to mention less-than-stellar results when he was called up.

• Austen Williams was the last of the on-every-ballot pitchers… as we often lament, after the first few, it’s a free-for-all (freefall?)

Sadly, we’re now at the point of the offsesason where it’s waiting for trades and transactions, both of which have been sparse [insert Billy Beane lost his cellphone joke here]. As per usual, feel free to discuss in the comments.

Vote For Your Favorite Arms

With the winter meetings over, a “meh” Rule 5 draft (unless you dig de facto FA signings), and a trade not with the A’s, we shift to the follow-up to the favorite Nats bats: The favorite Nats arms.

As in previous polls, send your Top 10 list to enfieldmass-top10arms[at]yahoo[dot]com (link will open your preferred email client) or post them in the comments.

As we just did, I’ll tally the votes, weighting them in reverse order (#1 = 10 points, #2 = 9 points… #9 = 2 points, #10 = 1 point) and then post the results along with the requisite comments and/or snark.

Just a reminder: Joe Ross has exhausted his rookie status is therefore no longer a prospect. Likewise for newly acquired Trevor Gott. Folks with a southpaw fetish can vote for both Sammy Solis and Matt Grace, but both will enter 2016 at the age of 27 and wouldn’t be considered a prospect in most organizations.

It pains me to write that, but I’ve been doing this long enough to know that pitchers often elicit emotions that cloud rational judgment. I’ll leave it at that rather than rant about recent examples or even old ones (*cough* Chad Cordero *cough*).

As always, feel free to discuss in the comments… but keep it civil and focused on what they do on the mound. The players, their friends and families, and their agents are reading along, too.

The Top 10 Position Players

The trend of a consensus on a handful then free-for-all returns with the latest iteration of the Top 10 Position Players list.

This year 21 players were named on 10 ballots (including mine). It was 24 a couple of years ago but only 15 last year.

The top two picks were either #1 or #2 in nine of the 10 ballots, as was the #1 pick. Without further ado, ze list:

  1. Trea Turner
  2. Victor Robles
  3. Wilmer Difo
  4. Anderson Franco
  5. Andrew Stevenson
  6. Christopher Bostick
  7. Pedro Severino
  8. Rafael Bautista
  9. Osvaldo Abreu
  10. Spencer Kieboom

Others receiving votes: Brian Goodwin, Drew Ward, Jose “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz, Isaac Ballou, Blake Perkins, Jakson Reetz, Rhett Wiseman, Telmito Agustin, Max Schrock, Bryan Mejia, Matt Skole

My prediction that half the names from last year’s Top 10 would be gone proved to be true, though just two could be attributed to trade (Steve Souza) and graduation (Michael Taylor). It would be difficult to characterize the disappearance of last years nos. 4-7 (Drew Ward, Jakson Reetz, Brian Goodwin, and Matt Skole) as anything other than disappointment with their 2015 seasons.

One other interesting trend that ought to be obvious: the Dominican pipeline seems to be producing more interesting players (6 of the Top 10, 8 of the twenty) than the domestic draft.

Next up: The pitchers, which I suspect will be a similar case of three or four that everybody agrees on… then a lament of the lack of lefties… and then complaints about age…

Vote For Your Favorite Bats

Well, it’s that’s time of the offseason where I turn to my readers to help generate pageviews fill the void of the offseason, which seems slower than usual this year.

For the folks who aren’t familiar – or have forgotten – here’s the deal: Send me your Top 10 list of minor-league position players (40-man guys are eligible as long as they have rookie status) to enfieldmass-top10bats[at]yahoo[dot]com (link will open your preferred email client) or submit them in comments.

I’ll compile the votes and weight them in reverse order (#1 = 10 points, #2 = 9 points… #9 = 2 points, #10 = 1 point). When it feels like I’ve got a sizable number of submissions, I’ll update this post to let people know I’ve ready to write the “Top 10” post.

This will create the sixth annual Top 10 Bats list. A reminder: “Bat” is a term I use as shorthand for position player. This is not to diminish the meaning of defense, though I caution folks to infer too much from defensive stats.

Raudy Read, recently featured by Byron Kerr, is a good example. On virtual paper, his .993FA and 37% CS rate look good. After seeing him those five games at Potomac, I’m trying to figure out how he only had 22 passed balls (aside from bad official scoring, natch).

Anyway, please factor in defense, which I suspect many of you will be since offense was hard to find this past summer. The theory is that collectively we’ll put together a better list than any one of us can (or at least me).

But more importantly, I’m hoping to bide the time and reinforce this community until the Winter Meetings, which begin today in Nashville, get into gear.

UPDATE: I’m calling and will post the Top 10 shortly.

Nationals Announce 2016 Farm Managers, Coaches

Things have been slow on the minor-league front, but yesterday we got news on who the coaches will be for 2016:

Manager – Billy Gardner, Jr. (returning)
Pitching Coach – Bob Milacki (returning)
Hitting Coach – Brian Daubach (reassigned from Harrisburg)

Manager – Matthew LeCroy (reassigned from Washington)
Pitching Coach – Chris Michalak (returning)
Hitting Coach – Brian Rupp (promoted from Potomac)

Manager – Tripp Keister (returning)
Pitching Coach – Franklin Bravo (returning)
Hitting Coach – Luis Ordaz (promoted from Hagerstown)

Manager – Patrick Anderson (returning)
Pitching Coach – Sam Narron (returning)
Hitting Coach – Amaury Garcia (promoted from Auburn)

Manager – Jerad Head (Coach at GCL in 2015)
Pitching Coach – Tim Redding (returning)
Hitting Coach – Mark Harris (reassigned from Harrisburg)

Manager – Josh Johnson (new hire)
Pitching coach – Michael Tejera (returning)
Hitting coach -Jorge Mejia (returning)

Manager – Sandy Martinez (returning)
Pitching Coach – Pablo Frias (returning)
Hitting Coach – Jose Herrera (returning)

This may sound odd, but I think there’s something to the lack of a massive “reorg.” The Nationals claimed they wanted continuity with their longtime coaches when they sent Matt Williams and his staff packing in October. With just one new hire to the primary trio of managers and coaches — longtime minor-leaguer Josh Johnson, who spent six of his 12 seasons with the Nationals — we’re seeing the action that backs up those words.