The Notable Arms returns after being combined with the bats last year, but the principle remains the same: these are the folks that don’t quite merit full inclusion but are still noteworthy. The only rule is that pitchers can’t be here in consecutive years – either they play their way back to their respective category (RHP or LHP) or they fall off the list.
Here’s the 2016 crew…
I debated reversing myself on this decision while writing the capsules. But then I decided that in a system bereft of hard-throwing lefties, and a game that’s actually proud of its nepotism, Harper could easily find himself alongside his little brother one day in D.C.
Bacus was a 2014 notable and pitched at three levels in 2015, and had a decent showing in the Arizona Fall League. He’ll be 25 in April and could be in either Harrisburg or Syracuse, starting or relieving.
Rodriguez was the next big thing in the 2014-15 offseason, as the Nats brass touted his high-90s heat and downplayed that he had struggled in Low-A. He was sent back to Hagerstown in late April and (*gasp*) struggled again and was sent to Auburn as soon as the NYPL started up. When I saw him in late August, he was only hitting the low-90s, but seemed more in control.
Baez was a 2015 DSL Guy who’d dominated there and was mediocre in the GCL, albeit he was 19 and made just four appearances. Nevertheless, the Nats sent him to Low-A and was knocked around. SSDL with Auburn until he was sent back to the GCL and found his footing, then returned to the NYPL for one not-so-good outing and one very good outing in the first week of September.
Crownover was pounded in his first three appearances for Auburn, but recovered to reduce his ERA to under 4.00 and a WHIP to 1.17, which was under the league average of 1.30. He’s already had the requisite TJ surgery (2012) but is considered a “pitchability lefty” who will be used as a starter unless he adds more velo or develops a plus curve.
Usually converts to pitching take awhile to develop (see above) but the 21-y.o. former catcher put up numbers that rivaled his always-been-pitcher peers: 1.80/3.26/1.35 in 20 innings and 11 appearances. Sure, it’s a small sample size, but it is unusual, too.