Wednesday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 6-3 @ Buffalo,
6:05 p.m.
J. Ross (1-2, 6.10) vs.
House (4-2, 2.38)
Harrisburg Lost, 6-4 vs. Bowie,
6:35 p.m.
TBD vs.
Hess (5-1, 3.49)
Potomac Won, 10-0 vs. Wilmington,
7:05 p.m.
Crownover (3-0, 1.33) vs.
Puckett (3-3, 4.25)
Hagerstown Won, 6-3 OFF DAY N/A

Buffalo 6 Syracuse 3
• McGowin 6IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 3K, HR, HBP
• Grace (L, 0-3) 1+ IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 0BB, 2K, HBP
• Green 2-4, RBI
• Ramsey 1-3, BB

Another day, another bullpen [foul]up as Buffalo struck three times in the 8th en route to a 6-3 win over Syracuse. Matt Grace pitched to five batters in the 8th and failed to retire any of them as he was charged with the final three runs on four hits and a walk over an inning-plus. Kyle McGowin got the start and allowed three runs on five hits and no walks while striking out three. Grant Green led the Chiefs’ six-hit offense with two singles.

Bowie 6 Harrisburg 4
• Long (L, 3-4) 3IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, BB, K, HBP
• Fedde 1IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 2K
• Ward 2-3, R, 2B, BB, 2RBI
• Read 2-3, BB

The Baysox knocked out Jaron Long after three and took a 5-0 lead. The Sens rallied for four in the 4th but couldn’t get any closer in a 6-4 loss. Long was strafed for eight hits and gave up a walk while losing his fourth game. Erick Fedde was dinged for a run on a hit and a walk in his sole inning of work. Raudy Ready and Drew Ward both went 2-for-3 with a walk as Harrisburg left on nine men while collecting ten hits and three walks total. Roster move: RHPs Mark Blackmar, Jake Johansen released; RHP Phillips Valdez placed on the 7-Day DL; RHPs Andrew Robinson, Derek Eitel, and C Nick Rickles assigned from XST.

Potomac 10 Wilmington 0
• Reyes (W, 3-5) 6⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 7K
• Borne (SV, 2) 2⅔ IP, 4H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Gushue 1-2, 2R, 3BB, HR, 3RBI
• Mejia 2-4, 3B, HR, 3RBI
• Robles 2-5, 2R

Two Potomac pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout while three hitters homers for a 10-0 shutout of Wilmington. Luis Reyes pitched into the 7th for the first time this season, with just one hit and walk allowed while fanning seven. Grant Borne finished the game, working out of a bases-loaded jam in the 8th and allowing four hits and a walk while earning his second save. Taylor Gushue, Bryan Mejia, and Austin Davidson each homered as the P-Nats bashed ten hits and drew eight walks total. Roster move: RHP Jefry Rodriguez placed on the restricted list.

Hagerstown 6 Asheville 3
• C. Pena (W, 2-2) 6IP, 3H, R, ER, BB, 3K
• Johnson 2-4, R, 2B, CS
• Noll 1-3, 2R, BB, HR, 2RBI
• Franco 1-4, R, HR, 2RBI

Anderson Franco’s two-run HR capped off a three-run 6th as the Suns doubled up the Tourists, 6-3 in the series finale. Carlos Pena evened up his won-loss record at 2-2 with six innings of one-run ball on three hits and a walk while setting down three on strikes. Hayden Howard and Kyle Simond both gave up a run over final three innings. Jake Noll also went deep while scoring two and driving in two to lead the Hagerstown attack.

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.

27 thoughts on “Wednesday’s News & Notes”

  1. Babe Gushue strikes again! His streak is sort of like Ryan Zimmerman’s: I don’t completely believe what I’m seeing, but I don’t want it to end, either.

    And farewell to Jake Johansen, yet another in a long line of second rounders who have struggled. In hindsight, he was probably overdrafted, particularly if there were questions from the very beginning whether he could stick as a starter. He certainly got plenty of chances, though. Best wishes to him. With a high-90s heater, he may get another look in another organization, if he still wants to keep chasing the dream.

    The Fedde relief appearance seems to be stoking lots of speculation that the big club might be priming him for its ailing bullpen. I said yesterday that I’d be surprised if they called him up before the Super Two date in mid-June, but now I’m not so sure.

    1. I’d be completely baffled if Fedde is the one who gets converted to the bullpen. It’s so bleedingly obvious that Cole and maybe even Voth should be moved to relief. But to convert our top pitching prospect, when we’ve got a pretty glaring hole already in the #5 spot, would be astoundingly stupid.

      We’re plugging one hole just to create another one….

      That Eaton trade is looking worse by the day.

      1. Several teams have a tradition of bringing up top prospects to pitch in relief and later moving them back to starting, the Cards chief among them. I don’t see this as the Nats giving up on Fedde as a starter at all; rather, I would guess the thinking is that he’s the best arm they’ve got in the upper minors.

        I do agree that Cole is overdue for a move to the ‘pen. With Voth, I have no idea why they’ve been reluctant to at least give him an MLB look, other than that he doesn’t throw that hard.

        1. That would be fine if we had a settled 5 man rotation. But with the 5th spot a big mystery, we should keep Fedde in the equation.

          Since Cole and Voth have both done their best to pitch their way out of it, they should be given a shot at the bullpen.

          Instead, it’s the other way around. It makes little-to-no sense.

    2. Agreed. Johansen had at least 9 lives, it was amazing that he lasted as long as he did.

      Gushue has gone from who? to hitting stud. He never hit this well before.

    3. In terms of the Nats drafts; they certainly do seem to be a bit snakebit in the second round in particular.

      Trivia / research question – who’s been the Nat’s most successful second round draft pick?

        1. Thanks KW – I’d forgotten about Zimm – how quickly they forget, eh? From the look of it, I don’t think Detroit has quite got the same pitcher that we had – I hope he recovers his form.

          From your link, I hadn’t realised that Tony Renda had made it to the Show – even if he is an alum now rather than “one of our own”, he still deserves an ‘attaboy’….

        2. Don’t forget Expos had Javey Vasquez Livian and his brother O
          In one staff before O went on to
          Yankees
          Awaiting the arrival of the kid claimed off waivers from White Sox at Harrisburg ( the kid White Sox claimed from Oakland for Dunn)

  2. Could be wrong, but I don’t think Fedde is being converted into a reliever. He is still on an innings limit from TJ surgery, and the Nats will likely need Fedde as a starter at some point this Summer. They don’t want Fedde burning innings in AA when the Nats might need those innings later this season on the MLB level. This move is akin to when the Nats didn’t pitch Giolito until May in 2015. They have an innings limit in mind for Fedde, and they want the option of using him in August and September in DC.

    1. Good point about Fedde’s innings limit, which I would guess will be in the 140-150 range. Joe Ross’s innings will be limited as well, although it’s hard to guess at what that number will be since he lost so much time to injury last year.

    2. I hope so. But I don’t think the Nationals subscribe to the annual incremental 30 innings workload rule that some have professed. Fedde, himself, went from 64 IP in 2015 to 121 IP in 2016, a 57 IP increase. A similar increase this year, would put him right on target for roughly a full season (and even some RP appearances for the postseason if necessary) with 180 IP, aka 30 starts at 6 IP/start.

      1. Oh, I do think the Nats do try to limit innings increases to no more than 20-25% per year, whether on TJ’d arms or not. We saw it last year with Giolito and Lopez, and Ross got shut down in 2015. Part of our “problem” is that we don’t have records of the innings in the spring and in the instructional league in the fall, so we don’t have a full accounting of the innings by which they’re calculating.

    1. I’d prefer college bats with the early picks. Go scout Keston Hiura at UC-Irvine for us. His profile makes me think of Rendon (although Rendon hit a lot more HRs at Rice before the change in college bats).

        1. Hiura’s gotten the plasma injections trying to stave off a TJ. Sounds like a typical Rizzo draftee! By all accounts, he’s an elite hitter. Rendon was pretty much a DH his junior season as well.

  3. The disappointments on the pitching side are considerable. I think we will see that reflected in the drafting strategy come June. And if a pitcher who is a close to the majors college product is there at #25, I can see the Nats going that route. Lange from LSU was the kind of pitcher who profiles as a faster riser if he is slotted as a closer.

    With players like Johansen being cleared away, Giolito, Lopez, Dunning, Avila (and Hearn) traded, Mapes on the DL, others like Hill, Martin, Gott seemingly falling off, the best of prospects like Voth whiffing on their chance, the upper level cupboard is pretty bare, and upward mobility just took another hit with Rodriguez getting a PED suspension. Even the lower minors have showed disappointing progress among promising arms, such as Baez and Weston Davis.

    Lots of position players came into the system last summer on the international side. I think that spells a real pitching heavy draft, and I can see the Nats going heavy college to increase signability and then, going aggressive to reel in a Tyler Watson type in a late round.

    The most frustrating news on the minor league front has been the degree of underperformance of the second highest tier prospects in the system — and the two higher rated who have overperformed, Soto and Kieboom, are now injured. AARGH.

    Wire to wire, the most interesting positive development not yet injured has been Taylor Gushue. The continued maturing of Edwin Lora and the emergence of Daniel Johnson are other great developments, and to a lesser degree the growth of Blake Perkins and McKenzie Mills. But the disappointments are many, and there may be more nagging injuries than we know.

    1. Kieboom has a pulled hammy that he tried to play through, and Soto has a sprained ankle from a slide into home. BFD. Both will be back soon. Neither injury is a long-term concern.

      Seems to me that the Nats draft philosophy is to select the best available player and rather than draft based upon organizational need. Would guess that they will stay on that track. Last year, pitching depth was a strength in the organization, yet they still drafted Dunning very high. Think they will stick with that philosophy so that long-term value rather than let positional need will dictate who they choose. Also, if there is an available player who they feel can be special, they can always draft and trade him to fill a need (like the Nats did with Dunning) rather than draft a weaker player at a position of need simply hoping he will develop.

    2. The Nats have almost always gone for college players in the first round. Giolito was the only previous exception in the Rizzo era until last year. The last draft was supposed to be very HS-heavy, the Nats had an “in” with the Kieboom family, and they also had another first-round pick to use on a college pitcher. The third round has been their sweet spot to go after high schoolers, including Luzardo, Reetz, and Ward. Perkins was a late-second pick.

      Anyway, with thinness in the upper minors and with a lot of money spent on Latin youngsters, I expect them to be looking back to college kids in at least the first couple of rounds this year. I feel good about the mass of young arms at Hagerstown so would prefer a bat over an arm, but I also understand that college pitchers are often more easily “projectable” than college hitters, particularly concerning power. I don’t know that Haseley or Burger will fall all the way to #25, which gets us to Hiura. But I wouldn’t mind someone like Lange. You generally know what you’re getting with an SEC pitcher.

  4. Blanton to the DL, Grace re-re-recalled. On first blush, I go “why don’t they try someone else?” Cotts or Nathan would require 40-man moves, though, and couldn’t be optioned. Adams might have been the best bet from guys already on the 40-man, but he’s on the DL. So that leaves Gott and Martin. Neither has been great, but both have been better than Grace by most measures.

  5. Dan Kolko just said that according to Rizzo, the move of Fedde to the bullpen was both to manage his innings and to get him ready to possibly work out of the ‘pen with the big club. But they’re not giving up on him as a starter.

    Meanwhile, Rizzo said there are no plans to move Joe Ross to the bullpen.

    Thus far, Jacob Turner is looking fantastic tonight for the big club, albeit against a team that is struggling to hit much.

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