AFL Update: Nov. 3, 2017

Former National Sheldon Neuse capped off a see-saw battle with a two-run, walkoff homer in the bottom of the 10th to give Mesa an 8-6 win over Surprise.

Just two Nationals got into yesterday’s game.

Kelvin Gutierrez (pictured) remains red-hot since his return from a hand injury as he singled, homered, walked, and scored two runs. He had two assists and caught a foul pop while playing third base.

Daniel Johnson’s cool-down continues with another 0-for-4 effort. He fielded seven balls hit to him in left field and had three putouts on defense.

The first-place Solar Sox visit the second-place Scorpions with a chance to open up a 2½ game lead.

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.

12 thoughts on “AFL Update: Nov. 3, 2017”

  1. Luke, based on what you’ve seen of Gutierrez at Potomac, do you think a good AFL is enough to get him promoted to AA, or would he still benefit from more time at A+ since 2018 will only be his age-23 season and since he’s only gotten 68 games at A+ over two years? Not counting the AFL, he only has seven pro homers in nearly 1,500 plate appearances, with career SLG only .387. He’s GOT to develop power to play a corner position. Is he more likely to find that power in Woodbridge or in Harrisburg?

    The other factor is that Drew Ward is at 3B at Harrisburg and clearly isn’t ready to move up. I guess I would guess that Ward stays there and Gutierrez at least starts at Potomac.

      1. Franco’s Hags slash line of .201/.272/.348 doesn’t indicate a readiness for advancement. He just turned 20, so there’s no rush with him. Gutierrez is three years older, so there’s more urgency with him.

        I’m more curious about whether the Nats will push Kieboom — less than a month’s age difference with Franco — on to Potomac to start the season. I assume they will keep Kieboom at SS as long as they can, but his future ticket is 3B. Antuna may be headed for 3B as well, or a corner OF spot. Lots of potential 3Bs in the mix right now . . . and a potential opening there at the MLB level after two more seasons.

        1. KelvinG hitting in Phoenix reminds us about the difference in raking in west coast elevations compared to east coast climates
          KW. You mentioned previously the Kieboom pairing with maybe Freeman , who could also play some outfield in a pinch

          1. Stevenson in 2016 AFL: .353/.417/.518

            Stevenson in 2017 AA/AAA: .272/.326/.344

            Don’t believe everything you see in the desert.

            Cole Freeman: I have no idea where they start him. I would guess Hags since he has no pro experience. He’s basically the same age as Gutierrez, so getting a late start. He’s got to be in a full-season league at that age, right? You would think they hope he can make Potomac in 2018. Might be ambitious to think he would climb all the way to AA with no previous pro experience. He does have good plate discipline, with more walks than Ks in both years at LSU.

    1. I don’t see anyone blocking him at Harrisburg, but I’m pessimistic about just about everyone above Low-A except Robles. Ward is another one who needs to start hitting for power especially now that he’s officially in “Billy Rowell” territory.

  2. I say get every kid to Harrisburg
    and away from A plus amnesia .
    LeCroy can use every RH bat in that lefty leaning Sens potential lineup.
    Use Read and Reetz as 1b/DH more often with other catchers catching

    1. No Rhineharting! If by every “kid” you mean the greybeards Potomac was fielding this season (Davidson, Sagal, Masters, Carey, et al), then that’s OK. But there’s no reason to rush Kieboom/Soto/Romero through Potomac. It has been a significant step for a lot of players, from Taylor and Souza to Giolito and Lopez, not to mention many other lesser lights. All four of those guys struggled there. I was surprised at how long the Nats left Robles at Potomac this season, but there were reasons, and he left with his game significantly improved than from where it was when he arrived in 2016.

  3. Suero added to 40-man. I think he would have been Rule 5-eligible, so seems like a no-brainer. As of today, 12 Nats are officially free agents, with few if any likely to return, at least on MLB deals.

    1. With Suero and with the five 60-day DL guys who have to be restored, I count 35 on the Nats’ 40-man. I think they have to add Rule 5-eligible guys by Nov. 20. Luke usually does a rundown of the guys moving into Rule 5 territory if he has time.

      The most vulnerable for DFA on the 40-man would probably be Voth, although you wouldn’t think they will start filling up to the level where that has to be considered until January or so.

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