Nats Sweep Split-Squad Games on Sunday

Defeat Tigers, 6-2; Mets, 7-3

After a slow start, the Nats extended their win streak to five with a pair of wins on Sunday – 6-2 over the Tigers, 7-3 over the Mets.

Washington 6 Detroit 2
Gio Gonzalez was less than stellar (3IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 1K) but the ‘pen threw six shutout innings while the offense pounded out six runs on nine hits and five walks.

Here’s how the Watchlist players performed:
   ●   Victor Robles started in CF but went 0-for-3 with two K’s.
   ●   Andrew Stevenson started in LF and was 0-for-3 with one whiff and an OF assist.
   ●   Wander Suero struck out the side while working around a hit in the 8th.
   ●   Juan Soto subbed for Bryce Harper in RF but was 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
   ●   Drew Ward followed Anthony Rendon at 3B and was 0-for-1.
   ●   Taylor Gushue took over behind the plate for Matt Wieters and fanned in his lone PA.
   ●   Carter Kieboom doubled in his only AB as the pinch-hitter for DH Miguel Montero.
   ●   Blake Perkins was the second CF and grounded out for the second out in the 8th.

Nationals 7 Mets 3
The Nats put this one away early as they knocked Steven Matz from the box with a five-run 1st and cruised to a 7-3 win over the Mets. Edwin Jackson was serviceable, allowing a run on a home run and two hits total with no walks and three strikeouts over three innings.

Likewise, another summary of the Watchlist players’ production:
   ●   Kelvin Gutierrez started at 3B and went 1-for-2 with an RBI on a sacrifice fly.
   ●   Pedro Severino started at C and was 2-for-3 with a two RBI and a run scored.
   ●   Rafael Bautista started in RF and went 1-for-3 with RBI single.
   ●   Luis Garcia singled in the 9th as the second 2B after Wilmer Difo.
   ●   Osvaldo Abreu subbed for Trea Turner at SS but went hitless in two at-bats.
   ●   Jose Marmolejos tooke over 1B from Chris Dominguez and whiffed in his only AB.
   ●   Daniel Johnson followed Bautista in RF and drew a walk, but got picked off first base.
   ●   Yasel Antuna struck out while pinch-hitting for starting DH Spencer Kieboom
   ●   Jefry Rodriguez retired the side in order for a 1-2-3 eighth inning.

The Nats send just a single squad (well, some of them are married, but you know what I mean) to Jupiter, FL to visit the Cardinals on Monday. Tanner Roark is expected to make his third start.

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.

15 thoughts on “Nats Sweep Split-Squad Games on Sunday”

  1. On quick count, the Nats used 48 players today, even guys that you’d have to be a devoted follower of this site to know, like Sagdal and Esthay (Jeff’s favorite player?). I believe this was the spring big-league-game debut for Soto, C. Kieboom, Antuna, and Garcia. That’s a lot of hope for the Nats’ future right there, along with Robles.

    The only quibble: the Harper brothers and the Kieboom brothers were at two different locations.

  2. I wanted to follow up on some of forensicane’s follow-up comments a few days ago.

    Noll — I mostly agree with what you say, and he’ll turn 24 before the 2018 season . . . but he did hit 17 HRs in 2017, which is 10 more than Gutierrez has hit in his entire minor-league career. I find him at least a little intriguing in a power-starved organization. His .304 OBP across two levels in 2017 is a red flag, though. Curiously, he doesn’t strike out that much but has had terrible BABIP “luck.”

    Ward — Held his own at AA at age 22. He didn’t thrive, but he didn’t sink, either. He still had a lot of K’s, but also 55 walks. He’s actually three months younger than Gutierrez, a level ahead of him, and has more power. Am I a true believer in Ward? No. But I haven’t given up on him, either.

    Senior — Stopped playing at GCL because of injury. Had insane JUCO stats, including 91 RBIs in only 58 games. I’m sure he’s raw, but so was/is Daniel Johnson.

    Suero and Adams — If you could combine Suero’s effectiveness with Adams’ power, and make both of them three or four years younger . . . To me, Adams definitely has a shot to stick with the big club at some point if he can ever get a handle on the walks. Suero gets guys out, but his profile strikes me as similar to that of Rafael Martin. Neither should be considered a “prospect” because of age, but that doesn’t mean that either/both don’t still have a chance to pitch for several years in the majors.

    Antuna — His bat will carry him a long way, even if he ends up in the OF. He led the GCL team with 23 walks at age 17. I’m very interested to see if Antuna and Garcia get pushed to Hags.

    Crowe — He was a risk worth taking at the spot where he was drafted. I’m not too worried about his lack of dominance in his pro outings as he was at the end of his first season back from TJ. He’s already 23, though, so the clock will be ticking fast for him. He’s basically got two years to make it.

    Freeman — The next Renda, albeit with more speed.

    1. Speaking of Freeman, what’s the heck is going on with him?

      Nothing on his active social media accounts suggest he’s reported to camp. (He was apparently in New Orleans three days ago).

      Is he actually injured? And did we actually nearly pay slot ($340k of $390k) or well under ($150k)? Different sources are reporting radically different numbers. Even $150k seems rather high for a player that is apparently no where near returning from injury.

      1. Minor-league camp doesn’t start until this week–the guys already in Fla. are in accelerated camp. I was waiting for either the BA book or MLB Pipeline to detail what the injury was, but no such luck.

        I tend to doubt he wasn’t injured, but have to wonder what it was that would keep him from playing *and* not affect his primary tool (speed). It’s a sad commentary on the Nationals that we learn more from social media than the traditional media about these kind of things.

      2. I have been scratching my head over the Freeman pick ever since the Nats made it. The only way I saw for it to make sense was if he would sign for significantly under slot and they could use the money elsewhere.

        I don’t mean this as a knock on Freeman. He looks like a quality player who can bring the polish of a top college program to the system. He could be a great influence on young INFs like Antuna, Garcia, Sanchez, and Kieboom. That said, Freeman’s profile struck me as that of someone who could/should be taken beyond the first 10 rounds. He was a college senior with no leverage. He has no power and seems position-limited to 2B, much like Renda. He does get on base and run well, much like Renda. Renda showed significantly more gap power in college than Freeman did, though. (And yes, I know that Renda was a 2d-round pick. Another mystery of the universe.) FWIW, Renda made The Show, albeit very marginally. I would think Freeman has a similar ceiling.

        Freeman is already 23, though, turning 24 at the end of the summer. By age 23, Renda was spending a full season at Potomac, after spending a full season at 22 at Hagerstown. Freeman will be >23.5 when he plays his first pro game. To put it in perspective, Freeman is a month younger than Gutierrez and two months older than Ward.

    2. Suero’s ceiling is certainly higher than Matrin’s given that the latter didn’t even throw his first professional pitch in the U.S. until he was 25. He would seem to be more in the category of Saul Rivera, another late bloomer who spent 8 seasons in the minors before enjoying several pretty decent seasons as an innings gobbling middle reliever. If the Nats could get production from Suero similar to what they got from Rivera from 2006-08, I’d bet they’d take it.

      1. Let’s start with the premise that we really don’t know anything about players who who have not yet played. We know nothing about them at all. That encompasses Freeman, Senior, and someone even better thought of at the time, Anthony Peroni. I was excited about Peroni as much as Senior. But then, Jeff Gardner was a serious college performer who went nowhere. So I am reiterating that all three may have something to offer, but until they contribute on the field, they have no more relevance to a prospect list than the 2017 international bonus baby the Nats signed who Baseball America liked.

        Now a few other points –Martin is not Suero. Martin is a player who, after injury, somehow developed a spectacular spin on his pitches that increased his effectiveness. Suero is a converted starter who is relying on a maturing changeup. Age is eminently overrated when compared to ascent and rate of ascent. What is to quibble with Suero’s performance across two levels last year, levels he reached for the first time? (What’s to quibble with how Yadiel Hernandez blew up at the end of his first year in the pros, after a layoff, in a new culture? I’m a big fan of his and you all should be too – at 200K.)

        As for Adams, command is something one refines, or does not. Command is a byproduct of maturity. To suggest that one stops maturing at age 26 or even 28 defies developmental understanding (as well as the trajectory of Tanner Roark).

        As for Freeman, the guy is a winner and can hit and has intangibles and comes out of a great program pedigree. People who are power obsessed need only look at Jose Altuve and our own Daniel Johnson (who is definitely shorter than 5’10) to recognize that power is not everything, but the RIGHT hitter in a small package can add enough over the fence power to elevate his potential. That is exactly what I alluded to in my comment about Stevenson. And he homered yesterday with an impressive piece of hitting into the wind, opposite field. Comparisons to Renda are as wrong as likening players because they are both Dominican.

        KW, you raise an interesting point about the pushing. I would expect Garcia to go to Hagerstown. Because he showed that he can and no one from the 2017 split season team deserves that chance more. As for Antuna, if he does not go, it’s because of his glove, and that is precisely why he needs to round out his skills to get more helium with me. Hey, I still have him in the top-20; but it is entirely for what he showed, stateside, at a tender age. Not because one can reasonably expect his game to translate fully at higher levels. He’s still facing 18 year olds in the GCL.

        Crowe – Hey, he’s a prospect. Now let him show what he has to illustrate how his game translates. Robbie Dickey was pretty impressive in college, too.

        Seth Romero – We all want the same thing, so I will not needle you about how all the “pundits,” really know less than all of us but have access to scouts who tell them what to think. Until he can stay on the field, he is a ghost.

        Noll – He’s on the list. There are others who are not that I want to like (Carlos Acevedo,
        Gilberto Chu).

        Ward – he’s still there, but it’s his third rodeo. Again, age is overrated – at both ends.

    1. I’m enjoying the comparisons to Steven Souza, who some think has grown up — there is evidence to the contrary — and now it’s come out in a recent story on the Athletic that he was so disliked that when his girlfriend cheated on him with a teammate, nobody felt sorry for him.

  3. One of the many essential problems with sports “journalism” is that writers from places like the Athletic, who have to pay to get laid, think it’s newsworthy to humiliate someone (Souza) whose public face is and should be limited to what he does between the lines. Again, because they can only sniff the jock but not be the jock.

    1. Wow. Someone here forgot the guy who writes this site is a former sports writer, a two-time J school grad (also has a degree in History, which he earned with cum laude honors), and has set foot in a news room, locker room, and the gym. He’s been married 22 years, so he can’t keep up with the players in terms of the ladies, but he can still run 4-5 miles at a time and 20+ miles per week. Might not make him a jock, but he’s in better shape than most people his age.

      Any embarrassment Souza may feel has been brought upon himself. If players want to be taken seriously, then they need to act like grownups and face the consequences of their actions. The days of sports writing being thinly veiled hagiography have been gone for a very long time, and the folks who believe it should be otherwise will be too.

  4. It wasn’t meant to attack you. I don’t know your pedigree, other than to appreciate that as the erstwhile Sue Dinem, your aspirations for anonymity are respected, as are your great contribution with this site. Everything else is your business and not mine.

    I’ve been an editor and worked in the press myself, announced sports in college for several years, and have no illusions about the world or its evolution.

    I also feel that professional sports is a sanctuary for small children and their parents to experience the world through Athletics, and only that. I care not about people’s politics, platforms, preferences, the clothes they wear in the locker room and what’s underneath them.

    The incident with Souza and his ex-GF happened when he was a 21 year old at Hagerstown. There are many ways to say that someone is a jerk without having to be sexually humiliating . That’s the same level of sensitivity that you yourself display when you tell us not to make fun of prospects who get released. I’ve always liked that.

    Plenty of old-time writers have shown that one can be investigative without being spiteful. And since I have encountered my share of jock sniffing sports journalists up close, I am not making a broad brush assertion, but rather defending a player who is part of this Nationals history that we all share. I wish Souza well, whether he is a jerk or was.

    1. Well, I disagree that the story was meant as a hatchet job and obviously took umbrage with the characterization of the author as a “jock-sniffer” and so forth. The Athletic isn’t a tabloid and they’ve put together quite a stable of established, reputable writers.

      Where we probably most disagree is the idea that sports should be some special sanctuary. I’m more Harry Edwards than Harry Caray in that respect. This little niche site doesn’t go that far outside the lines (Beyond a Boundary?) but that’s because I’m short on resources. But I respect and understand how much time and energy it takes to write something that does.

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