Friday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Lost, 3-0 @ Buffalo,
7:05 p.m.
Vargas (0-2, 2.05) vs.
McGuire (2-1, 4.50)
Harrisburg Lost, 3-1 @ Trenton,
7:00 p.m.
J. Rodriguez (1-2, 2.70) vs.
Swanson (4-0, 0.87)
Potomac Won, 12-2 vs. Salem,
7:05 p.m.
Baez (1-1, 4.87) vs.
Thompson (0-2, 4.01)
Hagerstown Won, 11-4 @ Kannapolis,
7:05 p.m.
Raquet (2-2, 2.28) vs.
Battenfield (1-1, 2.18)

Buffalo 3 Syracuse 0
• Jackson (L, 0-1) 6IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 9K, HR, 2WP
• Smith 2IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 1K
• Kieboom 2-3, 2B, E(4)
• Falu 1-3, 2B

Three Bisons combined on a four-hit shutout of the Chiefs, 4-0 – the fourth whitewash for Syracuse in its last nine games. Edwin Jackson got the start and made it quality, good even, as he allowed two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out nine. Chris Smith completed the game with one unearned run on two hits. Spencer Kieboom singled and doubled as did Hunter Jones (single) and Irving Falu (double) but the rest of the lineup went 0-for-21.

Trenton 3 Harrisburg 1
• Dragmire (L, 2-1) 7IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 7K, HR
• Harper 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Abreu 1-3, 2B
• Gutierrez 1-4, 3B, RBI

Harrisburg was one run and two hits better, which, along with $2, gets them a cup of coffee this morning to pore over a 3-1 loss to Trenton. Brady Dragmire took the loss and gave up all three Thunder runs on seven hits, including a two-run shot in the 6th that proved to be the game-winner. Bryan Harper pitched a scoreless 8th to finish the game. Kelvin Gutierrez tripled in the 4th to knock in Taylor Gushue, who got on with a double, and break up the shutout as the Senators were limited to just six hits total.

Potomac 12 Wilmington 2
• Sharp (W, 3-2) 5IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 7K
• Pantoja 3IP, 1H, 0R, 2BB, 4K
• Soto 3-5, 3R, 2HR, 5RBI
• Perkins 2-4, 2R, BB, RBI
• Rendon 2-4, 2R, 2B, RBI

Juan Soto blasted his third HR at High-A for an Earl Weaver special to highlight a four-run 1st as the P-Nats blasted the Blue Rocks, 12-2. MiLB’s Class-A Player of the Month homered again and scored three runs total while going 3-for-5 to lead Potomac’s 14-hit parade. Some guy named Anthony Rendon also singled and doubled and scored two runs. Sterling Sharp labored through five innings (92 pitches) but struck out a season-high of seven as he notched his third win. Roster moves: RHP Tyler Mapes placed on the 7-Day DL; RHP Kyle McGowin reassigned from Harrisburg; 3B Anthony Rendon assigned from Washington for MLB rehab.

Hagerstown 11 Greensboro 4
• Stoeckinger (W, 1-2) 6IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 8K, 2HR
• Fuentes 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Banks 3-5, 2R, 2B, HR, 5RBI
• Corredor 3-5, R, 2B, HR, 3RBI
• Antuna 2-3, 2R, BB, HR, RBI

Likewise, Hagerstown jumped on Greensboro for four in the 1st and five in the 9th to take the series finale, 11-4. Jackson Stoeckinger turned in his best outing of the season thus far and was rewarded with his first “W” as he gave up two solo HR’s and six hits total over six innings/ He walked none and struck out eight. Nick Banks, Aldrem Corredor, and Yasel Antuna all homered and combined for eight hits, five runs, and nine RBI in the Suns 16-hit assault on the ‘Hoppers pitchers.

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.

23 thoughts on “Friday’s News & Notes”

  1. “Did I mention Juan Soto (enough)?”

    Nope!

    It’s remarkable how similar Soto’s line between Hagerstown and Potomac are:

    .373/.486/.814
    .378/.489/.811

    That’s exactly a 1.300 OPS at both levels. Crazy how that has worked out, and that he hasn’t lost a step in the promotion.

    I thought Soto’s DC ETA was September 2019 at the earliest, but I’m reconsidering. I think he could be a factor in ST next year, like Acuna this season.

    1. Also another good MILB article on Soto, this time with quotes from his Potomac manager: https://www.milb.com/milb/news/the-force-is-with-young-juan-soto-potomac-nationals/c-275139756

      Also, a nice little bit about Rendon’s character at the end, which also highlights the pathetic inhumane treatment of minor league players.

      “As is tradition among rehabbing Major Leaguers, Rendon purchased a pregame meal from a local establishment consisting of beef, chicken and shrimp skewers.

      “We ate good tonight,” Keister said.

      Aside from the solid meal, the most important thing the Nationals third baseman can offer the Potomac squad is knowledge.”

      Minor league ball sounds closer to a North Korean labour camp than it does a billion dollar industry.

      1. Article says Rendon stuck around and stayed on the bench for the whole game. Mega kudos to him. Maybe he just wanted to see a couple of more Soto ABs!

        1. Rendon is a season away from free agency and for all we know Bora$ and the Lerners are discussing Anthony’s future along with Harper’s. I strongly suspect both players would be interested in seeing what the future holds and it looks like the Carolina league’s best offense accommodated.

    2. I am often one who preaches patience on this page, not getting ahead of ourselves with our projections. But goodness, Soto seems like an express train, at least thus far. If he keeps up this pace at Potomac, they won’t have much choice but to kick him on up to Harrisburg. Regardless, he seems a mortal lock for the AFL. I doubt he will get an MLB debut in Sept. 2018 unless they really, really need him, as they would prefer not to have the lengthy clock reset time the next season as they had with Turner and would have had this year with Robles. (Although they probably would have had to scrap that plan had Robles been healthy.)

      If Soto makes it to AA this season, I’d project his MLB due date as mid-June 2019, after the Super Two cutoff.

      1. Ha! Sickels plus too many others who see him saying he is a major league hitter already! It was hard for me not to think he was going to be in the majors early especially with Harper potentially gone.

    3. To me, Soto looks like a better hitter at 19 than Harper was. As I mentioned below, his defense could probably use a bit of polishing yet. Nevertheless, as I said yesterday if he hits at AA anywhere near the way he is now and Eaton stays out all year, I could see him getting called up at some point down the stretch to fortify the offense.

    4. Compare to Bryce Harper … and it makes you wonder what might have been had Juan Soto not suffered the spate of injuries at age 18 last season.

  2. Stoeckinger still hasn’t walked anyone all season, across 24 IP. He’s surrendered a lot of hits, though, 37 thus far. It’s curious that they keep using Johnston, who was drafted higher than Stoeckinger, Troop, and Tetreault, in relief instead of as a starter.

    Of the 2017 starter draftees, Raquet looks like the closest to promotion. Is there any word about Brigham Hill on the DL?

  3. Yesterday afternoon, I made the last second decision to head down to Woodbridge for my first P-Nats game since 2016. Boy, am I glad I did. Both Soto home runs were monster shots–one a line drive that hit the third row of outfield signs and the second a towering fly ball. On one of his outs, he he hit what looked like a routine pop fly to right field that went so high it had a stewardess on it, and it ended up taking the right fielder almost back to the warning track. Only negative was that the one throw Soto had to make from the outfield was offline and weak. Good thing the runner did not try to advance.

    Agustin’s HR was also a rocket–if the kid can learn to take more walks, he clearly has big time talent.

    I was also impressed with Klobosits. Asked to close out the game with a 10-run lead, he came in firing strikes at high velocity instead of nibbling. He also looks like he has big time potential.

    As for Rendon–I thought he’d be done for the night after his third AB, but he stuck around until the game was over and though I didn’t hang around for it, apparently made himself available for autographs afterward.

    Overall, it was easily the best of the two dozen or so P-Nat games I’ve attended over the years.

      1. Kieboom didn’t really do all that much despite batting second on a night when Perkins ahead of him and the guys behind him were crushing the ball. He did make all the plays at SS, when the Wilmington SS had a horrible night with at least 4 balls getting by him he should have had.

        Noll also got in a couple of solid knocks. Given his age, he ought to be tickets for Harrisburg soon as well.

  4. This Soto kid seems like a solid prospect. 😉

    Just fun to check out his box score everyday. The only concern about him is health/durability. Have no doubt that he will put up ridiculous numbers all year as long as he plays all year. Agree that, barring injury, he will play in H-burg before the season is over, and the AFL this Fall (while unlikely, if Soto just kills it in AA through August, not an impossibility that the Nats would be tempted to activate him for September and the post-season). Again, if Soto stays healthy, he will be in MLB no later than 2019. Wonder if Soto’s play (along with Robles expected MLB arrival at some point his season) changes any thoughts about the upcoming Harper negotiations.

    If Soto and Robles can be counted on as mega productive MLB players no later than 2020 (at economical prices), is the Nats $40 million a year for 8+ years better spent at another spot than securing a corner OF? Love Bryce, but the Nats organizational depth is in the OF, not so much on the mound, behind the plate or even at 3rd and SS. May be smarter to lock-up Rendon and Turner.

    1. Counting on 34 year old Kendrick and 34 year old Reynolds in that left field spot seems problematic. Soto might be a better hitter than Harper after not too many major league reps. If you put him in heart of the lineup Harper and Rendon will see better pitches. Do you think Stevenson, Goodwin, Sierra and MAT can it like this kid? It seems like Rizzo will almost have to make the move if he wants to stay in contention in Harper’s last season.

  5. If the smartest man in baseball was still managing the Nats, doubtless he’d drive down right now to Potomac, himself, to put Soto on the active roster. I think Soto might just be that good.

  6. I’m not sure he can play shortstop, and he isn’t the same talent as Soto, but that kid Antuna sure looks like he might just hit a ton … but where would you put him?

  7. I’m honestly starting to think Soto will be a September call up if/when he gets to AA and if he takes there.

    The Nationals have shown a willingness to promote guys from AA time and time again. The Nationals have also shown to be aggressive with certain prospects. There is really no harm in bringing up Soto in September and letting him get a cup of coffee like Robles last year, who was not expected to be promoted that far last year. Like with Robles the Nats won’t lose any service time with Soto as long as they wait super 2 and don’t bring him up next year after a certain date.

    1. If they really think Soto can help would they really care about the extra money? They are paying Bryce 21 million this season in his last year. They really didn’t have to pay him that under arbitration?

    2. Bringing Soto up in September WOULD contribute to his service–hence Super 2 and free agency time. Just like Turner, if he is brought up then it will force them to leave him down on the farm longer next year if they want to delay his clock.

      As a hitter, he’s a man among even 23 and 24-year-old boys right now. If he also rakes at Harrisburg, the only reason to keep him down from a baseball standpoint would be to work on his defense.

      Personally I hope the Nats are honest with themselves about the likelihood of Eaton making it back this season without looking like a senior citizen rushing for a blue light special while running. If Eaton is s not back 100% by the ASB, Soto should be called up for the season’s second half. He’s by far the best LF option they have and using him won’t further deplete the system as a trade would do.

      1. Yes I know. But I have no problem with them calling up Soto this year and letting him contribute down the stretch while making sure to keep his prospect eligibility and then letting him stay down for a decent period next year, say maybe until May or June to get an extra year of him. Then you have him for rest of season 2019.

      2. Yeah, but don’t leave Robles out of this equation. If Eaton is still struggling to stay healthy, presumably Robles will be healthy by mid-season and able to come up and contribute. It’s amazing how quickly our top prospect seems to have been dropped from the conversation! Robles is the speed-mayhem type more like Eaton. I think it would take more of a (Heaven forbid) Harper injury that really saps some power out of the lineup before Soto would become a part of the conversation this season.

        (Robles might also get an extended look by mid-season in CF if Taylor’s struggles at the plate continue.)

        The precedent that does come to mind for a late-season call-up before the playoffs is 19-year-old Andruw Jones in 1996. He hit .400 in the World Series. Of course there were no defensive worries with him . . . or with Vlad Sr., who came up that same September. The Nats did bring Robles up last year, but he wasn’t a starter in the playoffs.

  8. Another homer for Soto tonight (Friday). It would be fun to hear what Rendon has to tell folks about him when he gets back to Half Street.

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