Monday’s News & Notes

Looks like The Onion didn’t find the game all that, um, appealing
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 6-2;
Lost, 10-4
@ Pawtucket,
6:15 p.m.
Voth (7-9, 3.15 in ’16) vs.
Kendrick (6-5, 4.73 in ’16)
Harrisburg Won, 6-2 vs. Hartford,
6:30 p.m.
G. Ross (5-1, 0.83 in ’16) vs.
Niebla (0-1, 5.30 in ’16)
Potomac Won, 8-7 @ Frederick,
7:00 p.m.
J. Baez (9-7, 3.94 @ A- in ’16) vs.
Alvarado (10-9, 3.41 @ A- in ’16)
Hagerstown Lost, 11-3 vs. Lakewood,
6:05 p.m.
C. Pena (2-2, 2.95 @ GCL in ’16) vs.
Fanti (7-0, 1.57 @ GCL in ’16)

Rochester 6 Syracuse 2
• J. Turner 3⅔ IP, 3H, R, ER, 3BB, 4K, WP
• Grace (L, 0-1) 2IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 4K, 3-0 IR-S
• Martin (BS, 1) 1⅓ IP, 5H, 3R ,3ER, 3BB, 1K, HR, 2-2 IR-S
• Goodwin 3-4, RBI, SB, CS
• Snyder 2-3

Rafael Martin was in midseason form as he let in the last five runs over an inning and a third to turn a 2-1 Chiefs lead into a 6-2 loss to the Red Wings. Jacob Turner got the start and was lifted after loading the bases with two out in the 4th. Matt Grace got the last out and stranded all three runners but was responsible for the go-ahead run that came in on a two-run homer served up by Martin. Brian Goodwin led the Syracuse hit column with 3-for-4 game, followed by Brandon Snyder at 2-for-3.

Rochester 10 Syracuse 4
• Hill 4⅔ IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, 0BB, 4K, 3HR, HBP
• Antolin 1⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Skole 2-3, R, 2B, HR, RBI
• Falu 1-2, R, HR, RBI

Syracuse dropped a third straight game to Rochester, 10-4. Taylor Hill was lit up for five runs on eight hits (three HR) over four and 2/3rds innings. He hit one batter, walked none and struck out four. Irving Falu, Clint Robinson, Brandon Snyder, and Matt Skole each hit solo shots to make the most of just six hits and no walks drawn by the Chiefs offense. Roster move: RHP Matt Albers selected and recalled to Washington.

Harrisburg 6 Altoona 2
• Williams (W, 1-0) 6IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 9K, HBP
• Lara (H, 1) 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Read 2-4, R, 2B, HR, 3RBI
• N. Soto 2-4, R
• Stevenson 2-4, 3RBI, 2CS

Raudy Read’s three-run HR in the last of the 6th erased a 2-0 deficit as Harrisburg tripled up Altoona, 6-2 to split the four-game series. Austen Williams got the win with a quality start of two runs on five hits and no walks in six innings pitched. He struck out nine. Andrew Stevenson also drove in three with a pair of singles, though he was caught stealing twice. Neftali Soto was third Senator with multiple hits in Harrisburg’s ten-hit parade.

Potomac 8 Wilmington 7
• Rodriguez 4IP, 4H, 5R, 4ER, BB, 5K, 3WP; 82-56 PIT-K
• Crownover (W, 1-0) 3IP, 2H, R, ER, 2BB, 3K
• Gutierrez 4-5, 2B, RBI
• Robles 3-4, 4R, 2B, HR, BB, 2RBI, SB
• Sagdal 2-5, R, HR, RBI

The P-Nats outslugged and outlasted the Blue Rocks to take the game, 8-7, and the series, 2-1. Jefry Rodriguez labored through four innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on four hits and a walk. He struck out five and was charged with three wild pitches. Matt Crownover got the win in relief, with one run allowed on two hits and two walks over three innings. Victor Robles reached base four times, scored four times, and was a triple shy of the cycle while Kelvin Gutierrez stroked three singles and a double to lead Potomac’s 15-hit offense.

Asheville 11 Hagerstown 3
• Davis (L, 0-1) 4IP, 6H, 5R, 5ER, BB, K, 3HR, BK, HBP
• Noll 2-4, R, 2B, RBI
• Banks 2-4

Asheville returned the favor from the second game of last night’s doubleheader and thrashed Hagerstown 11-3 to split the four-game series. Weston Davis worked a scoreless 1st before giving up runs in each of the next three innings. He gave up five runs on three HR’s and six hits total over four innings. He walked one, struck out one, and hit a batter. Blake Perkins and Nick Banks both singled twice while Jake Noll singled, doubled, and drove in a run. Roster move: LHP Jordan Mills assigned from Washington; no corresponding move yet.

Sunday’s News & Notes

Carter Kieboom, Edwin Lora both homer in the late innings to decide one-run games

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 10-0 vs. Rochester,
1:05 p.m.
J. Turner, (4-7, 4.71 in ’16) and
Hill (6-13, 4.60 in ’16) vs.
Tepesch (8-4, 3.96 in ’16) and
Harrisburg Won, 6-5;
Lost, 5-1
vs. Altoona,
1:30 p.m.
Williams (1-7, 5.68 in ’16) vs.
Brubaker (2-6, 5.32 @ A+ in ’16)
Potomac Won, 4-3
(12 inn.)
@ Wilmington,
1:35 p.m.
J. Rodriguez (7-11, 4.96 @ A-in ’16) vs.
Blewett (7-10, 3.80 @ A- in ’16)
Hagerstown Won, 2-1;
Won, 16-2
vs. Asheville,
2:05 p.m.
Davis (3-6, 2.67 @ SS-A in ’16) vs.
Pint (1-5, 5.35 @ Adv. Rk. in ’16)

Rochester 10 Syracuse 0
• J. Ross (L, 0-1) 2⅔ IP, 6H, 4R, 3ER, 3BB, 3K, WP; 75-47 PIT-K
• Adams 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Skole 1-3, 2B
• Bautista 1-4, 2B

The only thing colder than the weather was the Syracuse lineup, as two Rochester pitchers combined for a four-hitter and a 10-0 shutout in the AAA opener for both teams. Joe Ross did not exactly make the case to come back to DC sooner than the minimum as he was, um, winged for four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks over just two and 2/3rds innings. The Red Wings put the game away with a six-run 7th, including a grand slam off Mike Broadway. Matt Skole (pictured above) and Rafael Bautista both doubled, while Pedro Severino and Grant Green singled to compose the Chiefs’ hit column. Roster move: OF Michael Taylor optioned from Washington; the corresponding move has not been announced yet.

Harrisburg 6 Altoona 4 – GAME ONE
• Fedde (W, 1-0) 5IP, 4H, 1R, 0ER, 2BB, 5K,
• Brinley (SV, 1) ⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K, 1-0 IR-S
• Ward 1-2, 2R, 2B, HBP
• N. Soto 2-3, 2R, RBI
• A. Sanchez 1-3, R, HR, 3RBI

Erick Fedde pitched five strong innings while Adrian Sanchez highlighted a four-run 4th with a three-run bomb as the Senators straightened the Curve, 6-4 in the opener. Fedde let in an unearned run on four hits and two walks while striking out five to earn his first “W” of the season. Wander Suero nearly blew a 6-1 lead as he coughed up three runs in the 7th. Ryan Brinley came on to get the final out by way of the K to earn the save. Raudy Read drove in two with a double while Neftali Soto singled twice to plate one as the Harrisburg lineup got six runs on six hits and two walks.

Altoona 5 Harrisburg 1 – GAME TWO
• Blackmar (L, 0-1) 4IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 3K, HR
• Valdez 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• S. Kieboom 1-3, 2B, 2K
• Hernandez 1-3, RBI

Altoona got three runs in the 1st and it was more than enough to split the doubleheader for a 5-1 win over Harrisburg. Mark Blackmar went the first four innings, giving up the aforementioned three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out three to take the loss. Spencer Kieboom had the sole extra-base hit while Yadiel Hernandez drove in the Senators’ only run with a 2nd-inning groundout. Harrisburg had just five hits and two walks total with nobody reaching twice.

Potomac 4 Wilmington 3 (12 inn.)
• Silvestre 4IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 5K, HR
• Borne 4⅔ IP, 4H, 0R, BB, 4K
• Bacus 1⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K, 2-0 IR-S
• Lora 2-5, R, HR, RBI, SB
• Mejia 2-5, 2R, HR, RBI, CS

Edwin Lora’s ninth career HR broke a 3-3 deadlock as the P-Nats edged the Blur Rocks, 4-3 in 12 innings. Hector Silvestre got the start but was dinged for all three Wilmington runs on four hits and three walks over four innings. He struck out five but was lifted after 83 pitches. Grant Borne led the eight innings of shutout ball tossed by the Potomac ‘pen, with four and 2/3rds turned in. Veterans Kyle Schepel and Dakota Bacus both stranded two runners with two outs in the 9th and 11th innings respectively with Bacus picking up the win. Bryan Mejia also homered (career no. 14) as both he and Lora went 2-for-5 to lead the P-Nats attack.

Hagerstown 2 Asheville 1 – GAME ONE
• Acevedo 5IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Held (W, 1-0) 2IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, BB, K
• Perkins 1-3, R
• C. Kieboom 2-3, R, HR, 2RBI

Carter Kieboom’s two-run homer in the bottom of the 6th broke up the Star Trek Convention on the Municipal Stadium scoreboard as Hagerstown took the opening game of the doubleheader, 2-1. Asheville nearly got both runs back as back-to-back singles and Juan Soto’s second error in as many games put the tying runs in scoring position with nobody out. Sam Held settled down to get two grounders, one plating the lone Tourist run, and struck out the final batter with the tying run on third. Suns starter Carlos Acevedo pitched five scoreless innings with just three hits allowed in his first no-decision of ’17.

Hagerstown 16 Asheville 1 – GAME TWO
• Mills (W, 1-0) 5IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 6K, 3WP
• Bourque 2IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 1BB, 0K
• Johnson 2-3, 2R, 2HR, BB, 5RBI
• Perkins 3-5, 2R
• J. Soto 3-3, 3R, BB, K

Like a mid-’80s Mike Tyson, the Suns hit ’em hard, early, and often in the nightcap for 16-2 demolition, and a doubleheader sweep. Daniel Johnson and Sheldon Neuse both drove in five, with Johnson smacking two homers and Neuse connecting for a grand slam, as the Hagerstown lineup strafed the Asheveille pitchers for 14 hits and four walks. Blake Perkins and Juan Soto both had three hits while Angelo La Bruna was the beer man with an 0-for-4 night.

Saturday’s News & Notes

No rain… but still a washout.

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Postponed vs. Rochester,
1:05 p.m.
J. Ross, (0-2, 4.35 in ’16) vs.
Berrios (10-5, 2.51 in ’16)
Harrisburg Lost, 5-3 vs. Altoona,
6:00 p.m.
Fedde (2-1, 3.99 in ’16) and
Blackmar (4-5, 5.37) vs.
Waddell (7-9, 4.12 in ’16) and
Coley (12-10, 4.65 @ A+ in ’16)
Potomac Lost, 6-2 @ Wilmington,
7:05 p.m.
Silvestre (0-0, 2.08 in ’16) vs.
Blewett (8-11, 4.31 @ A- in ’16)
Hagerstown Lost, 11-1 vs. Asheville,
4:05 p.m.
Mills (4-5, 3.71 @ SS-A in ’16) and
Acevedo (2-5, 3.45 @ SS-A in ’16) vs.
Santos (6-4, 4.16 @ SS-A in ’16) and
Baker (3-4, 6.00 @ Adv. Rk. in ’16)

Syracuse – PPD
Joe Ross will make the first of one, perhaps two starts, for Syracuse today while he awaits his recall to MLB.

Altoona 5 Harrisburg 3
• Long (L, 0-1) 5IP, 7H, 4R, 1ER, BB, 7K, HBP
• Self 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Stevenson 2-3, R, 2BB, 2RBI, SB
• Ward 2-4, 2B, SF, RBI

Errors (five) and missed opportunities (1-for-8 RISP, 10 LOB, 14K) were the name of the game last night in Harrisburg, as the Senators fell behind 2-0 early and never could catch up. Jaron Long took the loss, giving up four runs (one earned) on seven hits and one walk over five innings. Andrew Stevenson reached base four times with a pair of singles and two walks, and was among five Sens to collect two hits, joining Drew Ward, Neftali Soto, Alec Keller, and Adrian Sanchez in the hit parade. Derek Self tossed two scoreless innings to lead the bullpen.

Wilmington 6 Potomac 2
• Reyes (L, 0-1) 5IP, 1H, 2R, 2ER, 6BB, 2K, HBP, WP
• Guilbeau 3IP, 4H, 4R, 3ER, 7K, HR
• Wiseman 1-4, R, 2B
• Mejia 1-4, 2B

The Blue Rocks broke through for four runs in the 6th to open up a 2-1 game and cruised to a 6-2 defeat of the P-Nats. Luis Reyes walked six and hit a batter but gave up just one hit over five innings, but that was enough to wear the loss. Taylor Guilbeau struck out seven but was lit up for the aforementioned four—three by way of an Earl Weaver special—in his first of three innings pitched. Rhett Wiseman and Bryan Mejia both doubled but the Potomac hitters were held to just five hits and one walk and struck out 13 times.

Asheville 11 Hagerstown 1
• Watson (L, 0-1) 4⅔ IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 6K, HR, 2WP
• Pantoja 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• C. Kieboom 2-3, BB
• Soto 2-4

Asheville also went to town on the Hagerstown bullpen, scoring eight runs in the late innings en route to an 11-1 thrashing. Tyler Watson allowed three runs on six hits and a walk over four and 2/3rds innings to suffer the loss. Mick VanVossen was dinged for three runs in the 7th while Sterling Sharp wasn’t, giving up five in the 8th. Carter Kieboom and Juan Soto both had two singles and an error as the Suns committed five total on the night. Jake Noll’s solo HR in the 4th prevented the shutout as the offense had just seven hits and four RISP opportunities.

Friday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Postponed Postponed N/A
Harrisburg Postponed vs. Altoona,
7:00 p.m.
Long (3-3, 2.37 in ’16) vs.
McRae (8-6, 4.79 in ’16)
Potomac Postponed @ Wilmington,
7:05 p.m.
Reyes (4-8, 5.60 in ’16) vs.
Griffin (5-10, 6.23 in ’16)
Hagerstown Postponed @ Charleston,
6:05 p.m.
Watson (1-1, 4.80 in ’16) vs.
Julio (4-6, 4.05 @ SS-A in ’16)

Let’s try this again…

As previously reported, Syracuse (pictured above) has called it off for both yesterday and today, opting for doubleheaders on Sunday and Friday, August 4th to make up the games.

Temperatures at the games today are forecast to range from the low-to-high 40s – t-shirt & shorts weather for Minnesotans, but not conducive to baseball. In other words, don’t be surprised if one or more of these games is called off, too.

Opening Day Washed Away

Well, as predicted, all four affiliates were indeed washed out today. It was bad enough in upstate New York wash away tomorrow’s game, too.

Still no word on who will start and when in Harrisburg, just a clue that it’s not RHP Gabriel Arias, who was placed on the DL and replaced with RHP Mark Blackmar (who did start nine games for the Senators). There’s been a couple of stories focused on Erick Fedde, and then there’s been this.

Via, we’ve learned Hector Silvestre, Jefry Rodriguez, Joan Baez, Wirkin “For the Weekend” Estevez will follow Luis Reyes in the rotation. Take a peek at the link to see how the lineup shapes up.

Finally, in the the latest BA Transaction post, some more Washington minor-leaguers have been released…
• RHP Matt Tindall
• LHP Stone Speer
• C Brian Jeroloman
• 1B Shawn Pleffner
• OF Fernelys Sanchez

Finger crossed we can finally get this party started on Friday.

Opening Day!

The enthusiasm is to be tempered by the forecast of rain at all four games today, as the Chiefs, Senators, and Suns open at home, while the P-Nats visit Wilmington.

Team Today’s Game Pitching Matchup (’16 Stats at Level)
Syracuse vs. Rochester,
2:05 p.m.
TBD vs. Berrios (10-5, 2.51)
Harrisburg vs. Altoona,
7:00 p.m.
Potomac @ Wilmington,
6:35 p.m.
Reyes (4-8, 5.60) vs.
Griffin (5-10, 6.23)
Hagerstown vs. Asheville,
6:05 p.m.
Watson (1-1, 4.80) vs.
Julio (4-6, 4.05 @ SS-A)

Now for the annual reminder: These pitchers are not necessarily the team’s #1 starter. They are, within a spot or so, how the Nationals would like the starters to align from Low-A to MLB in the event of promotions or injuries.

The Hagerstown rotation will reportedly be Carlos Acevado, McKenzie Mills, Weston Davis and Carlos Pena. In Syracuse, Taylor Hill starts it off, followed by (for now) Joe Ross*, Jacob Turner, Austin Voth, and A.J. Cole.
* Personally, I’m picturing the Lerners, fretting today’s “Big Nats” game will get postponed, and Mike Rizzo, worrying that it won’t.

In between, it’s a bit of a guessing game. Potomac’s first listed starter is Luis Reyes, and it’s probably a good bet that Matt Crownover, Joan Baez, and Jefry Rodriguez are among the top four, but after that? Like a biker bar or a vegan co-op, it gets hairy: Hector Silvestre, Taylor Guilbeau, Grant Borne, and Dakota Bacus are all candidates. And probably in that order.

Phillips Valdez and Erick Fedde are locks as top two guns for Harrisburg. Austen Williams may not be the No. 3 starter but he’s yet to appear in relief, which leaves a similar musical chairs between Greg Ross, Jaron Long, John Simms, and Gabriel Arias (assuming, which is foolish, that Tyler Mapes is actually hurt) for the last two spots.

Finally, a little housekeeping… I’m hearing that some of you are having problems with seeing the comments. I’ll be honest: I don’t what I can do, but if this happens to you, let me know via email (since you can’t tell me in the comments, duh). At the very least, I can report it to my hosting provider and see what they can do.

2017 Rosters for the Affiliates Revealed

The wait is over, as the four full-season affiliates officially announced their Opening Day rosters. Let’s take a look at how it breaks down by the Watchlist:

Pitchers – A.J. Cole, Austin Voth
Batters – Rafael Bautista, Brian Goodwin, Pedro Severino, Matt Skole

Pitchers – Ryan Brinley, Jimmy Cordero, Erick Fedde, Tyler Mapes*, Phillips Valdez, John Simms
Batters – Osvaldo Abreu, Raudy Read, Andrew Stevenson, Drew Ward

Pitchers – Joan Baez, Grant Borne, Matthew Crownover, Taylor Guilbeau, Tommy Peterson*, Mariano Rivera III
Batters – Telmito Agustin, Kelvin Gutierrez, Victor Robles, Ian Sagdal, Rhett Wiseman

Pitchers – Weston Davis, McKenzie Mills, Jorge Pantoja, Sterling Sharp, Tyler Watson
Batters – Nick Banks, Aldrem Corredor, Anderson Franco, Dan Johnson, Carter Kieboom, Sheldon Neuse, Jake Noll, Blake Perkins, Juan Soto
* = on the 7-Day DL

M.I.A. (Excluding DSL/GCL players) – Jakson Reetz, Gilberto Mendez, Francys Peguero, Jacob Howell
X.S.T. (and/or on Auburn roster) – Steven Fuentes, Yonathan Ramirez

I resisted the urge to include a W.T.F. category, but I’m sure folks will supply their own. Now for some thoughts…

That Hagerstown roster is something, isn’t it? Fortunately, I still have my spy out there—we just had a chat last weekend—so we should have some first-hand opinions and observations before these guys make their way to Woodbridge.

• Seriously, I think just about everyone we’d been hoping to make it there instead of Auburn did.

• You could complain about the composition of the Potomac roster, but this really par for the course — all eyes will be on Robles, perhaps Baez, but I’m looking forward to seeing Agustin, who has been Robles’s shadow for most of his time in the organization.

• Harrisburg is a lot like Potomac, but with a couple of more prospects, much older veterans, mixed in with some OG’s and a few social promotions.

• And Syracuse? Well, it’s the highest level and easily the oldest this year. It’s built to supply fungible replacements and stopgaps.

• Finally, my first post for MASN is scheduled for Wednesday. when it’s online, I’ll link to it here.

Nats Announce Opening Day Roster

Ross optioned, Guthrie assigned to AAA, Robinson outrighted

Rather than make a decision regarding several on-the-cusp players, the Nationals opted to send down #5 starter Joe Ross to Syracuse to start the 2017 season. They will begin with a four-man rotation, a six-man bench, and a seven-man bullpen.

Essentially, the Nats have kicked the can down the road until they have to either call up Ross, add Jeremy Guthrie—who accepted an assignment to Syracuse—to the 40-man roster, or place someone else on the D.L.

In the not-too-distant future, Washington will also have to activate or waive Jose Marmolejos, who was placed on the 60-day DL on Feb. 24 and can be technically assigned to Harrisburg for a rehab assignment later this week. Perhaps not coincidentally, Harrisburg’s season will roughly 20 days old when he is eligible to come off the 60-day DL.

Tuesday afternoon is media day for the Potomac Nationals, which is traditionally the last of the four full-season teams to set its roster. This means that announcements for the Syracuse Chiefs and Harrisburg Senators could come as early as Monday morning while the Hagerstown Suns will most likely happen on Tuesday morning.

Buckle up, kids. The ride’s about to start.

So Long, Boys

Alas, there is a flip side to the offseason signings and the reassignments. In the latest transactions post from Baseball America, we learned the following Nats minor-leaguers have been released:

• 2B Dalton Dulin (Auburn)
• RHP Russell Harmening (Auburn)
• RHP Conner Porter (GCL)
• 1B Ryan Ripken (Hagerstown, Auburn)
• RHP Brayan Serrata (Auburn)

These are just from the period of March 18-24; I suspect there will be more but no additional names have appeared on thus far. A reminder, as usual, that for most of these guys this is the end of their days as a professional baseball player.

Six More Cut, Two More to Go

Cole, Gott Optioned to AAA; Glover the last watchlist player standing

Six more players were sent packing as the Nationals play their final Spring Training game in Florida this afternoon.

A.J. Cole and Trevor Gott were optioned to Syracuse, while Neal Cotts, Jhonatan Solano, and Jacob Turner were re-assigned to minor-league camp. Journeyman Vance Worley was released outright.

As the headline suggests, there are two more cuts to be made – and it appears to be a battle between Michael Taylor and Wilmer Difo for the last bench spot, and whether or not the Nats opt to carry a long man. In the case of the latter, Jeremy Guthrie would be that guy as the Nats waived Clint Robinson on Tuesday because he is out of options, which would open up the necessary spot on the 40-man roster.

The choice between Difo and Taylor is not about options; both have one left. It’s about whether you value versatility (Difo) versus tools (Taylor).

This is a minors site, so I have to leave that there and shift to this unpleasant reality regarding the guy in the subhead, Koda Glover: He has multiple options left and he’s competing against guys with one (Sammy Solis) or none (Enny Romero). As well as he’s pitched this spring, Glover could still be the odd man out.

I’d love to be wrong about this, but I’ve never been one to go after Moby Dick and bring the tartar sauce. Nats GM Mike Rizzo has done nothing to change that, never mind where I’m from (New England), or what my parents lived through (the Great Depression). I root for “our guys,” but I know deep down they’re still going to be treated like chattel cattle more often than not.

I suspect we’ll see the first of these two final cuts if/when Robinson clears waivers, which should be tomorrow. The other cut may not be until Sunday, unless Rizzo pulls off another late-March trade.

As always, feel free to discuss in the comments.