Kevin Keyes Named Carolina League Player of the Week

As predicted this morning, Kevin Keyes has indeed been named the Carolina League Player of the Week for April 14-20.

Keyes went 9-for-26 with four home runs, 11 RBI, and eight runs scored for a line of .346/.433/.846. Those four homers also represent his season total, for which he is tied for third place in the Carolina League with teammate Brandon Miller while his tally of 15 RBI is good for second place.

The 25-y.o. native of Austin, TX was drafted in 7th Round of the 2010 Draft out of the University of Texas, three years after being drafter out of Connolly High School by the Rangers. Keyes had an abysmal rookie season in Vermont, batting just .175, though he did draw 24 walks in 39 games.

He rose to prominence in 2011 when he posted a mark of .281/.355/.528 in the second half for the Hagerstown Suns. He moved up to Potomac in 2012, but has stalled there since, struggling with a sub-.300 OBP in his two previous seasons for the P-Nats and seeing his slugging percentage drop from .459 to .370.

In 2013, he was converted from the outfield to first base with relative success, as he’s been able to play adequate defense and show decent range for his size and experience at the position, which earned him a place on the 2013 Watchlist as the position of first base is (and remains) relatively thin in the Washington organization.

Monday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 9-3 vs. Rochester,
12:00 p.m.
Rosenbaum (1-1, 4.15) vs.
Diamond (0-2, 15.00)
Harrisburg OFF DAY @ Altoona,
6:30 p.m.
Schwartz (0-2, 7.62) vs.
Dodson (0-1, 2.53)
Potomac Won, 6-5 @ Lynchburg,
6:05 p.m.
Mooneyham (1-1, 2.38) vs.
Parsons (1-1, 3.45)
Hagerstown OFF DAY @ Augusta,
7:00 p.m.
Pivetta (2-1, 4.38) vs.
Jones (0-1, 3.00)


Rochester 9 Syracuse 3
• Roenicke (L, 0-2) 3IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 2K
• Delcarmen 1⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Goodwin 2-2, R, 2B, 2BB
• Komatsu 0-2, BB, SF, RBI

The Chiefs’ modest three-game win streak was halted with a 9-3 loss to the RedWings. Spot starter Josh Roenicke was pounded for four runs on six hits and two walks over just three innings. Brian Goodwin extended his hit streak to 10 games with a single and a double, and also drew two walks, pushing that tally to 12 in 16 games. The rest of the lineup managed just two hits and a walk, capitalizing on an error, a hit batsman, and a wild pitch to score twice in the 7th while Erik Komatsu plated Goodwin’s leadoff double in the 9thg with a sacrifice fly in the 9th. RHP Warner Madrigal placed on the 7-Day DL with a calf injury to make room for OF Steve Souza on Chiefs 25-man roster.

Harrisburg — OFF DAY
The Senators complete their six-game road trip with a three-game series against the Curve in Altoona in a battle between the fifth- and sixth-place teams in the Eastern League’s Western division.

Potomac 6 Lynchburg 5
• Pena (W, 1-0) 5IP, 4H, 2R, ER, BB, 2K
• Self (H, 1) 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Oduber 2-4, RBI
• Keyes 1-4, R, HR, 3RBI

Kevin Keyes’s three-run homer, his fourth in seven days, powered a four-run 4th as the P-Nats defeated the Hillcats, 6-5 and took sole possession of 1st place in the Carolina League North Division. Starter Ronald Pena earned his first win but fell one inning short of the six innings required to turn in the team’s first quality of start of 2014. Instead, he game up two runs over five frames on four hits and a walk while striking out two. Robert Benincasa pitched a shaky ninth, allowing a run on two hits but was awarded his league-leading fifth save. Randolph Oduber singled twice to lead the Potomac offense, which scored six times on just seven hits and two walks.

Hagerstown — OFF DAY
Hagerstown’s second road trip is the first of five two-team, 1,000-mile-plus road trips of the season as they’ll visit Augusta, GA for three against the GreenJackets today through Wednesday, then head north to Charleston, WV for four against the Power.

Sunday’s News & Notes

near-fight-in-Hagerstown

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 4-2 vs. Rochester,
2:00 p.m.
Roenicke (0-1, 7.20) vs.
May (0-0, 4.82)
Harrisburg Won, 10-3 OFF DAY N/A
Potomac Won, 10-4 @ Lynchburg,
2:05 p.m.
Pena (0-0, 10.97) vs.
Sims (1-1, 4.20)
Hagerstown Won, 11-6 OFF DAY N/A


Syracuse 4 Rochester 2
• Poveda (W, 1-2) 7IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 4K
• Barrett (SV, 2) 1⅓ IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Lozada 2-3, R
• Laird 2-4, R, 2B, RBI
• Burriss 2-4, 2B, RBI

The Chiefs doubled up the RedWings 4-2 to run their win streak to three and pull within a game of .500. Omar Poveda tossed seven strong innings, giving up both Rochester runs on three hits and three walks while fanning four. Aaron Barrett worked around a pair of ninth-inning singles to earn his second save. Emmanuel Burriss and Gerald Laird both went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI to lead the Syracuse offense while Brian Goodwin singled to extend his hit streak to nine games. OF Steve Souza optioned from Washington; the corresponding move to reduce the roster to 25 has not yet been announced.

Harrisburg 10 Reading 3
• Cole 3⅔ IP, 7H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 4K
• Holland (W, 1-1) 2⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K, 1-0 IR-S
• Dykstra 3-5, 2R, HR, 4RBI
• Hood 2-4, R, BB, HR, 2RBI, SB
• Canham 2-4, 2R

Harrisburg fell behind early 2-0 but didn’t phone it in. Instead, they dialed long distance three times — twice in the five-run 9th as they pummeled Reading, 10-3. Cutter Dykstra drove in four while going 3-for-5, including a two-run shot in the 3rd (his second in as many games) to tie the game at 2-2. Michael Taylor struck out twice to maintain the league lead in K’s but drove in three with his second HR while Destin Hood hit his first HR to cap the Sens scoring binge. A.J. Cole started but was lifted with two outs in the 4th after giving up two runs on seven hits and a walk while throwing 82 pitches. Neil Holland got the win with two and 1/3rd scoreless innings of relief.

Potomac 10 Lynchburg 4
• Rauh (W, 1-1) 5IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, 3BB, 2K
• Mendez 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K, 2-0 IR-S
• Piwnica-Worms 3-4, R, BB, 3RBI
• Norfork 3-5, 3R, 3B, BB, RBI
• S. Perez 3-5, 2R, RBI, E(5)

Potomac pounded out a season-best 17 hits and returned to a first-place tie with a 10-4 victory over Lynchburg. Brian Rauh won for the first time this season, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks over five innings. He struck out two. Bryan Harper and Gilberto Mendez combined for four innings of one-run relief, with Mendez stranding two in the 8th to quash a Hillcat comeback. Kevin Keyes continued his bid for POTW honors with his third HR and 8th RBI since Monday. Will Piwnica-Worms, Khayyan Norfork, and Stephen Perez each had three hits as eight of the nine starters hit safely.

Hagerstown 11 Lakewood 6
• Johansen (W, 2-0) 5IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 0K, 0HR, WP, HBP
• Simms (SV, 2) 3IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 4K
• Difo 2-4, 3B, 3RBI
• E. Martinez 3-5, 2R
• Ward 2-5, R, 2B, 2RBI

Tempers flared in the 8th (H/T to @NatAC1 via Twitter) as the Suns scored in each of the first seven innings en route to an 11-6 scalding of the BlueClaws, the seventh win by Hagertsown in seven meetings (and only 20 more to go). Jake Johansen got the Jack Morris win with five runs on eight hits and three walks over five innings. John Simms closed out the game with three shutout frames for his second save. Lakewood pitchers walked seven Suns (Isaac Ballou three times) and hit a batter (Spencer Kieboom, prompting the above) which enabled Hagerstown to score 11 runs on 12 singles, a double, and a triple. Estarlin led the hit parade with a 3-for-5 night as all nine Suns batters reached base at least twice. OF Denard Span removed from roster, end of MLB rehab

Saturday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 6-5 (11 inn.) vs. Rochester,
2:00 p.m.
Poveda (0-2, 14.63) vs.
Johnson (1-1, 2.70)
Harrisburg Lost, 6-2 @ Reading,
6:05 p.m.
Cole (2-0, 1.80) vs.
Gonzalez (2-0, 2.65)
Potomac Lost, 7-6 (12 inn.) @ Lynchburg,
6:05 p.m.
Rauh (0-1, 4.97) vs.
Cabrera (0-0, 3.68)
Hagerstown Won, 10-8 vs. Lakewood,
5:05 p.m.
Johansen (1-0, 3.00) vs.
Martin (0-2, 7.36)


Syracuse 6 Rochester 5 (11 inn.)
• Hill 5IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 7K, HR
• Mattheus (BS, 1) 2IP, 3H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K
• Delcarmen (W, 1-1) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Perez 2-5, R, BB
• Peterson 2-4, 2B, BB, 2RBI, SF
• Goodwin 2-4, BB, RBI, CS

Brian Goodwin’s second single of the night was an RBI walkoff that gave the Chiefs a 6-5 win over the Red Wings in 11 innings. Syracuse battered former National Alex Meyer for five runs in the first four innings while Taylor Hill turned in five innings of three-run ball, walking two and giving up six hits. He struck out a season-high of seven. Goodwin, Eury Perez, and Brock Peterson each reached base three times as the Chiefs racked up 10 hits but had trouble making the Red Wings pay for the nine walks issued with 14 men left on base. Roster moves: LHP Xavier “Carry On” Cedeno recalled to Washington; RHP Blake Treinen optioned from Washington

Reading 6 Harrisburg 2
• Purke (L, 0-3) 4⅓ IP, 7H, 5R, 4ER, 4BB, 2K, HR
• Gilliam 2IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 2K
• Dykstra 1-4, HR, RBI
• Hood 0-2, BB, SB(5)

The good news is that Matt Purke lowered his ERA (10.13 to 9.49) in Harrisburg’s 6-2 loss to Reading. The bad news is that he lost for the third time in as many starts with five runs (four earned) allowed on seven hits over four and a 1/3rd innings. He walked four and struck out two and allowed a two-run homer in the 1st. Cutter Dykstra homered in the 4th to tie the game at 2-2, the first of only three (3) hits the Sens would collect on the night. Harrisburg drew just one walk, but turned it into a run with Destin Hood’s 5th stolen base and two throwing errors (one to move him up, the other other on his steal of 3B), and struck out 13 times.

Lynchburg 7 Potomac 6 (12 inn.)
• Lee 5IP, 8H, 5R, 3ER, BB, 4K
• Dickson (BS, 1) 5IP, 5H, R, ER, 2BB, 8K
• Bacus (L, 1-1) 1⅔ IP, H, R, ER, 0BB, HR
• Oduber 2-6, 2B
• Keyes 2-5, 2R, HR, RBI

Potomac rallied from a 5-0 deficit to take a 6-5 lead but fell to Lynchburg in extras, 7-6. Starter Nick Lee pitched a season-high five innings but was still knocked around for five runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out four. Ian Dickson turned in five innings of long relief, allowing just one run on five hits and two walks while striking out eight. Dakota Bacus retired the first five batters he faced, but the sixth left the yard for a solo shot that won the game for the Hill City Kitties. Kevin Keyes and Oscar Tejeda both homered as the P-Nats made the most of their eight hits to score six runs, thought they also struck out 15 times.

Hagerstown 10 Lakewood 8
• Anderson 4IP, 9H, 8R, 7ER, BB, 4K, HR
• Spann (W, 2-0) 4IP, 3H, 0R, 2BB, 4K
• Ullmann (SV, 2) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Wooten 2-4, 2R, HR, RBI
• Kieboom 1-3, R, 2B, 2RBI
• E. Martinez 1-2, 2R, 2B, RBI, 2BB

Hagerstown continues to dominate Lakewood, rallying from 4-0 to take a 9-5 lead and holding on for 10-8 win, their sixth in a row against the BlueClaws. Dixon Anderson gave up all eight Lakewood runs on nine hits, including a three-run bomb with nobody out in the 1st. He walked one and struck out four. The decision went to Matthew Spann for his four-inning relief bridge to Ryan Ullman who put up a fifth zero on the scoreboard for the save, his second. John Wooten homered, while Spencer Kieboom and Estarlin Martinez both doubled to combine for three of the Suns five extra-base hits on the night, which enabled Hagerstown to score 10 times on just nine hits total.

Good, Bad, Interesting – Vol. 1


It’s Good Friday. And Bad Friday. And Interesting Friday. It’s a silly little thing I started a few years back that’s become a site staple. Stolen from Named after comedian Demetri Martin’s segment from his show on Comedy Central.

Now, for the usual disclaimers… it’s early, sample sizes are small, stats in the minors aren’t as meaningful as we think, void where prohibited, your mileage may vary. And the usual reminder: the guys, their families, and their agents reading this, so keep it clean in the comments. This is just for fun.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 5-8, 5th place I.L. North, 3 games behind

Good Taylor Hill 2-0, 0.69 ERA/2.97 FIP/0.54 WHIP in 2GS
Bad Brock Peterson .191/.220/.234, 14K in 13G
Interesting Starters not named Omar Poveda – 1.95/3.33/0.86


HARRISBURG SENATORS 3-9, 6th place E.L. West, 5 games behind

Good Justin Bloxom .357/.438/.464 in 10G
Bad Matt Purke 0-2, 10.13 ERA, 2.13 WHIP in 2GS
Interesting Destin Hood 4SB in 10G (5 in 112G in ’13)


POTOMAC NATIONALS 8-6, T1st place C.L. North, 1 game ahead

Good Brian Dupra 2-0, 0.71/0.67/0.87, 17K in 12⅔ IP
Bad Adrian Sanchez .057/.171/.086 in 11G
Interesting Zero quality starts in 14G


HAGERSTOWN SUNS 10-4, 1st place Sally North, 3 games ahead

Good Wilmer Difo .317/.364/.417, 8SB in 14G
Bad David Masters .132/.233/.184 in 11G
Interesting 3HR allowed by Suns pitchers in 126⅔ IP

Friday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 4-0;
Won, 3-0
vs. Rochester,
6:00 p.m.
Hill (2-0, 0.69) vs.
Meyer (0-0, 2.61)
Harrisburg OFF DAY @ Reading,
7:05 p.m.
Purke (0-2, 10.13) vs.
Biddle (0-2, 5.02)
Potomac Lost, 9-2 @ Lynchburg,
6:05 p.m.
Lee (0-2, 20.25) vs.
Waszak (0-0, 8.59)
Hagerstown Won, 13-3 vs. Lakewood,
6:35 p.m.
Anderson (2-0, 1.00) vs.
Casimiro (0-1, 8.59)


Lehigh Valley 4 Syracuse 0 — GAME ONE
• Tatusko (L, 0-2) 6IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 3K, HR, HBP
• Delcarmen 1IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 0K
• Goodwin 1-3, 2K
• Perez 1-3

No hitting is good for schools, daycares and foster homes, but not so much for baseball. The Chiefs were held to three singles (Brian Goodwin, Eury Perez, Will Rhymes) and a double (Jhonatan Solano) as the Iron Pigs shut them out, 4-0 in the opener. Starter Ryan Tatusko spun a quality start of two runs on three hits and no walks over six innings but suffered his second loss. Manny Delcarmen
was hit hard for the third straight out outing, coughing up two runs on three hits without a walk or a strikeout while pitching the 7th.

Syracuse 3 Lehigh Valley 0 — GAME TWO
• Laffey (W, 1-0) 5IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 6K
• Barrett (SV, 1) 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Komatsu 2-2, R, 2B, BB, CS
• Laird 1-3, RBI

Three Syracuse pitchers returned the favor in the nightcap, shutting out Lehigh Valley on two hits for a 3-0 win. Aaron Laffey gave up both safeties in his Chiefs debut, giving out no free passes and setting down half a dozen IronPigs on strikes over five innings. Warner Madrigal and Aaron Barrett followed with a scoreless inning apiece, with Barrett earning his first AAA save. Erik Komatsu singled, doubled, and walked to lead the Chiefs offense.

Harrisburg — OFF DAY
After an abysmal 3-9 start, the Senators got their first scheduled day off yesterday as they embark on brief six-game intrastate road trip with two against Reading and four against Altoona before returning to City Island for their second homestand next Friday.

Myrtle Beach 9 Potomac 2
• Encarnacion (L, 1-1) 4⅓ IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 4BB, 2K, HR
• Self 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 5K, HBP
• B. Miller 1-3, BB, RBI
• Oduber 2-5, OF assist at 2B

Myrtle Beach put up crooked numbers three times, including a five-spot in the 6th as they pounded Potomac in the series finale, 9-1. Pedro Encarnacion was charged with the loss, giving up the first four runs on seven hits while walking four and striking out two over four and a 1/3rd innings. Both Encarnacion and Travis Henke fell victim to Joey Gallo, who went solo against Pedro and unloaded the bases against Travis to take the Carolina League lead in HRs (6). The No. 2 man, Brandon Miller, went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI while the “Groovin’ Aruban” Randolph Oduber went 2-for-5 as the P-Nats were limited to six hits total.

Hagerstown 13 Lakewood 3
• Voth 4IP, 3H, R, ER, 2BB, 4K
• Suero (W, 1-0) 5IP, 7H, 2R, 1ER, BB, 3K, WP
• Wooten 2-5, 2R, 2B, 4RBI
• Manuel 3-5, 2R
• E. Martinez 3-5, R

Every starter hit safely as the Suns pounded out 15 hits against the BlueClaws in a 13-3 smackdown. Austin Voth went the first four frames, giving up a run on three hits and two walks while fanning four. Wander Suero finished the game with five innings pitched, two runs (one earned) given up on seven hits and a walk. He struck out three. John Wooten drove in four with an RBI single and a three-run double while Craig Manuel and Estarlin Martinez both went 3-for-5. MLB rehabber Denard Span went 1-for-2 with two walks, three runs scored, and a stolen base.

Thursday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 6-5 vs. Lehigh Valley,
5:00 p.m.
Tatusko (0-1, 2.08) and Laffey (1st start of ’14) vs.
Smith (0-0, 5.79) and Lincoln (1-0, 0.00)
Harrisburg Lost, 5-2 OFF DAY N/A
Potomac Won, 7-3;
Won, 3-1
@ Myrtle Beach,
6:05 p.m.
Encarnacion (1-0, 2.00) vs.
Wolff (1-1, 0.79)
Hagerstown Lost, 1-0 (15 inn.) vs. Lakewood,
6:35 p.m.
Voth (0-1, 3.72) vs.
Arteaga (1-1, 4.91)


Syracuse 6 Lehigh Valley 5
• Rosenbaum 5⅔ IP, 8H, 4R, 4ER, BB, K
• Garcia (W, 1-0) 2IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 3K, HR
• Mattheus (SV, 2) 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Peterson 2-3, 2R, BB
• Perez 2-5, R, 3B

Syracuse weathered a four-run, six-hit 1st and came back for 6-5 win over Lehigh Valley. Danny Rosenbaum shook off the bad inning to retire 14 of the next 15 batters and finish the night with four runs on eight hits and a walk over five and 2/3rds innings pitched. Three walks and a wild pitch tied it for the Chiefs in the 7th while the gamewinner came on Emmannuel Burriss sac fly following a one-out triple by Eury Perez. Ryan Mattheus worked around a walk in the 9th to earn the save, his second for the season.

Altoona 5 Harrisburg 2
• Rivero (L, 0-3) 5IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 5K
• Holland 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Bloxom 2-3, 2B, BB
• Taylor 2-4, 2B, BB, RBI, CS

A starting temperature of 32 degrees didn’t cool the Curve as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one and chugged to a 5-2 win in the series finale. Felipe Rivero lost for the third time in as many starts despite hanging a decent line of two runs on four hits and one walk while striking out five. The Sens couldn’t take advantage of six bases-on-ballsas they struggled to a 1-for-11 mark with RISP. Michael Taylor and Justin Bloxom both reached base three times with a walk, single, and a double.
Roster moves: OF Drew Vettleson placed on the 7-Day DL; OF Quincy Latimore assigned from Washington.

Potomac 7 Myrtle Beach 3 — GAME ONE
• Pena 2IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 0K, HR
• Dupra (W, 2-0) 4IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 7K, BK
• Benincasa (SV, 4) 1⅔ IP, 2H, 0R, BB, K
• Norfork 2-4, BB, RBI, 2SB
• S. Perez 2-4, R, 2B, 2RBI

The P-Nats picked up where they left off on Tuesday night and took advantage of sloppy defense to score three unearned runs in the top of the 9th to put it away. Brian Dupra got the win in relief with four scoreless innings of relief, with just two hits and a walk surrendered while striking out seven. Robert Benincasa came on in the 8th and got the last five outs for his fourth save of the season.

Potomac 3 Myrtle Beach 1 — GAME TWO
• Mooneyham (W, 1-1) 5IP, 3H, R, ER, 3BB, 1K, WP, PO
• Mendez (SV, 2) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Leonida 3-3, 2R, 2-2B, HR, RBI
• Oduber 2-4, RBI

Brett Mooneyham walked a season-low three batters over five innings while batterymate Cole Leonida racked up eight total bases as Potomac took the nightcap, 3-1. Mooneyham allowed the lone Myrtle Beach run on three hits while earning his first win at High-A. Leonida doubled twice and homered once to lead the P-Nats offense, which racked up nine hits in just seven innings. Gilberto Mendez closed out the game with two scoreless for his second save of the year.

Delmarva 1 Hagerstown 0 (15 inn.) — GAME ONE
• Giolito 5IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 6K
• Cooper 5IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 6K, HBP
• Thomas (L, 0-2) 2⅔ IP, 3H, R, ER, 3BB, K wit
• Yezzo 2-5, BB, CS

The two teams knew they were going to be playing 14 innings last night. Turns out it was 15 innings, but just one game as the Shorebirds won the battle of who could score first with a 1-0 walkoff win. Lucas Giolito and Hunter Harvey both put on a show, with Giolito allowing two hits and two walks over five innings. Jake Walsh, Andrew Cooper, and Justin Thomas combined for nine scoreless innings before Delmarva scored on a two-out rally of two singles sandwiched around of walk, with Thomas putting on the first two baserunners and L.J. Hollins giving up the game-winning hit to the sole batter he faced. Due to the length of the game, Game Two of the doubleheader was postponed. It will most likely be made up during the next series between the two teams, in Delmarva, on May 26-28.

Sickels Releases Top 20 Nats Prospect List

Late this morning, John Sickels released the last of his Top 20 lists, which was the Washington Nationals. As I’ve done the past couple of years, here’s a look at how it breaks down by letter grade:

A- Lucas Giolito
B A.J. Cole, Brian Goodwin
B- Matt Skole, Drew Ward, Michael Taylor, Steve Souza, Felipe Rivero, Tony Renda
C+ Drew Vettleson, Jake Johansen, Eury Perez, Zach Walters, Aaron Barrett, Rafael Bautista, Sammy Solis
C Blake Treinen, Jefry Rodriguez, Randy Encarnacion, Osvaldo Abreu


I realize some of you may be making a face like this when trying to decipher this, so let me try to do a better job than I did last year in explaining this…

The primary focus here is on letter grades, not numerical rank, which you can get by going top to bottom, then left in each row. Lucas Giolito is #1, A.J. Cole is #2, Brian Goodwin is #3… Randy Encarnacion is #19, Osvaldo Abreu is #20.

The secondary focus is on improvement by letter grade, which you can see by the color red. Because Sickels only ranks Grade C or better, that means becoming a C+ or better guy after being previously identified as a Grade C.

Top 20 guys (for the Nationals) from 2013 are in bold while guys that played their way onto the list are in italics. Because it would be specious, I chose to neither bold nor italicize Vettleson and Rivero, though I did indicate whether or not they improved.

Now that that’s out of the way, time for a few quick thoughts…

…The sea of red shows what most of us already know: there were several guys that truly improved in 2013.

…With only eight repeats, there were also quite a few guys that took a step back — most notably, RHP Christian Garcia and LHPs Sammy Solis and Matt Purke.

…After falling to seven players graded at B- or better (and none A or A-), the system has rebounded to nine, though that does include one acquired by trade and one drafted.

Rather than summarize Sickels any further, I highly recommend folks click through and read his thoughts on the system, which begins after the list of players outside of the Top 20.

Wednesday’s News & Notes

Baseball Rain For NPP 3

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Postponed vs. Lehigh Valley,
4:00 p.m.
Rosenbaum (1-1, 3.09) vs.
Buchanan (1-0, 1.50)
Harrisburg Postponed vs. Altoona,
10:30 a.m.
Rivero (0-2, 4.50) vs.
Sampson (1-1, 2.45)
Potomac Losing, 4-3
(Suspended)
@ Myrtle Beach,
6:05 p.m.
Mooneyham (0-1, 2.84) vs.
Gonzalez (0-1, 4.00)
Hagerstown Postponed @ Delmarva,
5:05 p.m. (DH)
Voth (0-1, 3.72) and Giolito (1-0, 3.38) vs.
Harvey (1-0, 1.64) and Brault (1-1, 7.20)


Syracuse vs. Lehigh Valley — PPD
The Chiefs’ fifth postponement came as predicted as rain blanketed the East Coast — including WMass to No. VA 😉 — and affected (afflicted?) every affiliate on Tax Day. Roster moves: LHP Aaron Laffey assigned from Washington.

Harrisburg vs. Altoona — PPD

Rain washed out the second game of the three-game series, which concludes this morning with a matinee. No makeup date was announced at the time of the press release, however, the Sens website is indicating a DH on Saturday, July 12th.

Potomac 4 Myrtle Beach 3 — SUSP
• Pena 2IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 0K, HR
• Norfork 1-1, BB, RBI, 2SB
• S. Perez 1-1, R, 2B, 2RBI

Rain suspended what looked like a slugfest in the making as the P-Nats landed four hooks in the top of the 2nd while the Pelicans answered with three crosses in the bottom of the 2nd before play was halted. It will be made up today as part of a completion doubleheader (finish the original game, play a seven-inning game afterwards).

Delmarva vs. Hagerstown — PPD
The matchup of Washington’s 1st Rd. pick in ’12 vs. Baltimore’s 1st. Rd. pick in ’13 that was supposed to be tonight is now in doubt thanks to the rainout last night, as the Suns have not officially announced the order in which tonight’s presumed starters will pitch.
Roster moves: IF Cody Dent placed on the 7-Day DL; 3B Drew Ward activated from DL; IF Carlos Lopez returned to XST; IF Willie Medina activated from XST.

Sickels Releases Preliminary Prospect List

John Sickels released his preliminary prospect list for the Washington Nationals this morning, and yours truly made the first comment.

All of the names Sickels listed are on the 2014 Watchlist, so as I’ve done for the past two years, it’s easier to note the omissions from the primary categories:

Sandy Leon Raudy Read Matt Reistetter Jose Marmolejos-Diaz Shawn Pleffner
Ricky Hague Bryan Mejia Wilmer Difo David Masters Cutter Dykstra
J.C. Valdez Estarlin Martinez John Wooten Bryan Lippincott Greg Zebrack
Cody Davis Gilberto Mendez L.J. Hollins John Simms Wander Suero
Nick Lee R.C. Orlan David Napoli Jake Walsh  


Not too hard to spot the pattern here: Sickels is looking for the Top 30-something guys, regardless of position, role, or usage, whereas I’ve got some built-in biases based on the how the list is constructed (Top 5’s from each affiliate) as well as the inescapable prejudice of fanhood, which isn’t necessarily inclusive.

As I put it a year ago, it doesn’t concern me that there are so many omissions; it’s just math. Sickels is looking at/for the top 15 percent of 30 organizations, my list covers the about third of one.

Hopefully, I’ll get home before Sickels releases his Top 20 list.