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
TBD
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.

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 Insidenova.com, 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.

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 MiLB.com thus far. A reminder, as usual, that for most of these guys this is the end of their days as a professional baseball player.

Nats Option Four More to AAA

Well, ask and ye shall receive, no?

After yesterday’s 4-1 win over the Astros at the BotPB, the Nationals optioned Brian Goodwin, Matt Grace, Rafael Martin, and Pedro Severino were optioned to AAA while AAAA Emmanuel Burriss was reassigned to minor-league camp.

None of the moves were unexpected (just long delayed). There are now 37 players left in camp, including eight non-roster invitees and watchlist players Koda Glover and A.J. Cole.

Given his Glover’s role in the current closer soap opera, his continued presence in camp is expected, but Cole’s is not. This feeds into the other contrived drama* regarding manager Dusty Baker’s preference for a long man, and of course, the omnipresent third option of a trade, which is also expected to solve the “battle” between Adam Lind and out-of-options Clint Robinson. *Excluding this softer-than-a-baby’s-bottom story.

UPDATE: UT Brandon Snyder was also reassigned to minor-league camp on Sunday morning.

The Nationals have five games left in Florida before they head north to play a pair of cash grabs exhibitions against the Red Sox on Friday and Saturday.

Saturday Smorgasbord

Also, what the FAQ?

For what it’s worth, I’m mostly Irish, but I like the word smorgasbord.

As the subhead suggests, I’ve finished the FAQs, so take a look if you’re new here, curious, or, for the old-timer… just bored.

Thanks to the WBC, the timing and rhythm of spring training this year is a little off — about 5-6 days, I’d say. Usually by now, we get the first inkling of who’s been released, which is not something I relish writing about but it does help give us a clue as to what the minor-league rosters will be.

It also seems like the Nationals are taking their sweet time in making up their minds regarding Brian Goodwin, A.J. Cole, and Pedro Severino. This trio seems nearly guaranteed to start the season at Syracuse, which begs the question “Why are they taking so long?” All have options left and none of them are doing so well to entertain the idea of another team wanting to trade for them.

Erick Fedde was reassigned yesterday, which was no surprise, but if he dominates at AA early and/or Joe Ross struggles, I’m expecting a drumbeat from the Natmosphere.

Back to the minors, Hagerstown announced a new radio man/media director, Kevin Gehl, who is the third Suns broadcaster in three seasons, following Jordan Nicewarner (2016) and Eli Pearlstein (2013-15).

Finally, the transaction wire from BA has been largely insignificant. As some have noted in the comments, there have been a few low-level signings this month, including what appears to be two IFAs (RHPs Johan Gomez and Alejandro Vallejo) and a non-drafted free agent (2B Alian Silva).

As always, feel free to discuss in the comments while we wait for the minors to start up.

Transaction Update

Yes, it’s so slow that we’re doing back-to-back transaction posts. Yesterday, the folks at Baseball America posted their latest, which contained two signings for the Nationals:

LHP Jordan Mills – It’s no secret that the Nats are loading up on lefties. What’s not clear is why Mills was cut loose by the Astros after a single season at High-A in which he posted a line of 3.81/5.16/1.77 in the notoriously hitter-friendly California Lg. Last summer, he pitched in the Can-Am Lg. with good nos. 6-0, 1.96 in 44 appearances (which is a lot considering it’s a ~90-game season).

IF-OF Mario Lisson – Lisson, who split time between Harrisburg and Syracuse in 2015, returns to the Nationals after spending 2016 in Mexican League. He turns 33 in May, so it’s pretty clear he’s a roster-filler first and an emergency fill-in second.

A Few More Minor-League Signs

minor leagues signs 2Baseball America released its latest transaction post, and with it comes a few more signings:

LHP Neal Cotts
Irving Falu
Alex Santana

Cotts and Falu are the classic minor-league deals with a non-roster invite to spring training, i.e. longshots who will most likely get mentioned here again when they are released in about eight weeks. They are insurance policies against injuries and folks to push the backups along with the younger players in camp.

It should come as no surprise to learn that Santana is the son of a former major-leaguer (Rafael), continuing the fetish fascination with legacy players. Santana was released at the end of spring training in 2016 by the Dodgers, who drafted him in the 2nd Rd. of the 2011 Draft. He had risen as high as Low-A, but despite his 6’4″, 200-lb size slugged just .324 in 64G at the level in 2015. He did not play professionally last summer, in which he turned 23.

Bak

Transaction Update

We interrupt your Boxing Day celebration to bring you another transaction update, courtesy of BA and MiLB:

SIGNED
RHP Gabriel Arias – Did not pitch in 2016. Unable to confirm whether he was in Dr. Andrew’s waiting room when the Nats were stopped by for their monthly meeting.

• Player-Coaches Devin Ivany & Andruth Ramirez – Presumably both will return to Harrisburg and Potomac, respectively.

C-1B Pat Leyland – As noted in the comments, the son of manager Jim Leyland, and continuing the Nats’ fetish for legacy picks. Also did not play in 2016, though he was signed and released by the Reds last spring.

TRADED
RHP Mario Sanchez – The other cleat has dropped on the Jimmy Cordero trade with Philadelphia.

Catching up on Transactions


While I clean off this egg from my face from the last post, let’s take a peek at the latest transactions, via BA and MiLB:

SIGNED
RHP Michael Broadway – If the name’s familiar, it’s because Broadway spent a year (2013) in the system as a reliever for Harrisburg and Syracuse. Since then, he’s been mostly with the Giants, with a handful of appearances for the Yokahama Bay Stars of Japan’s Central League.

RHP Kyle Schepel – a bit interesting in that he went undrafted in 2012, pitched in the independent Frontier League, then hooked on with the Diamondbacks for two seasons, then spent the last two in the Mariners organization.

LHP Tim Collins – Another NDFA, the short lefty signed with Toronto in 2007 out of a Worcester, MA vocational HS, traded twice in July 2010 to Atlanta, then Kansas City, where he was a bullpen mainstay from 2011 to 2014 (228 appearances) before suffering an elbow injury in 2015 that’s required two TJ surgeries.

RHP Jacob Turner – Journeyman RHSP who split time between AAA and MLB for the White Sox, and was ineffective at both levels.

IF Emmanuel Burriss – Another former Nats farmhand (’14-’15), Burriss also split time between AAA and MLB for the Phillies, batting .263 and .111 in 50 and 39 games respectively.

RELEASED
• RHP Matt Pirro
• C Erik VanMeetren
• IF David Kerian
• RHP Yefri Pena

RETIRED
• SS Clayton Brandt