Just one Nat got into yesterday’s game
Just a quick update before the wires start buzzing about the expected debut of Bryce Harper today.
Scottsdale fell 6-4 to the Surprise Rafters. Michael Burgess was the lone Nat to see game action, as Derek Norris was a late scratch (see link above for more details). Burgess went 1-for-3 with a sac-fly RBI while batting eighth and playing right field.
Today’s tidbits from Arizona
By now, you’ve heard that Bryce Harper has been assigned to the taxi squad and will play twice a week. As I put in one of the comments last night, I believe this is a move that has more to do keeping Harper under the watchful eye tutelage of one of the best baseball men in the system (Randy Knorr) than it is exposing him to high-level competition. From a PR standpoint, it’s also a nice gesture to appease the impatient DC fans (today’s submission from the department of redundancy department).
Anyway, just two Nationals saw action in yesterday’s 9-1 win by the Scottsdale Scorpions, but the results are what we love to see…
…Steve Lombardozzi doubled in his first two at-bats and went 2-for-6 overall while scoring a run. Defensively, he made just one play.
…Cole Kimball pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out the side, which included Minnesota’s Joe Benson, and San Diego farmhands Luis Martinez and Cole Figueroa (seriously, what was up with the name “Cole” in the mid-to-late 80s?).
Some links to pore over with your coffee, Mountain Dew, Red Bull, etc.
You’ll forgive me for all the Bryce Harper news but when it comes to the Nats in the offseason it’s all Bryce Harper all the time. (Pay plenty of attention to that advertisement to your right 😉
Now that I’m done keyword stuffing, here’s a few links of interest before Chip Caray says something stupid on TBS this afternoon…
…As promised, a Bryce Harper update from Adam Kilgore, who has the time, salary, and budget that I don’t.
…Your newest member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association, Washington, DC chapter (that and $2 gets me a cup of coffee, much like my two Journalism degrees) voted for Espinosa, Lombardozzi, and Milone for the Minor League Player of the Year in the 2010 Player Achievement Awards, taking quite seriously the part about most destined for big-league success.
…This is a blog dedicated to the minors, but because it affects the 2011 draft, here’s a look at how Adam Dunn might be a Type B free agent.
…Finally, with the new ownership in place at Hagerstown, they’re making some requests about Municipal Stadium.
Some news and notes on the Nats’ minors
As you imagine, things are in a lull right now as we wait for the parent club to finish out the string. A few items of interest…
…Thankfully, we’re not in a mode of worrying whether or not the #1 overall pick is ours, which was the subject of discussion last year and the year before. That battle is between Baltimore and Seattle (hey, that rhymes!). Currently, Washington is in line for the 8th overall pick, two games “behind” Cleveland in the reverse standings, three games “behind” Kansas City, and four games “ahead” of the Chicago Cubs. Most of the teams in the #3 through #6 spots face winning clubs the rest of the way (#7 is a compensatory pick for the Diamondbacks failing to sign Barret Loux), the Nats and Cubs play contenders for some, also-rans on the final weekend. Thus, the order is not likely to change all that much.
…Former scout and current AOL Fanhouse writer Frankie Piliere has good things to say about Bryce Harper but what was more interesting was his take on A.J. Morris:
Nationals right-handed pitching prospect A.J. Morris was among the more impressive arms in camp for Washington, showing off a lively 91-94 mph fastball and a feel for a sharp slider at 82-84 mph. He has the look of an effective late-inning arm for Nationals in the near future.
….Baseball America’s been churning out its Top 20 lists for each league. Thus far, they’ve done the Arizona Fall League, the Gulf Coast League, and the Appalachian League and no Nationals have appeared. The New York-Penn League is on the docket for tomorrow, the Sally League on Thursday. If/when any Nationals are named or discussed, I’ll pass along what they have to say.
…Finally, as frequent commenter Mark L noted, the Washington Nationals have yet to name its Minor-League Batter and Pitcher of the Year, but it appears that Tyler Moore will be the former. The latter may be a little less of a slam-dunk. Danny Rosenbaum makes the case with the lowest ERA in the system, but our money is on Tom Milone, the leader in wins (12) and strikeouts (155) and innings pitched (158).
A few words on Bryce Harper’s unofficial pro debut
Lost amid the news (noise?) of Stan Kasten’s departure (as usual, Mark Zuckerman nails what it really means), some 17-year-old kid made his unofficial pro debut yesterday.
As you might expect, he was rusty, striking out twice in two plate appearances and catching two flyballs while playing right field and wearing the number 34.
MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweeted yesterday: “Bryce’s biggest pro challenge won’t be RF. It’ll be patience and learning to stay back. 2 K’s today, both way out in front on offspeed stuff.” If you have more than a few minutes, you can see this for yourself at Steven C. Smith’s SpaceCoastBaseball.com. You can read the rest of Gonzalez’s story here.
Undoubtedly, there will be more stories on this Harper and I’ll do my best to collect the best ones and pass them along.