2014 Watchlist: RHPs

Aaron Barrett Aaron Barrett
DOB: 1/2/88
Ht. 6’4″
Wt. 215
Bats: R
Career Stats
Barrett’s ascent has been a bit slow for a pitcher drafted four
times, but the Nats’ patience (two seasons in the NYPL) has been
rewarded after yet another season of getting strikeouts in spades
12.3/9IP). A 70-grade slider is his weapon of choice, though he can
also dial up a low-90s heater, though scouts worry about the violence
in his delivery. A dark-horse candidate for the ’14 DC bullpen but
probably more likely to begins the season as the Syracuse closer.
Taylor Hill Taylor Hill
DOB: 3/12/89
Ht. 6’3″
Wt. 233
Bats: R
Career Stats
This is Hill’s second appearance on the watchlist (2012), thanks
to a breakthrough 2013 that saw him split time between High-A
and AA (plus a two-start stopgap in AAA). He had been a SI/SL
guy but was spotted throwing more than a few changeups and
curves, which resulted in more flyballs. A low-K, low-BB, guy
Hill has had a propensity give up more hits than IP, but had
a career-low 8.7 mark in ’13.
A.J. Cole A.J. Cole
DOB: 1/5/92
Ht. 6’4″
Wt. 180
Bats: R
Career Stats
Cole is a good reminder that the stats don’t always reflect
what the pro scouts see. At the time of his callup, his ERA
and FIP were 4.25 and 3.54 respectively and he was two starts
removed from getting pounded by one of the Carolina League’s
weaklings. Instead of a similar fate in AA, he reeled off seven
straight starts of 6+ IP. Cole features a plus, mid-90s FB and
a fringe-avg. CH, but his CV is erratic. Look for him to return
to Harrisburg for more seasoning before moving up to Syracuse.
Richie Mirowski Richie Mirowski
DOB: 4/30/89
Ht. 6’2″
Wt. 190
Bats: R
Career Stats
A 45th-Rd. draft pick out of Oklahoma Baptist University in 2011,
Mirowski had a breakout 2013 that saw him pitch at two levels and
earn an invite to the Arizona Fall League as a rarity: a reliever
sent without being Rule 5 eligible. Perhaps a little more odd is
that Mirowski doesn’t throw mid-90s heat, relying instead on the
cutter and two-seam fastball along with the hybrid split-change.
Blake Treinen Blake Treinen
DOB: 6/30/88
Ht. 6’4″
Wt. 215
Bats: R
Career Stats
A late addition to the 2014 watchlist, Treinen had a memorable
spring training and validated his non-roster invitation by flashing
high-90s heat. He was acquired along with A.J. Cole from the A’s
and threw a career-high 124⅔ innings, though not especially
overwhelming peripherals. He features the classic FB/CH/CV/SL
arsenal with a 91-95 FB but scouts say his secondary pitches are
still too inconsistent to start, but as we saw in Viera, could be
good enough for middle relief.
Blake Schwartz Blake Schwartz
DOB: 10/9/89
Ht. 6’3″
Wt. 200
Bats: R
Career Stats
Schwartz started the ’13 season in the Suns bullpen and finished
it as the staff ace of the P-Nats, leading the team in games started
and innings pitched. Folks will infer from his low-K, low-BB stat
line that he’s a soft-tosser, but he can break 90 on the gun and is
usually in the 88-92 range as noted last year. Schwartz is adept at
keeping hitters off-balance by cutting his fastball while mixing in
changeups and a good, 12-6 curveball.
Robert Benincasa Robert Benincasa
DOB: 9/5/90
Ht. 6’2″
Wt. 180
Bats: R
Career Stats
Benincasa led the minors in saves with 27 between Lo-A and Hi-A
in 2013 and was rewarded with a trip to the AFL where he struggled
in nine appearances. Scouts attribute some of the falloff to wearing
down physically, as his fastball velo fell from the 92-94 range to the
89-92 mark. Features a low-80s slider and split-change that works
best vs. LHBs. Best bet for 2014 = Harrisburg.
Pedro Encarnacion Pedro Encarnacion
DOB: 6/26/91
Ht. 6’4″
Wt. 175
Bats: R
Career Stats
Encarnacion’s 2013 return to Hagerstown after six awful appear-
ances in 2012 was much stronger, as the 22-y.o. led the Suns in
innings pitched and games started. He also posted a career bests
in K rate (7.9) and BB rate (2.6). Independent scouting reports
are scarce, though our Hagerstown guy described his stuff as “not
Cody Davis Cody Davis
DOB: 7/21/90
Ht. 5’9″
Wt. 170
Bats: R
Career Stats
A former teammate of Shawn Pleffner at the University of Tampa,
Davis is an NDFA that has performed well despite being obviously
undersized and undervalued. Nevertheless, Davis led the Suns in
appearances with 35 and was second in games finished, with decent
peripherals — 1.276 WHIP, 3.0 BB, and 9.8 K/9IP.
Gilberto Mendez
DOB: 11/17/92
Ht. 6′
Wt. 165
Bats: R
Career Stats
Mendez didn’t purely jump from the GCL to Low-A from ’12 to ’13,
but did not repeat Auburn despite making just four appearances.
Held in XST until mid-June, Mendez pitched just 29⅔ innings but
closed in 21 of 24 appearances. Generously listed at 6’/165 lbs,
it seems obvious that after a strong 2011 (7-0, 2.06 in the DSL)
the Nats have questions about his durability but want to leverage
his fastball (which was quite live when I saw him) in short stints.
Jake Johansen Jake Johansen
DOB: 1/23/91
Ht. 6’6″
Wt. 235
Bats: R
Career Stats
Johansen was the Nats first pick in the 2013 Draft, 68th overall
and immediately drew comparisons to Nathan Karns (both pitched
in HS and college in TX w/ subpar results, both power arms with
control issues). For the velo whores, Johansen has been clocked
at 99 but works in the 94-96 range. Whether he remains a starter
will depend heavily on the improvement of his offspeed offerings
(CH, CV) to complement the fastball, cutter, and slider.
Austin Voth Austin Voth
DOB: 6/26/92
Ht. 6’1″
Wt. 190
Bats: R
Career Stats
The Nats’ 5th round pick out of the Univ. of Washington plowed through
the NYPL along with Johansen, posting a 2-0 mark with a 1.47 ERA in
seven starts, finishing up in Hagerstown. Scouts like his ability to hide
the ball and keep runners close. Commands an 89-92 fastball that picks
up in speed to touch 95 along with a slider and a changeup, rated fringe-
average and average respectively. BA says Potomac to start, but it’s more
likely he’ll return to the Muni for a few more weeks.
L.J. Hollins L.J. Hollins
DOB: 7/31/91
Ht. 6’3″
Wt. 185
Bats: R
Career Stats
Hollins is submarining righthander who was drafted in the 29th round
of the 2012 draft out of Chipola College, a JuCo in Marianna, FL. He’s
twice been sent to Hagerstown for short stints but has spent the majority
of his pro career thus far as a multi-inning guy who keeps the ball in the
yard (next HR allowed will be the first) and gets a ton of groundball outs.
John Simms John Simms
DOB: 1/17/92
Ht. 6’3″
Wt. 205
Bats: R
Career Stats
Simms’s traditional stats are very poor (5.79 ERA, 1.71 WHIP) but
his peripherals (2.79 FIP, 2.25 BB/9, 9.96 K/9) along with an unus-
ually high BABIP (.438) suggest he was more unlucky than “ungood.”
Drafted in the 11th round out of Rice after three solid seasons where
he went 17-7 with a 2.75 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 72 appearances (27
Nick Pivetta Nick Pivetta
DOB: 2/14/93
Ht. 6’5″
Wt. 220
Bats: R
Career Stats
A 4th Rd. pick out of New Mexico JC, Pivetta split time between the GCL
and Auburn after a month’s delay in getting him a visa as a Canadian, eh.
Features a low-90s fastball and a sweeping curve with a work-in-progress
changeup. The belief is that the Nats will teach him a more traditional
curve while working to build him up physically to add some length to his
pitches. Likely to spend ’14 in Low-A Hagerstown.
Lucas Giolito Lucas Giolito
DOB: 07/14/94
Ht. 6’6″
Wt. 225
Bats: R
Career Stats
Giolito returned to pitching just 10 months after having TJ surgery.
He returned to form about a month later. Three weeks after that, he
was promoted to Auburn and turned in three solid starts. As you might
imagine for a potential #1 starter, Giolito has two plus-plus pitches
(FB, CV) and a third pitch (CH) that could be just plus (oh, the horror).
He’s expected to begin 2014 in Low-A Hagerstown, but given the Nats’
recent history of HS picks and hurt pitchers, look for him to have his
first Suns start in May, not April.
Wander Suero Wander Suero
DOB: 9/15/91
Ht. 6’3″
Wt. 175
Bats: R
Career Stats
After repeating the DSL twice, Suero came stateside and dom-
inated: 8-1, 1.65/2.77/0.82 in 49IP. Though he was almost 22,
he got the instrux invite, which is generally a sign that the
organization plans to move him up.

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Jefry Rodriguez
DOB: 7/26/93
Ht. 6’5″
Wt. 185
Bats: R
Career Stats
The youngest of the three Dominican pitchers from the GCL,
20-y.o. Jefry was third on the team in IP and posted a solid
line of 2.45/3.30/1.25 in 12 starts, earning him a trip to
the postseason instrux. A convert from SS, Rodriguez works
a mid-90s FB (touching 97), 11-5 CV, and also throws the CH.
Phillips Valdez Phillips Valdez
DOB: 11/16/91
Ht. 6’2″
Wt. 160
Bats: R
Career Stats
A bit on the old side for the GCL, but did put up impressive
numbers (3-0, 2SV; 1.95/2.83/0.87 in 32⅓ IP) and was in-
vited to instrux. A former Cleveland farmhand, he did not
pitch in 2011, which leads to the inference that he’s had
surgery of some sort.

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