USA and Gio Get a Win

March 13, 2013

Team USA started out the second round of the WBC with a big win over a strong Puerto Rico team. This was thanks in no small part to two NL East stars from last year – David Wright and the Nats’ Gio Gonzalez. Wright broke the game open in the 8th with a bases clearing double to bring a 4-1 lead all the way up to 7-1, and that was probably the hit that will be remembered from this one. But Wright had two other RBIs, one off a groundout to make it 2-0 in the third, and one off a single in the 5th to bring the lead to 3-0.

The game never got closer than a 3 run differential after that, and the biggest reason the PR team couldn’t score was Gio Gonzalez. WBC Puerto Rico US BaseballGio wasn’t brilliant, but he was very good in 5 innings. He didn’t quite hit the 80 pitch limit imposed in a round by the WBC, but hit 69 pitches made his removal in the 5th logical, and will likely keep him out of the remainder of this round.

Gio did his job and then some, striking out 5 in those 5 IP, and walking (gasp!) none. He only gave up 3 hits, and only got into any sort of trouble in the 4th, when Carlos Beltran doubled off the wall in center. After a a groundout by Yadier Molina to move Beltran to third with two outs, Mike Aviles came up and smashed the ball to RF, but Giancarlo Stanton made a great catch to rob him of extra bases, and PR of a run. Gio didn’t have all of his best stuff, according to Harry Pavlidis (Founder of Pitch Info, contributor to Baseball Prospectus & Washington Post):

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Potential September Callups

August 27, 2012

September is approaching fast, and normally with the Nationals, it’s when we can turn our attention back to the downtrodden team and see some young prospects get a shot with the Major League club. Instead, this year the Nats will be entering September as perhaps favorites to win the division, let alone grab one of the two wild card spots.

But that doesn’t stop the roster from expanding, and it doesn’t stop the minor league season from ending around Labor Day, so we’ll still get to see a youngster or two. Remember that in order to be a September callup, a player has to be on the 40 man roster. I will use today’s 40 man and assume it won’t change by the weekend, but of course it probably will. Here’s a few guys to look out for:

Probably

John Lannan – Heard of him? He’s a lock to get called up, especially considering he’s first in line to fill in for Stephen Strasburg once the ace gets shut down.

Corey Brown – He had an incredible season in the minors, he’s a strong defensive CF, and he’s already hit his first Major League homer this year. Hopefully he’ll get to play some more – maybe to rest a seemingly fatigued Bryce Harper once in a while.

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Options in CF

March 28, 2011

With the Nyjer Morgan trade, and Roger Bernadina‘s .245/.310/.340 spring, Rick Ankiel has won the CF job outright. So far he has hit slightly better than Bernadina, hitting .218/.271/.455 so far. The OPS is higher, so are the runs created and other similar offensive value stats. But since OBP is more important that SLG, those other offensive stats aren’t as far apart as OPS is. Regardless, Ankiel is hitting the best of the two.

Roger Bernadina

Bernadina will still get his shots at the position. He’s probably going to be considered a 4th outfielder been assigned to the minors, although being a lefty as well, he isn’t automatically going in when Ankiel gets a convenient rest against left handed starters.  The thing he has going against him, as mentioned, is that he hits from the same side of the plate as Ankiel, unlike…

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Nats Top 11 Prospects

November 24, 2010

Baseball Prospectus has released their Top 11 prospects for the Nationals, for 2011, and once again they managed to have a couple of 5 star guys (in 2009 they didn’t have a single one)

Five-Star Prospects
1. Bryce Harper, OF
2. Derek Norris, C
Four-Star Prospects
3. Danny Espinosa, SS/2B
4. A.J. Cole, RHP
Three-Star Prospects
5. Sammy Solis, LHP
6. Wilson Ramos, C
7. Michael Burgess, OF
8. Robbie Ray, LHP
Two-Star Prospects
9. Eury Perez, OF
10. Tyler Moore, 1B
11. Rick Hague, SS

Then they get into the review of each guy – which you can’t see. I’m not going to reproduce everything they say there, because I would like that website to keep making money and continue producing great stuff, so you can buy a subscription for that. But a few highlights for each guy, just because you may not have even heard of some of them.

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A Look at the Top Prospects

March 1, 2010

Baseball Prospectus came out with their list of the Nationals Top 11 prospects. They did it over the weekend, thinking nobody would notice, but I saw it. Suckers.

You can check out the actual list on the link, or look below this line:

Five-Star Prospects
1. Stephen Strasburg, RHP
2. Derek Norris, C
Four-Star Prospects
3. Drew Storen, RHP
4. Danny Espinosa, SS
Three-Star Prospects
5. Ian Desmond, SS
6. Michael Burgess, OF
7. Eury Perez, OF
8. Jeff Kobernus, 2B
9. Chris Marrero, 1B
10. Juan Jaime, RHP
Two-Star Prospects
11. Paul Demny, RHP

Then they get into the review of each guy – which you can’t see. I’m not going to reproduce everything they say there. You can buy a subscription for that. But a few highlights for each guy, just because you may not have even heard of some of them.

1. Stephen Strasburg – Surprise suprise. Just to remind you, the mention that he his a fastball that’s 95-98 mph and “touches triple digits regularly.” He’s also very very accurate, with a “plus-plus” power breaking ball that “can be an absolute wipeout offering.” His downside is apparently his “problems” with the media. I think that’s crap, in my opinion, he wasn’t overwhelmed by that first press conference, he was a little surprised and joked about it. That doesn’t show makeup issues to me.

2. Derek Norris – The much talked about catching prospect is their other 5-star guy, whatever that means. It’s his bat that people love, a catcher that can hit and has patience and power. He’s also got a great arm, but he’s still not a great defensive catcher. He’s got a few more years in the minors.

3. Drew Storen – Pretty good first draft for Rizzo, they rank this guy here. Of course, he was the 10th overall pick, and it may show more of the issues with the farm system before he took over… Anyway, they love his command and control on his 92-95 mph fastball. They don’t think he’s gonna be a great closer, but could be pretty good, although some see him topping out as a setup man. Either way, valuable addition to the bullpen.

4. Danny Espinosa – BP sees him as a good all around player, with nothing particularly outstanding about any of his skills. That being said, they also noted “Espinosa just plays the game right.” They mention he takes walks, plays good defense, runs the bases well, has good power and “his high baseball IQ leads to excellent jumps defensively.” Whether or not he’ll hit enough to play in the majors remains to be seen. But if there’s something to be excited about, it’s the thought of a double play combo of him and…

5. Ian Desmond – We had a glimpse of him last year after a great minor league season and he hit a homer in his first AB. That doesn’t squash the questions about his power, but it does quiet them. He has a “rocket arm” but still makes the “good plays and then boot routine ones.” His bat may not be all there yet, we’ll know soon if he starts on the bench with DC or plays every day with Syracuse.

6. Michael Burgess – This is the Nats big time power prospect, he didn’t look great last year. That being said he still knows the strike zone, can mash the ball, and fields well. This year will be a big indicator of what they have from the guy.

7. Eury Perez – News to me as well. But he hit .381/.443/.503 at rookie ball last year, so he is a bit of good news out of their Dominican Republic debacle. He a toolsy guy (which isn’t a bad thing, even though Bowden hearted tools) who is fast but also has some power, but he’s very raw. That being said, he can hit, has the opportunity to continue to impress and won’t be rushed. 20 years old is still young, especially coming from overseas, so he’ll have time to develop.

8. Jeff Kobernus – This was the Nats first pick after Strasburg and Storen last year, and he didn’t play much last year due to injury. He’s speedy and athletic, with good defense and has “a quick, line-drive bat to spray balls to all fields with occasional gap power, and a possible ceiling for more.” Not sure if more power will ever get there, and he doesn’t walk that much, which could be bad as he moves up levels. He’ll have time though, as you figure he’s blocked for a bit by the Espinosa and Desmond. Unless of course, he starts really impressing.

9. Chris Marrero – Once considered one of the truly top prospects in the system (and probably a 5 star guy at times) he has fallen off recently. But after a broken leg in 2008, he came back last year to well in high-A and pretty good in AA. He’s got power and hits the ball well, but besides that it is not pretty. Can’t field well, stuck at first base, and not a great defensive one at that. He’s kinda like a slow version of their current first baseman, and when that contract ends, if he’s hitting good enough, he may get a shot at the big leagues. He’s gotta do something in AA first, though.

10. Juan Jamie – Another bright spot out of the Dominican, he throws a blazing fastball, with some action and he “is an aggressive pitcher who tries to blow away every hitter.” Unfortunately he doesn’t have much beyond that, and he’s still pretty raw despite turning 23 this coming August. He probably doesn’t have enough pitches to start, so look for them to eventually move him to relief. He’s got to get some work outside of short-season teams, but he could move quickly if things work out well for him.

11. Paul Demny – Oh good ol’ Paul Demny… yeah, I didn’t know the name either. The Nats took him in the 6th round in 2008, and his numbers in 2009 weren’t anything to make you notice him (5.14 ERA). But despite being inconsistent he has a good fastball and slider, and has made some impressive starts. They see him as having a back end of the rotation ceiling, although he may be tried out in relief soon as well.

Rounding out the list but not expounded upon were Destin Hood, Justin Maxwell, Bradley Meyers, and J.R. Higley, so how bout I give you a little bit on each.

12. Destin Hood – He’s still young, he’s raw and he’s got power. He’ll only be 20 this year, and I picked him as my LFer of 2014 when I did that exercise. People will be paying alot of attention to what he does this year.

13. Justin Maxwell – The Maryland grad has potential to be like Mike Cameron… low AVG, decent OBP, big power, lots of Ks, very good CF. Hasn’t shown that he can reach that potential and the clock is ticking.

14. Bradley MeyersAnother surprise pick to my Nats of 2014 preview, it’s nice to see some amount of validation. He is not young, not raw, but had good really numbers in A and AA last year. BP mentions he has good command and control, and potential to show up in the back end of the rotation.

15. J.R. Higley – One of the Original Kings of Comedy… er… I mean a toolsy outfielder who is turning 22 this year. He was selected in the 8th round in 2008 and hit well in his brief time at Hagerstown last year. Hasn’t shown a ton of power yet but has taken walks and hit for average. Let seem him do it more in high-A, and he might get a shot to move up to AA Harrisburg this year.