(Editor note: I was out of the country for the last week; good timing in terms of missing the snow, but not so much for trying to get on a flight back to DC. Never got one actually; had to settle for a flight to JFK last night and a train ride ride down).
Now that we’re through all the 2015 Pitching staff review series, level by level, here’s a summary projection of what the pitching staffs may look like for 2016. These projections are based on the 7 deep dive rotation reviews but are all put in one place. Since player movement occurs daily, I may have missed one or two MLFA signings but these should be up-to-date as of the time of publishing.
All the reviews in the 2015 series:
- Washington/MLB 2015 review
- Syracuse/AAA 2015 review
- Harrisburg/AA 2015 review
- Potomac/High-A 2015 review
- Hagerstown/Low-A 2015 review
- Auburn/Short-A 2015 review
- GCL/Rookie 2015 review
Nats System Staff projections for 2016 season
(* == lefty, ^ == MLFA or new acquisition for 2016)
- Rotation: Scherzer, Strasburg, Ross, Gonzalez*, Roark
- Bullpen: Papelbon, Treinen, Rivero*, Perez*^, Kelley^, Gott^, Petit^, Barrett (60-day DL)
- out of organization: Zimmermann, Fister, Storen (traded), Thornton*, Janssen, Carpenter, Stammen (non-tendered)
Quick Discussion: This assumes no more rotation acquisitions; if one occurs, bump Roark to long-man with Treinen then getting dumped to AAA save for injury (See next section for the Arroyo discussion). It looks like the team can’t move Papelbon for anything of value and refuses to eat $11M and instead moved Storen for something we do value (a CF). I know they’re still connected to random starters here and there, which continues my amazement in their lack of trust of Roark as an effective 5th starter (I guess his 50 innings in 2013 and 200 awesome innings in 2014 just weren’t convincing enough). Honestly if they don’t trust Roark, then just call up Giolito. This is their last season with Strasburg and one of their last with Harper, so “saving” Giolito at this “win now” point seems dumb. We’ll see.
- Rotation: Cole, Jordan, Espino, Voth, Laffey*^, THill, Arroyo^
- Bullpen: Martin, Solis*, Grace*, Brady^, Bacus, de los Santos, Runion, Velasquez^, Masset^, EDavis, Burnett*^
- Release Candidates: McGregor, Walters
- out of organization: Billings, Bleier*, Swynenberg, Fornataro, Meek, Runion, Lively, Gutierrez, Valverde, Delcarmen, RHill, Overton
Quick Discussion: Both Hill and Davis took outright assignments to AAA to stick with the team after being DFA’d in the last few weeks: this could lead to some downstream moves in spring training (specifically someone like McGregor getting squeezed in a numbers game). We have slightly overloaded the bullpen assuming that there’s some injuries to come. Only a few “veteran MLFA” types listed here, a good sign for the system and its ability to generate upper-level minor league talent, but seemingly every other day we hear about more such signings, probably for competition purposes and/or to fulfil what seems to be the annual ritual of giving guys a few weeks of meal money to throw innings in spring training for one last shot at a roster spot.
The very recent signing of Bronson Arroyo is an interesting one; he’ll be 40, coming off of TJ and has shown himself to be effective even despite a lack of velocity even deep into his 30s. Is he a competitor to Roark for the 5th starter spot? Is this a favor to Dusty Baker? For now, i’m putting him as AAA depth but have to think he’s got an opt-out if he doesn’t make the MLB team so he’s likely to be either the 5th starter or a FA come 4/1/16.
Post-publish edit: thanks to JohnC, I totally forgot about our early off-season MLFA signing of Sean Burnett, our old favorite loogy (who also happens to throw the ball right handed while shagging flies in the OF). If he doesn’t have an opt-out, I’ll project him as a Syracuse loogy but perhaps behind Solis and Grace thanks to his lack of 40-man status. I hope he’s still got it after two TJs.
- Rotation: Spann*, Giolito, Simms, Alderson, Lopez, Mapes, Gorski^
- Bullpen: Mendez, Harper*, Shackelford^, NLee*, Benincasa, Suero, Thomas*, Walsh*, Robinson^, Whiting^
- Release Candidates: Rauh, Bates, Self, Dupra
- out of organization: Purke*, Pivetta, Simmons, Demny, Ambriz, Gilliam
Quick Discussion: here’s where we start to see some log jamming going on; we already have 6 good candidates for the AA rotation (and that was before the recently announced Gorski signing), 10 for the bullpen (some of which already have been promoted to AAA in 2015) and another 4 guys who could still slot in somewhere who i’ve called “release candidates” because of the numbers game. That’s 20+ guys for 12-13 slots. Do they get pushed down and cause cascading High-A fall out (where the story is the same?) or do we see some wholesale shredding of contracts this coming spring training? Do you move UP guys like Giolito, Harper instead and cut AAA veteran MLFAs?
- Rotation: AWilliams, Valdez, Dickson, Bach*, Van Orden, Fedde
- Bullpen: Johanssen, Amlung (swingman), Napoli*, Orlan*, Glover, Brinley, Sylvestre*
- Release Candidates: RPena, Turnbull*
- out of organization: Schwartz, Howell, CDavis, MRodriguez, Cooper (just released)
Quick Discussion: Again, I see this as an overloaded squad; 6 starters, 10 relievers. Perhaps some AA guys drop down, perhaps there’s guys listed here to are more likely release candidates than sure things (Napoli? Amlung? Johanssen even?). We may eventually get our answer; the team just released Cooper despite my thinking he was more or less a lock for the Potomac bullpen in 2016. I’m really curious to see what a couple of the starters here do this year in particular: Austen Williams and Erick Fedde. We talked earlier about Fedde perhaps starting the season in Hagerstown … but as we’re about to see, there’s just so many guys for a couple of slots.
- Rotation: LReyes, JRodriguez, ALee, Dickey, Hearn*, Crownover*
- Bullpen: MSanchez (swingman), Guilbeau*, Borne*, Rivera Jr., Gunter, Peterson, Baez
- release candidate: Estevez, DWilliams, DRamos, Boghosian, Mooney, Pirro
- out of organization: Ullmann, KPerez, Mooneyham, Johns (just released)
Quick Discussion: 6 projected starters, another 8 for the bullpen, and another 6 relievers who … well, i’m not sure where you put them. You can’t have 20 pitchers in XST can you? Well, maybe you can and they can catch on with the short-season squads … but look at who is already projected for Short-A below. In the comments section of the Short-A post a few weeks back, we talked about the four lefty college starters who were drafted and in the Auburn rotation (Hearn, Crownover, Guilbeau and Borne); all had more or less the same pro numbers in Auburn; who stays in the rotation moving up? Who goes to the pen? There were already 4 guys who made sense to project to the Hagerstown rotation; where are 4 more college lefties going to go? Its almost like the team needs an entire additional low-A team to staff.
- Rotation: Bourque, AMartinez, Valero, Watson
- Bullpen: Morales (swingman), LTorres, Acevedo, Harmening, Serrata
- release candidates: Feliz, Reynoso, Mills, DeRosier, VanVossen, Copping, Pantoja
- out of organization: Overton, Plouck, Webb, McDowell, Sylvestri
Quick Discussion: I’ve already got nearly a full squad of arms for short-A as it is, and we havn’t accounted for any 2016 draftees nor potential dropdowns from Hagerstown. I just feel like there’s going to be some whole sale releases this spring. Either that or Rizzo is going to draft nothing but bats in 2016.
- Rotation: Avila, Fuentes, WPena
- Bullpen: CPena
- release candidate: De La Cruz
- out of organization: Salazar, Jauss, DVasquez, Morel, EGomez, Charlis, JRamirez, Costa, Uribarri, Mancini, Yrizarri, Bermudez
Quick discussion: practically nobody in the domestic system right now projects to repeat the Rookie league, which means that a) we should expect a ton of guys to make their way from the DSL and/or b) we should expect more 2016 draftees to start here. Perhaps I should have done a review of the DSL guys to make predictions on who earned their way off the island.
Guys who really impressed me in 2015 and to watch out for in 2016. Kind of my own version of Luke’s “watch list” but I was definitely struck by several guys while doing these posts and here’s the list.
- MLB: Ross, Rivero
- AAA: Espino, Martin
- AA: Voth, Giolito, de los Santos, Harper, NLee
- High-A: Lopez, Mapes, Walsh
- Low-A: Valdez, ALee, Orlan, Glover, Brinley
- Short-A: AWilliams,Fedde, Rivera Jr, Johns (why was he released??)
- Rookie: Valero, Watson, Avila