Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Minor League Rotations Cycle #5: good/bad/inconclusive


Manno-maniacs are excited about his great start. Photo Mark Brisco via

Here are the daily links from NationalsProspects, for reference below:


  • Brad Peacock continues his strong start to the season, going for 7IP 5H 1R 1ER 1BB 7K 1HR on 4/28.   His and Meyer’s continued performances are drawing the interest of the big club’s beat reporters, as Adam Kilgore posted this story over the weekend.
  • Brad Meyers didn’t have an overpowering strike out night, but did have an excellent effort on 4/29: 8IP 6H 1R 1ER 0BB 4K.  As noted in Kilgore’s article, he now has 31Ks and 0BBs on the season.  That’s pretty durn good.
  • Taylor Jordan improved to 5-0 on the season with a clean outing on 4/28: 5IP 5H 1R 1ER 2BB 4K.  Not the greatest outing but enough to get the win for Hagerstown.
  • Bobby Hansen rebounded nicely from a crummy outing to have a very good one on 4/29: 6IP 2H 1R 1ER 1BB 6K.  If you take out his 4/23 start he’s given up 3 earned runs in 17 innings on the season.  He could be one to watch, absolutely.
  • Yunesky Maya finally broke out in Syracuse, throwing 8 scoreless innings and giving up just 3  hits in 4/30’s victory.  It was clearly the most dominant he’s looked in a Nats affiliate uniform.  71 of 104 pitches for strikes, 11 ground ball outs.  I would have liked to have seen this game because it sounds like he finally had it going.
  • Paul Demny had an odd outing on 4/30: he pitched 5 scoreless but he seemed less than dominant.  He gave up 3 hits and 3 walks, but had only 1 strike out and gave up a number of fly ball outs.  This may be one of those games you had to see in order to properly judge it.  I’ll give him a “good” outing though by virtue of no runs and so few hits.
  • Cameron Selik continues to put his name in the mix for organizational pitcher of the month by getting his third victory and his 5th straight good-to-great outing.  Line on 4/30: 6IP 8H 1R 1ER 0BB 7K.  His numbers through 5 starts are ridiculous: 29ip, 1 run, 30 ks and 3 walks.
  • Evan Bronson had a nice little outing on Sunday for Potomac: 5IP 2H 1R 1ER 2BB 4K.  This was Bronson’s first start of the season and it seemed to be a spot-start (because of the 4/27 double-header).  He may be a candidate to replace the struggling Holder though, in Potomac’s rotation.
  • Matt Grace had a similarly good outing on sunday for Hagerstown: 6IP 2H 0R 3BB 3K.  It is nice to see Grace rebounding from 3 sub-par outings.


  • JD Martin did himself no favors and got hammered again on 4/27, giving up 6 runs (on 3 homers) in less than 5 innings.
  • Chris McKenzie‘s awful outing on 4/27 was delayed after he gave up 7 runs in the first inning and a third he pitched.  Oddly the game isn’t to be completely replayed; they resumed it the next day.
  • Paul Applebee may not have gotten an official “start” in 4/28’s rain-resumed game, but it was essentially a spot start situation.  He did not do well; 4 runs on 5 hits and a walk in 4 2/3s.
  • Lefty Tom Milone got bliztzed on 4/28, failing to get out of the 3rd.  Line; 3⅔ IP 10H 7R 7ER 1BB 2K.  Ugly.
  • Craig Stammen got beat around by the long ball on 4/29: 6⅔ IP 6H 5R 5ER 1BB 6K 2HR.
  • Shairon Martis put in his second disappointing start in a row on 4/30: 4⅓ IP 8H 3R 0ER 3BB 5K.  For a guy who was in Washington’s 2009 rotation, its amazing that he cannot get guys out now in AA.  Is he hurt?
  • Wow, what happened to Ross Detwiler on sunday 5/1?  2⅔ IP 9H 7R 7ER?!  That’s so out of character for a guy who was in serious contention for a MLB rotation slot that you almost have to believe he was hurt or sick or something.  He’s trending the wrong way for sure (see trends section below).
  • Erik Davis struggled on sunday, getting knocked around for 5IP 10H 6R 5ER 1BB 5K in Harrisburg.


  • Erik Arneson‘s spot start in AAA on 4/27 (to provide cover in a DH) wasn’t half bad: 5 innings pitched, 8 hits and 3 runs.
  • Ryan Tatusko improved from his last outing, but still put in a mediocre appearance on 4/27 (9 hits and 4 runs in less than 6 innings).  Where has last year’s 1.72 era-throwing pitcher gone?
  • Mitchell Clegg held the fort down for 4 innings, but couldn’t finish the 5th, getting battered around for the loss on 4/27.
  • Danny Rosenbaum put in a decent performance in the 2nd half of 4/27’s double-header, getting some unlucky hits and giving up 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits and 6ks in 5 innings.
  • Trevor Holder put in a mediocre outing on 4/28: 6IP 8H 4R 3ER 2BB 3K.  I feel like his time in the high-A rotation is ticking.
  • Marcos Frias had a meltdown on 4/29, going for 5⅔ 8H 5R 4ER 2BB 6K 1HR.  He improves from a “bad” rating by virtue of the strikeouts, barely.
  • Potomac’s Ryan Demmin may be holding on to his job by a thread after a second meltdown within a week.  He got torched for 3 homers and gave up 5 runs in an inning of work on 4/30, the second time in a week he put up a comparable line.  He’s young and a lefty, but he’ll have to throw scoreless outings for the rest of the season to get his ERA back to respectability.

Relievers of Note and other Thoughts

  • Arneson’s promotion was rather odd to me: why promote a middle reliever to AAA to make a spot start?  Perhaps the organization didn’t want to interrupt the flow of the AA rotation right now.  Or perhaps they knew Arneson had AAA experience from last year and plan to use him in the AAA bullpen regardless.  Or perhaps he’s coming right back down to AA at some point.  Update: he was returned right back to AA when Bernadina came back from the majors.  Arneson may end up being this year’s version of Jason Jones, a minor league veteran at 28 who pitched at 3 different levels for the team last year.
  • Josh Smoker continues to show improvement in his new role.  He had 3Ks in an inning and a third on 4/29 and has given up just one run in 7 appearances on the season.  It is still disappointing that the supplemental-first rounder is now a loogy in high-A, but at least he’s showing more value than in years past.
  • Christopher Manno keeps on mowing them down in Hagerstown: his line for the season now stands at 11 1/3 ip, 6 hits, 2 runs both unearned, 19ks and 2bbs.  That’s a pretty good line.


AAA trends:
Maya        bad,soso,soso,good,great
Detwiler    good,good,soso,soso,bad
Martin     bad,bad
Milone    good,soso,soso,bad
Stammen    good,soso,great,bad
(Arneson    soso)
(Mock        good,bad,really bad->DL)

AA Trends:
Meyers    good,bad,good,great,good
Martis     bad,bad
EDavis    good,soso,good,bad
Tatusko    soso,bad,bad,soso
Peacock    soso,good,great,good
(Barthmaier    bad)
(Atilano    soso,bad->DL)

High-A Trends:
Rosenbaum    soso,good,good,soso
Holder    soso,bad,bad,soso
Frias        good,good,bad,soso
Demny        good,bad,good,good
Clegg        soso,soso,soso
(Bronson    good)
(Caldera bad,bad->released)

Low-A Trends:
Selik        good,good,good,great,good
Grace        good,bad,bad,bad,good
McKenzie    good,bad,bad,bad
Jordan    good,soso,good,good
Hansen    soso,good,very bad,very good
(Applebee    bad,soso,bad)

3 pitchers who are earning a promotion: Meyers, Peacock, Selik

3 pitchers who need to be worried about their jobs: Martin, Martis, Holder

Written by Todd Boss

May 3rd, 2011 at 3:49 pm

3 Responses to 'Minor League Rotations Cycle #5: good/bad/inconclusive'

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  1. Todd, you need to keep this feature going all season long. I love it!

    Mark L

    4 May 11 at 8:58 am

  2. Thanks man! I’m wondering if I should change the format to be per-level instead of good/bad/mediocre. Unless you really know who is pitching where, if I just say “Bobby Hansen did this or that” some people would be like, “well, where is he pitching?”

    Both the minor league thoughts and the major league rotation reviews are items I was personally maintaining long before the blog, and are what really got me thinking about doing the blog in the first place. If I was already kinda tracking the progress of all these arms, why not legitimize it and publish it?

    Any feed back is appreciated.

    One other thing i’ve noted; lots of blogs out there just kinda report on the news. I find myself basically skimming their blog postings now. Not that they’re not good, but i’ve already read the gamer from 4 other professional beat writers and don’t really care for another summary. But if someone is posting opinion, that’s great. So while these recaps are what they are, I also want to make sure i’m posting opinions…

    Todd Boss

    4 May 11 at 11:28 am

  3. I think the minor league rotation cycles are far more interesting just because you’re dealing with players who are developing fast/slow/ or not at all. a lot more to analyze than the 5 man rotation of the Nats. Thanks.

    Mark L

    4 May 11 at 9:54 pm

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