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


All Tom Milone has done since getting drafted, is win. Photo: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images/

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


  • JD Martin rebounded on 5/2 from his previous crummy starts, throwing 5 1/3 innings, giving up 5 hits and a walk but conceding no earned runs.  He didn’t exactly dominate Rochester (1K) but Martin isn’t exactly a swing-and-miss pitcher.
  • Ryan Tatusko threw a dominant start on 5/2: 6⅔ IP 2H 0R 3BB 9K.  A bit wild, but 9Ks over 6+ innings is a good sign.
  • Potomac Ace Danny Rosenbaum put in a decent performance on 5/2; 7IP 3H 0R 3BB 4K.  He wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the third and then retired 10 straight to close out 7 complete.
  • Chris McKenzie pulled himself out of the coach’s doghouse with his 7IP 4H 0R 1BB 2K performance on 5/2.  I’d like to see more swing-and-miss out of him, but 7 scoreless is good enough in my book.
  • Brad Peacock had another ho-hum great outing on 5/3:  7IP 2H 0R 1BB 8K.   His season numbers are almost comically good right now.   1.16 era, 0.76 whip.  36/4 k/bb ratio in 31 innings.  One has to think he’s the next to move up to AAA.  His performance earned a mention on Baseball America’s hotsheet (h/t to Steven Biel at FJB for the link)
  • Brad Meyers, as with Peacock, put in another solid outing on 5/4: 7IP 8H 2R 2ER 0BB 7K.  It wasn’t quite as dominant as in the past, but it was good enough to earn him a promotion (see notes below).
  • Tom Milone had a fantastic rebound start on 5/5 for Syracuse: 7IP 4H 1R 1ER 1BB 11K.  Eleven strikeouts in 7 innings for the young left-hander.


  • Mitchell Clegg‘s outing is only in the “bad” section because there isn’t an “unbelievably bad” section.  Here’s his line from his 5/3 start in Potomac: 3⅔ IP 13H 11R 7ER 1BB 1K 1HR.  Thirteen hits in 3 2/3’s inning; that’s like a line from one of my adult baseball leagues.


  • We’ll give Taylor Jordan and incomplete for his 5/3 outing, shortened when he took a line-drive off his non-pitching elbow.  Line upon exit: 2⅓ IP 3H 1R 1ER 0BB 0K.  He ended up going on the DL as a precaution, allowing the team to add 2010 draft pick Neil Holland for his first appearance in full season A ball.
  • Trevor Holder may be holding onto his starter’s job a bit longer, after putting in a serviceable 5/4 start in Potomac.  Line: 5+ IP 5H 2R 2ER 0BB 3K.  He was ejected in the top of the 6th for arguing a safe/out call at first.  His performance was probably closer to good than bad; the hits were well scattered, the 2nd earned run was charged to him when his replacement (Dean Weaver) walked, hit a guy and then walked a run home in a situation that had to drive the starter crazy.
  • Shairon Martis was able to improve on his bad form, but still put in a relatively mediocre AA start on 5/5.  Line: 5IP 7H 3R 2ER 3BB 5K 1HR.  That’s 10 baserunners in 5 innings for a former major league starter.  He doesn’t seem to be in immediate jeopardy of losing his rotation spot, but it could come soon.
  • Paul Demny got no offensive support and took the loss despite his quality start for Potomac on 5/5.  Line: 6IP 4H 2R 2ER 4BB 3K.  The walks knocked this to the “so-so” category.
  • Bobby Hansen put a lot of baserunners on, but his hitters bashed their way to a Win for him for Hagerstown on 5/5.  Line: 5IP 8H 2R 2ER 1BB 3K.
  • Craig Stammen gave up quite a few hits on 5/6, and it ended up costing him.  9 hits through 6 innings, but what did him in was the two hits he gave up to open the 7th, which were subsequently inherited and scored on his reliever’s watch.  So in the end, not the worst outing of his career but bad enough to tag him with a loss.
  • Erik Davis started out his outing dominantly (facing the minimum through four), but leaked a couple runs in the 5th before giving up another 3 (though they ended up being unearned) in the 6th.  Final line: 5⅔ IP 4H 5R 2ER 3BB 3K.
  • Matt Grace had a quality start on 5/6, but too many walks pushed his performance into the mediocre.  Line; 6⅓ IP 6H 2R 1ER 3BB 3K.

Relievers of Note and other Thoughts

  • Per a flurry of Potomac roster moves on 5/4, Cameron Selik got a well deserved promotion to Potomac.   Whose rotation spot does he take?  My guess is Holder‘s, since it seems to match up with Selik’s normal rest.  That and Holder was probably the worst of the existing Potomac starters, Clegg’s awful night notwithstanding.
  • Continuing the promotions news, on 5/5 Brad Meyers earned a long-deserved promotion to AAA.  I’m guessing that JD Martin makes way in the Syracuse rotation, though the corresponding move seems to have been to demote Matt Chico to Harrisburg.
  • Chico’s demotion may be a death knell for his career; after falling off the 40-man and being removed from the rotation, he’s put in a mediocre 5+ ERA so far as a middle reliever and now a 27 (soon to be 28) yr old in AA.  That’s not good.
  • Dean Weaver pops up as well, having been reinstated (and promoted from last season’s final destination) in Potomac from the opening day DL/extended spring training.
  • Ryan Mattheus, somewhat of a forgotten man in Harrisburg, got a 1 1/3 inning save where he struck out all four guys for outs on 5/2.
  • Paul Applebee filled ably on very short notice, taking the mound after his starter got knocked from the game and gave Hagerstown enough quality long relief to preserve the win.  His 5/3 line: 3⅔ 2H 1R 1ER 0BB 0K 1HR.  He still has an ugly 6.16 era on the season.  Perhaps its his mustache; its reminiscent of the rookie on the state police force who is trying to grow something to fit in.
  • Kyle Morrison was released from Potomac earlier this month.  Not that he was a massive part of the future, but it seems to me that if we’re basing these release decisions on some combination of age/performance, how does Morrison go with a 9k/9 ratio while his cohort Adam Olbrychowski has conspired to walk as many guys (10) as he’s struck out and is a year older?
  • Tough outing for Cole Kimball on 5/6, needing 50-some pitches to get through 2 innings and allowing both his inherited runners to score, costing his team the game.


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

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

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

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

Top 3 deserving promotion: Peacock, Lehman and Manno
Top 3 whose jobs are in jeopardy: Clegg, McKenzie, Holder

Written by Todd Boss

May 9th, 2011 at 4:52 pm

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

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  1. Marcos Frias has already made two appearances out of the Potomac bullpen, so I think that’s the answer to the Selik question. Not the move I would have made, but they don’t pay me the big bucks.


    9 May 11 at 7:13 pm

  2. Todd, you’ll be happy to hear in an interview with Nats pitching coordinator Spin Williams, he said one of the factors for Cameron Selik’s quick promotion was his age. The WHIP of 0.31 after 5 starts must have had a little to do with it. :)

    I think Peacock is THE story so far as far as Rotations go. He’s been lights out so far with 1 minor glitch.

    I think you need to do an interview with Paul Menhart, the Potomac pitching coach. It seems so many pitchers leave him much much better. He really is the magic man.

    Mark L

    9 May 11 at 8:08 pm

  3. Yeah, that one didn’t make sense to me either. I figured Holder or Clegg before Frias. They also have Bronson who can make starts … perhaps we’ll see some shuffling if their performance doesn’t improve.

    Todd Boss

    9 May 11 at 8:14 pm

  4. See, age matters! :-) In all seriousness, his age may have contributed to his success in low-A, but a 0.31 whip is pretty dominant no matter what level. If he continues his dominance in high-A, we’ll know he’s a real prospect. Its hard to distinguish between the starts that Meyers, Peacock and Selik all have had; they’re all pretty dominant. No room for Peacock to rise right now but the other two have earned their wings. I may just look into pitching coach interviews; that’d be a lot of fun no doubt.

    Todd Boss

    10 May 11 at 9:55 am

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