We’re looking at the four full-season staffs, guessing the roles, and talk about the changes of the staffs from the end of last year til now. Next up: Potomac.
(Note: I know that there’s the most likely chance I have something wrong for Potomac since many readers here attend their games regularly; remember, i’m just a guy sitting at his desk scouting the score line so feel free to tell me where i’m wrong…)
Quick links for rosters for each full season affiliate:
And don’t forget the invaluable work of SpringfieldFan maintaining the Nats Big Board, now in its 12th season!
Note: in the below list, “missing” means that the player was on a 2016 roster, is still listed as active but is not found anywhere on a 2017 full-season roster as expected. Most are still sitting in Extended Spring Training (abbreviated XST throughout) with the intent of getting assigned as injuries or releases occur, but some may be release candidates. Other abbreviations I use often: MLFA == Minor League Free Agent, OOO = Out of the Organization.
((h/t as always to Mr. Erickson for the link to insidenova.com with the planned rotation, which I’ll use to correct my predictions below).
- my predicted starters: Baez, Crownover*, Guilbeau*, Sylvestre*, LReyes, JRodriguez
- purported rotation per insidenova.com: LReyes, Sylvestre*, JRodriguez, Baez, Estevez
- spot starts/swingman: Guilbeau*, Bacus, Borne*, Crownover*,
- bullpen: Orlan*, RPena, Rivera, Schepel
- dl/restricted: Peterson, Turnbull*
- cut/released/FAs from 2016: Whiting (FA), MSanchez (traded), Holland (FA)
- missing from 2016: Mayberry, Thomas*, Mendez
Rotation discussion: In Potomac we start to see the log-jam of starters from recent drafts. I count 6 guys who could be starting and another 3 guys who have mostly started in the past. As it turns out, a couple of the long-time lefty starters from the 2015 draft have been pushed into bullpen roles, perhaps for the longer term. The burgeoning investment the team is making in the D.R. is evident here; all 5 rotation members are from the island, along with a huge chunk of the roster.
Of the starters listed above, i’d say that Luis Reyes and Jefry Rodriguez are probably on the thinnest of ice to stay in that role, given last year’s results. Reyes had a 5.60 ERA in half a season in Potomac last year and Rodriguez had a 4.96 ERA in a full season starting in Low-A. Wirkin Estevez feels like he’s been around forever; this is his 7th pro season in the system yet is only in High-A; he had a couple spot starts last year and I’m kind of surprised he made the rotation over especially Matthew Crownover and Taylor Guilbeau. I could also see Grant Borne move into the rotation if one of the stated starters fail; Borne had a nifty 3.34 season in long relief in Low-A, pitching an average of 3 innings a stint, so perhaps he’s in line for getting stretched out. I guess the old adage “you can never have too much pitching” holds true for Potomac; its nice to have 9 different guys who you know could give you a start.
The preponderance of guys used to going longer stints leaves just a handful of known “relievers” in the pen. R.C. Orlan was Potomac’s effective closer last year and returns to that role, while Hagerstown’s closer Mariano Rivera Jr. rises up to form a nice 8th-9th inning lefty-righty combo. Amazingly Ronald Pena returns for this 6th pro season, and returns to Potomac where he started half a season in 2014. No offense to Pena, but I remain surprised that he’s lasted this long with the org. The last non D/L name is a 2017 MLFA by the name of Kyle Schepel who I had completely forgotten about until I looked him up. Kylin Turnbull, who has not thrown a pitch in anger since 2014, remains on the D/L in Potomac along with Tommy Peterson, who had an excellent 2016 season in relief and could be a good reliever if he is healthy.
The guys who are listed as “missing” include three guys who all finished the 2016 season in High-A and seem like they’re intended to start there again.
Who am I focusing on: I want to see what Joan Baez has; we know he can bring the heat but can he be an effective starter? I’ve always liked the trio of lefty veteran college starters we picked in the 2015 draft early rounds; Hearn (since traded), Crownover, Borne and Guilbeau (picked in the 5th, 6th, 7th and 10th rounds respectively), so I look forward to them all moving up a level in 2017. I want to see what the two closer-quality relievers (Orlan and Rivera) can do.