(We got interrupted on this series by last weekend’s baffling pitching roster moves. We continue today with Hagerstown and tomorrow with XST).
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. Last up: Hagerstown (I may add a “5th” to talk about the 40 some-odd guys in XST or unassigned right now)
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.
- projected starters: Watson*, WDavis, MMills*, CPena, Sharp
- Actual rotation as it seems: Watson*, Acevedo, WDavis, CPena, Sharp (maybe MMills*)
- spot starts/swingman: VanVossen, Bourque, Bogucki
- bullpen: Held, Howard*, Pantoja, Simonds (JMills* recent acquisition)
- dl/restricted: none
- cut/released/FAs from 2016: Walby (waived), Avila (traded for Norris)
- missing from 2016: JMorales, ALee, DeRosier, Howell, Dickey
3/5ths of the end-of-season 2016 Auburn rotation moves up to Hagerstown (it would have been 4/5ths had the team not flipped Dane Dunning over the off-season) for the season: Weston Davis and McKenzie Mills look to continue excellent professional debuts in Low-A. Sterling Sharp and Carlos Pena (both of whom share names with more famous former pro athletes) are both making the jump straight from Rookie Ball (though Sharp got one end-of-season start for Auburn last year). They join who I like to call the most under-rated prospect in our system Tyler Watson in what could be a very talented Hagerstown rotation. Watson doesn’t turn 20 until the end of May yet starts his 3rd pro season and has really yet to be challenged; he has a career 2.14 ERA against mostly older competition and could find easily find himself in high-A before he turns 21.
There’s another 4 guys I list as spot starters who all at least notionally “started” last year in Short-A (i.e., participated in the tandem starting system they use in Auburn). Competition may still remain for the longer term rotation in Hagerstown. The rest of the bullpen contains holdovers from last year (Held, VanVossen, Pantoja and Howard). I’m slightly surprised to see Bourque beating out the slew of guys who at least were on last year’s year end team (the “missing” guys listed above): he struggled badly in Low-A last year. And its also surprising to see Pantoja here; he dominated low-A and forced a mid-season promotion; what does he have left to prove in Low-A?
Who am I focusing on: Watson of course, but I also like Davis and M.Mills longer term.