Nationals Arm Race

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

Minor League Rotations Cycle #8: good/bad/inconclusive


Tom Milone keeps putting up sterling numbers in AAA. Photo: Tom Priddy/Four Seam images via

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


  • As much as I thought the Nats should have parted ways with Shairon Martis, you have to give him props for his 5/17 outing: 7IP 3H 0R 1BB 5K.
  • Paul Applebee got the “suspended start” on 5/18, actually finishing the game that Grace really started the day before, and went 4⅓ 6H 1R 1ER 0BB 1K for the victory.  He scattered 6 hits effectively enough to get his 4th victory on the season.
  • Oliver Perez dominated in his first Harrisburg start on 5/19: 5+ IP 1H 1R 0ER 2BB 3K.  As one would expect for a former 15-game MLB winner.
  • Mitchell Clegg put in his second good outing in a row for Potomac on 5/20, putting in 7 effective innings for the win.  Line: 7IP 4H 1R 1ER 2BB 2K.
  • The Robbie Ray show continues in Hagerstown, as he finally gave up a run but still threw 6 great innings on 5/20.  Line: 6IP 7H 2R 1ER 0BB 4K.  Selik got promoted after 5 great starts in a row; is it possible that the same could happen with Ray?
  • Another fantastic outing for Tom Milone for Syracuse on 5/21: 7IP 3H 0R 0BB 9K.   This walk-less outing now gives Milone 44 Ks and THREE walks in 43 1/3 innings on the year.  In fact, if his one blow-up start was removed from his stats, he’d have a 2.26 ERA and a 0.85 whip.
  • The Brad Peacock show continued in Harrisburg on 5/21: 6IP 1H 1R 1ER 2BB 10K 1HR.  One hit through six complete to go with 10ks. is now making Peacock’s starts required attendance, with this story showing up yesterday.  Peacock’s ridiculous numbers on the season?   66ks and 9 walks in 48 1/3 innings, a 0.83 whip and a 2.05 era.  These numbers dwarf what Meyers had before he earned his promotion.
  • Bobby Hansen gave Hagerstown another quality start on 5/21, but his bullpen conspired to cost him a victory.  Line: 6IP 5H 2R 2ER 2BB 6K.


  • Ross Detwiler was lit up in the first and left in for 5 yet was rewarded with a “win” for his work on 5/19.  Line: 5IP 5H 4R 4ER 4BB 3K.  What is going on with Detwiler?  He now has an ERA above 5.00 and a WHIP in the 1.66 range on the season and has more or less gotten hammered in 3 of his last 4 starts.  Is he hurt?
  • In another example of why W/L records are meaningless as indicators of a pitcher’s value, Denny Rosenbaum got lit up in his 5/19 start: 5⅔ IP 7H 6R 6ER 4BB 4K.  Yet, because his team hit SIX homers on the day, he got a victory as Potomac out-slugged Frederick 14-6.
  • See my last point: Trevor Holder had a meltdown start but still got the victory in Potomac on 5/21: 5⅓ IP 7H 5R 5ER 0BB 6K.


  • Craig Stammen had a ho-hum quality start on 5/17: 6IP 9H 3R 3ER 0BB 7K.  I guess i’m just expecting more out of a guy with 38 major league starts.
  • Paul Demny had enough walks and baserunners to turn his quality start into a relatively mediocre outing for me.  Perhaps i’m a harsh judge.  Final line on 5/17: 6IP 5H 2R 2ER 3BB 4K.
  • Matt Grace was struggling on 5/17 before his start got called after 3 innings.  His abbreviated line: 3IP 5H 2R 2ER 1BB 3K.
  • Yunesky Maya was plagued by the “one big inning” syndrome that plagued him in September of last year, giving up 3 runs in the first and then shutting down Norfolk on 5/18.  Line: 6⅓ IP 4H 3R 3ER 1BB 2K 1HR.    After the first inning, Maya didn’t give up another hit, retired 13 straight, then got inexplicably yanked after giving up a one-out single in the 7th when he was sitting on just 71 pitches.  How do you judge such an outing?  5 no-hit and nearly perfect innings, and one inning with 4 hits and a 2-run homer.  Its officially “inconclusive.”
  • Spot Starter Evan Bronson had a mediocre-teetering-on-bad outing on 5/18 in Potomac: 3⅔ IP 5H 2R 2ER 3BB 1K 1HR.  That’s 8 baserunners in less than 4 innings.  Amazingly he only gave up 2 runs despite all these baserunners.
  • AJ Cole got touched up for 5 runs in 4 innings on 5/19, but showed flashes of dominance with 5Ks.  Final line: 4IP 6H 5R 2ER 0BB 5K.  He gave up 4 of the 5 runs in a messy 2nd inning where he threw a wild 3rd-strike pitch to allow on a punch-out victim, then gave up a 2-run double one play after an inning-ending error by his shortstop let in another run.   He did get a 1-2-3 4th inning, for what that’s worth.
  • Brad Meyers didn’t have the worst possible outing on 5/20, but getting touched up for two homers is never a good thing.  Line: 5⅓ IP 7H 3R 3ER 0BB 3K 2HR.  The two homers were enough to give him a ND on the night.

Relievers of Note and other Thoughts

  • A few pitcher moves were announced at the beginning of this cycle: Ryan Tatusko returned to Harrisburg, Ryan Mattheus rightfully earning a promotion from AA->AAA, and the enigmatic Oliver Perez reporting for duty in Harrisburg.  Tatusko clearly didn’t merit the promotion and seemed destined to return; most are calling the transaction a “paper promotion” to allow Harrisburg to do some roster maintenance w/o having to DL someone.  Meanwhile, Perez will slot right into the open rotation spot in AA and at age 30 will be nearly the oldest pitcher in the league.
  • Who is making way in the Harrisburg rotation?  I thought Perez would be taking Roark‘s place but apparently not.  Tatusko’s spot was skipped but we havn’t seen him out of the bullpen yet …
  • New Harrisburg closer Pat McCoy has had a string of sub-par outings lately, including a 4-run implosion to blow a game in which Martis had pitched pretty well.  This was apparently enough to put McCoy onto the DL.  Are we close to seeing Potomac’s Patrick Lehman moved up?  Perhaps not for a bit because….
  • Potomac made a bunch more moves on 5/17-5/18, putting Cameron Selik and Lehman on the 7-day DL.  Replacing them was Rafael Martin and Hector Nelo.  Martin’s assignment is a bit curious; he was after all a AA all star in 2010 for Harrisburg and pitched pretty well there.  He’s 27 and is way too old for high-A ball; my guess is that he’s promoted up to replace McCoy as Harrisburg’s closer.  Nelo got dumped by Texas in April and we picked him up; he’s been stuck in A-ball within the Texas organization for 3 years.  He’s got good k/9 numbers but pretty bad ERAs over the past two seasons.  Lets see what he can do.  Meanwhile there’s no word on what Selik’s injury is; he’s had two sub-par outings thus far in high-A and the team needs a rotation spot (in theory) for Sammy Solis, so perhaps this is just administrative use of the DL for the next week or so.
  • (copied this point from my MLB rotation review pending post): Brian Broderick‘s DFA was dated 5/14, and teams have 10 days to finalize that assignment.  We’ve heard no word on possible negotiations with St. Louis to keep Broderick up to this point, and odds are that no other team would claim him at this point (any claim would mean the claiming team would ALSO have to keep the Rule5 draftee on their active roster for the duration of the season).  I wonder if he’s about to be returned outright to St. Louis.
  • Lastly, on 5/21 Christopher McKenzie and Chad Jenkins were “demoted” from Hagerstown to extended spring.  McKenzie struggled badly (though his final outing was good) in 6 starts, posting more walks than strikeouts.  Jenkins was similarly wild out of the pen.  I’m guessing both guys catch on with the Short-A squad for another shot at career redemption.  Both guys were middle round draft picks out of JuCo and earned some bonus money, but seemingly would be expendable if outperformed by the next draft class.


I have only included the starter trends for those that are actually in the rotations right now.  I honestly don’t know who the 5th starter is in Potomac right now; I’ve been assuming Solis will be activated from the DL to take the spot.  Perhaps it will be Bronson or Frias.  We’ll see; i think the spot comes up in two games.

AAA trends (in rotation order)
Maya        bad,soso,soso,good,great,good,soso,soso
Detwiler    good,good,soso,soso,bad,soso,bad,bad
Meyers    soso,good,soso
Milone    good,soso,soso,bad,great,good,great
Stammen    good,soso,great,bad,soso,good,soso

AA Trends:
Martis     bad,bad,soso,soso,good
OPerez    great
Peacock    soso,good,great,good,very good,bad,great,great
Roark        bad
Arneson    soso

High-A Trends:
Rosenbaum    soso,good,good,soso,good,good,soso,bad
Clegg        soso,soso,soso,unbelievably bad,soso,good,good
Holder    soso,bad,bad,soso,soso,soso,good,bad
Demny        good,bad,good,good,soso,soso

Low-A Trends:
Jordan    good,soso,good,good->dl,soso,soso
Grace        good,bad,bad,bad,good,soso,soso,soso
Cole        soso,soso
Ray        great,great,good
Hansen    soso,good,very bad,very good,soso,soso,good,good

Top 3 starters deserving promotion: Peacock, Milone, Ray
Top 3 starters whose jobs are in jeopardy: Detwiler, Holder, Grace.

Written by Todd Boss

May 23rd, 2011 at 11:26 am

8 Responses to 'Minor League Rotations Cycle #8: good/bad/inconclusive'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Minor League Rotations Cycle #8: good/bad/inconclusive'.

  1. With Holder you appear to have missed the “key” stat. 0 walks. He has managed to pitch walk-free. This year that is a main tenet for Nats player development: limiting to completely negating walks. Holder is doing a lot of what they want him to learn to do so his job is probably not in any real jeopardy?

    If anything its Rosenbaum that has taken a steep decline?


    23 May 11 at 6:35 pm

  2. Broderick is officially now a Cardinal, ending the ‘Amateur Hour’ dealings with him.

    Lehman has ‘elbow issues’ which is very scary for a ‘lights out’ closer.

    Todd, it’s mandatory that if you talk of relievers, you mention Chris Manno. As anyone knows, I’m a ‘Minion’, but c’mon, if no one ever is ever successful against you, shouldn’t you move up . Just sayin’.

    Robbie Ray has been sensational, let’s not mince words.

    Mark L

    24 May 11 at 12:46 am

  3. For me, Holder is in jeopardy because he’s just not getting enough Ks. 57 hits in 47 innings. Yeah its great he’s not walking anybody … but he’s giving up a ton of hits. Well, that and his ERA (nearly 6). He’s really only had one dominant start all season. He’s on the old side for high-A, and this is his THIRD year pitching at the level. I’ve got nothing against the guy; the fact is that he was an overdraft when we got him (a pure cost savings move after blowing $15M on Strasburg) and he’s yet to really pitch to his draft position. I’m sure he’ll get more time since there’s not really anyone at low-A making a huge case to move up right this moment (Ray should pitch at least a half season in Hagerstown before moving up).

    You can say some similar things about Rosenbaum … but he’s getting more K/9, scattering his hits better, and has had several dominant appearances so far. I can’t say how anyone would think Rosenbaum is in decline right now; his last start was his worst of the season but he’s also got four 7+ innings starts where he gave up 3 runs or less.

    Todd Boss

    24 May 11 at 12:10 pm

  4. Broderick: surprised we didnt’ work a trade, honestly.

    Manno: I should have added the word “starters” to the sentence “top 3 deserving promotion” this week. Manno clearly has merited a move up to high-A and honestly i’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet with the Lehman injury.

    Ray: no doubt. I don’t think anyone saw this coming. I was positive he would have played GCL this year and perhaps moved to low-A next. Now? He seems clear to finish high-A and make the AA roster in 2012 with a shot at the 2013 roster. That’s amazing really given his age and his pedigree coming out of high school (which was good, but not fantastic … he was going to Arkansas of all places, not exactly a college hotbed).

    Todd Boss

    24 May 11 at 12:13 pm

  5. Using images without permission is illegal!


    25 May 11 at 3:52 am

  6. I’ll assume this comment isn’t spam. If this is posted by someone who “owns” an image that i’ve used and has a problem with it, feel free to email me offline ( and I will remove whatever you want. I’ve never used a photo that has specifically said it wasn’t re-distributable.

    In fact most photos I find (on like anyone else) are unattributed in their original state, so I go out of my way to try to find the author of photos to give proper credit. There’s a TON of major websites on the internet that freely copy and post pix without any attribution whatsoever.

    As someone who has had their own content (not photos necessarily, but entire webpages of technical content) essentially cut and pasted by someone else and claimed as their own, I am certainly 100% aware of the proclivity of people on the internet to steal and make unattributed use of things they find on the internet.

    For me, if the picture is on the internet and is in a format that allows it to be “saved as” and saved locally … then its fair game to be consumed by others if proper credit is given. What is the difference between quoting someone else’s published words (with proper attribution) and showing someone else’s photographs? I don’t have to call a newspaper reporter or an author to quote their published words, right? But its 100% plagiarism if I quote someone word for word and claim it as my own. I’m absolutely not claiming these pictures as my own.

    My 2 cents.

    Todd Boss

    25 May 11 at 9:31 am

  7. I wouldn’t give creedence to anyone with the moniker ‘anonymous, they’re meaningless people.

    Mark L

    25 May 11 at 10:29 am

  8. True, but its an important topic. The AP apparently caught all sorts of flak because it published pictures it had lifted from people’s facebook/myspace pages at the same time they were complaining that their own pictures were being used inappropriately. If I post a picture that I took onto my facebook page … do I have to specifically state that its copyrighted and is not allowed to be re-distributed?

    I want to use pictures at the head of each article; it just makes the presentation that much better and draws in viewers (something I learned from Zuckerman). Now, Zuckerman mostly uses his own pictures so he has no issues. I don’t have press-access and travel budget to get great shots of guys … so I depend on But it opens me up for this exact issue. So I want to be “legit.” Here’s some research on the issue.

    Its a complicated subject. It’s not just as simple as “its illegal to do this.” I’ve read plenty of websites that flat out say “its illegal to use this picture” but then don’t offer any statue or US Code reference. Why? Because it isn’t that cut and dried. There’s “fair use” clauses ( that allow copyrighted material to be used for certain purposes (among them commentary, criticism and news reporting, which describes 100% of what I post here) without express consent from the copywright owner. There’s a 4-statement test used by the courts (see which discusses a California state law case and also discusses parts of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) to determine whether or not someone is legitimately using “Fair Use” reproduction. And those 4 statements are rather complex. In my opinion, presenting the pictures as I do works under fair use because (to each of the 4 main points of fair use):
    1. To the purpose and character of the use of the pictures: i’m non-profit and don’t make a dime off this blog.
    2. The nature of the photos, even if they are copyrighted, in my opinion immediately becomes part of the public domain when posted to the internet. We’re not talking about works of art here. These are generally photos of other persons in the public domain and could be replicated by anyone with the appropriate amount of access.
    3. the pictures that i’m using do not encompass the bulk of each blog posting; in fact a photo is merely a reference to a person mentioned in the post. The 1500 words in each posting are the bulk of the substance, not the photo.
    4. My using a low-res reproduction of a photo that has already been published long enough on the internet so as to be captured by Google’s spiders has no effect on the initial “value” of that photo. In fact i’d argue that if that photo had any monetary value to begin with, then it wouldn’t have been posted to the internet at all, knowing that information on the internet (whether it be text, video, photos or music) is freely copy-able from pointA to pointB.

    That wiki page is rather interesting. The ironic part is that most of the casework mentioned is when groupA copied something of GroupB’s with no attribution. At least i’m attributing who took these photos and where they came from. If I copy an unattributed picture used in some media’s website, that’s far more egregious than my little blog.

    Todd Boss

    25 May 11 at 12:21 pm

Leave a Reply