Nationals Arm Race

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

Minor League Rotations Cycle #10: good/bad/soso


Sammy Solis finally makes his long awaited Nats debut. Photo: Mark Zuckerman via natsinsider blog.

The Dominican Summer League kicked off this cycle.  Sue Dinem does the recaps in the links below but I generally do not review and rate DSL arms.  Reason?  Too many names, too many guys who seem to go nowhere.  I’ll definitely be tracking the GCL and the short-A teams when they start up though.

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


  • Shairon Martis had another solid start in AA on 5/28: 6IP 5H 0R 1BB 5K.  What is this showing us about Martis that we didn’t already know?  I’m still questioning his AA rotational spot frankly.
  • Taylor Jordan had an excellent outing on 5/28: 5IP 4H 1R 0ER 1BB 5K.
  • Erik Davis had a decent start on 5/29 for Harrisburg: 5⅓ 5H 1R 1ER 3BB 2K.  He scattered his hits and base-runners effectively enough to get the victory.
  • Oliver Perez had his 2nd excellent AA start in as many outings on 5/29: 6+ IP 5H 0R 0BB 5K.  Honestly, if we’re going to really consider Perez this season, shouldn’t we put him in Syracuse to see what he can do against better players?
  • AJ Cole had his best pro start yet on 5/30, going for 5IP 2H 1R 1ER 1BB 6K.  That’s the kind of dominant line we’re looking for.
  • Brad Peacock continued his dominance of AA, and created more calls for his promotion, with yet another dominant start on 5/31.  Line: 7+ IP 2H 1R 1ER 3BB 7K.  Among other startling season-long stats is his WHIP: 0.79.  Adam Kilgore featured him in the NatsJournal this week as well.
  • Garrett Mock, as well he should have, put in a dominant start in Potomac on 5/31: 6IP 4H 0R 2BB 6K.  I’m guessing this is partly a rehab start, partly a spot-start for a Potomac team that had to play back-to-back double headers and exhausted their pitching staff.
  • Robbie Ray was wild, but nearly unhittable, for Hagerstown on 5/31.  5IP 1H 0R 4BB 3K.   Season stats right now: 5 starts, 24 innings, 11 hits and ONE earned run.  I know he’s a youngster but is he quickly running of things to prove in low-A?


  • Bobby Hanson‘s 5/27 start was unlucky: 5IP 5H 4R 4ER 0BB 6K 1HR.
  • Trevor Holder put in another indictment of his draft slot on 5/28: 1⅔ IP 9H 8R 8ER 2BB 0K 1HR.   The awful outing raises his season ERA to 7.16 for a team that isn’t averaging nearly that many runs a game on offense.
  • Paul Demny couldn’t do much better than Holder, getting tagged for 4IP 6H 6R 6ER 5BB 4K 2HR in the nightcap on 5/28.
  • Spot starter JD Martin got shelled on 5/29: 3⅔ IP 8H 5R 5ER 0BB 3K 1HR.   I’m pretty sure he won’t be keeping the rotation spot.
  • Denny Rosenbaum was battered for 13 hits over 7 2/3, with 7 of those base-runners turning into runs, while his offense was beign shut down yet again.  Final line: 7⅔ 13H 7R 3ER 2BB 5K.  The 2nd half can’t get here quickly enough for the P-Nats.
  • Brady Meyers issued only his 2nd walk of the season en route to a loss in Syracuse 5/31: 5IP 8H 5R 5ER 1BB 2K 1HR.   But he also hit two batters in the first inning on the way to giving up 3 runs.  He seemed to settle down, cruising through the next 3 innings but gave up a quick single-homer to go down 5-0 in the fifth and got yanked.  Probably not the worst outing ever, but it wasn’t one of his best.


  • Tom Milone‘s 5/27 start wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great.  Line: 6⅔ IP 7H 4R 4ER 1BB 6K.
  • Tanner Roark‘s 5/27 start was interrupted by rain after 2 innings, so he gets an incomplete.  2IP 1H 0R 0BB 2K.
  • Craig Stammen may have been pitching to the score on 5/28, as he went for 7IP 8H 3R 3ER 2BB 5K after getting 5 runs from his side in the first.  Can’t fault a pitcher for getting an easy W.
  • Cameron Selik‘s high-A starts are getting better; his line on 5/29 was 5⅔ 5H 3R 2ER 1BB 2K in a losing effort.  Sue Dinem reports that he’s keeping the ball down more and commanding his slider a bit better than during his first few starts.
  • Evan Bronson had a quality start foiled by a last-inning homer in the “nightcap” of 5/29: 6IP 6H 4R 4ER 2BB 3K 1HR.  This is Bronson’s third spot start of the season and at times he’s looked better than his regular rotation counter parts.  One wonders if there may be a shakeup for the last-place Potomac team.
  • Matt Grace was staked a huge lead on 5/29 and pitched 7 innings en route to victory.  Line: 7IP 7H 4R 4ER 1BB 3K.
  • Another start, and another question mark for Ross Detwiler, who labored through 6 innings in Syracuse on 5/30.  Line: 6IP 7H 4R 4ER 3BB 5K 1HR.  Not awful, but we expect better from a former 1st rounder.
  • Tanner Roark recovered from a rough beginning to his 5/30 start, retiring 10 straight at one point and getting bailed out by his hitters.  Line: 6IP 7H 4R 4ER 3BB 2K 1HR.
  • Sammy Solis‘s long awaited debut was up and down: 4 2/3 4H 3R 3ER 3BB 7K.  Lots of Ks and per Byron Kerr he was touching 95 (that’s fantastic if he can maintain that kind of speed as a lefty), but a bit wild.   He clearly tired in the 5th inning, having only given up one hit in the first four.  I’m guessing his next start will be more in the 6ip, 3h, 8k range.

Relievers of Note and other Thoughts

  • Yunesky Maya, as we all know, became the first starter outside of the opening day 5 to get a game for the MLB club.  And he didn’t fare very well.  I’m guessing that he’ll be back in Syracuse after one more start.  He still can’t seem to avoid “the big inning” at the major league level.
  • Cameron Selik was the subject of a nice piece by’s Byron Kerr, in case you missed it.
  • Still no idea who is making way for Solis in the Hagerstown rotation, since they had to use a 6th starter b/c of double headers this cycle.  My guess is still Grace.  We’ll see how it shakes up over the next 5 days.

Trends; last 5 starts

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

AA Trends:
Martis           soso,soso,good,bad,good
OPerez           great,soso (1IP cut short),good
Peacock         very good,bad,great,great,good
Roark             bad,good,incomplete (2 ip cut short), soso
EDavis          bad,soso,incomplete (knee injury->dl),soso,good

High-A Trends:
Rosenbaum    good,soso,bad,good,bad
Clegg                unbelievably bad,soso,good,good,bad
Holder              soso,soso,good,bad,awful
Demny             good,soso,soso,bad,bad
Selik                  soso,bad->dl,soso,soso

Low-A Trends:
Jordan          good->dl,soso,soso,soso,good
Grace            soso,soso,soso,soso,soso
Cole                soso,soso,bad,good
Solis               soso
Ray                great,great,good,2ip short outing,good
Hansen         very good,soso,soso,good,good

Top 3 starters NEEDING promotion (as in, they’re not proving anything where they are): Perez, Martis, Mock
Top 3 starters earning a promotion right now: Peacock (who will stay here until he moves to AAA), Ray and no other real candidate right now.
Top 3 whose jobs are in jeopardy: The entire Potomac staff after Rosenbaum.

Written by Todd Boss

June 1st, 2011 at 3:06 pm

2 Responses to 'Minor League Rotations Cycle #10: good/bad/soso'

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  1. Todd, as I’ve said before, this is your most important work. You’re going to need to add a ‘Great’ category. I mean, really, Peacock & Ray, it’s insulting to call them good at this point.
    It’s pretty clear that the Nats have a bunch of pitchers in the wrong level. And we haven’t even talked about Manno in Hagerstown and Mattheus showing no blip at all from his promotion to Syracuse.

    Mark L

    1 Jun 11 at 9:25 pm

  2. Thanks man! One of these days i’m taking your advice and trying to setup an interview with pitching coaches. It probably waits until i’m a bit less tied up at work.

    Peacock seems stuck in AA for the time being though … assuming Maya comes back, Meyer is staying, Detwiler has too much invested in him to dump him and Milone is looking like just as good of a prospect. Only Stammen really seems like he’s replace-able in the rotation, but he’s pitching too well to really dump him. To say nothing of Mock or eventually Wang, who are both of higher importance to the franchise (by virtue of 40-man spot or high salary) than moving Peacock up right now. Perhaps it doesn’t matter what level he’s pitching at; Zimmermann pitched most of 2008 at AA, never touched AAA then was in the 09 rotation.

    Ray; i’d give him at least a half season at low-A (kinda like Harper) before moving him. Let him make and play in the all-star game, then move him to Potomac. Same plan for Harper.

    Honestly, i have a harder time keeping track of the relievers. I know Mattheus has done well but he’s just not on my radar. Perhaps its my cynical view that all major league relievers are failed starters, and that the track record for relievers rising through the ranks in the minors and then making the majors is pretty low. Clippard: failed starter. Kimball: failed starter. Burnett; failed starter. Rodriguez: converted starter, probably so he could throw harder for shorter amts of time. Drew Storen and Todd Coffey both have always been relievers, though i’d love to see Storen give starting a chance.

    Todd Boss

    2 Jun 11 at 11:11 am

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