Nationals Arm Race

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

State of the Minors, Week3


First off, here’s the records of our teams after three 6-game series (link to all MiLB standings here)

  • AAA: 4-14 (tied for worst in league)
  • AA: 6-12 (last place in division)
  • High-A: 9-9 (2 games out of 1st)
  • Low-A: 1-17.

I asked Keith Law a question in his chat last week about Fredericksburg, who was 0-15 at the time, asking whether they would ever win and he thought I was exaggerating. He replied as much, posting their team batting and pitching stats in amazement.

Lets do a quick run-through who’s looking good and bad around our minor league affiliates. I use links that i store in a page here: so you can use the same shortcuts i’ve collected over the years.

AAA observations:

  • Who’s hot: Palka, Sanchez, and Garcia not half bad at the plate.
  • McFarland in the bullpen is on a hot streak, with 9 Ks in his last 4 innings.
  • Who’s not: Kieboom; just 2-15 last week, still hitting under .200 for the season. WTF.
  • Not ONE of our AAA starters was even halfway decent last week. Braymer is really struggling in particular, concerning since he’s one of our 40-man covering starters.

Who is next to get called up? I don’t see ANYONE really making a statement at AAA demanding a call-up. Nobody. We have seven 40-man guys in AAA (plus two more who are on IL) and there’s no burning reinforcements for the big club.

Who is next to get demoted or released? Carlos Tocci is 1-19 on the season and the team has at least 7 outfielders on the roster … time seems short for this veteran MLFA.

AA Observations

  • Who’s hot at the plate: Jakson Reetz, of all people, 5/14 in the last week with some power.
  • In the rotation: Teel, Cate and Sharp had solid weeks on the mound. Teel isn’t exactly a swing-and-miss guy but he’s getting results.
  • Sanchez has 20/2 K/BB on the season right now.
  • Baldonado: 8Ks, 0BB in 4ip last week. not to shabby.
  • Unfortuantely, Reetz is the team leader in BA for the season at a paltry .237.
  • Did you know there’s not a single 40-man player in our AA team? AA is generally where the best near-MLB ready prospects get sent by most franchises as a finishing school and we don’t have a single prospect in that category.

Who is next to get promoted? I think Klobotis is making a statement: 14/1 K/BB in 8 innings, and has given up just 2 hits on the year. I think Baldonado needs to move up as well; he was in AAA 3 years ago and now is 28 overmatching kids in AA.

Who is next to get demoted or released? I mean, nobody’s hitting on this team but 21MLFA SS/2B Osvaldo Duarte is 8-51 with 21 Ks and just 4 walks in a position that is completely replaceable.

High-A observations

  • Who’s hot: the entire outfield is crushing the ball; Rhinesmith, Connell and Canning lead the team in BA and OPS over the last week, with Rhinesmith just crushing the ball in particular going 11-20 in the last week.
  • Another solid start for Cade Cavalli.
  • What is going on with Rutledge? In 4 starts, he now has an ERA north of 12, he’s given up 17 hits in 10 innings and has a 10/9 K/BB ratio. I’m sorry, but this just isn’t going to cut it. It’s starting to look like he’s out of his element in High-A. And it REALLY is starting to look bad for pundits who thought he is a better prospect than Cavalli.

Who is next to get promoted? Alex Troop; who has a 0.46 whip and 12/0 K/BB in 8 innings in middle relief.

Who is next to get demoted or released? Rutledge. I think he needs to go to Low-A and regroup unless he’s hurt.


  • At least they got a win.
  • their BEST hitter by OPS is hitting .219 (Jake Randa)
  • Junior Martina had a nice week.
  • The team did not hit a single home run in the last series.
  • The starting pitching is SO BAD in Low-A that not one single pitcher qualifies for the ERA title.
  • That being said, a couple of starters actually had solid starts: Karlo Seijas: 7ip, 3hits, 8ks, 0 walks. More of that please.

Who is next to get promoted: Nobody. Not one single pitcher is making a case, nor are any of the hitters.

Who is next to get demoted/released? There’s a slew of hitters with really ugly lines right now: Jeremy Ydens is 4-41 on the season, Kevin Strohschein is 8-50 with 13Ks and a walk … and 1 RBI. He’s the 1B. Nothing positive in F-burg.

8 Responses to 'State of the Minors, Week3'

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  1. Todd, we went over this at Luke’s site but this year all promotions to the big club HAVE to come from the AAA club. Covid rules.

    Luis Garcia has been better each week than last and now has an OPS of .720. And he is still the youngest player in Rochester in 21 years.
    Carter Kieboom’s OPS is .620.

    Battiing averages are trivial. The most depressing stat in Harrisburg is Reetz is leading the club with an .698 OPS. Some longtime farmhands are probably getting released soon to make way for the Wilmington guys.

    Mark L

    25 May 21 at 1:24 pm

  2. Luis Garcia just got called up to replace Robles.
    Good for Garcia but it speaks volumes of their outfielders in AAA & AA.

    Mark L

    25 May 21 at 2:13 pm

  3. Rutledge is out with a shoulder issue, no word yet on severity.

    WRT to no 40-man guys at AA, could that be because of COVID-related call-up rules this year? Protocol doesn’t allow teams to call up players directly from AA to the majors. Instead, they would have to go to AAA first and spend ten days there to get cleared before they are ML call-up eligible.


    25 May 21 at 2:44 pm

  4. I’m unaware of a restriction promoting players from AA versus AAA. do you have a source for that?

    Todd Boss

    25 May 21 at 4:49 pm

  5. Sorry Todd, I read about this a month ago before the season started and I can’t remember where.
    imref is spot-on about the process of moving a player from AA to the Show.

    Mark L

    25 May 21 at 6:00 pm

  6. Man, this is really bleak. Are there any areas where you can throw money at the problem? The draft caps and international FA pools hurt, but are there any other avenues? This is 2005-level bad.

    kevin r

    25 May 21 at 6:23 pm

  7. Positive night for the FredNats. Mitchell Gibson struck out 10 in 6 IP and De La Rosa went yard.


    25 May 21 at 9:38 pm

  8. 31Ks in 18.2 IP this year for Mitchell.


    25 May 21 at 9:39 pm

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