Nationals Arm Race

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

Minor League Rotations Cycle #16: good/bad/soso

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Hagerstown's newest Starter. Photo the Washington Nationals

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


  • Shairon Martis continues to prove what we already should know, that a former MLB starter can dominate in AA, by striking out 10 over 8+ innings on 6/26.  His performance was featured on
  • Matt Chico pitched 5 solid innings in the GCL on 6/26: 5IP, 2H, 0R, 1BB, 3K.  Why??  If he’s re-habbing in the GCL that’s fine, but this team has TOO many starters in the AA/AAA level right now and i’m not entirely sure where Chico is going to go.  Perhaps he’s getting stretched out to feature as a trade candidate.
  • Wirkin Estevez bounced back (as noted by Byron Kerr here) and pitched 5 nearly no-hit innings on 6/26.
  • Tom Milone continues his outstanding run in AAA on 6/27: 8IP, 3H, 0ER, 0BB, 6K.  He continues to be the minor leaguer most likely to make the next spot start in the Majors despite his lack of 40-man status.
  • Danny Rosenbaum fulfilled his “ace” status in Potomac on 6/28: 6IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 6K.
  • AJ Cole got the “relief start” coming in after the rehabbing Wang on 6/27 and was sparkling: 5IP, 2H, 0R, 1BB, 6K.
  • Another nice quality start plus outing from Ryan Demmin for short-A on 6/27: 6IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 6K.    That’s three starts, three good outings and 3 wins in a row for the Potomac washout.  Perhaps he’s refound his mojo.
  • Adam Olbrychowski continues to show pitching capabilities in the starter role that he never really showed in relief, going for 6⅔ IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 4K on 6/28 for Potomac.
  • Wirkin Estevez put in his second strong start in a row for Auburn on 6/28: 5IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 5K.
  • Adalaberto Mieses continues the strong pitching in the GCL, going for 5IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 2K on 6/28.  A bit wild perhaps but he scattered 6 runners effectively enough.
  • Christian Meza got the “second start” in the GCL on 6/28, pitching 4 strong innings for the “save.”  4IP, 3H, 0R, 1BB, 3K.
  • Another ho-hum dominant performance in AA for Brad Peacock: 5⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 3BB, 6K, WP.
  • Evan Bronson‘s (apparent) return to the rotation in High-A was pretty solid: 7IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 4K, HR.
  • An ugly defensive outing cost Taylor Jordan during a pretty good 6/29 outing: 5⅔ IP, 4H, 3R, 0ER, 3BB, 8K.
  • Brandon King threw 5 perfect innings in the GCL on 6/29 before making way for his bullpen.  5IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 4K.  You can’t ask for much more than 5 perfect innings after his inauspicious start.
  • Another excellent start for Erik Arneson for Harrisburg on 6/30: 6IP, 4H, 0ER, BB, 5K.
  • Excellent start by Paul Demny for Potomac on 6/30: 7IP, 5H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 8K.
  • Wow, Nathan Karns looks like he may be healthy and good.  6/30 line: 4IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 7K.


  • Robbie Ray seems to be coming back down to earth after a scorching start to his pro season.  On 6/26 he got touched up for 4⅔ IP, 5H, 6R, 5ER, 2BB, 6K, 2HR.  Perhaps he’s getting a big of arm fatigue, going every 5 days for the first time.
  • Tanner Roark continues his up and down season, never recovering from a 4-run first and losing on 6/27.  Line: 5IP, 8H, 5ER, 0BB, 5K.
  • Manny Rodriguez didn’t get out of the first inning on 6/30: ⅓ 3H, 6R, 5ER, 1BB, 0K, HBP.
  • Rodriguez’s relief Kelvin Lopez didn’t fare much better: 3⅔ IP, 5H, 5R, 4ER, 2BB, 4K, 2-2 IR-S.


  • Ross Detwiler put in an oddly short 6/26 start: 5IP, 4H, 2R, ER, 2BB, 4K.   I wouldn’t call it great, but at least it wasn’t bad.
  • Cameron Selik put in a similar line to Detwilers on 6/26: 5IP, 4H, 5R, 1ER, 2BB, 1K.  Not bad, but not great.  You can’t fault the pitcher when he gives up four earned runs in 5 innings.  Selik was rather wild on the day, with a HBP and two wild pitches.
  • Colin Bates had a near-quality start on 6/26 in Auburn: 5IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 3K.   That’s three effective starts in a row for Bates in Short-A.
  • Chien-Ming Wang made his first rehab start, and his first professional appearance for this team after two contracts and several million dollars, in Hagerstown on 6/27.    Adam Kilgore reported on the important appearance at the NatsJournal blog here, saying that he showed decent speed (86-88, topping at 90), with good movement and his sinker working (6/1 go/ao ratio).  Hmm.  This actually sounds pretty promising.  Final line: 3IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 3K, HBP.  It is good to finally see him pitching in a Nats uniform.
  • An up and down outing for Craig Stammen on 6/28: 5.1IP, 9H, 5ER, BB, 9K.  I like the K/9 rate, but don’t like the whip on the game (around 2.0).  He gets a win for his efforts though, as Syracuse’s hitters are pounding the ball right now.
  • Erik Davis‘s 6/28 start in Harrisburg was suspended in the top of the 1st; I’m guessing he works out of the bullpen the next few days so as to stay sharp.
  • Another decent start for Matt Grace for Hagerstown on 6/28: 5IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, 1BB, 5K.  Not quite enough for the QS but good enough.
  • Not the best outing for Yuniesky Maya (6IP, 7H, 4ER, BB, 6K, HR, HBP) on 6/29.    It wasn’t that awful, turning 9 baserunners into 4 runs, but continues the theme for 2011 for Maya.
  • Pedro Encarnation continues his mediocre start to the season with another unimpressive performance on 6/29: 4IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 2K.
  • Ross Detwiler pitched 2 shutout innings on 6/30, in an abbreviated “start” that probably is a precursor to his coming up and pitching sometime over the weekend to help offset the doubleheader on 7/2.
  • Brad Meyers gave up a ton of baserunners through 6 innings of a relief start on 6/30: 6IP, 10H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 3K.
  • Sammy Solis gave up a ton of hits but scattred them well enough on 6/30: 6IP, 11H, 3ER, 0BB, 6K.  A rather similar line to Meyers honestly.

Relievers of Note and other Thoughts

  •’s Byron Kerr continues his excellent coverage of the Nats farm hands with an overview of 2011 10th rounder Manny Rodriguez, pitching in Auburn.
  • Byron Kerr posted on 6/29 with a look at Peacock’s mechanics adjustments, which have allowed him to make great advances in his quality as a starter.  The adjustment he’s made has been to do a better job of concealing the baseball prior to its release.  Peacock has hit 97 this year, sits 93-94, and has really good change-up separation (83-85mph on the change).  His secondary pitches have always been the criticism from scouts; he’s been working on his curveball command and its not clear if he has a 4th pitch right now.  I think to be successful at the upper levels he needs a 4th pitch; a cutter, a slider or a 2-seam sinking fastball are the logical candidates.
  • Baseball America featured Sammy Solis on 6/29 (possibly insider only).  Per the report, Solis’s injuries slowed his first pro season (as we all know) and that he’s been slowly building up to 100-pitch limits per night.  He has added a cut-fastball to his existing 3-pitch repertoire (4-seamer, changeup and curve).
  • Brad Peacock‘s year of accolades continues with his naming (along with Erik Arneson) to the Eastern League All-star team. The Harrisburg team placed 5 guys to the all star roster all told.
  • Trevor Holder finally seems to have been removed from the Potomac rotation after a first half of forgettable numbers (Bronson started in his place on 6/29).  We’ll see if it was a one-off occurrence.

Top 3 starters deserving promotion not named Peacock: Milone, Arneson, Karns
Top 3 starters whose jobs are in jeopardy: Roark, Encarnation, Kopez

Olbrychowski 25,

Written by Todd Boss

July 4th, 2011 at 9:11 am

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