Nationals Arm Race

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

Minor League Rotations Cycle #18: good/bad/soso


Is Nathan Karns ready to make his mark on the organization? Photo

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


  • Tough loss for JD Martin on 7/6: He gave up 2 hits over 6 innings but both were solo homers in a 2-0 loss.
  • Shairon Martis again dominated a AA team on 7/6 (on day 2 of Harper-mania); 7IP, 4H, ER, 2B, 6K.  Byron Kerr featured this start on
  • Another excellent start for Robbie Ray on 7/6: 6IP, 4H, 0R, 2BB, 7K.
  • Nathan Karns put in his latest statement game in the GCL on 7/6: 4IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 6K.  Its time to promote him.
  • Fantastic Start for Tommy Milone on 7/7: 7IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 6K
  • Another great re-hab start for Chien Ming Wang on 7/7: 5IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K.
  • AJ Cole continues to impress as a youngster in low-A.  7/7 line: 6IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 7K.
  • Erik Davis got 10 ks in 5 innings on 7/8 but still managed to lose: 5IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 10K, HR.
  • Taylor Jordan won the nightcap on 7/9 for Hagerstown with an excellent outing: 7IP, 4H, 0R, 0BB, 2K.
  • Wirkin Estevez put in an excellent outing for Auburn on  7/9: 6IP, 4H, 0R, BB, 7K.
  • Silvio Medina (who I thought had been promoted out of the GCL) was dominant on 7/9: 4IP, 3H, 2R, 0ER, 0BB, 7K.
  • An excellent 2nd Potomac start for Sammy Solis on 7/10: 7IP, 4H, 0ER, 2BB, 5K.  This is the pitcher we’ve been waiting for.


  • Cameron Selik just can’t make the adjustment to high-A, taking another loss on 7/7: 5IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 2K.
  • Ryan Demmin took another bad loss for Auburn on 7/7: 5⅓ IP, 5H, 4H, 4ER, 0BB, 2K, 2HR.
  • Brian Dupra got a spot start (?) for Auburn on 7/8 and got knocked around a bit: 4⅔ IP, 7H, 4R, 3ER, 0BB, 5K.
  • Gregory Baez didn’t finish the third inning for the GCL on 7/8: 2⅔ IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 4K, HR.   But it wasn’t his fault the team lost; his bullpen gave up another 13 runs.
  • Yunesky Maya threw another egg on 7/9: 5IP, 9H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 0K.
  • Tanner Roark got battered around on 7/9 after returning from the inactive list: 3⅔ IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 4K.  Its his third such bad outing in a row but unless someone comes off the DL, it doesn’t seem like there’s a natural replacement for him.
  • Adam Olbrychowski got scorched in Potomac on 7/9: 4⅔ IP, 11H, 7R, 6ER, 2BB, 2K
  • Matt Grace didn’t have the best outing on 7/9 either: 1ip, 5H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 0K, 0HR.  Yanked after the first, Steve McCatty came in and pitched long relief to get the win.
  • Pedro Encarnation, who can’t seem to catch a break, got battered for the GCL Nats on 7/9: 3IP, 6H, 6R, 6ER, BB, 2K, 2HR.
  • Not the best rehab start for Chad Gaudin on 7/10: 4IP, 7H, 4ER, 6K, 0BB.  Seven hits and 6 Ks.  At least he didn’t walk anyone.
  • Christian Meza added more runs to his ERA on 7/10 in Auburn: 4⅓ IP, 8H, 6R, 5ER, 2BB, 3K.
  • Christopher McKenzie seemed to get of the schnide for the GCL on 7/10: 5IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 7K.


  • A bit of an unlucky 7/6 start for Paul Demny: 7IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 3K, HR.
  • Colin Bates proved to be an escape artist on 7/6: 5IP, 8H, 1R, 0ER, 2BB, K.  That’s 10 baserunners in 5 innings but only gave up one unearned run.
  • Craig Stammen had a soso start on 7/8: 6IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 4K, HR.   A quality start for sure, but nothing dominant.
  • Danny Rosenbaum didn’t pitch that badly on 7/8, but took the loss nonetheless.  5IP, 6H, 4R, 1ER, 3BB, 4K, HR
  • Erik Arneson was pretty good for Harrisburg on 7/10: 6IP 7H, 3ER, 2BB, 8K.  I’m a tough grader for guys who have pitched above the level they’re currently playing.
  • Paul Applebee pitched a decent start for Hagerstown on 7/10: 5IP, 4H, 2ER, 0BB, 3K.  He seems to have earned his way back into the Hagerstown rotation.  At least until we figure out what happened to Bobby Hansen.

Relievers of Note and other Thoughts

  • Its really hard to tell who is in the “rotation” in the GCL.  As you’ll see, Baez “started” a game wednesday and then again saturday.  King, Mieses and Karns all were skipped this time around.
  • So far so good with the JC Romero experiment.  He’s had several outings that have all gone pretty well.
  • Tommy Milone got a well-earned International League all-star spot this week.  See you in September!
  • Brad Peacock‘s performance this year has vaulted him into the Baseball America mid-season top 50Bryce Harper, now the youngest player in AA, is the new #1, overtaking Angels OF prospect Mike Trout.   Peacock is still listed as having a #3/#4 starter ceiling; this coincides with concerns i’ve read over his 3rd and (lack of a) 4th pitch.
  • Potomac, after being disappointed by the missing of Harper, may be making alternate plans to build a new facility.  According to this Baseball America link, the owner Art Silber is announcing later this month a new site and new plans.


Top 3 starters deserving promotion: Karns, Ray, Milone
Top 3 starters whose jobs are in jeopardy: Roark, Selik, Meza

4 Responses to 'Minor League Rotations Cycle #18: good/bad/soso'

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  1. Not sure when you posted this, but J.C. Romero was released Thursday a.m. so he could sign with the Yankees.
    Nathan Karns is the big mystery here, Todd. If you have any info I’m all ears; the Nats think this is top secret information. He didn’t pitch for 2 years.
    I’d love to believe Silber on the new stadium, but he has no credibility left here. They just cancelled a doubleheader yesterday when it was sunny all day.
    I have to say, look up so-so start in the dictionary and there’s a picture of Stammen.

    Mark L

    15 Jul 11 at 2:23 pm

  2. The way i’m writing these posts lately, if a news item occurs AFTER the end of the cycle but before I post it, I try to keep the 5-day calendar day set of news items together. So I mentioned Romero in this post and I’ll talk about his release in the next (due this weekend I think).

    Karns: late sign in 2009, injured and lost all of 2010. I think he’ll be fine. He’s got a big arm, is a big kid and could feature as a sleeper starter. Lets see how he does against guys closer to his own age in short-A.

    For me, I question the location of Potomac’s stadium. I know there’s a major base of people out there but wouldn’t a ballpark in suburban Fairfax County or Loudoun county have made more sense? There’s basically one way in and out of that area of the county and that’s on 95. If you had a park out in the growing populance of wealthy Fairfax county wouldn’t teams draw a ton more? I’ve played in that stadium coincidentally; it seemed fine to me 🙂 BIG big stadium, big walls. I guess the sprinkler system wasn’t too bad then.

    Todd Boss

    15 Jul 11 at 2:47 pm

  3. When will “Cycle 19” be along and do you thing Clippard is/should be on the trading block?

    Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

    21 Jul 11 at 3:38 pm

  4. Bad bad week for work, finishing up a project and starting a new job next monday. I’ve got some stuff written but its not complete, i’m hoping to get some time this w/e.

    I can’t make up my mind what I think about Clippard and trades. On the one hand, relievers are and should be treated as nearly fungible assets to be used and then discarded when they’re done. (yes, I even believe this when it comes to closers, and will cite lots of research done by people like Joe Posnasnsky about how even with $10M closers mlb teams are winning almost the exact same percentage of games with 3-run leads in the 9th inning now that they did in the 50s before the closer was invented).

    Buut. I completely acknowledge that Clippard is easily our most important reliever, more valuable and better than Storen, and I love the fact that we’re using our best reliever right now in the highest leverage situations instead of letting him sit on his ass waiting for a “save opportunity” while the 5th best guy in your pen tries to get the starter out of bases-loaded, no outs jams in the 6th innings of games (a personal managing pet peeve of mine).

    For me though, both Clippard and Storen have one other overriding factor; their contract status. They’re both pre-arbitration guys with lots of years of team control still to come. The absolute best asset in all of baseball is the pre-arbitration pitcher, so i’d have to think this team would need to be completely overblown by a trade offer to consider moving either guy.

    So. Should he be on the trade block? Yes. Should he be traded? No way.

    (I may make this a post all its own).

    Todd Boss

    21 Jul 11 at 5:13 pm

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