(slight server crash yesterday took down the site for the day. I’ll post two a days tmrw and friday to clear the books of the “season in review” posts I have queued up).
Potomac, the high-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals won the 2010 Carolina League for the 2nd time in the past three years, which is a great indication of the quality of our lower-end minor leaguers. We put together a rather “mature” high-A team though; most scouts believe that high-A squads should be in the 20-22 age range, and 24 year olds are considered “old” for the level. Which makes sense; a 24yr old in his 2nd or 3rd professional season pitching against high school draftees 3-4 years younger should immediately have the advantage in terms of experience and capabilities.
That being said, lets take a look at the 2010 pitching staff in Potomac:
- 2010 Rotation end-of-season: Lehman 24, Holder 23, Frias 22, Alaniz 24, Barthaimer 26
- (rotation order: Holder, Lehman, Frias, Alaniz, JJones)
- bullpen: CMartinez, Dill, Phillibaum, Alaniz, McCoy, VanAllen (why?), Barthmaier, Testa
- spot starts: Alaniz 24, Barthmaier 26, JJones 28
- promotions: Kimball, Peacock, Alaniz (and back), Leatherman, Dials
- demotions: Garcia, Bronson
- dl: Jaime, Fabian, Beno, Rosenbaum 23 (would be #4), Morris 24 (would be #1)
- cut/retired: Atwood, Pecina, JEstrada
Brad Peacock was Potomac’s supposed “ace” and was promoted after 18 starts (I say supposed since his high-A line was 4-9, with a 4.44 era and 1.03 whip). The starting rotation was rather decimated by injuries by the end of the season, with both AJ Morris and Danny Rosenbaum on the DL. Bronson was demoted down to Hagerstown after putting up decent-to-mediocre numbers in high-A (4-7, 3.88 era, 1.31 whip). Lets talk about the rest of the squad:
- Patrick Lehman (5-4, 4.84 era, 1.32 whip, 88/28 k/bb in 87ip). Lehman enters his third professional season with the Nats after being a 13th round draft pick in 2009 out of GW. He has clearly exceeded expectations for a pitcher coming out of such an unheralded school and It would be great to see him continue to move up. 2011 Prediction: I had initially thought he was a good candidate to move up to AA (based on his age and performance prior to high-A) but now I’m thinking he”ll start in Potomac again and try to improve on his era and whip numbers. His K/9 is great though but may be a side effect of being slightly “old” for high-A.
- Trevor Holder (3-3, 4.09 era, 1.39 whip, 52/22 k/bb in 70 ip). Holder’s selection in the 2009 draft caused howling from draft pundits; he was clearly an overdraft for the third round, was a college senior with little leverage and his draft bonus was less than half of his contemporaries. And thus far in his pro career, he has done little to change people’s opinions on the matter. His 2009 pro numbers were awful, and while he succeeded in Hagerstown he was clearly a man among boys. 2011 Prediction: as with Lehman, Holder is too old to “hold” on to a high-A rotation spot but probably does not merit a AA rotation spot. I can see him being moved to the AA bullpen. I don’t see him as anything more than an organizational guy at this point.
- Marcos Frias (7-5, 5.69 era, 1.53 whip, 55/39 k/bb in 91 ip). Frias is one of the few international signings the Nats have that has moved beyond DSL/GCL status lately. He was pretty good in Hagerstown in 2009 but his success did not translate to the better High-A classification. He’s still young (22) but is entering his 5th pro season in the system and his time may be running out. 2011 Prediction: High-A rotation but needs to show some progress asap, else he risks getting moved to the bullpen or cut outright once we draft our 2011 crop of arms.
- Adrian Alaniz (8-4, 2.61 era, 1.11 whip, 101/26 k/bb in 107 ip). Alaniz was an enigma pitcher in the system in 2010. He had 24 High-A appearances but didn’t move into the starting rotation til injuries took out Morris and Rosembaum. What’s odd about Alaniz is that he proved he could handle high-A pitching in 2008, going 9-0 with a 2.62 era before getting promoted that season. His stuff has never really translated to AA though, and he was moved out of the rotation in 2009. Now he’ll be 26 to begin the season and his future is murky. He needs to show he can pitch at the AA level. 2011 Prediction: AA bullpen, where he must succeed or his time with the organization will be at an end.
- Jimmy Barthaimer (4-1, 3.62 era, 1.33 whip in 5 spot starts towards the end of the season). Barthaimer was a minor league waiver claim, having gotten released by Pittsburgh’s Altoona franchise mid season. He’s got major league time, so it isn’t surprising he would compete well against high-A guys. 2011 outlook: if he’s with the organization, he’ll probably be a AAA bullpen guy.
Other starters of note in Potomac for 2010:
- AJ Morris: a leader of the staff before suffering an injury, he was 5-3, 3.88 era on the year (including a number of relief starts). Morris was a very promising 4th round draft pick after having a fantastic senior season at Kansas State, but was moved to the bullpen when his stuff didn’t seem to be translating to success as a starter. 2011 Outlook: Morris was traded to Chicago Cubs in the Gorzelanny deal.
- Danny Rosenbaum: another top notch starter for Potomac, going 3-2 with a 2.09 era before going down with injury. So far Danny has more or less dominated GCL, low-A and high-A. An injury derailed his 2010 season but so far he’s looking like a steal of a 22nd rounder. The fact that he’s a lefty is even better. 2011 outlook: Rosenbaum is the opening day starter for Potomac but should quickly earn a promotion up to AA. He’s a sleeper in the system.
- Juan Jaime: he was set to be the Ace of Potomac before a major arm injury cost him all of 2010. He was lights out in short-A and low-A in 2009, and was put on our 40-man roster in Nov of 2009 to protect him. However, the Nats tried to sneak him off the 40-man roster, only to see him claimed by Arizona. 2011 Outlook: good luck to him as he rebuilds his career in the Diamondback’s organization.
- Robinson Fabian: another Dominican prospect who we got in the Joe Biemel trade; he was looking decent in 8 starts before going down with injury. 2011 outlook: he’ll get another shot to show he can perform in High-A, but he’s starting to age out of prospect status (he just turned 25).
We’ll talk about Evan Bronson in the low-A post, even though he got a number of high-A starts.