This is the 7th and final in the 2013 Pitching staff review series. I don’t like double posting stuff this comprehensive but I wanted to get this out before the w/e. This is the review of the GCL/Rookie league’s pitching staff for 2013. Other parts of the 2013 series:
- Washington/MLB’s 2013 review
- Syracuse/AAA’s 2013 review
- Harrisburg/AA’s 2013 review
- Potomac/High-A’s 2013 review
- Hagerstown/Low-A’s 2013 review
- Auburn/Short-A’s 2013 review
For some historical perspective, here’s 2012’s version (Lucas Giolito was the feature pitcher) and 2011’s version (Jack McGeary the feature pitcher) of this post specifically for Auburn/Short-A. Yes, Giolito was the GCL “man of the year” for the second year in a row. This may be unfair to many of the DSL grads who pitched great for the GCL this year, especially the likes of Jefry Rodriguez and Wander Suero. Also; good luck finding a picture of Jefry Rodriguez to use for your blog; any google search with “Rodriguez” and “baseball” is so over-inundated with pictures of more famous Rodriguez’ (Alex, Ivan, even Henry) that I gave up looking.
All stats are courtesy of either milb.com’s GCL’s 2013 Stats page or via Fangraph’s GCL 2013 page. Also useful here are the Big Board and the Nats Draft Tracker since so many of these lower-minors guys are recent draftees.
A caveat before starting this post: this is short-season ball, so nobody’s got more than a few dozen innings. The staff leader had 49 innings. So yes this is absolutely going to be some “Small Sample Size” analysis. Which in some cases is unfair to the player (to the good or to the bad). It is what it is.
GCL starters. The rotation started the season with Suero, Jefry Rodriguez, Silvestre, Voth and Valdez. It ended with JRodriguez, Silvestre, Suero, Ott and a slew of 5th/6th starters here and there. Lets take a look at the starters:
- Wander Suero dominated the GCL this year, throwing lots of 4-5 innings outings in relief of other “starters” and leading the team in IP. Final numbers: 8-1 with a 1.65 ERA. His first season in the USA after 3 DSL seasons was a huge success and his age (22) should help him move upwards. Outlook for next season: Low-A bullpen/spot-starter.
- Jefry Rodriguez was the opening day starter and made 12 starts all told for the GCL, going 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA anda a 43/20 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. The 19-yr old DSL graduate looked great all year, even if he averaged only about 4 innings an outing. He improved his K/BB rate marketdly from his 2012 DSL season and should keep on moving upwards. Outlook for next season: XST and then Short-A rotation (I don’t think he can crack the low-A rotation).
- Hector Silvestre was the staff ace, going 7-0 with a 1.82 ERA in 13 games (8 starts) over a team leading 49 1/3 innings. He was absolutely dominant all August, throwing 26 scoreless innings to finish out the year (including the playoffs). The 20-year old lefty has a ton of potential. Outlook for next season: XST and then Short-A rotation.
- Austin Voth had two quick outings in the GCL before moving on up to Auburn. See the short-A writeup for more. Outlook for next season: Low-A rotation.
- Philips Valdez had a few starts but worked mostly out of the pen en route to a dominant 1.95 ERA and 0.87 whip in 32 IP. He’s another older DSL signee who, like Suero, could make an impact a couple levels above GCL next year. Outlook for next season: Low-A bullpen competition, perhaps falling back to Short-A.
- Nick Pivetta started 3 games in Viera but averaged less than 4 innings a start before getting bounced up to Auburn. See the short-A writeup for more. Outlook for next season: Low-A bullpen.
- Deion Williams failed in Auburn and got just 13 innings in the GCL this year. He’s young (just turned 21) so he has a bit of time to sort things out. Outlook for next season: XST and another shot at Short-A in the bullpen.
- Lucas Giolito went 2-1, 1.94 ERA with 39/14 k/bb in 36 2/3 innings, 28 hits mostly in the GCL. All Nats prospect fans should know of Giolito’s status these days; he has come back from surgery, pitched effectively in the rookie league and was lights out in 3 starts in short-A (one run conceded in 14 innings). Per comments and scouting reports his velocity is back, he seems healthy, and he could be just a season away from being breathlessly talked about as one of the best prospects in the game. Outlook for next season: Low-A rotation.
- Travis Ott went 3-0, 4.03 ERA with 32/12 K/BB in 29 innings in the GCL, 24 hits. The rare mid-20s round high schooler who signs, Ott was used as a starter in the GCL and was mostly good all year. His seasonal numbers were skewed by one bad outing where he gave up 6 earned runs in 1 2/3 innings in mid-July. This tall, lanky left-hander (6’4″ 170lbs) seemingly has room to grow and is very young; he turned 18 at the end of June. Looks like the Nats might have a find here. Outlook for next season: XST and repeating GCL; he’s only 18 and could use the seasoning.
- A slew of relievers got one start here and there; its kind of hard to assign GCL guys to “the rotation” when they get a start and only pitch 3 innings. Instead, they’re discussed in the reliever section.
- Rehabbing Starters from other levels: Brad Meyers got two re-hab starts for GCL this year, Chris Young, Ryan Mattheus, Cole Kimball, and Sammy Solis got one each.
GCL Relievers: this section is done mostly by IP, though we’ll start with the clear “closer” for the GCL Nats.
- Jake Walsh got 8 saves in 16 games, posting a 1.40 ERA with 17/5 K/BB in 19 1/3 innings closing in the Rookie League. He was promoted to Hagerstown on 9/3/13 to provide lefty bullpen coverage in the playoffs. He was probably too old and too experienced for the rookie league but showed enough promise to get a two-level call-up for the post-season. Outlook for next season: low-A bullpen loogy competition.
- Kelvin Rodriguez was a middle reliever for the GCL nats, throwing 29 innings across 13 outings and posting a 3.07 ERA. He wasn’t quite as dominant as some of his DSL graduates, and I suspect it will keep him (despite his age) in XST to start 2014. Outlook for next season: XST and then Short-A bullpen.
- Matt Derosier was 2-1, 2.43 ERA with 20/5 K/BB in 19 relief innings mostly in the GCL, 24 hits. Derosier may have been a Juco guy but he’s young; he turned 19 in July of this year. After a brief stint to start the season in Auburn he pitched in middle relief for the GCL Nats, getting at least 4 long enough stints to earn a “grade” in my monthly starter grades. He posted good, solid numbers, nothing flashy, nothing bad. A 4/1 K/BB ratio is great. He’ll move up next year, looking to stick as a younger member of the bullpen in short-A. Outlook for next season: short-A bullpen.
- David Ramos posted an ugly 6.35 ERA in 22 middle relief innings for the GCL Nats. His first state-side season could be his last, given his age (22). Outlook for next season: XST and repeating the GCL bullpen, release candidate.
- Joey Webb went 2-0, 1.89 ERA with 25/6 K/BB in 19 innings in the GCL, 13 hits. Webb comes from a very small baseball school (NAIA’s Menlo College in California) and may not have been ready to compete with a bunch of Division I guys in Short-A, despite already being 23. Outlook for next season: short-A bullpen.
- Elliott Waterman bounced down and then back out of the GCL this year. See the short-A write-up for more. Outlook for next season: Low-A bullpen loogy competition, release candidate.
- Niko Spezial went 1-0, 3.32 ERA with 21/8 K/BB in 19 relief innings mostly in the GCL, 16 hits. Spezial started the season with Auburn but got the quick demotion after just 3 1/3 relatively non-descript innings. A college senior draftee, he did not belong in the rookie league. Nonetheless he pitched effectively for the record-setting GCL Nats. Spezial needs to show how he fares against someone his own age, which hopefully he’ll get a chance to do in 2014. Outlook for next season: short-A bullpen, release candidate.
- Michael Boyden posted a 4.61 ERA with 15/14 K/BB in 13 2/3 innings, 17 hits for GCL. 14 walks and 17 hits equates with a balloned 2.27 whip for this 23-year old in the rookie league (which means he’s likely throwing against guys 4-5 years younger than he is). It is hard to understand why he was back in the GCL after having shown he could handle Short-A in 2012. Either way, his control issues from last year caught up with him in 2013 and I don’t think he’ll be long for the organization. Outlook for next season: Low-A bullpen loogy competition, release candidate.
- Ryan Ullmann started in the rookie league, being a senior coming from an NAIA school, but by season’s end he was in the Auburn rotation. See the short-A write-up for more. Outlook for next season: Low-A bullpen.
- Cory Bafidis briefly worked in the GCL bullpen. See the short-A write-up for more Outlook for next season: Low-A bullpen.
- Justin Thomas threw 3 innings in Viera during his tour of the Nats farm system in 2013. See low-A post for more. Outlook for next season: High-A bullpen competition.
- Other Relievers who got 10 IP or less:
- Rehabbing relievers from other levels: Pat Lehman, Rafael Martin, Cameron Selik, Brian Broderick, each of whom got a handful of innings.
- Mike Sylvestri was dominant in his 9 innings of GCL work after getting demoted from Auburn. See Short-A write-up for more.
- Luis Reyes was called up from the DSL to make an appearance in late August; he gave up 3 runs on 4 hits in 4 innings and was sent back to the D.R.
- Andrew Cooper threw 2 innings in Viera then bounced up to Auburn. See Short-A write-up for more.
- John Simms threw 2 innings in Viera then bounced up to Auburn. See Short-A write-up for more.
- Lastly, infielder Kyle Attl threw 1/3 of an inning somewhere along the line, giving up a homer before getting an out for an ERA of 27 and a FIP of 42.20 on the season.
The GCL Nat’s record breaking season was borne on the backs of a slew of arms rising to the GCL from the DSL, and despite some of them being slightly “old” for the level they helped the team achieve greatness in 2013. This also marks a great collection of DSL graduates that should start matriculating upwards, moreso than we’ve had to follow in quite a while.
(Editor’s Note: I corrected Jefry Rodriguez’ name after the fact; thanks to commenter Melissa).