Nationals Arm Race

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

AAA Syracuse Roster set: Reactions to named Pitchers


Thanks to peric, via Sue Dienem’s NationalsProspects blog, for the AAA roster announcement today.

Here’s the roster of pitchers.

Collin Balester
Adam Carr
Matt Chico
Ross Detwiler
Lee Hyde
Cole Kimball
J.D. Martin
Yunesky Maya
Tom Milone
Garrett Mock
Craig Stammen
Josh Wilkie
Based on their known roles in the organization and locations last year, here’s my guess for the pitching roles:

Starters: Detwiler, Maya, Mock, Milone, Chico
bullpen: Kimball (closer), Wilkie, Carr, Martin, Stammen, Hyde, Balester


  • I think it is pretty clear that Detwiler, Maya, Milone, and Mock are the first four starters.  I’m guessing (unlike Syracuse beat writer Tom Leo, who thinks Martin is the 5th starter) that Chico is the 5th starter for the time being, in that he’s lefty, younger and has more potential than the soft-tossing 28yr old Martin.
  • The above point could change if the team decides that Chico’s ceiling is as a LOOGY.  But, Hyde seems to be that loogy role now in AAA.  Especially since 40-man member Severino is not on either the AAA or the AA roster right now.  I think he’s not long for the team and we should see a DFA announcement the next time we need a roster spot.
  • I’m somewhat surprised to see Milone up here over Tatusko, if only because of age.  Both were dominant pitchers last year in AA and both merited promotion.  Milone is a 24 yr old lefty who has put up 12-5 seasons in subsequent levels in 09 and 2010.  He is perhaps another dark horse for the 2011 rotation.
  • Stammen‘s conversion to the bullpen seems complete.  I hope he can make it as a middle reliever.
  • Balester‘s presence is an unfortunate options game; he really deserves to be up with the big club and I hope he keeps his focus while riding the bus in Syracause.

Who is missing?

  • Known releases from 2010’s team include Kown, Bergmann, and Bisenius. Kown and Bisenius were minor league free agents last year, and we cut loose Bergmann (who I believe got picked up by either Baltimore or Boston for spring training 2011).
  • Where is Severino, Martis and Villone?  Villone may be in Viera to serve as a “player-coach” for a while.  Martis’ absence indicates just how far he’s fallen in the pecking order of this team.  As mentioned above, Severino’s absense means he may be dumped from the 40-man roster after losing out to Slaten in the loogy-battle in spring training.
  • More interestingly: where is Oliver Perez?  I would have been certain he would have been in the AAA rotation.  I wonder if he’s sticking around Viera to work on some mechanical issues.
  • Where is Tanner Roark, Rafael Martin and Adrian Alaniz?  Now that we have both the AAA and the AA rosters, we’re also missing guys like Spradlin, Dials, Novoa, Zinicola, CJames, JJones, and Leatherman.  Some we know have been released (Spradlin); others were minor league FA signings last year and probably signed elsewhere (CJames, JJones), and some may still appear in the High-A bullpen.

Can’t wait to see Potomac’s roster!

Written by Todd Boss

April 1st, 2011 at 4:13 pm

16 Responses to 'AAA Syracuse Roster set: Reactions to named Pitchers'

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  1. While I know it’s tempting to do comparisons between the last two guys in a rotation spot, Milone had this spot locked up last September and had his make-the-club-out-of-ST chance taken from him by the Gorzelanny trade (though in fairness, Detwiler would have probably beaten him out).

    Milone is one of our favorites because he’s a pitcher that simply throws strikes and gets guys out. His career BB/9 has been Schilling-like for several years now, so it’s time for folks to stop ignoring it and start ignoring how hard he does or doesn’t throw. Smart guys that know how to pitch and don’t hurt themselves aren’t very common, never mind someone lefthanded.

    Sue Dinem

    1 Apr 11 at 4:31 pm

  2. Leatherman and Novoa are playing Indy ball in the Atlantic League.


    1 Apr 11 at 5:05 pm

  3. There does seem like there’s a lot of ‘Stay Tuned’ to this release by the Nats.
    A lot of the parts don’t match up.
    I agree, where’s Rafael Martin?

    Mark L

    1 Apr 11 at 7:03 pm

  4. Thanks for the shout-out. Just doing my part by following my minor league team (the Chiefs) as opposed to the many who follow the P-Nats.

    This is a case where Brian Oliver’s “connections” to folks like Scialba and Harris would come in handy. We lost more than just a guy doing a Nats minors blog. Its why he was given press credentials. He was the “Boz” of the Nats farm system in terms of the relationships, connections as well as knowledge.

    Because everyone is on the Internet Harris is keeping things as close-to-the-vest as Mike Rizzo so we probably won’t know “what the facts is” until travel day April 3rd. By then all the players should know where they are going … or at least one would hope?


    1 Apr 11 at 9:19 pm

  5. Oh, and Sue Dinem will likely turn out right (as per usual) about more moves, the tentative rosters etc. and the rationale behind them.

    Sue’s efforts with have been just tremendous, I just wanted to voice appreciation for Brian Oliver’s past body of work.


    1 Apr 11 at 9:22 pm

  6. Bergmann signed with the Red Sox last winter and then had his signing voided early in Spring Training, I guess because he failed to disclose an injury. Looks like he has reached the end of the line.


    1 Apr 11 at 9:27 pm

  7. Bergmann’s wife kept alluding to that “end of the line” while he was still with the Nats. He saw it coming.


    2 Apr 11 at 1:27 pm

  8. JD Martin seems best suited to the role of starting pitcher and is well known to both Knorr and Syracuse as the staff ace the past couple of years. He doesn’t have the kind of stuff needed to be a true relief specialist whereas Chico still might and it might be a way for Chico to find his way back to the majors. Plus, Milone and Detwiler (and eventually Solis and Rosenbaum) now should be considered in front of Chico as left-handed starters go.


    2 Apr 11 at 8:43 pm

  9. I agree with you that JD Martin is a good AAA starter. But what is the balance between having Martin in the rotation based on his known success there versus promoting and evaluating the next set of starters? In my opinion Martin has no future with the organization and needed to be cut loose to make way for Tatusko, Arneson, or the next set of prospects. Chico performed well in his one call up last year and was reasonably effective in the starting role a couple years ago … who is to say he cannot return there? That’s why i’d put him in as a starter. Of course, that being said I do agree that Chico’s importance to the org clearly has waned; he passed through waivers and wasn’t claimed, meaning he’s stuck here thinking its his best shot.

    Todd Boss

    3 Apr 11 at 12:25 am

  10. I’m betting that “Sue Dinem” will eventually get the same respect Oliver used to get. Access, contacts and perhaps even a press pass. There’s value in having a blog that really digs into the prospects and promotes excitement for the prospects. I may not get the chance to see these guys in the flesh but I too like tracking the up and coming starters. But I can’t spend the time to track EVERYONE like he (she?) does.

    Todd Boss

    3 Apr 11 at 12:26 am

  11. Fair enough on Milone; I didn’t take into account the trending, just the body of work. Still bugged that we’re keeping guys like Martin instead of promoting up Tatusko or Roark.

    Todd Boss

    3 Apr 11 at 12:28 am

  12. Martin is a big time gamer … its his attitude. Its who he is that makes him the ace of the Syracuse pitching staff. Nothing stops the guy, nothing. He’s a pretty fair athlete. He’s nails.

    If he could learn and acquire facility with the vast array of pitches that Yunesky Maya and Livan Hernandez I believe you would have at least a #3 starter and a sure-fire “stopper”.

    (Its my hope Maya can learn to harness what he knows along with the improved 92-94 mph velocity to get deep into ball games as a starter. We’ll find out in Syracuse hopefully with a number of MiLB TV games.)

    Rizzo first acquired him and has kept him for that reason. He may end up coaching … but right now, believe it, Randy Knorr wants Martin in Syracuse, starting in that #1 slot. Martin has consistently out-performed every single pitcher the Nats have (prospect wise) in Syracuse. His presence in the rotation will take a lot of the pressure off of Detwiler, Maya, and Mock. I suspect and expect Milone to take up a similar mantle on the left side.

    Finally, honestly, the one pitcher they really should cut from that rotation is Mock who appears to have an attitude that is diametrically opposed to Martin’s. Mock may have the better arm, the velocity, but Martin has the heart.


    4 Apr 11 at 12:51 am

  13. I’m betting that “Sue Dinem” will eventually get the same respect Oliver used to get. Access, contacts and perhaps even a press pass.

    Let’s hope so. You kind of get used to being on top of things … and now it too often feels as if we are in the dark as Rizzo, Scialba, Harris, Clark, Minniti et al play things close to the vest.

    Sue’s specialty and focus has always been the P-Nats with some decent exposure to the Hagerstown club. He wants to see top prospects in A+ Potomac and who can blame him. This foray into NFA land is relatively new but he has been doing a great job … and NFA Brian is still out there as well.

    Hopefully, Sue will get interesting tid-bits passed on from Clark, Scialba as well. Right now the only guy getting those appears to be Byron Kerr and to some extent Ben Goessling. Plus there’s always Tom Boswell … but his sources would probably be the gray beards like Corrales, Davey Johnson, and Boone.


    4 Apr 11 at 12:59 am

  14. […] AAA Syracuse Roster set: Reactions to named Pitchers « Nationals … […]

  15. Well, okay not every single pitcher in Syracuse … there is this kid named Strasburg …


    4 Apr 11 at 1:18 am

  16. Here’s my problem with Martin. I think he’s just destined to be a 4-A pitcher. He’s 28 and clearly is a “veteran” arm capable of putting up good numbers against other 4-A players in Syracuse … but how does he help the franchise in the future? He’s not a prospect; he is clearly as good as he’s going to be. He doesn’t have bad MLB numbers (career ERA+ of 98, just below mlb average), but he can’t hit 90 and doesn’t strike guys out. To me, he’s not part of the team’s future. I would rather see any of several guys currently in AA moved up instead of hanging on to a 28-yr old non-prospect.

    He may be a great gamer and a great guy, but the purpose of our minor league affiliates is to groom players for eventual MLB production. I don’t care if he goes 15-0 in AAA; if he can’t produce he needs to be moved out.

    Maya; where is this supposed 94mph fastball? I don’t recall seeing it in spring. I like his arsenal and his guile, but if he can’t go 5 straight innings without blowing up (which i’ve yet to see, even in the spring), he’s a bust.

    Mock: yes he has a big arm. Yes he has “the 2nd best stuff in the organization.” Well, so did Steve Dalkowski. I can’t wait for Mock’s options to be out so that he can become someone else’s obsession. It seems like the achilles heel of any GM is his former organization’s players. We saw it over and again with Bowden and Cincinnati prospects, now we’re seeing it with Rizzo and Arizona guys. Mock and Chico. At least we snuck Chico off the 40-man.

    Todd Boss

    5 Apr 11 at 11:23 am

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