After reviewing all the 2015 pitching staffs, I projected where I thought everyone would start in 2016.
Notations here: * = lefty, ^ == new off-season acquisition. Also, “Missing” usually means “Stuck in Extended Spring Trianing/XST” or in organizational limbo.
- Rotation: Scherzer, Strasburg, Ross, Gonzalez*, Roark
- Bullpen: Papelbon, Treinen, Rivero*, Perez*^, Kelley^, Gott^, Petit^
- D/L: Barrett (60-day DL)
- out of organization: Zimmermann, Fister, Storen (traded), Thornton*, Janssen, Carpenter, Stammen (non-tendered)
MLB Actual Opening day
- Rotation: Scherzer, Strasburg, Gonzalez*, Ross, Roark
- Bullpen: Papelbon, Treinen, Rivero*, Perez*, Kelley, Belisle, Petit
- D/L: Barrett (60-day DL)
Discussion: only one surprise from the pre-Spring Training prediction for this team: Matt Belisle makes the team ahead of Trevor Gott. Otherwise everyone is in the roles they were acquired to hold. There was some question about whether Blake Treinen would get optioned early in the spring, but not now. The order of the starters wasn’t right: Ross is being treated like the 4th starter and Roark the 3rd, I guess.
It probably wasn’t too hard to predict 12 out of the 13 spots in the MLB roster, so we won’t pat ourselves on the back too much. Lets talk minors.
- Rotation: Cole, Jordan, Espino, Voth, Laffey*^, THill, Arroyo^
- Bullpen: Martin, Solis*, Grace*, Brady^, Bacus, de los Santos, Runion, Velasquez^, Masset^, EDavis, Burnett*^
- Release Candidates: McGregor, Walters
- out of organization: Billings, Bleier*, Swynenberg, Fornataro, Meek, Runion, Lively, Gutierrez, Valverde, Delcarmen, RHill, Overton
- starters: Cole, Jordan, Espino, THill, Voth
- spot starts/swingman: Laffey*
- bullpen: Martin, Solis*, Grace*, Runion, Massett, EDavis, Gott
- dl/restricted: Arroyo, Brady
- in AA: Bacus, de los Santos
- missing: no one
- cut/released/FAs: McGregor, Velasquez, Walters, Burnett (opted-out)
Discussion: No surprises in the Rotation: we predicted 7 guys in the AAA rotation competition and ended up with the 5 we predicted, a 6th as the swing-man/spot starter and the 7th (Arroyo) on the D/L for the time being.
The bullpen has some surprises: Gott as previously mentioned was projected in the majors; the other 6 bullpen members were in the 10 projected guys competing for the AAA spots. Two guys got pushed to AA. Brady starts on the D/L. Both my release candidates did in fact get released, along with off-season MLFA Velasquez. The real surprise making the AAA team was Masset.
Burnett opted out when he didn’t make the MLB team, but it wasn’t a stretch to predict that happening.
No real projection surprises though, all in all. Nobody who we projected to start in AA got moved up; only a couple guys who got moved down (Bacus and de los Santos). I’m slightly surprised de los Santos is in AA and it makes me question even more his 40-man add and usage last year (3 days of service time and now two options blown).
- Rotation: Spann*, Giolito, Simms, Alderson, RLopez, Mapes, Gorski^
- Bullpen: Mendez, Harper*, Shackelford^, NLee*, Benincasa, Suero, Thomas*, Walsh*, Robinson^, Whiting^
- Release Candidates: Rauh, Bates, Self, Dupra
- out of organization: Purke*, Pivetta, Simmons, Demny, Ambriz, Gilliam
- starters: Giolito, Simms, RLopez, AWilliams, Mapes
- spot starts/swingman:
- bullpen: Mendez, Harper*, NLee*, Suero, Fish*, Bacus, Gutierrez, de los Santos
- In High-A: Thomas*, Robinson, Whiting, Rauh, Self
- dl/restricted: none
- missing: Spann*, Alderson, Shackelford, Benincasa, Bates
- cut/released/FAs: Gorski, Walsh*, Dupra
The big surprise here is that Austen Williams made the AA team; I had him at High-A. Perhaps it isn’t THAT big of a surprise given how well he pitched last year, but it does seem to go away from the Nats’ proclivities to start guys at their prior season’s level and have them “earn” early to mid-season promotions. He joins a pretty high powered duo of Giolito and Lopez. Gorski was an off-season MLFA brought in for competition and he didn’t win. Only one of my four release candidates was in fact released (Dupra): the other three got dumped to XLS or High-A, which is good for them but not good for the massive log-jam of recently drafted college arms who need spots in A-ball.
In the bullpen, we’ve talked before about the surprising release of Jake Walsh. There’s 5 guys stuck in XST limbo for now, a couple of which are release candidates. One name that popped out of the blue is Robert Fish, who signed an under-the radar MLFA deal in mid February and who apparently hasn’t pitched professionally in two full seasons. He must have had a pretty good spring.
- Rotation: AWilliams, Fedde, Valdez, Dickson, Bach*, Van Orden,
- Bullpen: Johanssen, Amlung (swingman), Napoli*, Orlan*, Glover, Brinley, Sylvestre*
- Release Candidates: RPena, Turnbull*
- out of organization: Schwartz, Howell, CDavis, MRodriguez, Cooper (just released)
- starters: Fedde, Valdez, Estevez, LReyes, Whiting
- spot starts/swingman: Sanchez,
- bullpen: Brinley, Glover, Johansen, Orlan*, Robinson, Self, Thomas*
- dl/restricted: Rauh, Sylvestre*, Turnbull*
- missing: Bach*
- cut/released/FAs: Walsh, Dupra, Dickson, Van Orden, Amlung, Napoli*
Discussion: My High-A predictions show just how out of whack my “reading the stat lines” predictions can be, especially for starters.
In the Rotation, AWilliams earned a jump to AA. I thought Dickson and Van Orden were solid rotation candidates; instead they got released. Lastly, I thought both Estevez and Reyes were repeating Hagerstown; Estevez missed the whole season and Reyes posted a 4.82 ERA there last year. Instead they’re opening day starters for Potomac. Not even close here.
In the Bullpen, we got Johanssen, Orlan, Glover, Brinley, Sylvestre and Turnbull right (not too bad prediction wise), though the last couple guys are on the D/L and still may be release candidates. Who did we miss on? Robinson was an off-season MLFA (who signs MLFAs for high-A?), and Sanchez I had projected to repeat after posting a 4.86 in Hagerstown last year.
- Rotation: LReyes, JRodriguez, ALee, Dickey, Hearn*, Crownover*
- Bullpen: MSanchez (swingman), Guilbeau*, Borne*, Rivera Jr., Gunter, Peterson, Baez
- release candidate: Estevez, DWilliams, DRamos, Boghosian, Mooney, Pirro
- out of organization: Ullmann, KPerez, Mooneyham, Johns (just released)
- starters: JRodriguez, ALee, Hearn*, Crownover*, Guilbeau*, Bach,
- spot starts/swingman:
- bullpen: Rivera Jr, Peterson, Baez, VanVossen, LTorres, RPena, DeRosier,
- dl/restricted: JMorales
- missing: Dickey, Borne*, Gunter, DRamos, Mooney, Pirro
- cut/released/FAs: Amlung, Van Orden, Napoli*, DWilliams, Boghosian
From a starter standpoint, we did a pretty good job projecting who would be in Hagerstown’s rotation. Four of the Six projected candidates “seem” like they’re in the rotation (full disclosure, we’re kind of guessing who these teams are using as starters until we see the first turn through the rotation). The misses? LReyes, who surprisingly is in High-A, and Guilbeau, who I thought would be on the team but in a relief role.
In the bullpen; we missed on Sanchez (who made High-A), Borne and Gunter (both of whom are in XST for now). In their place are a slew of guys who I was projecting to be elsewhere. I thought both VanVossen and DeRosier were release candidates after poor 2015 seasons in Short-A; instead they’re in the opening day bullpen. I had LTorres in the Short-A bullpen after mostly failing as a short-A starter.
Lastly there’s Bach and RPena; I had both projected in Potomac. I thought Bach had a perfectly good Low-A season last year and has nothing yet to prove in the Sally League. Pena returns to Hagerstown for the third time; he pitched in Low-A in 2013 and 2014. You have to think this is a planned short stint before he returns to at least High-A.
No real surprises in the “Missing/XST” crew: Dickey is the biggest profile name here but it seems to me he was injured last year so its hard to pass judgement on his stats anywhere. Borne‘s numbers were basically identical to the likes of Hearn and Guilbeau’s; he missed out in the 2016 competition. Gunter might make sense as a mid-season promotion to cover for injury. Ramos was hurt most of the year last year.
In the “release candidate” section, I was clearly wrong about Estevez. DWilliams and Boghosian have already indeed been released. And both Mooney/Pirro missed out on the full-season roster and are in XST limbo.
Let the games begin! Are there surprises for you guys in these rosters?