Nationals Arm Race

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

Archive for August, 2023

Last night in Richmond…


Wood's blast was the highlight of the night for Harrisburg.  Photo via milb

(freely stealing this idea from Luke Erickson and, when Luke attends a game in person as he frequently does).

So, for those of you who don’t know, I’ve relocated to Richmond, home of the SF Giant’s AA affiliate known as the “Flying Squirrels.” I suppose its because Virginia’s capital city has a ton of squirrels flying around (no actually, it was a fan-based naming competition back in 2009). And our own Harrisburg Senators were in town this week for a 6-game series. So I got a chance to see our prospects in action last night.

Here’s my recap.

In rough lineup order from last night (here’s the box-score), a game our team lost 7-6 in a walk-off, which was great for the home town fans but pretty galling for a fan of the National’s team, as they blew multiple leads throughout the night to give away the game.

Hitters first:

  • It only took about 3 minutes for our team to grab the lead 3-0. As the adage goes in Minor League baseball … get there early because you don’t want to miss any action. We missed it of course because, well, when you’re attending a baseball game with kids, the odds of getting there for opening pitch are usually nil. After a Jacob Young leadoff single and a Robert Hassell walk, Trey Lipscomb blasted a ball to left for a quick 3-run lead while we were parking the car.
  • Lipscomb played 2B, has already earned a promotion this year to AA, and has continued to stay hot. He went 3-5 on the night, was a double short of the cycle, is batting 3rd for the AA team, and honestly looks like he could really be a find. We’ve watched Luis Garcia scuffle playing 2B (and looking like he eats big macs every night); Lipscomb is an athletic beast who can play anywhere on the dirt.
  • Young: played CF instead of Hassell, went 2-4 with a walk on the night, was a real spark plug at the top, and made a really nice ranging catch at the wall early on. I like this guy too, and talked about how he may possibly fit into the OF log jam of prospects we have.
  • James Wood has been struggling since getting to AA, but he hit an absolute blast to right field that was awe-inspiring from our 1st-baseline bleacher seats. Phew. Someone’s going home with a dented roof, because he cleared both fences in right and nailed a car in the parking lot. He was only 1-5 on the night, but he did hit the ball hard 3 times.
  • Hassell looked absolutely awful. 0-4 with a walk and three strikeouts. Honestly, not once did he take what i’d call a confident swing. This is consistent with basically his entire Nats career so far. I know he had hamate bone issues, which takes a year to recover from. I know he’s a top prospect and hit while in SD’s system. What the heck is going on here? I mean, was all his production in San Diego’s system due to hitter’s parks?
  • Brady House batted 5th and was “just” 1-4, but it was probably a bit unlucky 1-4. He had a sharp line out to 2B for one out and he blasted a ball to CF that was caught on the warning track for another out. He also looked very, very solid at 3B, making a ton of plays, including a couple of in-between hops that looked tough on the way off the bat.
  • Frankie Tostado played 1B and batted 6th: nothing striking either way.
  • Israel Pineda was free swinging at the plate, waved at a bunch of pitches, had two punchouts. I know his value is behind the plate, but the dude is only hitting .175 for AA right now.
  • Lucious Fox…. looked awful at the plate. 0-4, three strikeouts, and his body language basically screamed “I don’t want to be here.” He’s 26, batting 8th in AA, and I wonder why he’s still on the team. At least he’s DFA’d off the 40man at this point. If we had a more pressing SS prospect, i’d guess that he’d be gone. Lipscomb looks more like a 2B/3B guy, Cluff is an org guy, and high-A doesn’t really have anyone banging on the door.
  • Jackson Cluff could be starting at SS instead of Fox; tonight he DH’d and batted 9th. Ask yourself: if you are batting your DH ninth … is it safe to say you have roster issues? Normally Cluff is at SS, Trey Harris is at DH, and the team shows a bit more pop. That being said, Cluff, did an admirable job table setting, going 2-3 with a walk and easily stealing bases all night.


  • Mitchell Parker got the start on the mound. If you’ve never seen him … his mechanics scream one guy: Clayton Kershaw. He has the same arm stretch straight up to the sky to start, he has similar arm action, a funky delivery, he’s lefty, and he gets a ton of Ks. He had 8 punch-outs in 5IP on the night.
  • Parker gave up a run in the 3rd on this sequence: 10-bounce grounder, balk, Wild Pitch, and then sac fly. So, not exactly helping himself, but also not really getting pounded early.
  • But he then went this sequence in the 5th: bunt single to open (House was literally playing on the grass at 3B and by the time he got to the bunt the guy was rounding first), then another seeing-eye-single up the middle to have 2 on with nobody out, then Richmond’s best hitter blasted a homer to score three and tie the game.
  • Honestly, Parker looked pretty solid on the night. I only saw two really hard hit balls, both by the same guy Shane Matheny who seemed to have a read on him all night. But, as has been a pattern for Parker, he was profligate with his pitches, needing 92 to get through five innings. I still like him as a prospect, even though his ERA in AA is in the upper 4.s
  • After Parker came out, 2021 NDFA Tyler Schoff came in and pitched a neatly effective 6th. A NDFA advancing to AA is a pretty solid outcome; he didn’t have super awesome stuff, but he was effective. He’s looking like that classic middle reliever RHP guy who gets by on movement and who suddenly is pitching in the 6th for the big league club.
  • Malvin Pena pitched the 7th and 8th; he looked like a slightly trimmer version of Lee Smith on the mound. Pena pitched a clean 7th but then went homer-double-RBI single in the 8th to cough up a 6-4 lead and send the home crowd into a frenzy. The single went to Wood, who made a valiant attempt to throw the guy out at the plate and nearly got him. Solid defensive play.
  • So, now its tied 6-6 in the 9th and we bring in Patrick Ruotolo, a MLFA we signed out of the Mexican League in early July and who pitched for this same Richmond team in 2021 for nearly a full season. Now he’s a 28yr old reliever in AA … and he pitched like it. Walk to open the 9th (already a 50% chance of that guy scoring), then a sharply hit single for two-on, none out. Ruotolo did induce what looked like it could be a DP grounder, but it ate up Lipscomb at 2nd and an arguable force-call didn’t go his way. Bases loaded, none out, and the same guy who blasted a homer earlier in the game lofted a deep flyball to CF that easily scored the walk-off run. Not an impressive outing from Ruotolo.

So, that’s the observations from the game. Senators blow leads of 3-0 and 6-4 to lose 7-6. The post-game fireworks were cool though.

Written by Todd Boss

August 20th, 2023 at 9:59 am

MLBPipeline updated Nats top 30


Keep hitting like this and Lile will be back at Nats stadium. Photo via Lile’s twitter.

First Fangraphs, then BA, now MLBPipeline.

All three shops have taken the opportunity of draft and trade deadline acquisitions to do some tweaking of their lists, even from just a few weeks ago, to come up with new top 30s. Here’s some reaction to MLBpipeline’s list.

First, here’s the 30 now (the data is open to the public via the above link)

MLB Pipeline 8/10/23Last NameFirst NamePosition
1CrewsDylanOF (CF)
2WoodJamesOF (Corner)
4CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
5GreenElijahOF (CF)
6LileDaylenOF (CF)
8Hassell IIIRobertOF (CF)
9VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
10BennettJakeLHP (Starter)
11SykoraTravisRHP (Starter)
12SusanaJarlinRHP (Starter)
13RutledgeJacksonRHP (Starter)
16HerzDJLHP (Starter)
18De La RosaJeremyOF (Corner)
19HenryColeRHP (Starter)
20PinckneyAndrewOF (Corner)
21QuintanaRoismarOF (CF)
24LaraAndryRHP (Starter)
26ParkerMitchellLHP (Starter)
28WhiteT.J.OF (Corner)
29BrzykcyZachRHP (Reliever)
30FerrerJoseLHP (Reliever)

Now, here’s some reactions.

  • Our big 3 2023 draftees slot in at #1 (Crews), #7 (Morales), and #11 (Sykora). Almost identical to their rankings on BA’s updated list. However, there’s a surprise 2023 draftee further down.
  • Daylen Lile gets bumped up tremendously, from 15th just a week ago to #6 now. That’s a statement. That’s above Hassell. Especially for someone who’s hitting .188 in high-A right now as a 20yr old. Might be a bit bullish on Lile, who really will have to work to get ahead of the big-time OF prospects in our system to ever make an impact.
  • Hassell takes a dive in the rankings. I get it; he hasn’t hit since we traded for him. He was also 20 in AA last fall and has nursed injuries. Hamate bone breakage is like the TJ for pitchers; its a year before you can really start to pass judgement again. He broke it in last year’s AFL (Oct 13th), so I promise not to complain about him again until 2024.
  • Susana gets dropped several spots, and rightfully so. He’s someone who just is not progressing right now.
  • Like on BA’s list Lipscomb gets a big bump up. He’s showing solid BA and HR numbers this year and the ability to play anywhere on the dirt. Can’t ask for much more.
  • Nice and neat, our two newly acquired prospects in trade (Mead and Herz) slot in at #15 and #16. That’s much higher for Herz than BA’s ranking, and significantly higher for Mead (who BA didn’t even have in top 30-35). Good; I’d like to think we got some value for Candelario.
  • Finally some prospect love for Alu, bumped up 10 spots before accounting for the 5 players who layered over top of him (meaning really he increased 15 spots). Just in time for him to probably lose his rookie eligibility, as he seems to be getting a some PT for the big club.
  • Jeremy De La Rosa dropped significantly, from 8th to 18th. And rightfully so; he’s ridiculously struggling in High-A as a 21 yr old. Here’s a crazy stat: he has 126Ks in 88 games played. Putting him on the 40-man was such a ridiculous decision, and its looking even more ridiculous each day. Even if he turns it around, by the time he’s ready to make an impact he’ll be totally out of options, forcing the hand of the big club. I said this last fall, and I’ll say it again: NOBODY was going to claim this guy and carry him on their MLB roster for an entire season. Nobody. There was zero reason to add him last fall, and honestly they could have probably snuck him through Rule5 again this coming winter. Grrr.
  • Henry dropped from 12 to 19 (so only a couple spots with 5 new people above him), but still indicative of what we all feared; he just doesn’t look like the same guy post surgery. If he can’t recover as a top-end prospect, that really puts a damper on the Nats future rotation plans.
  • 2023 4th rounder Andrew Pinckney comes in 20th in his first ranking post draft. Wow. You don’t generally see under-slot draftees from the 4th-10th rounds popping up on prospect ranks.
  • Pineda actually bumped up a bunch of slots when accounting for all the new players above him, going from 23 to 22 (so really, rising at least 5 spots). I don’t really understand why; he’s barely played this year. Maybe its just because of how far others have fallen (see next).
  • Millas fast rising, from 28 to 23, so really rising 10 spots. As discussed in the comments from before, I think Millas is much more deserving catcher prospect right now than Pineda. I mean, he’s got better offensive numbers, he’s the starter in AAA. Is it just the age difference (25 vs 23 for Pineda?)
  • Lara: from 14 to 24 as he continues to dumbfound this observer as to why he’s in High-A.
  • Baker goes from 29 to 25, so really up like 9 spots. Makes sense. Still don’t get why you’d have Baker in the low 20s, which usually implies someone who probably doesn’t ever get to the majors, for a player who’s in AAA, has hit at every level, and who probably could make his debut this fall if we get bedeviled with injuries. Is it just a blind spot prospect watchers have for undersized guys who don’t hit 30 homers? Or (as commenters suggested last post) is it an empty slash line? Probably both.
  • Armando Cruz gets shredded, from 14th to 27th. I mean, yeah he’s young (19 in low-A) but he was a $3.9M signing. Its a massive indictment of the scouting department down there if he washes out.
  • TJ White goes from 10th to 28th. Ouch. I think he’s now riding the bench in High-A, where he might be overpromoted as a 20yr old. I’m not sure what you do with him. He was drafted as an OF, but has been playing primarily 1B/DH and hitting .175.
  • Two relievers in Brzycky and Ferrer round out the top 30.

So, who’s dropped out from their last ranking?

  • Roddery Munoz was 21st, now is outside top 30. Probably a little harsh; i mean, he’s a 23rd old starter in AAA, would you put him above a reliever who’s out for the year? I would.
  • Matt Cronin was 22nd, now outside top 30. Out for the season as we now know with a back issue. Hey, I have a “back issue” too, and I could barely walk for a year … i couldn’t imagine trying to work out every day and pitch.
  • Jared McKenzie was 25th, now is outside top 30. MLBpipeline is the only shop that rated him, and he’s struggled in High-A.
  • Brenner Cox, Gerardo Carrillo, and Aldo Ramirez rounded out previous MLBpipeline rankings for the system, but are now pushed well into the 30s with our new acquisitions. None of these guys has done anything to improve their stock in 2023.

Other players worth noting:

  • Jacob Young: 24th on BA, nowhere to be found here. Probably should be slightly higher.
  • Dustin Saenz: probably org guy now.
  • Andy Acevedo and Edwin Solano were our two big money signings this past January, but have not really impressed so far in the DSL. Acevedo is slashing .168/.295/.237. Solano .125/.283/.143. I mean come on.
  • Amos Willingham: so, I guess a reliever who actually makes the majors isn’t prospect worthy at all, but other relievers who are out for the year are. ??

Lastly, I’d like to make a comment about former prospect Mason Denaburg. On 8/10/23, he pitched in relief for Low-A and put up this stat line: 1/3rd of an inning, 11 batters faced, he gave up 8 hits and walked another 2 of them. First of all, why would the team leave him in for 11 batters at this point? Second of all, why is this guy even in the organization anymore? He’s 24, he has a 2.50 whip in low-A, and he’s gotten no fewer than 26 appearances this season so far. He has given up 51 runs in 34 innings this season. I hate that his career got derailed so badly, but what’s left to prove at this point? He was thrown back in a couple days later and acquitted himself … but I just have to wonder when the plug gets pulled. Maybe the system depth is just so deep that you can

Written by Todd Boss

August 14th, 2023 at 9:40 am

Posted in Prospects

Baseball America Updated Nats top 30 Reaction


How about a Grand slam in your 4th professional game? Photo screen grab from

The major shops are starting to read in the 2023 draftees (and 2023 trade deadline acquisitions) to each team’s farm system rankings. As we did ahead of the season, when a major pundit drops an updated ranking i’ll list it here. Technically Fangraphs’ “Big Board” database was the first to publish, since its essentially a running database of every player, amateur or prospect, but their rankings are wonky (as we discussed yesterday), so we just did a brief review. MLBpipeline dropped overnight, so we’ll talk about it next. Baseball America published a couple days ago behind a paywall, so lets review.

Here’s BA’s updated top 30, which includes some re-ranking, new draftees, and new trade acquisitions.

BA Rank 8/9/23Last NameFirst NamePosition
1CrewsDylanOF (CF)
2WoodJamesOF (Corner)
4Hassell IIIRobertOF (CF)
5GreenElijahOF (CF)
6CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
7RutledgeJacksonRHP (Starter)
9VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
10BennettJakeLHP (Starter)
11SykoraTravisRHP (Starter)
12SusanaJarlinRHP (Starter)
13De La RosaJeremyOF (Corner)
14LileDaylenOF (CF)
16WhiteT.J.OF (Corner)
17HenryColeRHP (Starter)
19LaraAndryRHP (Starter)
20FerrerJoseLHP (Reliever)
22BrzykcyZachRHP (Reliever)
24YoungJacobOF (CF)
25HerzDJLHP (Starter)
27QuintanaRoismarOF (CF)
29CroninMattLHP (Reliever)
30ParkerMitchellLHP (Starter)

So, Here’s some thoughts on the new names and changes from the pre-draft BA rankings.

  • Dylan Crews comes in as our new system #1, which was hard to do because at the time of his drafting we already had a top-5 prospect in James Wood.
  • The last time the Nats had two prospects even in the top 10 of the minors was at the very edge of Bryce Harper‘s eligibility, when Anthony Rendon was also ranked highly. The best we ever did while Stephen Strasburg was still eligible seemed to be Drew Storen ranked in the 50-range. So, having a 1-2 punch of Crews and Wood both top 5 is amazing.
  • Brady House and Robert Hassell switched spots, probably because House is clearly outperforming Hassell right now. In fact, Hassell basically has stopped hitting after we acquired him; he went from a .290 hitter to a .220 hitter in our organization. I’m not sure what special sauce San Diego gave him, but we need to figure it out.
  • Yohandy Morales slots in at #8, between Rutledge and Vaquero. Crews is getting all the attention so far with his hot start in Low-A, but Morales has been there for a week and a half and has a .925 OPS.
  • Travis Sykora comes in at #11, right between Bennett and Susana. Hopefully, he’s more like Bennett (well, in as much as he gets to AA quickly, not the “where the heck has Bennett been for two months part) and less like Susana (who has a 5.14 ERA in low-A this year in his age 19 season).
  • Trey Lipscomb has been bumped up a couple of slots in the last month thanks to his promotion to AA in his age 23 season and his solid offensive line. However, he’s now bumped from his regular 3B slot by House, who is also in AA, and has been bouncing around to find playing time. He’s got starts at 1B, 2B and SS now, replacing lesser prospects in Harrisburg each time. I sense his eventual spot may end being 2B, replacing the .215 hitting JT Arruda in the lineup. Cluff is also hitting about .215 but plays a true SS, which i’m not sure Lipscomb can do long-term. The situation may work itself out if House keeps mashing his way up the system.
  • Jacob Young has been bumped up a few slots. He’s in danger of falling down the depth chart of outfielders given who we have coming up, but for now he’s holding his own and earning promotions.
  • Trade acquisition DJ Herz slots in at #25. Lets see how he fares. He got smacked around in his debut, but he’s 22 in AA as a starter, so that doesn’t suck.
  • Roismar Quintana dropped from 22 to 27. He’s only slugging .358 this year as a 1B/DH type; that’s not going to cut it.
  • Mitchell Parker‘s AA performance has dropped him several slots to just barely holding on to the top 30. I wonder when he’ll convert to relief … and then how quickly he’ll be in the majors after that as a lefty reliever who can get guys out.
  • Darren Baker up a couple slots; the guy’s nearly hitting .300 in AAA as a 24yr old, not sure what else you want from him. Most of the 2021 draft class is still in High-A, if they’re even still here.
  • Dustin Saenz, Andy Acevedo, and Edwin Solano: were ranked 28th-30th before and now have gotten bumped with the new additions.
  • Jake Irvin was ranked 16th; he now has 17 starts under his belt in the majors and has lost his rookie eligibility.

Written by Todd Boss

August 11th, 2023 at 9:48 am

Posted in Prospects

Fangraphs Updated Nats Prospect Rankings with new Draftees


Fangraphs has become the first shop to publish updated system rankings that include our new draftees. Lets do a quick review of where Kiley McDaniel and team have put the new guys.

Reminder, our review of their pre-season Nats top 30-or-so is here: Fangraphs’ methodology leaves a little to be desired and their FV-based ranking does leave us with some weird rankings. That being said, here’s where they’ve slotted in our 3 big 2023 draftees:

  • Dylan Crews: New Nats System #2, and #5 overall in the entirety of the minors. Not a bad debut.
  • Yohandy Morales: new Nats system #5, outside the top 100.
  • Travis Sykora: new Nats system #8, outside the top 100.

I’m sure we’ll start to see other major shops update their rankings and we’ll react as they do.

Written by Todd Boss

August 9th, 2023 at 1:52 pm

Posted in Prospects

End of July 2023 Check-in on Rotations


How long before we see Rutledge in the bigs? Photo via Federal Baseball.

We’re on a roll: We did an end of April check-in on the rotations, End of May check-in, and an End of June Check-in. Here’s July’s look after another month.

Important links for this analysis:

We’ll start with the Majors.

Rotation: Corbin, Grey, Gore, Williams, Irvin

Changes in the last month: None. No changes month over month, and just one rotation change all year. Amazing.

Observations: Corbin continues to suck (July ERA 5.83, seasonal ERA 5.07). Grey has now lowered his season ERA to 3.27 and was our sole All Star. I thought Williams might actually be trade bait, but an ugly month where he gave up 19 runs in 28 innings probably killed his trade value. Gore really struggled in June, with his K/BB rate plummeting and his giving up 15 runs in 20 innings. Lastly Irvin came down to earth a little but after a stellar June, posting a 5.06 ERA for the month.

In order, the pitchers in this rotation in terms of long-term importance are Grey, Gore, gap, Irvin maybe, huge gap, and then Williams & Corbin, who will be paid to eat innings for a last place team the rest of this year and next. So outside of an injury or an innings limit, I can’t see this rotation changing anytime soon, even as most of these guys struggle. I’d like to see Gore fix his ailments; that’s the most concerning to me long term, because he’s supposed to be a huge part of the future.

As a side note, this analysis is mostly about the rotation, but as you can see on the big board, there’s been a massive amount of churn in the bullpen.

  • 2023 starting pen: Finnegan, Edwards, ERamirez, Harvey, Thompson, Ward, Banda*, Harris
  • Pen Now: Finnegan, Thompson, Harris, Ferrer, Weems, Machado, Willingham, Abbott, La Sorsa

The team has 5 relievers on the 10-day DL, 2 more on the 60-day DL, and released Ramirez in June. That’s a ton of churn. And as of this writing, it may get worse if they move the halfway decent relievers they still have.

Next starter to get cut/demoted: none.

AAA Rochester:

Rotation: Peralta, Rutledge, Urena, Adon, Banda (plus Espino before getting called up).

Changes since Last Month: none.

Observations: Zero turnover in the rotation despite massive churn in the relievers back and forth between MLB and AAA. But that doesn’t imply all 5 of these guys are doing well. Banda’s July was pretty forgettable; 11.57 ERA in 12 innings/5 starts. Something tells me he’s not a starter. Peralta actually worsened his seasonal ERA in July (6.97) when it was already shockingly bad (5.98). Urena wasn’t half bad for the month: 3.60 ERA in 4 starts. Espino’s two starts were decent; he got called up and subsequently hit the DL with a “finger.” Adon returned tot he rotation with a couple of decent starts; lets see if he can build on them. Lastly there’s Rutledge, who had a full month in AAA and held his own: 4 starts, 4.17 ERA but only 17 innings.

Next guy to get promoted: Probably Rutledge, then Adon

Next guy to get demoted or released: Banda or Peralta.

AA Harrisburg:

Rotation: Saenz, Troop, Parker, Hernandez, Henry (plus Knowles, Cuevas, Herz)

Changes in last month: Just one real change in this rotation: Henry coming back of rehab and taking the spot of Cuevas, who threw two starts and has been MIA since July 6th. Knowles gave a spot start, and the team just acquired Herz in trade.

Observations: Henry has made 4 starts, thrown a grand total of 6 innings, can’t find the plate and is getting hit. Just not good news. Shoulder surgeries are always scary, and I’m beginning to really worry about him. Saenz just has not made the adjustment since moving up to AA, posting another 6+ ERA month. Same with Parker, who continues to struggle post A-Ball from an ERA perspective but continues to get punch-outs with regularity. This says “reliever” to me. Troop was efficient this month but is in AA for the third straight season, making me wonder if he has a future as a 27yr old who can’t get promoted northwards. Knowles looks like a really solid multi-inning reliever type, with the best monthly numbers on the staff. Hernandez has the best command of the bunch: just 3 walks in 26IP in the month and looks like he’s adjusting well as a 23yr old in AA after a long time away from affiliated ball. I like what Knowles continues to do, even though he’s not in the rotation. He might be making the best case to move up. Cuevas may be hurt, but having a guy on the active roster but not pitch for multiple weeks seems dumb to me; just put him on the DL. Lastly, newly acquired Herz will go into the rotation in AA, so someone is making way. Probably Saenz unless the team decides to shut down Henry.

Next guy to get promoted: Knowles or Troop (Note: after writing this but before publishing, indeed Troop got promoted)

Next guy to get demoted or released: Saenz

High-A Wilmington

Rotation: Alvarez, Lord, Lara, Luckham, Caceres (with Theophile, Bennett)

Changes in Last month: Theophile isn’t on the DL, but he hasn’t pitched since July 7th and was replaced in the rotation by Lord. Bennett also isn’t on the DL, but hasn’t thrown since June 24th, and I agree with Luke Erickson‘s assertion that something bad has happened to our prize prospect. He hasn’t really been “replaced” in the rotation, as much as High-A has settled into a more regular 5-man rotation from last month.

Observations: Lord got 2 starts and was very bad: 9+ ERA. He just got promoted up and may not be long for High-A (he didn’t exactly “solve” low-A in Apr/May). Caceres was even worse; 5 starts with an ERA in the 12s. As I’ve said before, he didn’t deserve the promotion earlier this year and has been awful in High-A. Luckham and Lara were both kinda “meh” months with ERAs in the mid 4s and seasonal ERAs in the same range. Alvarez had the best month: 5 starts of 3.76 ERA and 26/6 K/BB. He continues to hold a sub 3.00 ERA for the season and is clearly the next guy to move up. He just turned 24, was a 12th rounder and may be well positioned to try the next level.

Next guy to get promoted: Alvarez

Next guy to get demoted or released: Caceres or Lord

Low-A Fredericksburg

Rotation: Cornelio, Tolman, Young Susana, Atencio (with Denaburg spot start)

Changes in Last month: Lord was promoted, so Atencio moved from spot starter to rotation guy until he got hurt recently. Now they’re a man short in the rotation and I’m not sure what they do next.

Observations: Atencio was dealing in July before hitting the DL, so that’s disappointing. His most recent start was filled by Denaburg, who continued to light everything he touches on fire (10+ ERA for the month). Susana continues to not be able to find the plate: 13 walks in 18 innings to go along with an ERA in the 8s for the month; he’s gone from “prized prospect return” to “did we get some hard throwing kid dumped on us?” Cornelio really struggled on the month, posting a 2.45 WIP. Not good. Tolman and Young were the best of the bunch, but both had mediocre mid 4s ERAs and 1.50 esque whips. Nobody pitched well in Fredericksburg this month. Tolman continues to have decent seasonal numbers, but didn’t look good this month.

Next guy to get promoted: Nobody. Tolman in a pinch.

Next guy to get demoted or released: Denaburg .. but they’ll never do it. They continue to look at big signing bonuses as “investments” instead of “sunk costs.”

Rookie Florida Complex League

Rotation: Zapata, Leon, Polanco, CSanchez, Agostini (Otanez one spot start)

Changes in Last month: None really: Ogando got two starts in June, got shelled, and hasn’t pitched since (but isn’t on the DL). Otherwise the all-IFA rotation continues.

Observations: Polanco is the oldest and probably had the worst month. Well, except for Otanez, who had a pretty amazing stat line for July: 74.25 ERA. he pitched 1 1/3 innings, gave up 3 hits but 11 walks, which turned into 11 earned runs and a WHIP of 10.5. That’s impressively bad. As for the rest, Zapata had the best month by conventional stats and still holds a 2.45 seasonal ERA. Leon probably had the best month; 17/4 K/BB in 11 July innings. That was only good enough to lower his season ERA back into the 6s though.

Next guy to get promoted: Zapata

Next guy to get demoted or released: Otanez, then Polanco

Dominican Summer League

Rotation: Moreno, Portorreal, R.Ramirez, Farias with D.Perez doing spot starts.

Changes in Last month: Oliveros dumped out of the rotation with a 9 ERA, replaced with Ramirez. E.Rivero was pulled from the rotation to start the month.

Observations: It looks like the DSL team is basically operating with a 4-man rotation right now due to off-days, since they have freely pulled poorly performing starters out of the rotation. Farias is way too old for the DSL as a 19IFA and I’m kind of surprised he’s lasted this long. Reilin Ramirez has earned his rotation spot out of the pen, but still has too many walks. Doimil Perez has a decent looking ERA but also can’t find the plate. Henry Moreno has 20 walks and 17 Ks in 24 innings; impressive. The absolute best stat line in the DSL right now is long reliever Angel Roman, who has a 0.80 whip in 27 long relief innings and seems like the only guy worth promoting on the entire staff.

Next guy to get promoted: Roman

Next guy to get demoted or released: Farias


I continue to worry about the Starter development in our system. Here’s a quick glance at our top 10 pitching prospects (starter or reliever) in some order:

  1. Cavalli: TJ
  2. Henry: clearly not performing at pre-surgery levels
  3. Sykora: just signed, its years before we’ll see him
  4. Susana: can’t find the plate
  5. Rutledge: finally impressing; a bright spot
  6. Bennett: WTF is going on with him? Is he hurt?
  7. Shuman: out for the year
  8. Brzycky: out for the year
  9. Saenz: getting shelled
  10. Parker: struggling to compete

Not promising. We will need to acquire starting pitching another way apparently.

Written by Todd Boss

August 2nd, 2023 at 9:35 am