Nationals Arm Race

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

Auburn Roster Announced … First look at the Pitchers



The Nats havn’t (as of the moment of publishing this post) announced any 2017 class signings … but they did on 6/19/17 post a slew of transactions to the New York Penn League transactions page, which included (nearly) their entire pitching staff.  Those transactions coupled with the official posting of the Auburn roster on their twitter page (@Doubledays if you’re not following) confirm the opening day roster for the Auburn Short-season squad.

Lets take a quick look at who made it, who didn’t, and who might be in line to be in the “rotation” as much as they generally follow a rotation in Short-A.  In alphabetical order, lets look at the arms, where they came from and where they may slot in:

  • Tomas Alastre, 19.  RHP 2015 IFA signing (Venezuela).  Was in the GCL in 2016, where he threw 19 innings in total and had an ERA north of 5.00.  Young for Short A as a 19-yr old.
  • Joseph Baltrip, 22.  RHP 2016 24th round pick out of Juco.  Was in GCL last year, working as a late-inning reliever with good results (1.36 ERA).  Likely the closer or close to it.
  • Jake Barnett , 22.  LHP 2016 20th rounder out of  Lewis-Clark State.  Only thew 5 innings last year but didn’t hit the D/L; should be interesting to see what he does in 2017.
  • Ben Braymer, 23.  LHP 2016 18th rounder out of Auburn.   Also in GCL last  year, 19IP in 10 appearances.  Likely a reliever.
  • Gilberto Chu 19.  LHP 2015 IFA signing (Panama).  Last 2 seasons in DSL, last year he started.
  • Matthew DeRosier 22, RHP 2013 24th round pick out of Southwestern College.  5 pro season, he started the year with Hagerstown but got bombed so this is a demotion.  This will be the 4th year he’s appeared in Auburn.  He was a young Juco draftee, so he’s not terribly old for the level … but in his 5 pro season he should be further along.
  • Diomedes Eusebio 24, RHP 2010 IFA Signing (DR).  Was a hitter for his first 5 pro seasons, now converting to the mound.  This will be his 2nd full season on the hill; he had a 5.01 ERA in 14 relief innings in the GCL last year.
  • Jhonatan German 22, RHP 2015 IFA signing (DR).  Reliever in the GCL last year with mediocre numbers.
  • Angel Guillen 20, RHP 2013 IFA signing (Venezuela).  Pitched the last three years in the DSL, last year starting and posting a stellar 1.67 ERA.
  • Malvin Pena 19yr old RHP 2014 IFA signing (DR).  Pitched in DSL last two years; he seemed to have a serious injury though because he was on the 60-day D/L both years.
  • Jonny Reid 21yr old LHP 2016 28th rounder out of Azusa Pacific.  Got promoted from GCL->Short-A last year, starts in Auburn again.
  • Michael Rishwain 22yr old RHP 2016 23rd rounder out of Westmont College.  Solid middle relief numbers for GCL last year.
  • Felix Taveras 21yr old 2014 IFA signing (DR).  Starter the last two seasons in the DSL with bad ERA but good K/9 numbers.

Kylin Turnbull, who is now 27, who has been kicking around the system since being drafted in the 4th round in 2011 and who hasn’t thrown a pro pitch since August 27th, 2014, is assigned for rehab.  I suppose he’ll be in the mix for starts as well.

Two additional names (Chase McDowell and Michael Sylvestri) are on the roster but listed as restricted; I believe both retired two seasons ago but are still in the database.

Likely rotation: Alastre, Barnett, Chu, Guillen, Taveras, Turnbull

Likely Bullpen: Baltrip as a closer, Braymer and Reid as loogies, DeRosier, Eusebio, German, MPena, Rishwain as RHP middle relievers.

Roster Breakdown (not counting Turnbull or the Restricted guys):

  • Seven IFAs and Six US-based draftees
  • The seven IFAs: 4 from the Dominican Republic, 2 from Venezuela, 1 from Panama
  • The 6 draftees: 5 of them are 2016 draftees and the earliest round drafted is the 18th round.  All low-round, low-expectation arms.
  • Ages: three 19yr old IFAs, mostly 21-23yr old college guys.  The oldest guy is an 24yr old IFA converting to the mound.

Now for the names that didn’t make this team but who were on Auburn’s staff last year or who were signed in the off-season and assigned to Auburn; you have to believe their days are numbered at this point, given that the team just drafted a ridiculous number of college arms in the 2017 draft (review to come).

  • Wilber Pena: just 14IP last year for Auburn with a 6.75ERA; might be hurt.
  • Yoan Aponte: signed in Nov 2016 and assigned to Auburn; no pro appearances yet.
  • Angher Cespedes; was released a few weeks ago.
  • Johan Gomez: signed in Mar 2017 and assigned to Auburn; already 23 so seems too old to go to GCL; may languish in XST.
  • Kevin Mooney: UMaryland closer repeated Auburn in 2016 and didn’t make Hagerstown roster.  He hasn’t been released  yet but he doesn’t seem like a safe bet to carry on further.

There’s a slew of other names that I had associated with the GCL who might be in the same boat: We’ll go over them when we do this post for the GCL.

The posting of this roster now makes me wonder just where they plan on starting all these college arms, especially the higher profile guys.  Seth Romero and Wil Crowe are way, way too good to go to the GCL, and Romero needs innings after missing half the season this spring.  Do they both go straight to Hagerstown?  We’ll see.



10 Responses to 'Auburn Roster Announced … First look at the Pitchers'

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  1. … and my rotation projection is already wrong: DeRosier got the “start” last night.

    Todd Boss

    20 Jun 17 at 9:52 am


    First box score for Auburn. DeRosier 4innings, Chu 3. Looks like more tandem starting. Simonetti: 4Abs, 4 strikeouts. That’s the kind of key production you expect out of your cleanup hitter.

    Todd Boss

    20 Jun 17 at 9:55 am

  3. 25 guys signed, including (no surprise) 3rd rounder Raquet. Some surprises for me: a bunch of juco guys. At least 7 more guys should sign (they’re either still playing in the CWS or are seniors with no place else to go).

    Todd Boss

    20 Jun 17 at 7:42 pm

  4. First wave of Nationals signings from the draft…

    A couple of minor surprises, and of course no surprises among who is unsigned. de Oca and Senior are the ones to watch for whether they can summon the bonus monies. Four of the others are CWS players, and of course, the top two picks (where the savings will come from).


    20 Jun 17 at 7:50 pm

  5. Justin McConnell and Nelson galindez look like HSers by age. Do we think those were good signs?


    20 Jun 17 at 9:45 pm

  6. Definitely some surprise signings so far. I’m surprised so many of the Juco guys signed. ONly heard one bonus figure; $50k over slot for 12th rounder.

    Todd Boss

    20 Jun 17 at 9:53 pm

  7. Looks like the Nats have signed 11th Round -> Justin Connell OF American Heritage School, Florida HS and 22nd Round -> Nelson Galindez LHP Haines City HS.

    1st Round-Romero, 2nd Round-Crowe will get done. 4th Round-Freeman, 5th Round-Hill, 18th Round- Choruby, 24th Round-Richards, 40th Round Engelbrekt are all in the CWS.

    That really only leaves 13th Round sleeper-Eric Senior, and high upside Missouri P 15th Round -> BA # 146 rated prospect Bryce Montes de Oca as possible Top 25 picks who may go unsigned.


    21 Jun 17 at 1:48 am

  8. Last night’s Auburn game was a loss, but an incredibly impressive performance offensively. The number of clutch hits to keep the game going says a lot about the character-talent mix among the players getting their reverse cup of coffee down there.


    21 Jun 17 at 8:24 am

  9. new posted on the draft, though what I wrote in some cases is already obsolete.

    Todd Boss

    21 Jun 17 at 9:08 am

  10. […] we did last week with the Auburn/Short-A roster, lets take a look at who is starting on the named roster in the […]

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