Nationals Arm Race

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

Minor League Rotations Cycle #9: good/bad/inconclusive


Brad Peacock continues to pitch like the best 41st round draft pick ever taken. Photo: uncredited via

Here are the daily links from NationalsProspects, for reference below:


  • Tanner Roark got back in the good column on 5/22, going for 6IP 3H 1R 1ER 1BB 4K.  This is more like the guy we saw last year, and I hope we see more of this going forward.
  • Denny Rosenbaum had a good 5/24 start: 6⅔ IP 6H 4R 1ER 2BB 3K.   He was undone by his defense in the 7th, having only given up one run (unearned) in the first 6 innings.  In fact, reading the game log its hard to figure why any of his runs were earned, with two errors in the 7th turning a couple of routine plays into run-scoring opportunities.
  • Brad Meyers had a nice little outing on 5/26: 6IP 7H 1R 1ER 0BB 3K.  He’s definitely holding his own in AAA thus far.
  • Another start, another win for Brad Peacock on 5/26; 6⅔ IP 3H 2R 2ER 1BB 9K.  I’m really not sure what he has left to prove in AA.  In 55 innings thus far he’s got 75 Ks against 34 hits.  He lands on Baseball America’s hot sheet a second time.
  • Harrisburg’s two spot starters/long men Ryan Tatusko and Jimmy Barthmaier both pitched the 2nd half of 5/26’s double header effectively, with Barthmaier getting the win.  I’d like to see Tatusko get his mojo back after such a great 2010 (see reliever notes below).


  • Paul Demny continued his downward slide with a pretty bad 5/22 performance in Potomac; 2⅔ 7H 6R 5ER 2BB 1K.
  • Shairon Martis was well into a beat down on 5/23 when a rain delay ended his night mercifully.  Line: 3IP 4H 5R 5ER 3BB 1K 1HR.
  • I’m officially of the belief that Ross Detwiler is hurt.  On 5/24 he got lit up again: 3⅔ IP 10H 8R 6ER 1BB 1K.   This is the fifth straight outing he’s given up 4 runs or more, and the 2nd outing this month where he’s flat out been awful.  Ironically, his two big blowups were both against Rochester.  Maybe they just have his number or hit lefties well.
  • Mitchell Clegg got hammered in Potomac on 5/25.  1⅔ IP 5H 8R 5ER 3BB 1K 1HR.  Throw in a hit-batsman as well.
  • AJ Cole continues to match up poorly to his 2010 draftee counter part Robbie Ray in Hagerstown, getting hit on 5/25 to the tune of 4⅔ 7H 4R 2ER 1BB 5K 1HR.  I have to keep reminding myself, “he’s only 19.  He’s only 19.”


  • Craig Stammen was uncharacteristically wild on 5/22 for Syracuse but held on for the victory as his team bashed its way to its seventh straight victory.  Line: 5IP 7H 3R 3ER 4BB 2K.
  • Taylor Jordan wasn’t awful on 5/22, but he wasn’t great either: 5IP 4H 4R 3ER 3BB 3K.  He’s yet to really have the dominant outings that he started the season with since coming off the DL, though this loss was just his first of the year.
  • Yunesky Maya pitched into the 8th inning, giving up 4 earned runs and taking the loss for Syracuse on 5/23.  Line: 7⅔ IP 6H 4R 4ER 2BB 7K.  It didn’t really matter how good Maya did; Syracuse got shut down by 2009 first rounder Kyle Gibson.
  • Cameron Selik‘s line and game result on 5/23 betrays how he pitched overall: 5IP 3H 3R 3ER 2BB 6K 1HR.  He started the game BB,BB,K and then 3-run homer to account for all 3 of his runs on the night.  The rest of the way: 4 1/3, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 5K.  But all 5 innings counted, and Selik took the loss.  Per Sue Dinem’s recap, he was hitting 92 with good speed separation between his fastball and curve.
  • Matt Grace went enough for the victory on 5/23 while his team battered yet another low-A starter.  Line: 5IP 7H 1R 1ER 2BB 3K while his teammates scored 10 on the night.  Only one run but an awful lot of base-runners through 5 innings.
  • Erik Davis nearly went 5 innings on 5/24, settling for 4 2/3: 4⅔ 3H 3R 2ER 4BB 4K.  He was rather wild, but its his first start in a while, so we’ll see how he goes from here.
  • Josh Smoker was sitting 94, touching 96 on 5/24 per Sue Dinem in the comments of his post-game analysis.
  • Oliver Perez‘s 2nd start in AA was suspended on 5/26; he only pitched one official inning, giving up a solo homer.
  • As with Perez, Robbie Ray‘s night got cut short on 5/26 when thunderstorms caused delays.  Abbreviated line: 2IP 0H 0R 1BB 1K

Relievers of Note and other Thoughts

  • Collin Balester‘s nice 3-inning stint on 5/22 helped his season numbers look a bit better, and may put him back in line to get some MLB work if the need arises.
  • There’s some good and bad news in the Josh Smoker to the bullpen experiment.  He’d not giving up many runs (only 2 earned runs in 16 innings for a 1.08 era as of 5/22) but he’s walking WAY too many guys (11 walks in 16 innings).  He has a 1.26 whip for the season, which isn’t that bad, but the walks need to get cut down for him to be trusted in later-innings situations.
  • With two more Ks in a scoreless 8th on Sunday, Christopher Manno still has not allowed an earned run through 19+ innings on the season.  Through 5/22’s games he has 29ks to 4BBs in those 19+ innings, fantastic k/9 and k/bb ratios.  It is time for him to be promoted.
  • Ryan Tatusko‘s transition to the bullpen has not been smooth; he got hammered on 5/23, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits in 1 2/3s innings.  He had such good 2010 numbers; what is happening with him?  He had 5/26’s nice spot start; lets hope this gets him back on track.
  • Not pitching related, but here’s Rick Ankiel‘s batting line in his 5/23 rehab start for AA: 4Abs, 4Ks.  That’s a bit embarrassing.
  • Matt Chico‘s career seems to be hanging on by a thread: here’s his 5/24 line: 1 1/3ip, 3 hits, 3 runs 2 walks.  He’s got a 9+ era and a 2.28 whip after being demoted to AA.
  • Erik Arneson doesn’t seem to be on the radar for regaining his rotation spot, but 3 inning scoreless stints like he had on 5/24 have given him a pretty decent line on the season.  As of 5/25, he’s got a 0.93 whip and an ERA near 2.00.
  • What’s happened to Dean Weaver?  He was a relatively high draft pick (7th round of 2009) and closed for Hagerstown in 2010; but suddenly in a non-closer role in 2011 he’s struggling badly.  He’s getting lit up, sports a 9.00 era and has 3 strikeouts in 9 innings.  Was this another overdraft/mistake?  He was a U-Georgia teammate of Holder, whose drafting was widely panned at the time.  Maybe our Georgia-area cross-checker isnt’ the player evaluator we need.
  • Despite still showing on Potomac’s roster as of 5/27, Masn’s Byron Kerr is reporting that Sammy Solis has reported to Hagerstown and will debut on Monday 5/30.  I’m surprised by both the timing and the level; Monday’s start would bump AJ Cole off normal rest, and I think Solis should be at Potomac, especially after pitching so well in the Arizona Fall League (a league dominated by high-A and AA players).  Hagerstown should not be a challenge for a polished, high draft pick college pitcher.
  • Ryan Mattheus is continuing his success in AAA after moving up from AA.  Could he be be a mlb bullpen candidate, as he shows he’s completely back from surgery?


Top 3 pitchers deserving promotion: Manno, Peacock, Milone
Top 3 pitchers whose jobs are in jeopardy: Chico, Olbrychowski, Grace

Written by Todd Boss

May 27th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

2 Responses to 'Minor League Rotations Cycle #9: good/bad/inconclusive'

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  1. Re Manno, using your other post on age-appropriateness, don’t the Nats need to get him to Potomac at least to start to see him against better competition? I know that he gets a little slack as a college guy, but seems like they should be aggressive promoting from low A


    27 May 11 at 5:06 pm

  2. I think Cole is just going through the process of learning how to pitch. I’d expect him to start having better starts in about 2-3 weeks, assuming he can start making some adjustments.


    28 May 11 at 4:32 pm

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