Syracuse Chiefs, AAA International League
Ross Detwiler: His first four starts of the year were fantastic, but since then, it has been poor start after poor start for Detwiler. He’s given up four or more runs in five straight starts, and his ERA has ballooned to 5.77 after his start on the 24th: 3 2/3 IP, 10 H, 8 R (6 ER), 1 BB, 1 K. He needs to turn it around quickly, or a switch to the bullpen may be in his future.
Brad Meyers: He continues to impress, throwing six innings of one-run ball on Thursday night. His ERA on the year is at 3.09, and his strikeout to walk ratio in Syracuse is 19:1 and a remarkable 57:1 on the year.
Yunesky Maya: Maya got the call to replace Tom Gorzelanny in the Nats’ rotation.
Tom Milone: Milone wasn’t as sharp as he had been all year this week, giving up seven hits and four earned runs in 6 2/3 innings on Friday, though he did have six strikeouts. Still, he’s been solid all year long with 50 strikeouts and just four walks in 50 innings total to go with 3.78 ERA.
Josh Wilkie: Wilkie pitched one scoreless inning this week with two walks and a strikeout. His season ERA is now at 1.74.
Craig Stammen: Stammen pitched seven strong innings of three-run ball on Saturday, and his season ERA is at 3.65. Some thought he would get the call over Maya to replace Gorzelanny, but as long as he keeps pitching like this, we should see him in the majors this year – even if it is in the bullpen.
Chris Marrero: Adam LaRoche, it turns out, has been hurt all season long and a shoulder injury has caused his offensive struggles. With LaRoche on the Disabled List, Marrero's production has come under more scrutiny and he has turned on his AAA game, hitting .366/.447/.488 in his last ten games with six walks, two doubles, one home run, six RBI and one stolen base. More importantly, his defense has come a long, long way since his selection in 2006. MASNSports.com’s Byron Kerr wrote Thursday that the plan is for Marrero to spend the whole year in Syracuse, and Nationals.com’s Bill Ladson said that Marrero is “not on the radar screen” right now, though also admitted he would not be surprised if we see Marrero in the big leagues after the All-Star break. If LaRoche is indeed done for the year, giving Marrero a cup of coffee may be a scenario we see later in the season. For now, it appears Michael Morse will be the full-time first baseman in Washington. Still, it is encouraging to see Marrero – seemingly written off as a prospect – developing well defensively and hitting in Syracuse so far.
Matt Antonelli: He announced his signing with the Nats on his website and started off the year in AA before being promoted to Syracuse. A former first round pick in 2006, Antonelli is trying to work his way back to the majors after a short, unsuccessful stint in 2008. He’s one of the more accessible Nats on Twitter (@mattantonelli9) and is hitting .333/.385/.500 in 24 at bats so far. With the lack of hitting depth available for the major league team to call on right now, Antonelli could be on the team’s short list if he continues to hit well in Syracuse.
Jesus Flores: With rumors about Pudge Rodriguez’s possible trade to a team like San Francisco, it is imperative that Flores give the organization belief that he can come to the majors and back up Ramos. Flores is hitting .231 in his last ten and just .248 on the year, and doubts about his ability to play in the majors may halt some trade talk from GM Mike Rizzo.
Corey Brown: Brown is hitting just .129 in his last ten games and his overall average is at .200 on the year, though he does have 22 walks and an OBP of 325. With the major league offense struggling, production by Brown could lead to a call-up later, but right now, he’s not proving to be a player worth looking at at the major league level.
Harrisburg Senators, AA Eastern League
Brad Peacock: With Tom Gorzelanny on the DL and Yunesky Maya going to the major leagues, Peacock should to go to AAA, and Nationals director of player development said Friday that Peacok has “put himself in a position” to get a promotion. Peacock’s start this week was another strong outing (6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K) and his line on the year includes a 7-1 record, 2.13 ERA and 75 stikeouts in 55 IP.
Shairon Martis: Mostly forgotten since his short 2009 major league stint (5.25 ERA in 15 starts), Martis has been trying to battle his way back to the majors, and this week, he threw six scoreless innings with five hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. He currently has a 3.57 ERA in AA and has a lot of pitchers to leap frog, but he may still have a chance as a prospect.
Stephen Lombardozzi: One of my favorite prospects in the system – partly because he’s a local product (Fulton, MD), partly because of the way he plays – Lombardozzi has had a solid start to his AA campaign, hitting .283/.339/.434 in 43 games for the Senators. He’s hitting just .275 in his last ten (with an OBP of .286), but he has enough of a track record that I expect him to turn it around soon. He also has just two errors on the year and has 11 stolen bases – without being caught.
Derek Norris: Norris is red-hot right now, hitting .343/.457/.857 in his last ten games, and this week, he was 5-for-17 (.294) with seven runs scored, four home runs, seven RBI, four walks and six strikeouts. He’s hitting for some great power and getting on base – his two biggest strengths. I’m not sure he’ll ever be a high average hitter (just .236 on the year), but a catcher who can hit for power like he can is a valuable commodity.
Tyler Moore: LaRoche is hurt and Chris Marrero is the top first baseman prospect, but Moore, the Nats’ 2010 Minor League Hitter of the Year, is riding a six-game hitting streak entering Sunday, and is hitting .308/.308/.590 in his last ten. He’s not drawing walks, but he is hitting and hitting for power – he had three home runs and four doubles this week.
Potomac Nationals, High-A Carolina League
Daniel Rosenbaum: He was impressive in his start Tuesday night, giving up one earned run in 6 2/3 innings with two walks and three strikeouts. His ERA is now at 2.91, and after pitching well in Hagerstown and Potomac last year, a promotion may be coming soon.
Josh Smoker: He’s not getting a lot of work, but he gave up a run on Sunday in an inning of work and also pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 innings on the 24th. His ERA is at 1.42 on the year, so the transition to reliever continues to be smooth.
Cameron Selik:. Selik got two starts this week, giving up three earned runs in five innings on Monday and two earned runs in 5 2/3 innings on Sunday afternoon. His May 13 blow-up leaves his ERA at 6.43, but that was his only poor start of the season.
Eury Perez: Perez has cooled off since his hot streak and is 0-for-14 in his last four games with two strikeouts. His average on the year is now at .306, but his OBP is just .320. He needs to get more patient at the plate so he can get on base more and use his elite speed (15 SB on the year) more often.
Destin Hood: He had a modest four-game hitting streak snapped on Sunday (0-for-2 with a SB), but he’s still hitting very well in A+, with a line of .274/.381/.476 with 17 doubles (six in his last ten games), two triples, four home runs, 29 RBI and six stolen bases.
Jeff Kobernus: Injuries have haunted Kobernus since his second-round selection in 2009, but he’s hitting .410/.452/.513 in his last ten games with two doubles, eight runs, five runs batted in, three walks and five stolen bases. He now has 20 stolen bases in 22 tries, but he needs to continue to get on base better if he wants to rise through the ranks.
Hagerstown Suns, Low-A South Atlantic League
Robbie Ray: A rain delay cut Ray’s start Thursday to just two innings, but in those two innings he gave up no hits, one walk, and one strikeout. He’s now given up one earned run in 19 innings.
Taylor Jordan: He turned in another strong start Saturday, giving up four hits and one unearned run in five innings of work. He now has a 6-1 record, 2.79 ERA and a .243 average against.
A.J. Cole: Cole’s start this week was a mixed bag, giving up two earned runs 4 2/3 innings pitched. He surrendered seven hits and four total runs, but had five strikeouts as well. His ERA is still just 3.86 on the year, and the 2010 fourth rounder has plenty of time to improve in just his first season out of high school.
Sammy Solis: Solis reported to Hagerstown on Thursday, and will make his first start of the year on Monday.
Christopher Manno: The Suns’ saves leader (6) has not given up a run in 23 1/3 innings (18 games) so far this year. The 2010 26th-round pick out of Duke, Manno has been unhittable in Hagerstown, with opponents hitting just .105 against him. He’s got 35 strikeouts and just five walks as well, so this kid probably needs a call-up to Potomac.
Bryce Harper: Harper is slumping hard right now, hitting .184/.279/.316 in his last ten games. He was due to come back to earth as teams adjusted to him, so it will be interesting to see how he battles back. He’s just 3-for-20 this week, but his average still stands at .325 with 10 home runs and 34 RBI. He did homer Sunday for his 11th of the season.
David Frietas: Another 2010 draft pick – Hagerstown is really full of them, and they’re all playing well – has continued to turn heads, hitting .279/.391/.442 as a catcher so far. He has more walks (25) than strikeouts (19) and had five walks this week. Wilson Ramos and Derek Norris may be the top prospects, but Frietas is a sleeper.
Pitcher to Watch: The 2010 draft picks A.J. Cole, Sammy Solis, Christopher Manno and Robbie Ray. All four are now together in Hagerstown, and Solis makes his first start Monday. Cole has been good and Ray has been fantastic, and Solis, the oldest of the three, could rise quickly through the minors if he pitches well. Manno, the only reliever of the group, has not given up a run so far this year and deserves a promotion very soon, if not now.
Hitter to Watch: Matt Antonelli. With the Nats’ offense sputtering right now, there isn’t much depth for the team to call on in Syracuse, and if Antonelli – a former first round pick – can continue to hit well in AAA Syracuse, he may find himself on the major league squad eventually.