Saturday, April 23, 2011

Slow Starts for Nationals Prospects

The Nationals are still a long way from having enough talent to field a contender. So fans hoping for more than an early season flirtation with mediocrity spend a lot of time checking MiLB box scores. A week or so into the minor league season, an awful lot of Nationals prospects not named Harper are off to a slow start.

Here are the minor league stat lines of the position players in Baseball America's top 30:

Bryce Harper (Class A Hagerstown): .306 / .414 / .551
Barring injury, Harper will be a stud. The question for the organization is whether there will be any other good players on the team, or will Harper and Strasburg be the only good players on the team, like Zack Greinke with the 2008 Royals or Adrian Gonzalez on the 2009 Padres.

Derek Norris (AA Harrisburg): .133 / .263 / .200
Norris was hurt a bunch in 2010 but looked healthy and played well against top competition in the Arizona Fall League. The promotion to Double A is a big test for Norris, and it's not shocking or fatal that he's struggled so much out of the gate. But if he doesn't make adjustments and start performing well soon, that would be worrisome--especially since he's the only position player in the organization other than Harper with anything close to all-star potential.

Eury Perez (A+ Potomac): .222 / .263 / .222
The Nationals hope Perez can be a speedy, plus defender and their long-term answer in center field someday. He had something of a breakout in low-A Hagerstown last year, putting up a .345 OBP at age 20. Like Norris, he has time to make adjustments.

Chris Marrero (AAA Syracuse) .250 / .333 / .404
Another year, another level, same story. Marrero isn't completely failing, but he isn't showing enough offense to profile as a major league regular at first base.

Destin Hood (Potomac): .316 / .480 / .447
At last, some good news! Twelve walks in 50 PAs! OK, 12 strikeouts too, but it's good to see continued development from a player who took some big steps last season. Could this finally be the toolsy outfielder JimBo whiffed on ever since Ron Gant?

Steve Lombardozzi (Harrisburg): .235 / .291 / .392
Lombardozzi played in 27 games at Harrisburg last season and put up a .295 / .373 / .524 line. I don't think the team expected him to maintain that pace, but you don't want to see big steps back either.

Rick Hague (Potomac): .357 / .438 / .714
Hague is the college shortstop the Nationals took in the third round last year, though he won't stick there long term, so his bat needs to develop for him to make it at third base. He's only played four games so far, and he ought to do well against this level of competition. One problem is that he made 20 errors in 38 games last year, and he already has 2 this year.

Adrian Sanchez (Hagerstown): .240 / .333 / .260
Sanchez is a glove-first shortstop returning to the level he finished at last season, and like Lombardozzi isn't doing as well the second time around. But Sanchez is only 20. He's got plenty of time.

Jeff Kobernus (Potomac): .255 / .283 / .392
Kobernus was a second round pick in 2009 but hasn't been able to stay healthy enough to do much. Apparently he's healthy this year, but two walks in 54 PAs isn't what the team is looking for, especially against mostly younger competition.

Jason Martinson (Hagerstown): .225 / .436 / .325
This is a promising start for Martinson, a college shortstop drafted in the fifth round last year. He's drawing almost a walk per game. It would be great to see him advance to Potomac this year.

Tyler Moore (Harrisburg): .218 / .232 / .291
Moore bashed against younger competition last year in Potomac, but he's getting blown away by the jump to AA this year. A 16:1 K:BB ratio would be great if he was a pitcher. Maybe the whole H-Burg crew just ran into a run of great pitching. We'll see.

J.P. Ramirez (Potomac): .196 / .212 / .333

Ramirez is the guy the Nationals paid over slot to sign with the money "left over" from the failure to sign Aaron Crow. Ten Ks and one walk for the guy who was supposed to be one of the best pure hitters in the 2008 draft? Color me skeptical.

1 comment:

Bonsai said...

I know that Tyler Moore is a notoriously slow starter. Know if anyone else is like that?

Also hasn't Derek Norris been hampered by an injury?