So far this season has brought bitter fruit from the big boys in Natstown. Last year's bullpen strength is this year's Chad Guadinesque mirage. The loss of Willingham and Dunn has so far yielded a chasm of LaMorse FAIL. But I think Rizzo's moves have made this year as much about asset management and player development. So my attention remains heavily focused on the minors. Our minors have made a great leap forward from terrible to respectable. We have solid, age appropriate prospects at all level of the minors who can contribute to DC. We have solid MLB experienced depth in Syracuse seeking to be led to victory and inspired by The Shark and his uber-Fans from DC. Nats minor leagues kicks off with the following matchups on Thursday after the jump.
- AAA Syracuse will open its season in Buffalo at 3:05PM. Yunesky Maya will get the Opening Day start for Syracuse against Dillon Gee. Both guys are likely to see MLB time this year for the Nats and Mets. First basemen Chris Marrero; catcher Jesus Flores; outfielders Corey Brown and Roger Bernadina; and relievers Collin Balester, Cole Kimball, and Adam Carr are names to watch for Syracuse that could contribute to DC this year. BOOMER WHITING will continue his Campaign of Pain as he seeks to harass IL pitchers so much that they personally pay for his ticket to DC.
- AA Harrisburg will open its season at home on City Island against the Bowie Baysox in a AA style Battle of the Beltways. Derek Norris, Souldrummer's catcher of the future, will be behind the dish for the Senators. He's listed as one of 10 prospects to watch in the Eastern League according to milb.com. As of this posting, starters were not listed. Editor's note: Nationalsprospects.com has listed Brad Meyers as the Opening Day starter for Harrisburg.
- High A Potomac is off today. They will open the season at home tomorrow against the Lynchburg Hillcats. Eury Perez and Sammy Solis (who will open the season on the DL with a groin injury) are both listed in the 10 prospects to watch list for the Carolina League.
- Low A Hagerstown opens against the Lynchburg Hillcats at 7:05 PM. When you're not listening for Bryce Harper at bats here, you can follow starting pitcher Cameron Selik as he pitches for the Suns. John Sickels had a brief scouting report for the 2010 22nd round pick before he entered the draft.
Hope the new hope of the affiliates can provide a welcome tonic for those wounded by the struggles against the Marlins. Please feel free to add any things you want to learn about minors coverage in the comments. I'm still spinning my wheels on how to be a bit more efficient with my time and how to serve as a complement to the improved minors coverage around the Natmosphere from folks like Byron Kerr at MASN and Sue Dinem at nationalsprospects.com rather than repeat much of their outstanding work.