Unaffiliated minor leagues: the final frontier in our survey of ex-Nats active in 2012. These are the voyages--for some of these players, “voyages” is not an overstatement--that take us to Japan, Mexico, Texas, and New Jersey, among other exotic destinations.
I admit that this is something of an organizational hodgepodge. Although the Mexican League teams are unaffiliated, it’s regarded as AAA-level, and therefore probably more comparable to the PCL and IL, discussed last time. We probably could also have a spirited debate about how the Japanese leagues compare to the affiliated minors, but we probably can agree that the overall quality of play is a cut above the Atlantic League and the Canadian-American Association. Regardless, this is what we’re left with after our previous ex-Nats reports.
So, we’ll begin by considering former Nats who played in Mexico, followed by those who played in Japan. We shall conclude with those who played in the independent minors, namely the aforementioned Atlantic League and the Canadian-American Association. As far as I’ve been able to tell, there were no ex-Nats in any of the other independent leagues this year (with one exception, but he also played in Mexico).
The usual caveats apply. The idea for the round-up comes from Twinkie Town. The stats are from Baseball-reference.com. I haven’t covered ex-Expos, nor have I covered players who were in the Nats system but never played as a major league Nat. Additionally, players still in the Nats system are not included. Two additional notes, as well. First, some of these players may well be on the move for next season, but I haven’t included such information. Second, there are players who do not appear on this list but did play in these leagues; you can find those players in my previous installment, as they also spent time in the affiliated minors during the 2012 season.
And now, to the remaining ex-Nats!
The Mexican Leaguers
Henry Mateo, Olmecas de Tabasco (2005-2006):
66 G, 306 PA, .317/.396/.413
Interestingly, Mateo has batted over .300 in each season since 2008.
Hector Carrasco, Petroleros de Minatitla/Pericos de Puebla (2005):
38 G, 40.2 IP, 5.09 ERA
Carrasco probably had his best single season with the Nats back in ’05 (64 G, 88.1 IP, 2.04 ERA). At 42, he’s still plugging along.
D’Angelo Jimenez, Pericos de Puebla (2007) (after Newark Bears (Canadian-American Association) and Lincoln Saltdogs (American Association)):
20 G, 81 PA, .328/.444./358
Jimenez caught on with the Pericos after starting the year with the Newark Bears in the Can-Am League and playing five games with the Lincoln Saltdogs of the American Association (my favorite independent league, incidentally). Long gone are the days when he was one of the Yankees’ top prospects.
Luis Matos, Leones de Yucatan/Piratas de Campeche (2006):
46 G, 188 PA, 4 HR, .269/.362/.388
Matos had a couple serviceable seasons with Baltimore back in the early 2000s; he’s been playing in Mexico since 2008.
Winston Abreu, Diablos Rojos del Mexico (2007):
45 G, 44.2 IP, 3.83 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 15 SV
The Orioles gave Abreu a look back in spring training, but he was released on April 18 and headed to Mexico.
Jesus Colome, Sultanes de Monterrey (2007-2009):
19 G, 17.2 IP, 2.04 ERA, 1.02 WHIP 12 SV
Not a bad 2012 for Colome--but a pretty small sample size.
29 G, 123 PA., .290/.369/.355, then 17 G, 47 PA, .220/.319/.220
Padilla should actually have been included in the last episode. As you can see, he was competent for the Broncos--competent enough that the Padres signed him. He spent 17 games with the Tuscon Padres of the PCL, posting a .220/.319/.220 in 47 plate appearances. The Padres released him on July 3. (Note: I’m assuming he started with Reynosa because it’s listed first on Baseball-reference. I have no idea if that is a safe assumption.)
Joe Bisenius, Saraperos de Saltillo/Rieleros de Aguascalientes (2010):
22 G, 9-10, 4.92 ERA, 128 IP
He’s never come close to pitching 128 innings before.
Alex Cintron, Sugar Land Skeeters (Atlantic League) and Diabos Rojos del Mexico (2009):
.200/.274/.236, 14 G 62 PA
Once upon a time, he was considered one of Arizona’s top prospects. You may better remember him as a middle infielder who batted .077 in his one season with the Nats.
The Japanese Leaguers
Tony Blanco, Chunichi Dragons (2005):
96 G, 359 PA, .248/.340/.511, 24 HR
The Red Sox once traded him for Todd Walker (who, according to B-Ref, is the lowest-ranked player on the Hall of Fame ballot this year). 2012 was his fourth season with Chunichi; in those four seasons, he’s hit 111 home runs.
Jorge Sosa, Chunichi Dragons (2009):
53 G, 63.1 IP, 5-1, 1.85 ERA
Did you know Sosa had the best win-loss percentage in the National League in 2005? He was dreadful the next year and the Braves traded him for a guy named Rich Scalamadre. Looks like Japan agrees with Sosa.
Terrmel Sledge, Nippon Ham Fighters (2005):
47 G, 152 PA, .232/.303/.406
This is great. I think that “Terrmel Sledge” may be my favorite baseball player name of the last ten years, and “Nippon Ham Fighters” is probably my favorite baseball team name. This was the fifth year in Japan for the man who placed fifth in the 2004 NL Rookie of the Year vote and was part of the trade that brought Soriano to DC for that one glorious year.
Darrell Rasner, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (2005):
46 G, 42.0 IP, 2.79 ERA
Four years into his Japanese career, Rasner has settled in as a pretty effective reliever.
Wily Mo Pena, Fukuoka Softbank Hawks (2007-2008):
130 G, 507 PA, .280/.339/.490, 21 HR
Well, he apparently still has some power (a quality he showed little sign of possessing during his time with the Nats).
Lastings Milledge, Yakult Swallows (2008-2009):
125 G, 546 PA, 21 HR, .300/.379/.485
Ha! Even with these numbers, do you miss this guy?
The Independent Leaguers
Charlie Manning, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (Atlantic League) (2008):
56 G, 65.0 IP, 2.49 ERA
Arguably best know for being involved in a trade for Aaron Boone, Manning spent his second season with the Blue Crabs.
Jesse English, Bridgeport Bluefish (Atlantic League) (2010):
42 G, 54.1 IP, 3.48 ERA, 57 K
Like a number of ex-Nats, English’s only major league appearances came with the Nats, and he’s been bouncing around the minors ever since.
Gary Majewski, Sugar Land Skeeters (Atlantic League) (2005-2006):
56 G, 66.2 IP, 3.38 ERA
Saul Rivera, Sugar Land Skeeters (Atlantic League) (2006-2009):
18 G, 2-0, 28.2 IP, 2.20 ERA
See entry for Gary Majewski.
John Halama, Lancaster Barnstormers (Atlantic League) (2005):
28 G, 188.2 IP, 13-9, 3.15 ERA
See Gary Majewski and Saul Rivera. Did you know that Halama was involved in the trade that sent Randy Johnson to Houston? True story.
Matt Chico, York Revolution (Atlantic League) and New Jersey Jackals (Canadian-American Association) (2007-2010):
11 G, 47.0 IP, 8.62 ERA
Probably not the year Mr. Chico was looking for, performance-wise.
Daryle Ward, Newark Bears (Canadian-American Association) (2006):
59 G, 244 PA, 10 HR, .290/.357/.475
Since 2009, Bears fans have been secure in the knowledge that, at some point, Daryle Ward will play for their team, in between stints with affiliated minor league teams.
And there you have it: we’ve trudged through all of the active ex-Nats I was able to find. On a closing note, I think we can agree that looking back over these fellows is an excellent reminder of where the Nats have been before giving us a great 2012. I mean, would you really swap anybody on the Nats for anybody who used to be a Nat? I think not. The most successful ex-Nats in 2012 were probably Willingham, Soriano, Dunn, and Hanrahan. Of these, I think only Hanrahan would even arguably have improved the team. So, yeah. We’ve got something special going on here, particularly compared to what we used to have.
Well, that’s that. Thanks for reading! With any luck, I’ll do something like this again next year, when we’ll be able to add Edwin Jackson, among others, to the list.