WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 23: Washington Nationals 2011 Draft picks Alex Meyer #17, Anthony Rendon #23 and Brian Goodwin #24 are introduced to the media at Nationals Park on August 23, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
With the minor league baseball season underway, now seems like a good time to take a look at who has stood out down on the farm. Both Harrisburg and Hagerstown have started off the season 5-2, but down in Syracuse and Potomac, the teams haven't gotten off to quite as good a start. Syracuse has started off 2-3, and Potomac 1-3. Please note that all stats and records are as of the completion of Wednesday's Hagerstown and Harrisburg games:
• Syracuse Chiefs: One reason that the Chiefs have started so slow, might have to do with the fact that the team is hitting .208/.302/.296/.598 AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS. As the low slugging percentage may indicate, the Chiefs have a total of 8 XBH in 159AB's. The pitching also hasn't been great, putting up a 4.40ERA with a horrible SO/W ratio of 28/27. They have by far the lowest amount of SO in the International League, 5 below the next lowest team. Below are some of the better performers for the team:
• Corey Brown has been off to by far the best start, hitting .294 with an impressive .478OBP. Brown has had trouble hitting for power, hitting only 2 XBH, both of which were triples.
• You know I couldn't do a Syracuse update without putting something in about Bryce Harper. Harper has been off to a solid start, hitting for a .278 average and a .350OBP. Again the problem has been the lack of power, with Harp only hitting one XBH, a double.
• Lastly for the Syracuse hitters, Tyler Moore, and Seth Bynum, the two hitters to go yard for Syracuse this season. Moore's first few games weren't great, but he started to hit like we know he can, going 3-4 on April 7th, and going yard April 9th. Organizational depth player (OD) Seth Bynum is the only other player with 2XBH, including one HR, hitting .263/.391/.474.
Really not much to report on the pitching front here, as all the relievers really don't have enough innings where I feel there's any point to write anything, and the starters are mostly OD's. Tanner Roark pitched well in his AAA debut, giving up 3 hits, 1ER and 3BB and 3SO in 6 innings. Here's a link to the team stats page if you want to check out the pitching stats so far.
• Harrisburg Senators: The Harrisburg bats started off hot, with the team hitting .291/.337/.441/.778, with 5 homers, 3 triples, and 17 doubles in 254ABS to start the year. The team pitching has also started the year hot, posting a 2.95ERA with 43SO and 19BB in 61 innings. The team has gotten rave reviews to start, with announcer Terry Byrom saying this may be the most exciting Senators team he has seen in 8 years on twitter.
• Second baseman Jeff Kobernus has had a huge start, getting hits in all 7 games so far, stealing 5 bases and hitting .406/.424/.469. Kobernus was finaly healthy last year for Potomac, and stole 53 bases while hitting .282.
• Center fielder Eury Perez continued to build on his strong ST with the big club in Harrisburg, hitting .333 in his first 33 AA AB's. There are still the same questions about Eury though: Will he develop any power, and can he learn to take a walk?
Again I'm not going to put anything up on any of the relievers, as they also don't have enough innings, but the starters here are a little more interesting than the Syracuse guys. Righty Robert Gilliam, who was acquired from Oakland in the Gio Gonzalez trade, has had a good start at AA, pitching to a 3.75 ERA with 9SO and 3BB in 12 innings. Lefty Danny Rosenbaum had a nice first start, throwing 6 innings, allowing 4 hits and 1ER with 0BB but only 1SO.
• Potomac Nationals: The Potomac bats have not had a great first 4 games, hitting .213/.282/.315/.597 as a team. The pitching also hasn't been great, but they haven't even gone through the rotation a full time, so let's not draw too many conclusions from the 6.00ERA. Again the walks have been a problem here, with 14 of them, and a league low 19SO's.
With so few games played at this point, there isn't much to put here, but catcher David Freitas is leading the offense, hitting .364 in a limited number of AB's. With the pitchers, Matt Grace had a nice first start, going 5 innings and allowing 2R, 1 earned on 5 hits and 2BB with 2SO.
• Here is a link to the rest of the P-Nats' stats.
• Hagerstown Suns: The Suns batters have been solid to start the year, hitting .267/.376/.433/.810, and even though those stats might not look that great, the Suns have scored the most runs in the South Atlantic League (SAL) to date. That has helped make up for the less than perfect pitching, with Suns' starters posting a 4.71ERA with 57SO and 23BB in 65 innings.
• Here is a link to Suns' stats page.
• One of the "big 4" from the 2011 draft, Brian Goodwin came out of the gates flying, hitting .375/.524/.813/1.336 with 2HR and and 2SB. Unfortunately Goodwin's great start hit a speed bump, when he landed himself on the 7 day DL with a leg injury.
• Third baseman Matt Skole also got off to a hot start, hitting .348/.429/.565, and going yard once to start the year. Another maybe more important note is that Skole has only made 1 error so far playing third base in Hagerstown, as the big question with Skole has always been will he be able to stick at third.
The pitching at Hagerstown was headlined by Alex Meyers impressive debut in professional baseball. The 2011 1st Round pick went 5 innings with 2 hits, 0BB, 4SO and 0ER. Brian Dupra has also had a good start, posting a 3.86ERA with 5SO and 2BB. Lastly Nathan Karns has been impressive coming out of the pen, putting up a 2.57ERA through 7 innings with 10SO and 4BB.
I know it's early, but there is still a lot to look forward to down on the farm, than is included on this list. Hopefully Brian Goodwin and Anthony Rendon can return from their injuries soon, and hopefully the Nats farm will continue to produce quality players. In the coming weeks I will try to get little write-ups up on everyone on the rosters, so you guys have a point of reference for some the names you might not recognize.