For the intro this week, I have to start out by focusing on April 25th's games. In Syracuse, the Chiefs won 10-5, which seems pretty run of the mill, but the Chiefs got eight of their runs on grand slams by Mark Teahen and Jason Michaels. How often do you see two grand slams in one game? In Harrisburg it was an 8-0 win for the Sens, with lefty Danny Rosenbaum following up his complete game with seven innings of shutout baseball, in which he allowed 3 hits and 2 walks with 2 strikeouts. Now in Potomac it was ugly, with nothing going well for the P-Nats. The only offense came from two singles by Zach Walters and Sean Nicol, and the pitching was dreadful, allowing 14 runs all earned. Lastly in Hagerstown, the offense went crazy giving Hagerstown a 24-2 win over the Rome Braves. Matt Skole walked 5 times, and Steven Souza got 9 RBI's.
• For the Transaction recap I will just link you guys over to Luke Erickson over at Nationalsprospects.com as there were a lot of minor moves:
Tyler Moore: TMoore may have gotten the call to the majors over Harper, if he had more than 3 career games in the outfield. Moore has hit .286. and is tied for 3rd in the International league in home runs with 7. Also Moore has started to walk more, and strikeout less with 20 K's and 10 walks on the year. (ed. note - "Moore was, of course, called up Sunday, after this was written.')
Erik Arnesen: Arnesen has been great serving as the long man/spot starter for the Chiefs, giving up only 1 run in 14 innings on work. Erik has also only given up nine hits in those innings, striking out eight and walking four. If Arnesen can continue at this pace, he could force the Nats to give him a look in the majors at some time, and I think he could be a legit major league player.
Yunesky Maya: Believe it or not, Yuensky Maya has actually been good for the Syracuse Chiefs. In 22.1 innings, Maya has only given up 7 earned runs (2.82 ERA). Maya also has 12 strikeouts and five walks. While it's easy to write off these numbers and say Maya is a AAAA guy, the fact is that Maya has never put up anything this good in his AAA time. I'm not saying he will be a good major league pitcher now, but he is worth checking in on him every now and then.
• Harrisburg Senators: The Sens have started out the year good, only .5 a game behind Akron for first place in the Eastern League West. The Offense has scored the most runs in the league, but they are dead last in OBP so they need to learn better plate discipline. Their triple slash is .275/.320/.406 with 12 home runs. The pitching has also been good with a 3.01 team ERA in 188.2 innings. The staff has 154 strikeouts and 58 walks.
Jeff Kobernus: Kobernus continues to hit and steal bases. He has 16 steals, 9 more than the next highest guy in the Eastern League. His 16 steals are also second in minor league baseball, behind only Reds' prospect Billy Hamilton's 29. Kobernus has also continued to hit with a .344/.371/.419 slash.
Danny Rosenbaum: Rosenbaum continues to do what he has done his entire minor league career, which is just gets outs. He has pitched to an Eastern League leading* 0.94 ERA in 28.2 innings with 18 strikeouts, and only two walks. Opposing hitters have hit just .167 against him.
Jeff Mandel: If you look one spot down from Rosenbaum on the Eastern League ERA leader board*, you find Jeff Mandel. Mandel has pitched to a 1.09 ERA in 24.2 innings. He has struck out 13 and walked seven. Considering the numbers Mandel put up in the Syracuse pen last year, I think we can say that Mandel is pitching at a level too low.
*minimum 0.8 IP/team game
Bullpen: Looking at the stats, the entire Harrisburg bullpen has been good, with the exception of Joe Testa. The two long men Erik Davis and Kevin Pucetas, have done their job. Davis with a 3.24ERA in 16.2 innings and 17 strikeouts and four walks. Pucetas has a 3.27ERA in 11 innings with only four strikeouts and three walks. Next coming up from Potomac, Marcos Frias and Hector Nelo have handled the transition fine at the start. Frias has a 3.60ERA in 10 innings with seven strikeouts and two walks. In Nelos 8.0 innings he has a 2.25ERA with 11 strikeouts and four walks. That leaves Pat McCoy, Pat Lehman, and Christian Garcia. Before Lehman was called up to Syracuse, he and Garcia did a great job splitting the closer role. Lehman had four saves in 7.2 innings with nine strikeouts, two walks and a 1.17ERA. Garcia had three saves in 9.0 innings with 12 strikeouts, two walks and a 1.00ERA. Lastly, lefty Pat McCoy has a 2.08 ERA in 8 innings with 7 strikeouts and 1 walk
• Potomac Nationals: The Baby Nats have not had a good start to the year, with a 7-12 record. The hitting hasn't been great with a .224/.314/.345 triple slash with 10 home runs. The pitching has been terrible with a 5.45 team ERA in 165 innings. The staff has 120 strikeouts and 60 walks.
David Freitas: Catcher David Freitas has had a good start to the year. He has a .304/.412/.518 triple slash, with a Derek Norris-like 10 walks and only seven strikeouts. Freitas also has two home runs to go with the nice plate discipline to start the year. If Freitas continues to hit like this, he could make us forget about Derek Norris very quickly.
For the pitchers, there have really only been four relievers with decent numbers. They would be Rob Wort, Neil Holland, Paul Applebee, and Wilson Eusebio. Wort has put up a 1.80ERA in 10 innings with 14 strikeouts and four walks. Holland has been almost as good, with a 1.74 ERA in 10.1 innings with nine strikeouts and three walks. Applebee has come up from Hagerstown to pitch well coming out of the pen. He has a 2.70 ERA in 10 innings with seven strikeouts and one walk. Eusebio has been solid with a 3.86 ERA in 9.1 innings, but he has only five strikeouts and seven walks.
• Hagerstown Suns: The Suns have had a solid start to the year with a 12-9 record. The hitting has been really good, second in the SAL in runs and home runs, with 148 and 20, respectively. They have hit to a .273/.372/.420 triple slash. The pitching has not been very good though, with a 4.91 ERA in 185 innings.
Matt Skole: Skole continues to be one of Hagerstown's best hitters, leading the team in home runs and slugging. Skole has hit four home runs in his 70 AB's, with a .343/.468/.586 triple slash. He also has 19 strikeouts, but 20 walks already.
Billy Burns and Caleb Ramsey: Burns and Ramsey have been great and getting on base for the Suns with Burns triple slash at .333/.484/.417 and Ramsey at .301/.370/.411. Burns is another player with more strikeouts than walks, with nine strikeouts and 12 walks.
Cutter Dykstra: I think we can say the Dykstra is playing at a level to low. He has hit to a .455/.514/.576 triple slash with five strikeouts and three walks. Even with these numbers, he will have to hit at Potomac to get back on any kind of prospect map after the bad year he had last year at Potomac
Brian Dupra: Dupra has been the best of the Hagerstown starters with a 3.63ERA in 22.1 innings with 10 strikeouts and five walks. Dupra isn't a guy who will blow you away with his stuff, but he knows how to pitch with decent stuff, and that could take him a long way.