With the news of the Doug Fister acquisition today, my fellow Nationals aficionados, we should rightly turn our attention to such matters as the Washington Nine’s chances in 2014, along with a searching inquiry into what diabolical magicks Mr. Rizzo is practicing in his office these days. But before we do that, let me pester you to take one last look back at the 2013 season, and the fortunes of ex-Nats therein. That’s right—it’s the moment you have been waiting for: the fourth and final installment of ex-Nats in 2013! Hip hip, hooray!
To date, we have had occasion to focus on ex-Nats who spent 2013 in the National League and the American League, as well as those who spent at least part of 2013 in a major league team’s farm system. We now consider the active ex-Nats who do not fall into any of those categories. That is, in this post we shall examine those ex-Nationals who spent 2013 in what might broadly be categorized as unaffiliated minor leagues. More specifically, we’ll be looking at Japan, Mexico, the Atlantic League, and the Canadian-American Association. This post will only cover players who spent all of 2013 in one of these leagues.
As per usual, we’re not dealing with ex-Expos here, nor are we looking into players who were in the Nationals’ minor league system but never actually played for the big team. The years behind each player’s name refer to the year(s) he played for the Nationals.
A quick word about sources: in addition to the usual suspects referenced in previous posts, for NPB information I consulted yakyubaka.com and www.npb.or.jp/eng/. For Mexico and the domestic independent leagues, I checked out the leagues’ own websites, in addition to baseball-reference.com and the internet in general.
Okay! Here we go! First—across the Pacific to Japan!
EX-NATS IN NIPPON PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL IN 2013
Tony Blanco (2005): Yokohama Bay Stars
134 G, 558 PA, .333/.416/.634, 41 HR
Blanco’s lone major league season was the Nats inaugural campaign; after that, he toiled in the Washington and Colorado systems through 2008. Then, he went to Japan, where he turned into a slugger with the Chunichi Dragons, although his numbers were down in 2011 and 2012. This season, he played for the Bay Stars and had a big bounce-back season; in fact, it was statistically easily his best season in Japan. In addition to taking the Central League’s RBI title, he finished in the top five in batting average (third), hits (fourth), home runs (second to Wladimir Balentien), OBP (third), slugging (second), and OPS (second). He also started all three NPB All-Star games.
Darrell Rasner (2005): Rakuten Golden Eagles
37 G, 37.2 IP, 3.35 ERA, 17 SV
Like Blanco, Rasner packed his bags for Japan in 2009; he has pitched with the Rakuten Golden Eagles ever since. After two unsuccessful years as a starter, he’s been an effective reliever who has often been used as the team’s closer. Although he was having another solid year, he had Tommy John surgery in September, and therefore missed out on on the Golden Eagles’s championship run, which concluded on November 3. Apparently one of his teammates made sure that Rasner’s uniform was present during the Eagles’ on-field celebration when they captured the pennant on September 26. Despite the injury, Rasner still finished fourth in Saves and sixth in Games Finished in the Pacific League.
Wily Mo Pena (2007-2008): Softbank Hawks
55 G, 171 PA, .233/.322/.307
This was Pena’s second season with the Hawks, but he saw only limited action. It appears that he dealt with injuries this season; although he expressed interest in returning to the Hawks next year, they parted ways with him on October 15.
Lastings Milledge (2008-2009): Yakult Swallows
96 G, 423 PA, .251/.329/.436
Milledge had a decent year with the Swallows last season, but his numbers were down in 2013. Further, he crashed into a wall in early August, resulting in two ligament ruptures that prematurely ended his season.
Nyjer Morgan (2009-2010): Yokohama Bay Stars
108 G, 424 PA, .294/.361/.434
TPlush put up some respectable numbers in his first year in Japan, but he missed time towards the end of the season due to a hand injury. He’s expressed interest in returning to the Bay Stars next year, and the feeling may be mutual: the Bay Stars’ manager thinks he is a good player, and has suggested that Morgan may have been the team’s most popular player in 2013.
Daniel Cabrera (2009): Chunichi Dragons
20 G, 116.2 IP, 3.09 ERA
After four years wandering the minors, Cabrera headed for Japan and was one of the more dependable starters on a mediocre team. As a result, the Dragons have already decided to bring him back next year.
Jorge Sosa (2009): Yokohama Bay Stars
55 G, 60.1 IP. 1.79 ERA, 19 SV
The once-promising Sosa (remember his 2005 season with the Braves?) continued to dominate as a relief pitcher in his second Japanese season. After posting a 1.85 ERA for the Dragons in 2012, he moved to the Bay Stars and had a still-better year as a closer. One supposes he’s got a job again next year if he wants it.
Wil Ledezma (2009): Chiba Lotte Marines
26 G, 30.2 IP, 3.23 ERA
Ledezma made a lone appearance for the Marines in 2012, but this year he was a bullpen regular. He made a pair of postseason appearances for the Marines as well, although they lost both games he pitched in. Regardless, the Marines are rumored to want to bring him back next year.
EX-NATS IN THE MEXICAN LEAGUE IN 2013
Henry Mateo (2005-2006): Saraperos de Saltillo
98 G, 468 PA, .322/.376/.416
Mateo has kept on keeping on since his last major league appearance with the Nats; this marked his fourth full season in the Mexican League and his first with the Saraperos. From the look of things, he was a notable contributor to the Saraperos’ run to the North Division title. He finished sixth in the league in triples and fourth in stolen bases.
Esteban Loaiza (2005): Diablos Rojos del Mexico and Delfines de Ciudad del Carmen
6 G, 21 IP, 9.86 ERA
At 41, the 2003 AL Cy Young runner-up is definitely nearing the end of the line, and his few appearances with both the Diablos Rojos and the Delfines did not go well (although the Delfines did win the South Division title).
Tim Redding (2007-2008): Sultanes de Monterrey and Rieleros de Aguascalientes; also Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (Atlantic League)
50 G, 52.0 IP, 6.23 ERA
Redding was well-traveled this season, with mixed results. He began the season with the Sultanes (the eventual 2013 champions), where he posted a 9.95 ERA. He then caught on with the Rieleros, where he put up 2.20 in 17 games. He concluded the year with the Blue Crabs, where he sported a 5.94 ERA.
Winston Abreu (2007): Delfines de Ciudad del Carmen and Rojos de Aquila de Veracruz; also Bridgeport Bluefish (Atlantic League)
65 G, 65 IP, 1.52 ERA, 15 SV
Abreu’s movements this season are similar to Redding’s, but his results were significantly better. He pitched briefly for the Delfines and even more briefly for the Rojos de Aquila, but 54 of his appearances came with the Bluefish, where he and fellow ex-Nat Jesse English were effective relievers.
Anderson Hernandez (2008-2009): Piratas de Campeche
66 G, 282 PA, .295/.368/.475, 11 HR
Hernandez only appeared in about half of the Piratas’ games, but he was reasonably effective when he played. He actually appears to have been one of the stronger batters on what was a pretty weak team (the Piratas finished second to last in their division).
Zack Segovia (2009): Acereros de Monclova; also York Revolution (Atlantic League)
14 G, 64.2 IP, 5.57 ERA
Yet another Atlantic Leaguer who also played in the Mexican League! Segovia made 3 starts for the Acereros, managing a 6.75 ERA in 3 starts. He was only marginally better for the Revolution, where he put up a 5.30 ERA and 1.557 WHIP in 8 starts.
Victor Garate (2009): Saraperos de Saltillo
19 G, 100.0 IP, 3.78 ERA, 112 SO
Four relief appearances for the Nats in 2009 was the sum total of Garate’s major league career. His career since then has been a mixed bag. He actually began this year by signing with the Dodgers, but he was released on March 12. Making 18 starts with Saltillo, this was his first season as a regular starter since 2008, and he did pretty well. His 9 wins for the Saraperos were good for ninth in the league, and his 112 strikeouts were good for seventh.
Jesse English (2010): Broncos de Reynosa; also Bridgeport Bluefish (Atlantic League)
48 G, 39.1 IP, 2.97 ERA
…and still one more fellow who split time between the Atlantic and Mexican Leagues. English had a stronger year with Bluefish, posting a 2.66 ERA in 23 games, but he was pretty effective for the Broncos, too, managing a 3.32 ERA in 25 games.
EX-NATS IN THE A-LEVEL INDEPENDENT LEAGUES IN 2013
Gary Majewski (2005-2006): Sugar Land Skeeters (Atlantic League)
62 G, 70.1 IP, 1.79 ERA, 23 SV
This was Majewski’s second season as the Skeeters’ closer, and he helped them to a first-place finish in the Freedom Division (they were swept in the first round of the postseason, however).
Daryle Ward (2006): Lancaster Barnstormers (Atlantic League)
85 G, 339 PA, .291/.348/.490, 17 HR
Ward returned to the Atlantic League for the first time since 2010 (he played in the Can-Am Association and the Southern League in the meantime). Although he only played in 85 games, his 17 HR were good for 8th in the league.
Roy Corcoran (2006): Sugar Land Skeeters (Atlantic League)
49 G, 56.0 IP, 2.73 ERA
Corcoran was apparently out of organized baseball last year (his last appearance was with AAA Albuquerque in 2011), but at age 33 he had a reasonably successful return with the Skeeters. Let us not forget: this is basically where Scott Kazmir was a season ago, so you never know who else might jump from here to the majors. Not that I’m making any predictions for Corcoran’s future, mind you.
D’Angelo Jimenez (2007): Newark Bears (Canadian-American Association) and Camden Riversharks (Atlantic League)
99 G, 415 PA, .228/.353/.304
Jimenez started the season with the Bears, where his numbers were okay (.281/.349/.439) in a limited sample size (14 games), but he spent significantly more time with the Riversharks, where his numbers were not terribly good (although his 62 walks were good for third in the Atlantic League).
Charlie Manning (2008): Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (Atlantic League)
74 G, 59.2 IP, 2.26 ERA
This was Manning’s third season with the Blue Crabs, and all of those totals are career bests—well, Atlantic League career bests, anyway.
And there we are! That, along with our previous installments, should pretty well cover all ex-Nats who were actively playing baseball in 2013. Feel free to chime in if I’ve missed anyone! And now, let’s get ready for 2014 (and I will start preparing to add Lombardozzi and Krol to this illustrious list)!