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Washington Nationals, the Next Generation: Minor League Highlights

Washington Nationals' prospect Corey Brown, seen here in Spring Training, has been hitting well at Triple-A Syracuse in recent weeks.  Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
Washington Nationals' prospect Corey Brown, seen here in Spring Training, has been hitting well at Triple-A Syracuse in recent weeks. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

We're now about one month into the minor league season, where we start to get a look at who could be getting promotions later on in the season. We also start to see kind of what to expect from each team, not to say there couldn't be a second half turnaround (see Potomac Nationals 2011). Anyway here's a look at who has stood out in the first month...

Syracuse Chiefs: (18-22): The Chiefs have started to turn a corner, helped by Xavier Paul's hitting after he returned from the restricted list. The Chiefs offense has been middle of the pack in just about every aspect in the IL. They have a .250/.326/.380 triple slash with 31 home runs. The pitching is still struggling with a 4.35 team ERA, 216 strikeouts and 116 walks.

Xavier Paul: Paul started the season slow, and then ended up on the restricted list and kind of fell off the radar. Now that he has returned from the restricted list, Paul has been on fire, hitting .318 in his 66 AB's with 4 home runs. He also has a .400OBP and a .636 slugging percentage.

Jarrett Hoffpauir: Hoffpauir has been his usual self for AAA Syracuse, not hitting for much power but he gets on base and doesn't strike out much. In fact he has more walks than strikeouts with 12 walks to 7 strikeouts. He still has problems in the field with 4 errors, and that is the primary reason he hasn't gotten an extended look in the majors with anyone.

Corey Brown: Brown is the primary power hitter for the Chiefs now that Tyler Moore is up with the Nationals. Brown has hit 7 home runs in 149 at bats. He has a .275/.397/.490 triple slash for the Chiefs, and may have landed himself back on the prospect radar.

Yuensky Maya: Yes, Maya has actually been good for the Chiefs to start the season. In fact, Maya has been the best pitcher for the Chiefs. He has a 2.76 ERA in 49 innings. While the ERA is good for Maya, it's not all perfect as he has struggled to strike guys out with only 22 K's in those 49 innings, over which he's walked nine, but Maya has finally shown some potential, which is a nice development.

Harrisburg Senators: (22-16): The Harrisburg offense has been very average, much like the Syracuse offense, but with less power. The triple slash is .269/.316/.380 and they have 15 home runs. The pitching has been stellar, with the second best ERA in the IL (2.99), strikeouts(296), and complete games (2).

Chris Rahl: Rahl has continued to put up good numbers at AA, with a .291/.340/.493 triple slash, and a team leading 5 home runs. While Rahl might be organizational depth, I think it is time to get him up to AAA and see what he can do.

Danny Rosenbaum: Rosenbaum has been simply amazing for Harrisburg this year with a 0.71 ERA in 50.2 innings for the Sens. To go along with that he has 33 strikeouts and only four walks this year. If you ask me this guy is ready for AAA, as the numbers he has put up are quite Strasburgian.

The Bullpen: The bullpen as a group has been great this year, with almost every single pitcher performing well. Coming up from Potomac, Hector Nelo and Marcos Frias have continued to put up good numbers, even with the jump to AA. Nelo has a 1.62 ERA in 16.2 innings with 22 strikeouts and seven walks to go along with three saves. Returning to Harrisburg, Erik Davis and Pat McCoy have continued their good work. McCoy has a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings with 19 strikeouts, five walks and a save. Davis has made the transition to the pen very smoothly, posting a 2.45 ERA in 25.2 innings with 30 strikeouts and 7 walks. Last but not least we have Christian Garcia and Kevin Pucetas have been good. Garcia has been the primary closer with 5 saves, a 1.76 ERA, 23 strikeouts and four walks in 15.1 innings. Pucetas has been acting as a long man with a 2.14 ERA in 21 innings with 9 strikeouts and three walks.

Potomac Nationals: (15-21): Well the baby Nats have not been good at all, with the worst pitching and second worst offense in the Carolina League. The team has a .233/.308/.352 triple slash with 20 home runs. The team ERA is 5.63 with 228 strikeouts and 102 walks.

David Freitas: Catcher David Freitas has had a nice start to the year with the bat, hitting for average, getting on base, and hitting for some power. His triple slash is .309/.394/.486 with three home runs, 13 walks and 15 strikeouts. If he can stay behind the plate he will remain a decent prospect.

Adrian Sanchez and Rick Hague: Both Sanchez and Hague have spent some time on the DL, but when healthy both have been good. Sanchez has hit .288/.307/.397 with one home run in his 73 at bats. Hague has hit .281/.333/.351 in his 57 at bats, also hit one home run.

Rob Wort, Neil Holland, and Cameron Selik: These three have been great coming out of the bullpen, with Selik and Wort splitting the closing duties for the PNats. Wort has a 0.93ERA in 19.1 innings with 32 strikeouts and five walks. Selik has a 3.38ERA in 16 innings with 24 strikeouts and two walks. Lastly, Neil Holland has a 2.20 ERA in 16.1 innings with 14 strikeouts and three walks.

Hagerstown Suns: (21-15): The Suns have kind of been the opposite of the Washington Nationals this year, with the second best offense in the SAL, but only an ok pitching staff. The team has a .271/.373/.429 triple slash with a league-leading 40 home runs. The pitching has a 4.38ERA with 292 strikeouts and 128 walks.

Cutter Dykstra and Steven Souza: Both Dykstra and Souza were at Potomac last year, and as you can tell, went in the wrong direction. Both of them have put up good numbers though, with Dykstra hitting .326/.415/.413 with nine steals. Souza has hit .357/.410/.875 with seven home runs in 56 at bats.

Billy Burns and Caleb Ramsey: Outfielders Burns and Ramsey have been good to start the year, with Burns bringing the better OBP and Ramsey bringing the power. Burns has a .317/.465/.396 slash with 13 steals and 23 walks with only 21 strikeouts. Ramsey has a .301/.370/.411 slash with two home runs eight walks and only 13 strikeouts.

Matt Skole: Skole has continued to do the same things he has all year, and that I have talked about all year. He has a .303/.456/.563 slash with 8 home runs, 37 walks and 38 strikeouts.

Nate Karns: In 30 innings between starting and relieving, Karns has been great with a 2.10 ERA in 30 innings with 46 strikeouts and 13 walks. While he might appear to be really old for the level at 24, Karns missed multiple years with a shoulder injury, so he is worth keeping an eye on.