Adam McInturff of 2080 Baseball provides quick updates on a handful of goings-on down on the farm.
All video is provided by 2080 Baseball.
- Joe Ross made his first rehab start above the complex level on Thursday, tossing 3.2 scoreless innings for Potomac with a walk and a strikeout. He looked physically fit with a free-and-easy mechanical operation that commanded the fastball. Ross’s heater sat in the 90-to-93 mph range, and he flashed a crisp mid-80s slider that looked close to in-season form. Ross worked on his changeup as the start progressed, yanking a few across the plate and hitting a batter, but flashed a handful of good ones that got separation and fade action. He threw 39 of 63 pitches (62%) for strikes, locating his fastball and slider better than the change.
- Seth Romero pitched for Hagerstown for the first time in over a month, though his outing was brief. The lefty only needed 29 pitches to get through two scoreless innings, striking out three and allowing one hit. Despite the solid line, it seemed he was on a short pitch count and his stuff looked down from earlier looks this season. Romero’s fastball dipped into the high-80s at times and sat in the 89-to-91 mph range. His slider (78-to-81 mph) and changeup (74-to-77 mph) had the same action I saw in July, but were both similarly lacking in power. It has been a bumpy first full pro season for Romero, who has endured well-documented off-field incidents and missed time due to injury. He didn’t look fully healthy last night, either, and will need to regain the stuff that made him a first-rounder in 2017 to build back some prospect status. I wouldn’t close the door on Romero by any means, but the way he’s finishing 2018 is troubling.
- Potomac righty Kyle Johnston piggybacked Joe Ross’ rehab start in yesterday’s day game. The team’s sixth-rounder in the 2017 MLB Draft, I’ve gotten a few looks at Johnston this season between Hagerstown and Potomac. He has been used both as a starter and multi-inning reliever, though I’m confident he’s best-suited for one-inning relief work at higher levels. His fastball scrapes the 94-to-95 mph range at best, and he pairs it with a hard slurve that flashes sharp bite. He’s short and has some effort to the delivery, causing the velocity to tail off as his pitch count rises with looser command within the zone. There isn’t much third pitch, either, as a firm high-80s changeup lacks the movement and separation to project average-or-better against high-level hitters. That said, Johnston pitches with an edge and has the competitive fire to take to a bullpen role. The ceiling isn’t high, but I can see him as a middle reliever who provides value by riding the options carousel.
A native of Washington, D.C., Adam will be periodically contributing scouting pieces on Nationals prospects for Federal Baseball. Currently, he’s the Assistant Director of Professional Evaluation at 2080 Baseball. Previously, Adam worked in the Baseball Operations departments of the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers after serving as a Senior Prospect Writer for Baseball Prospectus. You can follow him on Twitter: @2080adam. Adam can be reached at email@example.com for all podcast and media requests.