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BA Prospect Hot Sheet

Some guy named Strasburg is #1


Plotting Out Strasburg’s Debut

Now that it appears that Stephen Strasburg is ready for the majors, I wanted to take a look an see how his starts might map out over the next few months.

First, here is a calendar tracking the schedules of both Washington and Syracuse.

I figure the Nationals are lining up Strasburg to make his major league debut at home some time during the June 4-10 homestand against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. It makes sense from a business standpoint to have Strasburg debut at home (see CapPun).

Here are two ways things may play out …

Scenario One: He stays on his regular turn, going every fifth game.

  • at Pawtucket on 5/17
  • VS TOLEDO on 5/22
  • at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on 5/27
  • at Buffalo on 6/1
  • VS CINCINNATI on 6/6 [MLB debut]
  • at Cleveland on 6/12
  • VS CHICAGO (AL) on 6/18
  • VS KANSAS CITY on 6/23
  • at Atlanta on 6/29
  • VS NEW YORK (NL) on 7/4
  • VS SAN FRANCISCO on 7/10

That’s not bad. They get one more home start for Strasburg in Syracuse and five of his first seven at Nationals Park, including a 4th of July showdown with the Mets.

Scenario Two: Throw in some extra days of rest.

  • at Rochester on 5/18 (+1 day of rest has been rumored)
  • VS TOLEDO on 5/23
  • VS SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE on 5/29 (+1 day of rest)
  • VS CINCINNATI on 6/4 (+1 day of rest for his MLB debut)
  • VS PITTSBURGH on 6/10 (gets an extra day due to an off day on 6/7)
  • at Detroit on 6/16 (an off-day for the Nats is included)
  • VS KANSAS CITY on 6/21
  • at Baltimore on 6/27 (an off-day for the Nats is included)
  • VS NEW YORK (NL) on 7/2
  • VS SAN DIEGO on 7/8 (an off-day for the Nats is included)

Once again, the Nats get five of his first seven major league starts at home, but they have Strasburg facing the Pirates instead of the White Sox (Chicago seems likely to draw better). And he also wouldn’t face the Mets on July 4 which is likely to draw regardless of who may be pitching. The added benefits here are an extra home start for the fans in Syracuse along with a benefit for DC fans, having Strasburg start up the road in Baltimore vice down in Atlanta (plus it throws a bone to MASN).

The only wild card I could see is this schedule

  • at Rochester on 5/18 (+1 day of rest)
  • vs Toledo on 5/24 (+1 day of rest)
  • at San Diego on 5/30 (MLB debut at home for Strasburg)
  • VS CINCINNATI on 6/4
  • VS PITTSBURGH on 6/10 (gets an extra day due to an off 0n day on 6/7)
  • at Detroit on 6/16 (an off-day for the Nats is included)
  • VS KANSAS CITY on 6/21
  • at Baltimore on 6/27 (an off-day for the Nats is included)
  • VS NEW YORK (NL) on 7/2
  • VS SAN DIEGO on 7/8 (an off-day for the Nats is included)

Would the Nationals give Strasburg the chance to debut in his hometown?


Nationals Release & Sign Josh Johnson

Baseball America’s weekly minor league transactions have the Nats both releasing and signing Josh Johnson.

Once again, not the pitching Johnson.

They released the catching Johnson they signed a few weeks back and signed a corner infielder Johnson. This Johnson had spent his career in the Royals organization, topping out at Double-A.

Also among the list of transactions was a series of releases, helping me to clear up a few of my outstanding placements of unassigned players.

  • Released: RHP Ryan Speier, C Scott Thomas, 2B Greg Veloz, 3B Angel Gonzalez, 3B Yeurys Tejeda, SS Dani Arias, OF Carl Loadenthal, OF Pedro Powell, OF Jay Sferra, OF Sean Smith

Speier, Gonzalez, Loadenthal, Powell, and Smith were off-season minor league free agent signings.

I did not even know they had signed Thomas

Veloz was acquired from the Mets in exchange for Anderson Hernandez last year. Veloz played briefly in Potomac & Harrisburg in 2009.

Sferra was a 31st round draft pick last year as a senior out of UNLV. He played for the Monsters in 2009.

And, Tejeda & Arias were two 2006 international free agent signings. Tejeda split time between the GCL and Vermont while Arias spent the whole season in Vermont.

I have also learned that pitcher Will Atwood and catcher Travis Reagan have both retired.


Minor League Rosters

Spoke with the Nationals and was told that minor league rosters will likely be announced this weekend. I’ll keep everyone posted on the information and post it once I receive it.


Atilano Optioned

The Nationals optioned RHP Luis Atilano to Triple-A Syracuse reducing their spring training roster to 35.


Syracuse Roster Taking Shape

The Post Standard offers a glimpse into the 2010 opening day roster for the Chiefs:

Position players such as outfielders Kevin Mench and Justin Maxwell, infielders Seth Bynum, Pete Orr, Chase Lambin, Chris Duncan and Josh Whitesell, and catchers Chris Coste and Carlos Maldonaldo, already are ticketed to Syracuse.
Starting pitchers Collin Balester, Shairon Martis, Matt Chico and J.D. Martin, who was optioned to Syracuse on Wednesday, are set to take their place in the rotation in front of relievers Joel Peralta, Andrew Kown, Josh Wilkie and Atahualpa Severino.

That’s two catchers, a starting infield (less a shortstop), and 2/3 of an outfield along with four starters and four relievers. I’d imagine that Eric Bruntlett and possibly Roger Bernadina are likely to join Syracuse along with Garrett Mock, Doug Slaten, Mike MacDougal, Luis Atilano, & Jesse English. That puts the Chiefs at 24 players. And that still leaves quite a few names who should be Triple-A unassigned (Zech Zinicola, Mike Daniel to name a couple).


Option Questions

The Nationals are quickly reaching the point where they are going to have to make some final decisions on the composition of the 25-man roster. With today’s option of RHP JD Martin to Triple-A, the #5 spot in the rotation is down to RHP Garrett Mock or LHP Scott Olsen. Referring back to my analysis of option status, Mock has one option remaining while Olsen has one (maybe two).

However, a lesser known rule came to light yesterday when the Mariners placed Ryan Garko on waivers, even though he still had an option remaining. Keith Law earlier today:

Three years after a player’s first day on a major league roster, he can no longer be optioned without clearing revocable “optional waivers.”

Since Olsen mad his major league debut on June 25, 2005, it would appear the Nationals would have to place Olsen on revocable optional waivers to send him to Triple-A. Whereas Mock made his debut on June 8, 2008 and therefore would not require the same move. It’s a minor point but one worth watching. If the Nats opt for Mock over Olsen, Olsen will need to pass through revocable waivers (meaning he can be pulled back if another team claims him).

Just one more nuance of MLB’s overabundance of rules


Sunday News

First, the Nationals optioned OF Justin Maxwell to Triple-A Syracuse. Maxwell struggled this spring and will be better served by getting regular ABs in the minor leagues. That means the Nationals RF job is down to Willie Harris, Roger Bernadina, Mike Morse, & Willy Taveras (ideally in that order).

And in bigger news, Mark Zuckerman is reporting that Ian Desmond has won the starting SS spot for 2010. It’s a welcome decision that not only rewards Desmond’s strong spring performance but also puts the better long term option in the line-up for the future. I hope the Nationals will provide Desmond every opportunity to work through any struggles he has and not pull the plug too quickly. Cristian Guzman will remain on the roster in a utility role and it will be interesting to see how he responds to the demotion.


Nats Sign Josh Johnson

No, not this one.

Baseball America reported that the Nationals signed this Josh Johnson, a catcher who seems likely to open the season in Triple-A Syracuse while Jamie Burke recovers from knee surgery.

The 27-year old Johnson spent the 2009 season in Independent baseball after splitting eight minor league seasons between Minnesota, Tampa & Houston.


An Updated Big Board

full of guesses.

I have had a few comments over the past couple of weeks asking who will be assigned to what levels in the minor leagues. Over the past couple of days, I attempted to make an educated guess and this is what I came up with.

There is an overabundance of arms that need to be assigned (and I still didn’t find a home for Josh Smoker or Colton Willems in full season ball).

Let’s use this as a jumping off point. Feel free to critique, criticize or tell me I’m nuts.