Monday, August 16, 2010

32 signed, 1 to go


The Nats have signed 32 of their 2010 draft picks, including 24 of their top 26. That number will reach 25 when Bryce Harper signs, as forecast expert Ollie Williams predicts. The Nats went over slot over the weekend to sign 2nd, 4th and 12th round pitchers Sammy Solis, A.J. Cole and Robbie Ray. All other Nats picks who have signed have played in the minors except 33rd round LHP Ryan Sherriff. Here is a recap on how the other draft picks have fared in their professional baseball debuts (recaps for rounds 21 on as well as undrafted FA signings will be posted tomorrow).

SS Rick Hague - 3rd round (Rice)

Hitting .289/.362/.388 in 30 games between the GCL and Hagerstown. 35 hits in 121 at-bats with 6 doubles, 3 triples, 22 runs, 16 RBI, 15 walks and 24 strikeouts. Hague is 3/4 on stolen base opportunities and still has not hit a home run. He has 13 errors on 92 total chances at SS.

Hague's calling card is the ability to do everything pretty well, but nothing great. I'd like to see a little more power, but he has plenty of time to develop that. His fielding stats are scary-bad right now, but I'm not worried yet. He is looking decent so far.

SS Jason Martinson - 5th round (Texas State)

Hitting .241/.344/.321 in 51 games in Vermont. 45 hits in 187 at-bats with 5 doubles, 5 triples, 28 runs, 20 RBI, 28 walks and 52 strikeouts. Martinson is 3/5 on stolen base opportunities and still has not hit a home run. He has 13 errors on 208 total chances at SS.

Martinson's bat was considered his weakest piece, so it's a little disappointing to see his poor contact rates and lack of power at this point (although his power was never supposed to be that great). His season is far from a train-wreck, with an OBP over .100 above his batting average, but Martinson has a ways to grow in the minors. His .938 fielding percentage isn't anything to be afraid of yet, but he does need to cut down on the errors.

C Cole Leonida - 6th round (Georgia Tech)

Hitting .138/.225/.175 in 23 games in Vermont. 11 hits in 80 at-bats with 3 doubles, 11 runs, 3 RBI, 8 walks and 25 strikeouts. Leonida has no triples, home runs or stolen base attempts. He has 2 errors in 172 total chances behind the plate with 3 passed balls. He has only stopped 6 out of 25 base stealers.

It looks like Leonida missed the first 10 days of August due to injury (and was in a 2/23 slump going in), and I think it's fair to assume at least part of his poor performance is a reason. His defense is supposed to be more advanced than his bat, so we'll have to keep an eye on his stolen base and passed ball numbers after the season.

OF Kevin Keyes - 7th round (University of Texas)

Hitting .203/.347/.284 in 24 games in Vermont. 15 hits in 74 at-bats with 3 doubles, 1 homer, 7 runs, 13 RBI, 15 walks and 22 strikeouts. Keyes has been thrown out in 2 of his 3 stolen base attempts. He has made 1 error in 32 total chances in the outfield (mostly LF) with 2 assists.

Where's the power? 24 games is a small sample size to judge, but 4 extra base hits is disappointing for a guy whose power was his only above average tool.

LHP Matthew Grace - 8th round (UCLA)

0-1, 7.90 ERA in 7 GCL games (13 and 2/3 innings). 20 hits, 16 runs (12 earned), 7 strikeouts, 2 walks, .345 BA against. Grace had one terrible game where he allowed 8 runs without recording an out. In all of his other games, he has allowed 13 hits and 8 runs (4 earned), good for a 2.63 ERA. He's not walking anyone, but his strikeout numbers aren't that impressive, either.

Grace is tagged as only a future LOOGY by both John Sickels and Andy Seiler, so it's important to look at his vs L numbers as well: 2 and 2/3 IP, 3 hits, 5 runs (3 earned), 0 walks, 1 strikeout with a .273 BA against. Not super encouraging, but not a total disaster. Remember, it's only 13 and 2/3 innings pitched.

RHP Aaron Barrett - 9th round (Ole Miss)

0-2, 9.26 ERA in 7 games in Vermont (11 and 2/3 innings). 13 hits, 14 runs (12 earned), 16 strikeouts, 12 walks, 2 homers allowed, .271 BA against.

Barrett's consistency was often questioned by draft experts, and I can see why. He can show up in any game with his A stuff or his D stuff...looks like he's been showing a lot more of the latter this year. He was a senior, so I had hoped he would have been more advanced, but again it's too early to call his poor performance much more than disappointing.

IF Blake Kelso - 10th round (Houston)

Hitting .316/.362/.380 in 42 games in Vermont. 50 hits in 158 at-bats with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 18 runs, 18 RBI, 12 walks and 13 strikeouts. Kelso has stolen 5 out of the 6 bases he's attempted this year. He has made 7 errors in 149 total chances across the infield, with 2B being his best position (.971 fielding percentage).

Finally, someone I can be really optimistic about! Kelso has Jamey Carroll written all over him, and has really impressed me so far. His ability to hit at higher levels is still a question mark, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

RHP Neil Holland - 11th round (Louisville)

2-0, 1.85 ERA in 14 games in Vermont (24 and 1/3 innings). 21 hits, 7 runs (5 earned), 30 strikeouts, 6 walks, 1 homer allowed, .233 BA against.

The sidewinding righty is doing exactly what he needs to be doing right now. His deceptive delivery needs to fool A-ball hitters if he wants it to fool ML batters, so he's starting on the right track. And for the record, I'm a big fan of the 5:1 K:BB ratio.

RHP Chris McKenzie - 13th round (San Jacinto College North)

1-2, 8.54 ERA in 8 games in Vermont (26 and 1/3 innings). 40 hits, 29 runs (25 earned), 22 strikeouts, 12 walks, 2 homers allowed, .357 BA against.

McKenzie supposedly has good stuff, but it's been far too hittable in Vermont so far. Lowering the BB rate and raising the K rate could help him out to start, but when you're allowing 13.7 H/9, you need more than just that.

C David Freitas - 15th round (Hawaii)

Hitting .327/.408/.497 in 46 games in Vermont. 54 hits in 165 at-bats with 16 doubles, 4 homers, 28 runs, 34 RBI, 20 walks and 32 strikeouts. He's even 2/2 in stolen bases! Freitas has thrown out 12 of the 32 runners who have tried stealing on him this year (38%) and has 1 error and 1 passed ball.

Freitas is apparently taking advantage of Leonida's struggles, with an impressive combination of contact, power and discipline. He was seen by many as an overdraft, so it's nice to see him prove the doubters start, at least.

RHP Mark Herrera - 16th round (San Jacinto College North)

2-1, 3.04 ERA in 12 games in Vermont (23 and 2/3 innings). 19 hits, 10 runs (8 earned), 30 strikeouts, 8 walks, .221 BA against.

Herrera has fared a lot better in his pro debut than his JuCo teammate McKenzie despite not having the raw talent. How is he getting people out? Don't know, don't care, as long as he keeps doing it.

RHP Tyler Hanks - 17th round (College of Southern Nevada)

4-0, 2.54 ERA in 8 games in the GCL (28 and 1/3 innings). 28 hits, 10 runs (8 earned), 21 strikeouts, 5 walks, 2 homers allowed, .264 BA against.

Hanks was a nice pick in the 17th round and looks to be doing pretty well against rookie ball opponents. I'd like to see him challenged a little bit, since he is one of the more talented pitchers taken by the Nats in this draft.

2B Justin Miller - 18th round (Middle Tennessee St.)

Hitting .261/.354/.423 in 37 games in Vermont. 29 hits in 111 at-bats with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 24 runs, 18 RBI, 8 walks and 26 strikeouts. Miller is 2/3 in his stolen base attempts. He has committed 6 errors in only 42 chances; his infield work needs practice while his time in left field has been flawless.

He's doing well so far considering he projects to be a organizational or utility type of player. If he wants to separate himself, he needs to work to make one of his tools above-average, whether it be contact, speed, discipline or fielding.

OF Wade Moore - 19th round (Catawba College)

Hitting .278/.380/.391 in 51 games in Vermont. 47 hits in 169 at-bats with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 3 homers, 29 runs, 24 RBI, 27 walks and 38 strikeouts. Moore is 13/14 in his stolen base attempts and has only committed 3 errors in 104 total chances this season.

Moore is a guy on my list to watch. He has been hitting lefthanded pitchers for a higher average and OBP than righties despite being a lefty himself. It will be interesting to see whether or not that stays. I like a lefty bat who can get on base and steal second. Maybe Nyjer should take base-stealing tips from Moore.

OF Chad Mozingo - 20th round (Rice)

Hitting .238/.351/.306 in 41 games in Vermont. 38 hits in 160 at-bats with 5 doubles, 3 triples, 27 runs, 12 RBI, 29 walks and 30 strikeouts. Mozingo is 6/9 in his stolen base attempts and has been almost flawless in CF and LF, with 1 error (and 3 assists) in 82 total chances.

Mozingo can take a walk, play the field and could grow into being a decent base-stealer. But until he can learn to put the ball in play, his ML future is limited.

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