Spring Training Bracketology – Pitching
With two weeks gone in spring training 2010 the Washington Nationals roster is beginning to take shape. In the spirit of the NCAA field of 65 announcement today we thought we would look at where the Nationals might be with their major league and minor league pitching staffs at this point.
Major League starting rotation: John Lannan and Jason Marquis are locks, while Scott Olsen should be penciled in as the third starter. Craig Stammen coming off late season surgery is good enough for the fourth spot with veterans Livian Hernandez and Miguel Batista are fighting for the 5th spot – that won’t be needed until April 19th due to off days.
Major League bullpen: Matt Capps and Brian Bruney are the back end, while Tyler Clippard and lefty Sean Burnett will pitch early. That leaves Jason Bergmann, who is out of options, and Tyler Walker, who has been hit hard to date to fill out the staff. Batista could be used as well early of if he doesn’t make the rotation. Lefty Ron Villone, a non-roster player and now 41 years old would give them a second lefty out of the pen but right now is the 13 pitcher on a 12 or 11 man staff.
AAA-Syracuse Staff: A good deal of this staff depends on the health and decisions made with Olsen, Batista and Hernandez, but the Chiefs appear loaded no matter what happens.
J.D. Martin, Garrett Mock, Shairon Martis, veteran lefties Matt Chico, Chuck James, Andrew Kown, Collin Balester, Luis Atilano and Aaron Thompson give the team a wealth of depth to choose from. In addtion, where does Stephen Strasburg begin his baseball career?
Bullpen includes: Six lefthanded pitchers are competing for two maybe three spots and include Doug Slaten, Victor Garate, Jesse English – all picked up in the off season, while Nationals prospects Attie Severino, Yunior Novoa and Jack Spradlin return.
From the righthanded side of the bullpen the guy drafted after Stephen Strasburg – Drew Storen has been fantastic in spring training and could begin the season in Washington, but most likley will start in Syracuse with veterans Logan Kensing, Ryan Speier, Joel Peralta, Rafael Martin and Nationals prospect Josh Wilkie giving the Chiefs quality to choose from. The Nats could even move Collin Balester or Luis Atilano to the bullpen – similar to the last seasons experiment with Tyler Clippard that payed off nicely.
That’s 22 names for 12 roster spots – pitching in 2010 looks very strong.
And we haven’t even talked about these guys……
Jeff Mandel 12-6 3.38 ERA – AA/A last season
Eric Arnesen 12-7 3.52 ERA AA/A last season
Brad Meyers 11-3 1.72 ERA AA/A last season
Marcos Frias 9-5 2.91 ERA Single A last season
AJ Morris 0-4 3.38 ERA in Single A last season
Tom Millone 12-5 2.91 ERA in Single A last season
Willie Atwood 8-8 4.61 ERA in Single A last season
These pitchers will likely play in AA this season and earn AAA promotions at some point during the 2010 season.
Pitching is strong in this organization and it’s all coming very fast through Central New York this summer.