As per Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Ian Desmond will be the Opening Day shortstop for the Nationals, beating out veteran Christian Guzman:
look into the future, this is a guy that could play for us in 2010 and
’15. But for the year ’10, he is playing really good in Spring
Training, but he may not be playing well in May, so Guzman may be our
shortstop. But to open the season, we’ll give Desi a shot to hold that
position down. We hope that works. If it does, then Guzzie has to be
able to play some other positions.”
Outfielder Justin Maxwell was optioned to Syracuse this morning and will begin the 2010 season with the AAA-Syracuse Chiefs.
Maxwell, 26, played most of the 2009 season with Syracuse and batted .242 with 13 HR’s and 42 RBI in 384 at bats. He also stole 35 bases in 43 attempts. He played for the Nationals on three different occasions during the season batting. 247 with 4 HR’s and 9 RBI in 89 at bats.
The Nationals will hope that Maxwell will dominate AAA pitching in 2010 and rejoin the team for good by mid-season for a final time.
Maxwell joins Jerry Owens, Leonard Davis, Chris Duncan, Mike Daniel and Kevin Mench (still in major league camp) in a crowded Chiefs outfield.
With one week until the start of the 2010 baseball season the Washington Nationals will need to decide who they will take north to DC in the next few days.
Here is our take on the competition:
Pitching: John Lannan, Jason Marquis and Garrett Mock have been announced as three members of the rotation. Craig Stamman has been very good this spring while Livian Hernandez has been okay as well. the skinny: Scott Olsen who is coming back from an injury pitches on Sunday. Stamman or Olsen could start in Syracuse or the Nats could release the veteran Hernandez.
Bullpen: Matt Capps is the closer with Brian Bruney the 8th inning guy. Sean Burnett, the lone lefty in the pen and Tyler Clippard will face lefties. Miguel Batista works as a long man and sometime starter and Jason Bergmann has pitched will enough to provide innings.
Catching: It’s Pudge Rordriquez and Will Nieves with Jesus Flores starting the season on the disabled list.
Infielders: Adam Dunn plays !B, Adam Kennedy is at 2B, Ryan Zimmerman is the 3B. Christain Guzman appears to have proven he can throw and will begin the season as the shortstop. Alberto Gonzalez has hit well enough to be a capable back-up at three infield positions. Mike Morse can play 3B, 1B and the outfield.
The skinny: Ian Desmond returns to Syracuse to play everyday at shortstop. Eric Bruntlett could stick as utility man.
Outfielders: Josh Willingham is in LF, Nyger Morgan in CF, Willie Harris and Willy Taveras look to platoon RF, while Roger Bernadina has hit enough to provide the team with defense and speed off the bench.
The skinny: Bernadina has a leg up on Justin Maxwell for the last spot on the roster.
That’s 24 names we see on the team. The dilemma is do the Nats take 11 or 12 pitchers north. A 12th pitcher Tyler Walker, who has pitched well lately could happen. If not they need to add another infielder/outfielder. Eric Bruntlett has played well all spring and can play both the infield and outfield. Justin Maxwell did not hit enough in spring but can run and is an excellent defensive player. The skinny: The Nats keep Bruntlett and option Walker and Maxwell to Syracuse.
If all this happens what’s in store for the Chiefs. Check back with us a little later on for the Chiefs part of the puzzle.
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.
Thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon in Florida as we closed out the Spring Training tour by watching the Mets take on the Braves on their home turf at the Wide World of Sports Complex in Disney.
The first appearance by Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg was greeted by over 5000 Florida visitors, Mark Lerner, the team’s principal owner, MASN Television crew that included Bob Carpenter and Rob Dibble and former Knicks and Houston Rockets basketball coach Jeff Van Gundy who sat behind home plate with an Orlando Magic hat on.
Spent the afternoon at Space Coast Stadium on Monday as the Nationals lost again 11-2 to the Florida Marlins. Nats pitching has been giving up runs at an unbelievable pace – 64 runs in their first 50 innings of work.
Mike Morse hit his first home of the spring in the 6th inning that tied the game today against the New York Mets in Viera, Fl as the Nationals opened their spring scheduled at home.
One game does not decide if a player is going to make the team out of spring training but former Chiefs shortstop Ian Desmond certainly made his case on Friday vs the Atlanta Braves at their palace of a baseball stadium at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.
The Syracuse Chiefs, the AAA Affiliate of the Washington Nationals will begin the 2010 spring training schedule on Saturday, March 20th agsinst the Gwinnett Braves at Disney Wide World of Sports.
The Chiefs will take on the Toledo Mud Hens the next day at home in Viera, FL and play 15 games before they return to Syracuse, New York for the start of the 2010 Internatinal League season on April 8th.
The Chiefs will also play the Round Rock Express (Houston Astros affiliate) during the spring.
Important dates: Minor league Staff reports – March 4th
Pitchers & Catchers report – March 5th
First Workout – March 6th
Position Players report – March 9th
First Workout – March 11th
Chiefs vs Braves – March 20th @ DisneyWWS
Chiefs Break Camp for Syracuse – April 4th