Results tagged ‘ Jesse English ’

Senators of Today..Chiefs of Tomorrow?


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As the end of July looms near and the Chiefs are in the
midst of the International League playoff hunt, it seems like a good time to
take a look at some of the players who may join the Chiefs as the playoffs come
ever closer.

 

September 1st–far away today but really will be
here tomorrow (the older you get, the clearer that becomes), is the day that
Major League rosters expand to 40 players. While this doesn’t mean much today
for the Syracuse roster, it could be significant down the road. Current Chiefs
players on the 40-man roster include: Justin Maxwell (four trips to the bigs
this season), Carlos Maldonado (played in 4 games with the Nats between May and
June), Collin Balester (with Washington as of today), Jesse English, Atahualpa
Severino, and Shairon Martis.

 

If those players go up come September, that means players
from within the Washington farm system could find themselves moving up to
Syracuse. Josh Wilkie, now a staple of the Chiefs bullpen, didn’t arrive at
Alliance Bank Stadium until July 25th of last season.

 

To find out about some of the players who might rise, I
spoke with Terry Byrom, the radio broadcaster of the Harrisburg Senators, the
Nationals Double-A affiliate. He’s in his sixth season with the Senators and
has an extensive knowledge of the Nationals of the future.

 

The first player to talk about was shortstop Danny Espinosa.
He was a third round pick out of Long Beach State University, which has quite a
history of producing major league ready infielders
including Evan Longoria and
Troy Tulowitzki. 

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 Photo via

Last year with Advanced-A Potomac (suddenly that’s the hot
place to be if you want to end up in Syracuse–see Leatherman, D. Whiting, B.)
he hit .264 with 18 HR, 72 RBI, and 29 SB.

 

“There’s no one area of his game we look at and say,
‘Boy, we need to make huge strides quickly here,’ because he’s polished in all
areas. And you just don’t see middle infielders with his type of arm
strength,” said then Potomac manager Trent Jewett to the Washington Post
last May. 

 

This season he’s batting .258 with 14 HR, 41 RBI and 18 SB
for Harrisburg.

 

“I think right now he’s a very good defensive infielder and
I would say his glove is better than his bat. Having said that, his bat is
awfully good. I think he’s starting to figure out the pitching and for guys
that come up from “A” ball it’s just a series of adjustments that need to be
made,” said Byrom.

 

Espinosa earned himself a spot on the roster for the Futures
Game earlier this month. As Espinosa does advance through the system though,
his position could change, Byrom says.

The Nationals already have 2009 Chief Ian Desmond as their
starting shortstop, but that doesn’t worry Espinosa who played some second base
during spring training.

 

“Whether I play second or short, I’d just rather be up
there. I don’t really care. I’d like to play short, but if the team thinks I’m
going to play second base better and I can help with second base more than
short, that’s the decision and I’ll roll with that and I’m fine. I’m totally
happy with that. I just want to make it up there,” Espinosa told Adam Kilgore
of the Washington Post last month. 

 

The Chiefs have used four different shortstops this year
with Pedro Lopez (41 games) playing the most of anyone in that spot.

 

Another player who may be a Chief not before long is first
baseman Chris Marrero. A first round pick out of high school in Miami in 2006,
he could be a big part of the Washington future. Marrero’s advancement may
depend on whether or not Adam Dunn is still a National after the July 31st
trading deadline. 

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Photo via  

Marrero spent parts of 2007, 2008 and 2009 with Advanced-A
Potomac before making the jump to Double-A last season and playing in 23 games
with the Senators for whom he hit .267.

 

Now with almost a full season of Double-A baseball under his
belt, Marrero is hitting .297 with 13 HR and 58 RBI along with 19 doubles.
Plus, he’s hot now–in June he hit .359, and in July he’s hitting .333.

 

Byrom says it was about Marrero adjusting to a higher level
after nearly three seasons in Woodbridge, VA.

 

“I think the Nationals felt that he needed to show some
consistency at the plate and ever since May 1st he’s been
incredible. He’s second in the Eastern League in hits, he’s much better at
first base and he just looks more comfortable there than he did last year. He
has worked really hard on his defense. He has gone from a power hitter who is
serviceable at first base, to one who can end up being a pretty good defensive
first baseman. Most of his errors have actually come on throws, but he’s gotten
a lot better at picking balls out of the dirt. I’d say the biggest thing he’s
improved on is receiving poor throws from the infield. He’s young and will only get better.”

 

Ever since Josh Whitesell (40 starts at first and at the
time a team leading 34 RBI) left for Japan, the Chiefs have rotated between
Chris Duncan (on the DL), Jason Botts, Chase Lambin, and even Bill Rhinehart at
first base. A combination of two power bats in Botts and Marrero could be
lethal for a late season run at the playoffs.

 

The last player we looked at was pitcher Tom Milone, who
leads Harrisburg in wins this season with a 7-5 record and a 3.08 ERA. A Rule 5 draft pick out of USC in 2008, he pitched
opposite former Nationals draftee Aaron Crow in the summer of 2007 in the Cape
Cod Baseball League and was named the Pitcher of the Year. (Crow is now with
the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Double-A affiliate of the Royals.) 

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Photo via 

 

Milone draws some comparisons to John Lannan but has made his mark in the minors due to his control of his pitches. Through
the 2009 season, he had struck out 155 batters and walked just 45. In addition,
he’s moved quickly through the system spending just six games with Vermont in
2008 and the rest of that season in Hagerstown. Last year he was 12-5 with a
2.91 ERA at Potomac.

 

“Tom is a lefthander that will throw into the low 90’s and
so he’s not a guy that just kicks around and uses off-speed stuff. He’s also
not afraid to go inside on right-handed hitters. For a lefty that’s pretty
important. This year he has pitched himself onto (the Nationals) radar. He was
on their radar before, but now he is being thought of as a guy that could crack
the rotation in the Majors,” Byrom said.

 

Syracuse has put together a reliable rotation with Shairon
Martis, Matt Chico, Jeff Mandel, Erik Arnesen and Jason Jones, but two of those
players (Martis and Chico) both have Major League experience. Nobody, including
Collin Balester
, knows when the call is going to come.

 

But when the phone rings at Triple-A, it starts a game of
telephone with stops in Harrisburg, Woodbridge, Hagerstown and Burlington,
Vermont.

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Photo via

 

 

Thanks for reading and listening each night. If you would
like to get in touch you can reach me at mikecouzens@syracusechiefs.com
and you can follow the broadcast on Twitter @ChiefsRadio

 

–Mike

Five Game Swing through WNY and PA

Buffalo, N.Y. – Today the Chiefs begin a five game road trip
against three different teams. First, they’ll play two against the Bisons at
Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo. Then, it’s off to All-Star, er Lehigh Valley for
two games against the Iron Pigs and a one-day stop in the Electric City:
Scranton.

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Today as we arrived in Buffalo, we stopped quickly at the
team hotel to drop off our stuff and then headed over to the ballpark. It’s
kind of like a sleepover. We come in for the day, have some fun while watching
a baseball game, spend the night, and then after the second game it’s back on
the road again. We’re hoping to avoid weather similar to our last stop. (Hint:
It included a one hour, fifty-eight minute rain delay.) Although last time we were
in town, I got to do a great International League Man vs. Food eating fried
bologna sandwiches…that was great fun.

 

Buffalo’s in a bit of a rough stretch at the moment. The
Herd has lost seven of its last ten and has dropped in the standings, as well.
When Syracuse left Buffalo on June 3rd, the Bisons were 2 games
out of first place. Today, they’re seven back of first place
Scranton-Wilkes/Barre. The Bisons lost a tough game in their series finale at
Charlotte by a 13-12 final.

 

Their starter for the series opener, Dillon Gee, lost his
last outing going just three innings and giving up seven runs. In the start
before that, the bullpen lost the game for him giving up six tenth inning runs.
 On top of that, the last time Gee started against the Chiefs, it was against
Stephen Strasburg in a game Syracuse won 7-1. 

 

The Bisons have also been thinned a bit since the last time
these two teams met. They’re without second baseman Daniel Murphy (injury),
outfielder Jesus Feliciano (with the Mets), Josh Thole (with the Mets), and
infielder Mike Hessman (DL). Buffalo was also leading the league in average
when the Chiefs last came through–now they’re third at .275.

 

So things have certainly changed in the few weeks since the
Chiefs and Bisons have met. On Tuesday we’ll see Erik Arnesen start for Syracuse
against Dillon Gee.

 

After two in Buffalo, it’s off to Allentown, PA to take on
the IronPigs for the first time since April 17th-20th. It
was very frigid weather then, and I’m looking forward to wearing short sleeves
rather than my winter coat.

Fifth place Lehigh Valley has struggled lately, as well. The
‘Pigs have won four of their last ten, but in all fairness only
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has a winning record in that same time span looking at IL
North teams.

Lehigh Valley took a tough loss on Monday night to Durham on
a walk-off two run double. It was the eighth walk-off of the season against
Lehigh Valley. 

 

Their roster has changed quite a bit recently. On Tuesday,
Greg Dobbs had his contract purchased by Philadelphia, Brian Bocock was
recalled by the Phillies, Willy Taveras was released from the organization,
J.A. Happ was assigned to Lehigh Valley on a Major League rehab assignment, and
Neil Sellers and Ty Taubenheim were promoted from Double-A Reading to Lehigh
Valley. W-O-A-H. Do not attempt to read that sentence aloud in one breath…you
will not survive. In other words, they lost some talent, got some talent, and
also got a former Chief. Taubenheim pitched with Syracuse in 2006 and 2007.

Another former Chief, Rich Thompson (Syracuse ’01, ’03) was
with Lehigh Valley earlier in the year but is currently with Double-A Reading.

 

It’s now the start of a long, “momentous, promotion-crammed,
eight-game homestand at Coca-Cola Park”
for the
IronPigs including three games against Rochester (losers of nine of ten), two
against Syracuse, and four against Pawtucket.

Lastly, the Chiefs will play a one-game series at
Scranton/Wilkes Barre on July 3rd. The Yankees have re-taken the IL
North division lead
and as of Tuesday lead Syracuse by game.

 

The Yankees just finished a four game sweep against the Red
Wings and have won five straight after taking the series finale against
Pawtucket on June 23rd.

 

Former Chief Eric Bruntlett–released earlier this month by
Washington–has caught on with the Yankees and despite being off to a 7-43
(.163) start in 12 games, had drawn praise as of late from Yankees manager Dave
Miley

 

“Bruntlett had a good
day. Before we got him, he had quite a bit of time off. He was a little rusty
and his timing was off a little bit.”

No word yet on what the
pitching matchup will be in that series.

One last pitching note
today as well–the Nationals have recalled pitcher Craig Stammen to start on
Tuesday night
against the Atlanta Braves. They placed reliever Tyler Walker on the DL. Stammen pitched very well filling
the spot left by Stephen Strasburg in the Syracuse rotation going 2-0 with a
2.25 ERA in three starts.

To fill Stammen’s spot on
the roster, the Chiefs have activated relief pitcher Jesse English off the
disabled list. His last outing was on May 23rd against Toledo and he
was officially placed on the DL May 25th. It’s good to see him back to
help bolster an already very strong Syracuse bullpen.

That’s all for now as we
get ready to start the series here in Buffalo. Be sure to check out our YouTube
page
as we’ll be starting a new series called, “What’s in Your Scorebook?”,
where we detail the intricacies of how broadcasters score the game. We’ll also
be doing a brand new edition of IL Man vs. Food from Lehigh Valley where I’ll
be trying out their pork nachos. Be afraid, be very afraid (for me, not for
yourself of course).

We owe a big thank you to everyone from the Chiefs front office who helped us with our first outdoor broadcast of the season on Sunday. Mike Voutsinas and Josh Jones for helping us to set up, Wendy and Ariel Shoen for providing us with great interviews and umbrellas, and all of the fans who stopped by. We also got to meet Russ Haynes, the dad of Chiefs bullpen catcher Chris Haynes, who is an avid fan and listener. We plan on broadcasting outside for the remaining Sunday home games this season.

A special thanks to Jim McGregor who took this photo of me and Jason in the stands:

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And as always, you can
follow us on Twitter where we’ll give updates as we travel along with the game
calls from each night.



Thanks for reading,
listening, and being a fan.

Please get in touch if
you have any thoughts, comments, questions or concerns. My email address is mikecouzens@syracusechiefs.com.

–Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Thank God it’s early!!!!

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.

Today, Scott Olsen made his first start of the spring and gave up three runs in the first inning and was hit hard and often giving up 7-hits in two innings of work.  Collin Balester pitched into the 5th inning but he too was torched for 4-runs and 7-hits before he gave way to lefty Jesse English.
The Nats tallied only six hits, and had solo home runs by Josh Willingham in the 2nd and Ryan Zimmerman in the 6th for their only runs.  Pete Orr played second base and made a fine defensive play in the first to save a run.
Tomorrow, the Nationals take on the Detroit Tigers at Space Coast Stadium as “The Franchise” Stephen Strasburg makes his spring debut,  The game will be televised on MLB Network – Channel 100 for you Time Warner Cable fans.
Chiefs radio voice Jason Benetti arrived in Viera today and is ready to provide interviews, and his take on spring training 2010.

Desmond looking very good

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.

In the field he saved two runs, with fantastic plays up the middle, that very few shortstops could make.  But it was at the plate where he would make his mark.  He drove in two runs with a single off Derek Lowe in the 2nd inning and a grand slam to the deepest part of the ballpark – 400 plus feet away two innings later.  In all, Desmond drove in 6-runs on the afternoon.
With Cistain Guzman penciled in to start the season as the Nationals everyday shortstop, manager Jim Riggleman has to wonder how he can send this talented player back to AAA-Syracuse.
Chiefs fans can only hope to see this budding star one more time before he makes it big in the near very near future.
__Lefty Billy Wagner look unimpressive in his one inning of work vs the Nats, never looking very comfortable on the mound.
–Craig Stammen made his first appearance for the Nationals this spring and despite his final line threw the ball good and indicated after the game that he felt fine.
–Lefty Jesse English, who was picked up from the Giants this winter struggled in his one inning of work giving up two long home runs.
–Chris Duncan played first base for the Nationals and swung the bat well with two hits.
Off to Viera, FL to see the Nationals take on the Mets on Saturday.

Estes latest pitcher added

The Washington Nationals continue to stockpile pitching when they signed veteran lefthanded pitcher Shawn Estes to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training.  The Estes signing adds to an impressive list of pitchers added this off-season.  They include, righthanded relievers Ryan Speier and Joel Peralta, lefties Chuck James, Doug Slaton, Jesse English, Victor Garate and the resigning of Logan Kensing and Andrew Kown from last seasons team.

Estes, 37, made 13 starts for AAA-Albuquerque (Dodgers) last season going 3-4 with a very good 3.07 ERA.  After not getting a call-up to Los Angeles in June he decided not to pitch the remainder of the season.

Speier, 30, is tall at 6’7″ and has pitched in the major leagues with Colorado, most recently last year in 5-games.  He spent much of the 2008 season with the Rockies and recorded a PCL league high 33-saves in 2007.

Peralta, 33, appeared in 27-games with the Rockies last season going 0-3 with a 6.20 ERA.  He began the season with AAA-Colorado Springs posting a 6-0 record and a 2.45 ERA in 37 games in relief.

Slaten, 30, also has pitched in the major leagues the past three seasons with Arizona.  Last year he split between AAA-Reno going 3-2 with a 3.09 ERA and 9-saves in 39 games and Arizona going 0-0 with a 7.11 ERA in 11-games.

English, 25, was picked up from the San Francisco Giants as a waiver claim after pitching for the Giants AA-Connecticut club.  He posted a 7-7 record and a 4.20 ERA as a starting pitcher, but lefthanded hitters batted only .151 against him last season.

Garate, 25 another Nationals waiver claim in September of 2009 pitched the entire season at AA-Chattanooga (Dodgers) and recorded a 2.04 ERA in 47 releif appearances.

Thompson, 23 was acquired last August when the Nats sent Nick Johnson to the Marlins.  He appeared in 6-games for AA-Harrisburg and was 0-3 with a 3.31 ERA and recorded 27-K’s in 33 innings pitched.  At AA-Jacksonville he was 5-9 with a 4.11 ERA in 20-starts.   Thompson was the Marlins #1 selection in June 2005 out of Second Baptist HS in Houston.

Kensing, 27, was impressive with the Chiefs last season in 31 games he was 2-1 with 17-saves and recorded a 2.97 ERA.  He walked only 6-batters and struckout 35 in 33-innings. With the Nationals he struggled in 32-relief appearances giving up 35-runs in 35 innings.

Kown, 28, split time at three levels in the Nationals system last season going a combined 9-4 with a 3.83 ERA in 101-innings pitched.  Kown had a breakout season in 2009 after being selected by the Tigers in the 5th round of the 2004 draft out of Georgia Tech and earning NCAA All-American honors.

James, 29 missed all of last season after arm surgery.  The lefty won 11-games for the Atlanta Braves in back to back seasons in 2006 and 2007.  He struggled in 2008 and returned to Richmond and made 15 starts and recorded a 2.97 ERA.

 

 

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