Expanded minors report
So I talked to Bob Boone, the guy in charge of player development for the Nationals (who also happens to be scouting for the upcoming June draft, etc.) about a couple of guys yesterday.
One is John Lannan, a lefty for Class A Potomac who was that affiliate's pitcher of the month for April. Lannan is 4-0 with a 2.65 ERA, and Boone said he is a favorite of Nationals pitching coordinator Spin Williams, who has seen him more than Boone has. I'll give Spin a call about him in the future, but Boone said he's a power guy who can place his fastball. He's 22, and would be a candidate to move up to Class AA at some point this season.
Another is Joel Hanrahan, who is much more likely to appear in Washington uniform this summer. "We think he's a major league pitcher," Boone said. Hanrahan is pitching for Class AAA Columbus, where he is 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA. But there are some more impressive numbers over his first four starts: in 21-1/3 innings, he has 22 strikeouts, with just 20 base runners (13 hits, seven walks) allowed in that time. Opposing hitters are hitting .171 against him.
"He's commanding his fastball, a power guy," Boone said. The problem: He's battling something of a groin problem, which has kept him from pitching deep into games. He has pitched more than five innings just once. But he's worth watching. The safe bet is you'll see him at RFK Stadium this summer.
Bad news at Columbus: First baseman Larry Broadway was placed on the disabled list yesterday with a left ankle sprain. This has been a very rough spring for Broadway, who could have been in the majors had he had a tremendous spring training. When he went down, he was hitting just .171 with three homers and nine RBI in 22 games for the Clippers.
Also at Columbus: Right-hander Jason Simontacchi is on the hill tonight vs. Rochester, opposing Twins hot prospect Matt Garza. Simontacchi threw five innings of one-run ball in his first outing for the Clippers after coming back from a groin strain of his own, and he's the logical choice to make the start in Jerome Williams's place next Tuesday in Milwaukee. I'll let you know how he did tomorrow.
The organization gave out its minor league player and pitcher of the month awards the other day. Here they are (and keep in mind these stats are through April 29):
Class AAA Columbus:
RHP Chris Booker - 0-1, 1.93 ERA, 6 saves
3B Tony Batista - .282, 6 2B, 2 HR, 12 RBI
Class AA Harrisburg:
LHP Mike Hinckley - 3-1, 2.45 ERA in four starts
1B Josh Whitesell -- .354, 3 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBI
Class A Potomac:
LHP John Lannan - 3-0, 2.63 ERA in four starts
OF Dee Brown -- .372, 7 2B, 1 HR, 11 RBI
Class A Hagerstown:
RHP Josh Wilkie - 1-1, 1.84 ERA
2B Leonard Daniel -- .298, 7 doubles, 2 HR, 10 RBI
One more note: Chris Marrero, last year's first round pick (along with RHP Colton Willems) is holding his own at Class A Hagerstown, though he's only 18. Through 21 games, he's hitting .296 with two homers, 12 RBI, four doubles and an OPS of .742. The organization really believes in him. Will be interesting if he advances to high-Class A Potomac later in the summer.
And one final thing: The Columbus Clippers currently have this guy, Manny Alexander, who is 36. You might remember him as a major leaguer with the Orioles, among other teams, who was involved in moving Cal Ripken to third base. He was also busted for steroids in 2000. He was signed on April 19. He's currently hitting .143.
He also could be out of a job now that D'Angelo Jimenez has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Columbus, which happened today. Jimenez has accepted the assignment.
Hope that helps. Will get you lineups from the park when I get there. Will the Nationals win their first series of the year tonight?
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