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Minor League Report

Here you go, the weekly minor league report from resident punologist Bill Gluvna, who is up to his usual top-notch work this week. (Chico submission: YOU'VE GOT TO BE GLUVIN' IT!)


This Week's Top Headline

DON'T DISS CHRIS: 1B Chris Marrero has reached base via hit, walk or HBP in all 19 games this season...additionally, he has hit safely in 15 of those 19 contests, batting .306 with 6 doubles, 3 home runs, 13 RBI and a .892 OPS...the 20-year-old ranks among CL leaders in total bases (8th, 37), hits (t-8th, 22), doubles (10th) and slugging (10th, .514)...Marrero entered the season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 3 prospect -the top hitter- in Washington's system...he was the Nationals' top selection (15th overall) in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs
International League North Division
10-4, 2nd Place , 4.5 Games Back

WHAM, BAM, THANK YOU STAM(MEN): RHP Craig Stammen allowed just 3 hits in 7.0 shutout innings en route to winning his 2nd straight start, Friday at Buffalo (Mets) 3 starts this season, he is 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA and a .185 batting average against...the 25-year-old is scheduled to make his next start tonight vs. Pawtucket (Red Sox)...Stammen was selected in the 12th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.

START ME UP: RHP Collin Balester fired 6.0 scoreless innings of 4-hit ball to earn his first win of the season, Sunday at Buffalo (Indians)...he is 1-0 with 0.75 ERA (1 ER/12.0 IP) in his last 2 outings after going 0-2 with a 10.24 ERA (11 ER/9.2 IP) in his first 2 starts of the season...Balester, 22, made 15 starts at the big league level last season with Washington.

TYLER MADE: In 6 relief appearances, RHP Tyler Clippard has allowed only one run over 11.1 innings (0.79 ERA) of work...he has struck out 16 and walked 2...Clippard has worked 2.0 or more innings in 4 of his 6 appearances...he made 2 spot starts with the Nationals last season, going 1-1 with a 4.04 ERA...the 24-year-old was acquired from the Yankees in exchange for RHP Jonathan Albaladejo, December 5, 2007.

Double-A Harrisburg Senators
Eastern League Southern Division
2-14, 6th Place , 11.0 Games Back

BILL GETTING HIS FILL: 1B Bill Rhinehart is 9-for-21 (.429) with 2 doubles, 2 home runs and 4 RBI in his last 7 games after going 2-for-32 (.068) in 9 games to begin the season...Rhinehart, a minor-league All-Star in each of his 2 seasons as a pro, was selected in the 11th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

Single-A Potomac Nationals
Carolina League Northern Division
10-9, 2nd Place , 2.5 Games Back

ESP: EXTRA-SPECIAL PLAYER : SS Danny Espinosa ranks among Carolina League leaders in nearly every offensive category, including OBP (2nd, .494), doubles (t-2nd, 8), stolen bases (t-2nd, 7), walks (4th, 14), OPS (5th, 1.019) and batting average (6th, .339)...the 21-year-old has reached base safely via hit, walk or HBP in 18 of 19 games this season...Espinosa entered the season as the Best Defensive Infielder among Nationals prospects according to Baseball America ...he was selected in the 3rd round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Long Beach State University.

BURGESS KING: OF Michael Burgess leads Washington farmhands with 5 home runs and 18 RBI...he is hitting at a .322 (10-for-31) clip with 7 runs scored, 4 homers and 13 RBI in his last 9 games...overall, 8 of his 14 hits have gone for extra bases (3 doubles, 5 home runs)...the 20-year-old began the season rated as the No. 4 prospect in the Washington system according to Baseball America .

OSCAR MEYERS: RHP Brad Meyers allowed 5 hits in 7.2 scoreless innings to earn the win, Friday at Frederick (Orioles)...he is 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in 3 starts with the P-Nats... Meyers, 23, was selected in the 5th round of the '07 Draft out of Loyola Marymount University (CA).

THUNDER AND LIGHTNING: The P-Nats lead the Carolina League with 20 home runs and 31 stolen bases...Potomac paces Washington minor league affiliates in batting average (.256), runs scored (104), hits (158), homers, RBI (93), walks (74) and steals.

Single-A Hagerstown Suns
South Atlantic League Northern Division
6-11, 7th Place , 5.0 Games Back

THEY'D BE LOST WITHOUT HIM: C Derek Norris leads the Suns in hits (16) homers (3), RBI (10), total bases (30), slugging (.484) and OPS (.840)... per Baseball America , the 20-year-old entered the season rated as the No. 6 prospect and top overall catching prospect in Washington's system...Norris was selected in the 4th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Goddard (KS) High School.

By Chico Harlan  |  April 30, 2009; 3:23 PM ET
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Next: Thursday Night Lineups


Wow, Bill's going to have a hard time beating this next week.

Really, I enjoy the form as much as I enjoy the content.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 30, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Was hoping to see Stammen this weekend vs. Charlotte, but it appears he won't appear as he is going tonight. Oh well, perhaps I'll see Balester.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 30, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

What a minor league farm system. Almost as good as those Orioles' teams from about six/seven years ago when they had Didley and Bupkus as their two big prospects. Tell Gluvna not to bogart that stuff, it's rude.

Posted by: Juliasdad | April 30, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I really hope we can get a glimpse of Chris Marrero in Sept...

Posted by: FloresFan | April 30, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

From the last thread:

"Manny's managed his bullpen well, IMO, except any time he outs in Rivera."

That's the whole problem, outsider6, there just haven't been enough outs in Rivera.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 30, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Stammen, Clippard, and Balester are all pitching well. Great news. When we give up on Dcab after a few more starts, who gets the callup? Does Dcab have "options" to go down to AAA? Also, can I get a report on Detwiler, Mcgeary, and Smoker? Thanks!

Posted by: destewar | April 30, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Carrying forward from the last thread:

jca, I'm not necessarily surpised either. I am disappointed though, and I think it is not consistent with what Mark Lerner vowed would be the case.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | April 30, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse


Little typo there... shoulda said "puts in Rivera". I've been mystified about how that guy keeps a place in the big leagues. I get that he is durable but he's a mop-up guy only. NEVER throws well in the clutch.

Posted by: outsider6 | April 30, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

A Freudian typo, outsider6!

Posted by: BobLHead | April 30, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I think by mid may we should start expoloring the possibilty of bringing up the Tyler Clippards of this world. He can't be any worse than the bullpen we already have.

Posted by: kingtutts | April 30, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

"Do people think this is consistent with Mark Lerner's vow that for the first decade any profits they realize would be put back into the team? I don't."

I do. As far as I'm concerned, and I'm sure as far as the Lerners are concerned, "the team" is synonymous with "the franchise". If they're paying back the loans they took on to buy the team with profits made from the team - which is what Boswell implied - that is putting the profits back into the team, and is entirely appropriate. Boswell likened it to what the average Joe does when buying a house, and it's a good analogy. A wise homeowner pays off his mortgage, so that one day down the line he owns the house free and clear, rather than the bank owning it. The last thing any franchise wants is for its owner to go into foreclosure on the team.

And for those who are going to jump in now saying "Ted Lerner's a multi-billionaire, he can afford it", I'll agree that he is worth a lot of money. But how much of that is net worth of properties, and how much is liquid funds? None of us know, but if he's going to pay down his debt on the team he needs liquid funds to do that. If those liquid funds are money he makes from the team, what's wrong with him using that money of pay off his loans related to the purchase of the team? It's not like he's personally profiting from owning the team, which is what you guys are implying.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 30, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"i disagree with joe, wmpete, and catcher50, but i commend them for putting forth meaningful arguments rather than relying on "snark" and phil wood to mask a lack of reasonable argument. "

The argument I'm making is not that Manny shouldn't be fired, it's that he WON'T be fired as long as folks like Kasten and Rizzo have anything to say about it. Phil Wood and Ray Knight come into the equation because their opinions seem to closely track with the thinking of Kasten and Rizzo, who aren't directly addressing this question.

The point of the Zimmerman "snark" is this: You don't make a decision based solely on three straight slow starts. Yeah, they start slow every year. They did it under Frank, too, in case you didn't notice. Rather than looking at the slow starts, look at the outcome of the entire seasons. Manny Acta's three starts have been virtually identical. But the end result in 2007 was much different than the end result of 2008. Let's wait and see what the end result of 2009 is before we make any judgments, okay?

Posted by: nunof1 | April 30, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I was away all day and missed the (latest) Acta discussions, but I don't really understand the point of asking the pro-Acta camp to try to convince the anti-Acta camp they are wrong or vice versa. Either would be a waste of typing time/bandwidth, IMO. If someone's mind is made up about something, it's a waste of time and effort to try to convince them otherwise. Unless one enjoys arguing for the sake of arguing. If so, argue away, dudes.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 30, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

nunof, why am I not surprised that we disagree on this? But that's fine, a reasoned response like yours in this instance is always welcome.

Here's why I disagree that servicing the debt is not putting money into the team: there is a difference between the team (i.e., the asset that is owned), and the owners of the asset. By paying down the debt, the only ones who are benefiting are the Lerners as the owners of the asset, with respect to the time when they ultimately sell the team down the road. I view putting money into the team as something that actually benefits the asset--i.e., the team and derivatively its fans (a "public trust" as Lerner has refered to it). What's the difference to us if the Lerners were to use the money to pay off debt, or put it in their own pockets? There is none, and that's what informs my view. Foreclosure is not the issue, it's not our problem how the Lerners as owners chose to finance their purchase of the asset. Foreclosure is also not an issue because they can always sell.

Anyway, none of this is to say that what the Lerners are doing is necessarily "wrong." But I do think that it is not consistent with Lerner's promise, as I stated earlier. That vow has been referred to by them and by Kasten to gain goodwill among the fans. But again, why should we as fans be pleased to hear that the money is going to pay down their debt, as opposed to lining their pockets? It makes no difference to us--the Lerners profit either way, either in the short term (by pocketing the money), or in the long term when they sell the team (by servicing the debt).

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | April 30, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"It makes no difference to us--the Lerners profit either way, either in the short term (by pocketing the money), or in the long term when they sell the team (by servicing the debt)."

If you believe what Boswell says, the Lerners intend to own the team for generations. Should they still be in debt on it for generations? Were the Rooneys in debt on the Steelers for generations? Were the Maras in debt on the Giants for generations? How long do you think Steinbrenner remained in debt after he bought the Yankees?

The whole point of the Lerners paying off what they owe on the team is that they won't ever be forced to sell it to come up with cash, no matter what happens with their other properties down the line. Why is that a bad thing?

Posted by: nunof1 | April 30, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

"The whole point of the Lerners paying off what they owe on the team is that they won't ever be forced to sell it to come up with cash, no matter what happens with their other properties down the line. Why is that a bad thing?"

My comments did not address bad/good. My comments addressed whether what the Lerners are doing is consistent with the vow that Mark Lerner made--a vow which no one forced him to make. As I said, I don't believe that it is, and I think it is important that this be recognized. That's it.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | April 30, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Good to hear about Stammen, Baly, Tyler...along with Berggy and the rest of the guys who were sent down, at least we have some quality replacement to ship up and down if there is anyone on the big league club not getting it done.
Right now, NONE of our pitchers should be comfortable...each one needs to remind himself that A) if he can't make it with the Nats, he probably can't make it anywhere, and B)if he does his job, stays calm, prepares mentally, and throws strikes, he will get the chance to pitch lots of innings this year.

Posted by: ajtrue78 | April 30, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

1a1, rocking my world. "Unless one enjoys arguing for the sake of arguing." You say that as if it's a bad thing.

I haven't gotten over Julian's telling us that beer is bad this morning, and now this?

Beer and arguing go together like Saul Rivera and kerosene. Or Milledge and grass-stained knees. Or...well, I'll stop now.


Posted by: utec | April 30, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it's possible to argue that using current profits to pay down the Lerner's debt is somehow putting money into the team. It's not.

On the other hand, if they had simply promised to funnel all "net profits" back into the team, that could have meant profits net of the cost of current debt service, among other expenses. If all they're doing is making the equivalent of current monthly mortgage payments, it's hard for me to get up in arms about that.

If they're taking out big chunks of the debt with current profits, that might be a different story. Even if that's the case though, I wouldn't have a problem with them doing that now as long as there is money available later to increase the payroll as appropriate. For example, why should we care if they use the $20 million they were willing to pay Teixeira this year to reduce the debt load if they go ahead and sign Strasburg and Figgins and whomever else for $40 million next year?

Posted by: BobLHead | April 30, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse


What I'm really hoping the Lerners' do this year is tell the FO - "You fellows say we have an opportunity to land a once in a decade player this year, and some other pieces for the future as well - There's $__M set aside to help you do that - if it looks like you're going to go over the number, come back & talk to us".

Probably unrealistic, but I can dream.

Posted by: BinM | April 30, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

You're funny, Geezer. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 30, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Syracuse is 10-4 and 4.5 GB? There is a team that is something like 15-0 ?

Posted by: paulkp | May 1, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

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