Next up on the SAL team previews are the Hagerstown Suns as I continue around the league alphabetically.
The Hagerstown Suns are a Washington Nationals franchise and for this preview I scoured the Auburn Doubledays and GCL Nationals rosters. I then asked NatsGM.com editor “the Baron” about how the Nats handle promotions in the low minors and general prospect placement and he said:
“I should research these answers a bit more, but generally they send GCL kids to Auburn for a bit, though they will push them quickly thru Auburn to Hags. I think similarly with international guys, maybe even slower with them in general, likely cause most are so raw due to budget limitations. Anderson Franco could be an interesting example this year with this though- I cannot recall college guys skipping Hags in the past… They will skip Potomac but not Hags.”
You can find the Baron on Twitter at @theNatsGM, he’s a valuable resource for everything Washington Nationals and an entertaining follow. He was gracious with his time and I wouldn’t hesitate using him again.
The official rosters won’t be available until early April so this is me speculating.
This is a scouting site and once I see Hagerstown (they’re on my preliminary schedule for 4/26, 7/18 and 9/5) you can expect write ups on most of these players.
CF) Victor Robles
Victor Robles, age 18, listed 6′ 185 lbs, bats and throws right. Robles signed for $250,000 in July of 2014 out of the Dominican Republic. Mark Anderson from baseball Prospectus saw Robles for 3 games in July of 2015 and posted an eyewitness scouting report. Here’s a snippet: “Impact defensive profile at up the middle position; speed plays on both sides of the ball; potential top of the order hitter that posts high averages, solid OBP, and wreaks havoc on the bases; potential to develop strength that augments premium bat speed and leads to some power; confident player with strong makeup; shows instincts on the field.” Click the link it’s a very good read. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/eyewitness_bat.php?reportid=291
RF) Rhett Wiseman
Rhett Wiseman, age 21, listed 6’1″ 205 lbs, he bats left and throws right. Wiseman was the Nats 3rd round pick in the 2015 draft out of Vanderbilt. He’s a solid across the board type of player, no real stand out tool.
C) Jakson Reetz
Jakson Reetz, age 20, listed 6’1″ 195 lbs, he bats and throws right. Reetz was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 draft out of Firth, Ne. At the time of the draft Reetz was known for having a polished bat and potential for average or above power and raw defensively. A left wrist injury cost him some time in 2015 but he was back at instructs and should be good to go this Spring.
3B) Anderson Franco
Anderson Franco, age 18, listed 6’3″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right. Franco signed for $900,000 in July of 2014 out of the Dominican Republic. Kiley McDaniel wrote this before the 2015 season, “Franco has above average pop and throwing arm, with some feel to hit.” I haven’t seen anything more recent. According to the Baron there’s a good chance Franco gets held back in extended and starts the year in Auburn.
OF) Blake Perkins
Blake Perkins, age 19, listed 6’1″ 165 lbs, bats both and throws right. Perkins was the Nats 2nd round pick in the 2015 draft out of high school in Buckeye AZ (Phoenix area) An athletic center fielder with good speed who’s a little raw at the dish. After ditching the switch hitting in high school and just batting from his natural side (right) he has picked that back up. I would have listed him higher but I suspect he too will be starting in Auburn with perhaps a late call up to Hagerstown.
Around the diamond
In addition to Reetz, we might see a return to Hagerstown from Raudy Reed and/or Jorge Tilero. Also in the mix are Luis Vilorio and undrafted free agent Erik Vanmeetren.
SS – Edwin Lora will likely be the starting shortstop and according to mlb.com he can handle the bat, has excellent speed, and has the arm and range to stay at short. Another player I’m looking forward to seeing. 16th rounder Ian Sagdal, and 19th round pick Clayton Brandt might also see time. 2014 23rd rounder Chris Reopedre has seen time at SS, 2B and 3B
2B – 13th rd pick Max Schrock seems to be getting some buzz as a potential nice value pick. 17th rd pick Daltin Dulin, 39th rd pick Jake Jeffries who also plays 3rd, and from the GCL side 33rd rd pick Angelo La Bruna could also see time at 2nd base. Also in the GCL is 19 year old Joshuel Ramirez but he seems ticketed for Auburn.
3B – In addition to Anderson Franco at third, Kelvin Gutierrez could also see time and he’s interesting; listed at 6’3″ 185 lbs, the 21 year old saw his ISO jump from .063 to .109 in 2015. We might also see Bryan Mejia back for a return engagement.
1B – Across the diamond at 1st base there are a few later round draft picks as candidates: 9th rounder David Kerian, 15th rd pick in the 2014 draft Ryan Ripken, and 32nd round pick Dalton DiNataleage. One of them could get the bulk of the playing time or they may see a time share. 16th rd pick Ian Sagdal might also get some reps as he has the odd combination of playing shortstop and 1B in rookie ball.
CF – In addition to Victor Robles in center field, we might see a return from Andrew Stevenson but he’s most likely headed for Potomac. There’s a better chance we’ll see 2nd round pick Blake Perkins who will likely start the year in Auburn but could get promoted in the 2nd half. Robles, Stevenson, and Perkins are all very talented. Having them all in one system is impressive. Here’s a question for all of you to answer, who will be the starting center fielder for the Nats on opening day in 2020, Victor Robles, Andrew Stevenson, Blake Perkins or other? Look for me on Twitter @AshevilleSoxFan or leave your comment at the bottom of the page I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this.
RF – Rhett Wiseman looks like the starting right fielder
LF – I have been doing 5 notables for every team during this preview series if I included a 6th for Hagerstown it would have been left fielder Telmito Agustin. He’s 19 listed 5’10 160 lbs, he bats and throws left. He has put up impressive numbers with the bat and he has great speed it will be interesting to see how much power develops. Also in the mix at one or both of the corner outfield spots: 19th rounder in the 2014 draft Clay Williamson, 29th round draft pick in the 2015 draft Phillip Diedrick, Gilberto Ramirez, Randy Encarnacion, Luis Guzman and Darryl Florentino.
A starting outfield of Robles, Wiseman and Agustin is about as good as it gets at the A-Ball level.
I think there’s some chance that Erick Fedde is back with the Suns to start the season. What’s giving me hesitation is he’ll be 23 years old on opening day and I’m sure they want to get him in the high minors as fast as possible, but he only had 6 starts at this level in 2015. It’ll be interesting to see if he starts in Potomac or back with the Suns.
This group will be making up the bulk of the rotations for Hagerstown and Auburn. 2015 draftees 6th round lefty Matt Crownover, 10th rounder Taylor Guilbeau, also Joan Baez, Taylor Hearn, Robbie Dickey, Wilber Pena, Yorlin Reynoso, Matthew Derosier, Tyler Watson. I don’t know much about any of these starting pitchers right now but Baez was pretty lights out in the GCL.
I had fun digging around in the Washington Nationals low minors. There’s a lot of talent down here and catcher, 3rd base, shortstop and all 3 outfield spots should all be very interesting in Hagerstown in 2016.
I’ll be back in a few days with a look at the Hickory Crawdads. Cheers.