Sunday, August 25, 2013

Who will get the call in September?

Photo by USA Today
The Nationals are about to enter September under much different circumstances than they did last season, with different priorities as they get set to expand their roster. Instead of looking for specialists to use sparingly during a pennant race, the Nats can see what a few players have at the big league level and maybe even showcase guys for future trades.

In 2011 when the Nats were also around the .500 mark, they brought up six players, including Steve Lombardozzi, who became a key bench player on the NL East-winning 2012 club, and Brad Peacock, who helped them land Gio Gonzalez the following winter.

Who will get a look this season? Here are a few names to watch as the Nats get ready to expand their roster:

Good bets

LHP Ian Krol – This one’s easy. Davey Johnson already said the Nats plan to call Krol back up in September, after the lefty was optioned to Syracuse on Aug. 21 to make room for Ross Ohlendorf. Krol gave up five earned runs in his last seven innings before being sent down and will look to find the success he had when he was first called up in early June. He should see as much game action as any of the call-ups and could lock up a bullpen role for next season.

RHP Ryan Mattheus – Mattheus was also sent down recently, on Aug. 15, and the roster expansion should help him return to Washington. Mattheus struggled after coming back from the DL on July 26, leaving for Syracuse with a 6.26 ERA through 23 innings this season with the Nats. He’s been okay in three outings in Triple-A since the demotion (1 ER in 3 IP) so we’ll see if he can finish the season strong. 

OF Eury Perez – Perez came up last September and saw limited action this season with the Nats (5 games). The 23-year-old is known for his speed and defense and hits over .300 in the minors. If the batting average could ever translate to the MLB level, he’d be a solid trade chip or potential bench option for 2014.

IF/OF Jeff Kobernus – The speedy utility man spent a month with the Nats earlier this season after debuting on May 25 and playing in 15 total games. Kobernus is versatile with the ability to play infield and outfield, and can also be used in pinch-running situations.

Probables

RHP Erik Davis – Working in Davis’ favor is the fact he’s already been up with the Nats this season, appearing in five games in the month of June. He has, however, had a bit of a rough going this month in Triple-A, having allowed earned runs in three of his last five outings. Davis should still get the call and provide another right-handed relief option for the Nats through the last month of the season.

OF Corey Brown – The Nats have picked over Brown several times this season, opting to go with new faces instead of the 27-year-old outfielder. But Brown makes sense for this September, having already spent two stints with the team over the last two seasons. He played 19 games with the Nats last year, and showed power with two doubles and a home run in 28 at-bats. His minor league numbers are a bit down from last season, but he’d still give Washington a lefty bat off the bench and another backup outfielder.

1B Chris Marrero – Marrero was a September call-up in 2011 and has played eight games with the Nats this season. The former first round pick is having a decent year at Syracuse overall, batting .277 with ten home runs and 56 RBI. But if Marrero comes up, he probably won’t see much time in the field. The Nats are giving Tyler Moore a shot at first base on off days for Adam LaRoche, and Marrero may be the odd-man out.

Longshots

IF Zach Walters – Walters has been a standout at Syracuse this year with a team-leading 29 home runs through 125 games. He isn’t on the 40-man roster currently, so that’s a consideration, but Walters is the type of player the Nats could showcase in September. If he can flash similar power at the MLB level, maybe he draws interest from a team this offseason.

IF Danny Espinosa – Davey Johnson said this past week he doesn’t expect the Nats to call up Espinosa, as bringing him back should be viewed as a reward. Espinosa hasn’t shown any signs of improvement with Syracuse since his demotion, hitting .203 with 94 strikeouts in 67 games. The Nats would like to see him turn things around and re-install himself as part of the team’s future, he just hasn’t proved worthy of a second chance.

24 comments:

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

What has happened to Espinosa? Walters playing a lot of 3rd. He should also be playing outfield. His glove is rated poor which will make it difficult for him to make the jump. Looking very AAA.

mick said...

Mark...aren't Nats still trying to make WC?/

In 2011 that was not an option...it is now

mick said...

yes, show case but still winning is first priotity

Eugene in Oregon said...

Chris Marrero. Wow. I saw him play outfield (ouch!) for the P-Nats shortly after he signed. Seems like 10 years ago. Maybe it was.

As for Danny Espinosa, agree with Ghost: what's happened? The failure to 'turn it around' suggests -- to this non-M.D. -- an injury. It would seem like the best thing for Mr. Espinosa and the Nats would be to clean out his shoulder (or whatever the medically appropriate fix is) and start over again next Spring Training.

Faraz Shaikh said...

should have done that in the first place.

Joe Seamhead said...

I agree with you on Zach Walters, Ghost.It's hard to look past 34 errors.
When Werth and Harper were both down earlier in the year, I figured that both Eury Perez and Corey Brown must have kicked somebody important's dog, or something, because inspite of their decent outfielding skills, they kept sending infielders that weren't hitting for squat out to play the outfield. It seemed like Perez got permanently on Davey's bad side when he stole a base without getting the sign in 2012. In spring training 2012 Davey stated how tough it was to send Brown down, but that he would be back up.Well, for his return trip back he didn't need to pack much more than his toothbrush.

slidell2 said...

Regarding the WC; how we do this week should guide the thinking.

If we win at least 4 out of 6, maybe hold off on the "showcasing" a bit. Sweep, and I think it's a whole new ballgame.

Section 222 said...

Wait, I thought Espi had figured it out in Syracuse. He went 5 for 13 with two doubles in the three games before yesterday's game. That's a slashline of .385/.429/.538.

Should have had the surgery last fall...

mick said...

If nats bomb in homestand, then yes showcase...but if nats are over 500 going into 9/1..my goodness, play forWC!!

PChuck said...

Zach Walters is just 23 years old. That very young for AAA. There's no rush with him.

JamesFan said...

What has added energy to this team is the arrival of some fresh blood and platooning some players which gets Moore and Lombo into the lineup. I want to see lots of callups in September even if the season is not over for the Nats (personally, I think it is.)

If the above list is the most major league-ready players, it is not very impressive. Krol, Mattheus, Brown, Marreo have been up and haven't seized the opportunity.

I would like to see a lot of Perez, to me the best potential of the lot. Perez and Kobernus would fit on the Nats' bench next year.

I've moved on from Davey. I do believe he plays favorites over talent and I'm ready for him to retire.

SonnyG10 said...

I wouldn't mind seeing Corey Brown up one more time.

baseballswami said...

Would love to see them rest the Manager and let Knorr run the team.

Section 222 said...

mick, sorry to burst your bubble, but you realize that to get to 90 wins, all the Reds have to do is go 16-16 the rest of the way. The Nats have to go 25-8. if they only at .500. on 9/1, that means they'd have to go 22-3 the rest of the way. Face it, it's over. But you were saying that back in May.

mick said...

sec222

you are assuming 90 wins are needed.. Reds could slump

Secret wasian man said...

mow whos doomin it. 25 and 8 no problem.

mick said...

sec222

why is 90 wins the mark??

Secret wasian man said...

WC???? division baby only 12 back.

NatsLady said...

Chris Johnson with turf toe, scratched for today.

baseballswami said...

Just play good baseball day to day and control what you can. You just never know. Plus -- you should be doing that anyway.

BigCat said...

We need the reds to go on a 5 or 6 game losing streak.....then things could get veeeery interesting

SonnyG10 said...

Hey, where's the new game thread? We're only 45 minutes away from today's game.

natsfan1a said...

It's up.

BigCat said...

29 bombs for Walters? Is Syracuse a launching pad or what? He is 6'2 and 220 lbs. Can he run? Marrero only 10 bombs and most of those were early, if I recall. Marrero's time has run out here.

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