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Starting pitchers like Shawn Hill and Jason Bergmann

Posted by admin | Vermont

Pitching, pitching, pitching. It’s a mantra that Nationals GM Jim Bowden has repeated time and time again since joining the team in the winter of 2004. While the Nationals have managed to find a few serviceable arms from within, starting pitchers like Shawn Hill and Jason Bergmann, the organizational depth on the mound has been a weakness throughout MLB’s stewardship of the Expos. That appears to be changing and the 2007 Lake Monsters are the first indicator that the right steps are underway to rebuild the player development system. Vermont’s starting rotation featured no fewer than five arms that have a good chance of developing into future major leaguers. This stable of strong arms led Vermont to a 38-37 record, one of only three Nationals affiliates with an above 0.500 record (DSL Nationals1 and Potomac were the others).

STATISTICS

Hitting

Team AB R H HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SB
Vermont 2396 330 588 31 257 558 245 332 343 675 107
NY-PA Avg 2468 340 625 37 253 564 253 332 365 697 76

Pitching

Team IP ERA WHIP BA OPS BAbip K/9 BB/9 K/BB HR/9
Vermont 635 3.83 1.38 237 662 301 8.6 4.5 1.9 0.5
NY-PA Avg 646 3.89 1.36 253 691 311 7.9 3.5 2.2 0.5

The Lake Monsters rode their strong pitching to thirty-eight victories. 2006 1st & 4th rounders Colton Willems & Glenn Gibson and 2007 2nd & 8th rounders Jordan Zimmermann & Adrian Alaniz spearheaded the strong staff of starters. The four combined for twenty of the team’s thirty-eight wins with a 2.03ERA, 1.11WHIP, 8.7 K/9, and 3.3 K/BB. Not to be completely outdone by the starters, 2007 draft picks Martin Beno (36th rd), Caleb Staudt (39th), and Luke Pisker (17th) who combined for three wins and three saves over 53 total appearances (79IP) with a 3.08ERA, 1.06WHIP, a sub-0.200 Opponents BA, and 10.5K/9.

Offensively, the Monsters were below average in hitting for average and power but reached base on an average basis and when they did, led the New York/Penn League in stolen bases with 107. Boomer Whiting led the way with 37/42 stolen bases while Garrett Bass (16/20), Mark Gildea (16/23), and Dan Lyons (17/20) helped Vermont generate a nearly league average number runs despite their below average hitting.

Team Hit Pit
Vermont 21.7 20.9
NY-PA Avg 21.4 21.6

It appeared that the Nationals utilized the 2007 draft as a means of repopulating the lower level of the minor leagues with new blood from the college ranks. In previous two seasons, the Nationals signed only 49 total players, requiring them to fill several of their roster spots in Vermont with older players. The New York/Penn League limits rostters to no more than four players who are 23 or older, and no more than three players on active list may have four or more years of prior service. In previous seasons, the Nationals were typically right around those maximums, filling in spots with older and more experienced players. This past season, the Nationals signed 39 players alone and of those only CA Sean Rooney was a regular starter from a previous draft class.

It seems the Nationals have made the effort to assemble a population of future organizational players, allowing them to scale back their reliance on the six-year free agents going forward. In 2007, both Hagerstown and Potomac featured many players who would be classified as too old for the league they were in and the direction taken in this year’s draft should allow the Nationals to stabilize their A-ball rosters with relatively younger players who are under the team’s control for four years. This is not to be taken too lightly as the Nationals are now able to develop a “Nationals way” of player development that should permit them more consistent instruction up the player development ladder.

Regular Lineup

HIT (based on # GS)
CA Sean Rooney, 21
1B Bill Rhinehart, 22
2B Jake Rogers, 23
3B Anthony Benner, 20
SS Dan Lyons, 22
LF Boomer Whiting, 24
CF Mark Gildea, 21
RF Aaron Seuss,22
DH Garrett Bass, 22
BENCH
CA Craig Stinson, 23
UTIL Jean Alvarez, 20
UTIL Jonathan Martinez, 22
2B Stephen King, 19
CF Stephen Englund, 19
RF Michael Burgess, 18
PIT (based on # GS)
SP Hassan Pena, 22
SP Cole Kimball, 21
SP Colton Willems, 18
SP Glenn Gibson, 19*
SP Jordan Zimmermann, 21
SP Adrian Alaniz, 23
other Josh Smoker, 18
other Jack McGeary, 18
RP Martin Beno, 20
RP Ryan Harrison, 20
RP Caleb Staudt, 20
RP Luke Pisker, 21
RP Edulin Abreu, 22
RP Devin Drag, 23
RP Ryan Buchter, 20*
CL Alberto Tavarez, 23

‘*’ = lefthanded pitcher

As explained above, the Monsters featured an everyday lineup of 2007 draft picks who were likely selected because they fit the mold of what the Nationals future of player development is going to be. From a quick scan of their individual statistics, the Nationals have seemingly focused on plate discipline/pitch identification from their hitters. After last year’s performance where the team batted a collective 233/296/311 with only 186 walks and 611 strikeouts, the 2007 team moved up to league average with a 245/332/343 while increasing their number of walks (257) and reducing their number of strkeouts (558).

Top 10 Vermont Lake Monsters Prospects

  1. Colton Willems RHSP
  2. Josh Smoker LHSP
  3. Jack McGeary LHSP
  4. Jordan Zimmermann RHSP
  5. Glenn Gibson LHSP
  6. Adrian Alaniz RHSP
  7. Bill Rhinehart 1B
  8. Mark Gildea CF
  9. Garrett Bass LF/RF
  10. Boomer Whiting LF/CF

Note: RF Michael Burgess, CF Stephen Englund, and 2B/SS Stephen King were not included on this list given their inclusion on the GCL roster. If these players were slotted among the top 10 list here, Burgess would be the #1 and Englund and King would slide in between Gibson and Alaniz at #6 and 7 respectively.

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