Sunday, January 20, 2019

Boxing Challenge: Pacquiao solves the Problem

 Before their pay per view fight, the story had been almost entirely about the typically boorish behavior of Adrien Broner and only a little about the skills of 40-year-old Manny Pacquiao.

The questions now are these-  just which PBC star will Manny Pacquiao face next and when will PBC realize that Adrien Broner is simply not an elite level fighter and when will their promotional company stop presenting him as such?
Manny Pacquiao threw more punches, landed the harder punches and was never threatened in a unanimous decision victory that some scored as a shutout.
I scored it 118-110 and it was surprisingly closer on the official cards, but the easy win opens up Pacquiao several avenues to choose from for his next fight.
There's always the rumors of a Floyd Mayweather return, but in hoping that never happens, Manny still has options.
Fights vs WBA champion Keith Thurman (Pacquiao holds a WBA minor title) and WBC champion Shawn Porter are possible as could be one vs Danny Garcia, who always seems to be in the thick of these events, much like Adrien Broner (more on him in a bit) and could be of interest.
IBF champion Errol Spence would be a huge challenge, should he defeat Mikey Garcia, but I'm doubtful we ever would see a Spence-Pacquiao fight as many of the reasons that Pacquiao left Top Rank was an unwillingness to face Terence Crawford so Spence wouldn't be as equal of a reward as the risk.
Mikey Garcia is a possibility, especially if he upsets Spence as the two are close to the same natural size, might make the exciting fight of the bunch and would be an attractive PPV event.

Manny Pacquiao showed enough in victory to remain viable, but Adrien Broner did not.
Broner, who despite a watered down "four division champion" resume' line has never decisively beaten a fighter better than Antonio DeMarco, has some 'arguable' decision wins over the likes of Daniel Ponce DeLeon, Paulie Malignaggi, Adrian Granados and a really questionable draw vs Jessie Vargas and losses against every top opponent he has faced (Marcos Maidana, Mikey Garcia, Shawn Porter and now Manny Pacquiao) continues to receive sizable paychecks and big fights despite mouth that delivers more in the press conference that he ever brings to the ring.
Broner's awful treatment of Al Bernstein and racist statements towards the Pacquiao camp were bad enough, but his effort, which showed a sturdy chin and nothing else, was lacking until his delusional post-fight conduct where he hollered about whipping Pacquiao for "The Hood", screaming about being robbed and talking about beating up 60-year-old Showtime interviewer Jim Gray, seemed more aimed at being a character rather than a fighter.
If we see Broner anywhere near a big fight again, PBC needs to take a deeper look at their managemental decisions and perhaps "The Zabbies" may eventually be renamed "The Bronies"!

In the co-feature, former Olympian Marcus Browne dominated and busted open Badou Jack in winning a unanimous decision (116-110 on my card) to win a minor title.
Browne boxed very well off the jab and clearly controlled the fight, but his best shots were a right hand that seemed to hurt Jack in the fifth and a headbutt that left a vertical cut down Jack's forehead which gushed as much blood as you'll see in a boxing ring.
Browne has the potential with his size and skills to be a tough fight with any of the best at 175, but
his chin has been shown to be questionable and I still think he received a gift split decision against Radivoje Kalajdzic, in a decision that was as bad you'll see.
Browne now holds a WBA minor title and will eventually face their true champion Dmitry Bivol down the road.

In the other challenge bout, Nordine Oubaali won the vacant WBC bantamweight title with a competitive, yet clear unanimous decision over Rau'Shee Warren in a pairing of southpaws.
The fight was a rematch of their 2012 Olympic fight, which was also won by Oubaali, who marched forward with a strong right hook and is in a position to be the only bantamweight title that will not be held by the winner of the World Boxing Super Series in the division.

The Jhack Tepora-Hugo Ruiz fight was canceled when Tepora was far overweight at the weigh-in.

In the boxing challenge, Ramon Malpica earned four points to my wo on the evening.
Ramon added two points each from the Pacquiao and Oubaali wins, while both of my points were due to the Pacquiao win.
I lead the challenge 9-8.


Conference Title Game selections.

Last Week: 3-1
Overall: 151-48-1

NFC Title
Saints over Rams 44-40

AFC Title
Chiefs over Patriots 35-32

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Boxing Challenge: Two Networks, Two Shockers!

Friday night was looked at as a mere appetizer for the Manny Pacquiao- Adrien Broner PPV slate on Saturday, but instead, each network involved promoted what turned out to be a major upset that will shake up future fights in their division.

Let's start with Matchroom Boxing on DAZN, where in the main event,
Demetrius Andrade retained his WBO middleweight title for the first time with a final round stoppage of Artur Akakov in the Madison Garden Theatre (formerly known as the Felt Forum).
Andrade issued his typical performance, using his jab that kept Akakov puzzled all evening and entered the final round up nine rounds to two on my card before Andrade mildly buzzed Akakov with a right hand with 45 seconds remaining.
Surprisingly, referee Arthur Mercante Jr stopped the fight over the severe protests of Akakov and the stoppage seemed very premature in my opinion.
Andrade called out Gennady Golovkin after the fight, but I'd be surprised that would be next, even if Golovkin selected DAZN as his television home, Andrade is high risk, little reward and wouldn't make very much sense, if the end game is a third fight with Canelo Alvarez.
I would guess that Andrade would next face another contender of Akakov's level, which is in the top 15 range depending on the organization, although the eventual big fight might be former WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders, who was stripped of the title last fall for failing an illegal substance test before a title defense vs Andrade.

Former three division champion Jorge Linares was expected to take another step towards a junior welterweight title fight against WBC champion Jose Ramirez and all Linares had to do earn that shot would be to defeat veteran fringe contender Pablo Cesar Cano in the co-feature.
Less than one round and three knockdowns later, the title fight possibilities and possibly the career of Linares was finished with Cano pulling the upset of his career.
For all the talent and offensively tremendous skills that Linares has always possessed, Linares has always had a less than sturdy chin and when this fight started, Cano looked like a fighter far larger and Linares didn't have a chance as the first punch Cano landed sent Linares to the mat.
Linares never seemed to regain his equilibrium and despite landing some shots against the charging Cano, was unable to repel his aggression in being knocked down two more times with the fight being called after a woozy Linares rose to his feet on unsteady legs.
This might be all she wrote for Linares, who Steve Kim has called arguably the most brilliant and flawed fighter of his time.
Linares clearly isn't strong enough to hold off 140 pounders and dropping back to lightweight either may not an option in making weight or after this loss, a Vasyl Lomachenko rematch or a talked about fight for years against Mikey Garcia would be highly unlikely.
As for Cano, he'll receive the chance to face Jose Ramirez for his WBC title and attempt to add another surprise victory to his record.

IBF junior featherweight champion T.J. Doheny defended his championship for the first time against overmatched late substitute Ryohei Takahashi by an eleventh round knockout.
The stoppage seemed a little soon to me (Not nearly as bad as the Andrade-Akakov ending later in the evening), but Doheny had won every round and even though Takahashi never stopped moving forward, one could argue enough was enough.
I liked what I saw from the technically strong Doheny and I think the possible All-DAZN unification fight with WBA beltholder Daniel Roman could prove to be a very even fight.

Meanwhile, on the other end of New York state in Verona, Heavyweight Bryant Jennings looked to cement himself as a possible challenger to champion Anthony Joshua with a win over Oscar Rivas.
Jennings entered the fight as the number two contender in the WBO and assuming he continued winning over the average competition he had been facing since his loss to Luis Ortiz, he would eventually receive a title shot.
The undefeated Rivas had fought every fight of his career in Canada and against no one of note and no one knew what he would bring in his first fight against a contender.
I had Jennings narrowly ahead entering the final round (6-5 in rounds) and the ESPN+ broadcast flashed a graphic that stated Rivas did not land more than nine punches in any of the previous eleven closely contested, but not visually thrilling rounds.
The Rivas corner screamed at their man that the fight was on the line and he needed a big twelfth round and how many times in boxing do we hear that and watch the fighter shuffle along to take his chances on the cards?
Rivas listened and roared from his corner with a rage unseen and pounded Jennings with a series of rights that sent Jennings to the canvas.
Jennings barely beat the count and couldn't hold off Rivas, who drove Jennings into the ropes with a volley of bombs that forced the referee to end the fight.
Rivas will likely zoom to near the top of at least the WBO rankings, if not other organizations as well and we could see more of him in a top loaded heavyweight division.
For Jennings, he'll have to start over, which might be a daunting task and he'll likely have to face tougher competition to speed that process along.

Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson looked sensational in winning the first three rounds and then stopping Jessie Rosales with one straight left.
Stevenson is beginning to throw and land more power punches than he did in his initial bouts and as a result, is not only improving as a fighter, he has become much more fun to watch,
Stevenson is ready for a jump in competition.

In the boxing challenge, I earned six points to Ramon Malpica's three to lead the boxing challenge 7-4.
I added three points from Shakur Stevenson (win, knockout and bonus point for the round), two points from T.J. Doheny and one from Demetrius Andrade.
Ramon picked up one point from each of those wins.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Boxing Challenge

An early start to the boxing challenge this week with two fight cards on Friday before a pay per view broadcast Saturday night that will end a nine-fight challenge for the true kickoff for the 2019 boxing calendar.

The biggest fight of the weekend occurs in Las Vegas as Manny Pacquiao makes his PBC debut with his minor title defense against Adrien Broner.
Pacquiao looked very strong in his win over Lucas Matthysse and seemed to have spring in his step, but Matthysse was a spent force and an impressive win over Broner could move him into several fights in the mostly PBC controlled division.
Broner, who despite winning championships, has never defeated an elite fighter, but still has been very competitive in his three defeats and should make this a fight worth paying attention to, if not action-filled.

The undercard has a very interesting fight for a minor light heavyweight title between Badou Jack and Marcus Browne, Rau'Shee Warren faces Nordine Oubaali in an Olympic rematch for the vacant WBC bantamweight title and Jhack Tepora vs Hugo Ruiz for a minor featherweight title.
Jack vs Browne is the most interesting to me as Jack battled to a draw with Adonis Stevenson in his previous bout in which he moved up from super middleweight while former Olympian Browne has shown a big punch and a questionable chin in his young career.

Friday night, ESPN+ and DAZN battle each other with streaming cards at the same time.
DAZN has more important fights, if not the most interesting with the main event showcasing Demetrius Andrade defending his WBO middleweight title against Artur Akakov from the small hall known as the Madison Square Garden Theatre.
Andrade returns less than three months after his victory for the vacant title, which is the good news for the often inactive champion.
The issue is the opponent in Akakov, who dazzled few in his only fight against a top ten opponent in Billy Joe Saunders and might make this a dull fight.
Andrade could use an exciting finish as his belt will be the only title not owned by the winner of May's unification fight between Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs, so if he'd like a big payday against the winner, an exciting performance would help.

Jorge Linares fights for the second time since his loss to Vasyl Lomachenko, this time against veteran Pablo Cesar Cano in an eliminator for the WBC title at 140 pounds vs champion Jose Ramirez.
Linares usually gives an exciting performance with a high wire act due to his sometimes wobbly chin and Kleenex like skin and while Cano usually comes up short against top competition, Cano did defeat Mauricio Herrera two years ago, so this isn't quite a squash match.

Undefeated T.J. Doheny makes his first defense of the IBF junior featherweight title against Ryohei Takahashi.
Doheny won his title in Japan last time out after a decision win over Ryosuke Iwasa and a win here over Takahashi, which seems likely, might earn him a unification fight against WBA champion Daniel Roman, which would be very easy to make with both being DAZN/Matchroom promoted.
I'm looking forward to seeing Doheny, who is from Ireland, but now makes his home in Australia.

The ESPN+ main event matches former world title challenger Bryant Jennings with undefeated and untested Oscar Rivas from Verona, New York
Jennings, who hadn't fought anyone of note since his back to back losses to Wladimir Klitschko and Luis Ortiz on 2015 until his exciting brawl with Alexander Dimitrenko that ended with a Jennings ninth-round knockout that saw both men hit the floor in the fight.
Rivas hails from Colombia but has fought all of his previous fights in Canada, so who really knows what he'll be bringing to the ring.

Shakur Stevenson takes a jump in competition vs Jessie Rosales from the Philippines.
Stevenson overwhelmed Viorel Simion in one round last time out and is starting to become a more exciting fighter to watch.
Rosales has built his record overseas and in his only North American fight (Mexico) was knocked out in two by Jhonny Gonzalez, so he's likely to be overmatched by the fast-fisted Stevenson.

In the boxing challenge, Ramon Malpica and I are tied at one point each.

WBO Middleweight Title. 12 Rds
Demetrius Andrade vs Artur Akakov
Both: Andrade Unanimous Decision

Junior Welterweights.10 Rds
Jorge Linares vs Pablo Cesar Cano
R.L.: Linares KO 6
TRS: Linares Unanimous Decision

IBF Junior Featherweight Title. 12 Rds
T.J. Doheny vs Ryohei Takahashi
R.L; Doheny Unanimous Decision
TRS: Doheny KO 9

Heavyweights.12 Rds
Bryant Jennings vs Oscar Rivas
Both; Jennings Unanimous Decision

Featherweights. 10 Rds
Shakur Stevenson vs Jessie Rosales
R.L: Stevenson Unanimous Decision
TRS: Stevenson KO 4

Welterweights. 12 Rds
Manny Pacquiao vs Adrien Broner
Both: Pacquiao Unanimous Decision

Light Heavyweights. 12 Rds
Badou Jack vs Marcus Browne
R.L: Jack Unanimous Decision
TRS: Jack KO 10

Vacant WBC Bantamweight Title. 12 Rds
Nordine Oubaali vs Rau'Shee Warren
R.L: Oubaali Unanimous Decision
TRS: Warren Unanimous Decision

Featherweights. 12 Rds
Jhack Tepora vs Hugo Ruiz
R.L: Tepora KO 9
TRS: Tepora KO 4

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Football History: The Merger Alignment

When the AFL merged with the NFL, the divisional setups needed to be realigned after the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Colts all moved to the AFC.

The various interests involved couldn't agree on which of the five plans to accept and the official word is after many long discussions that commissioner Pete Rozelle pulled the eventual slip out of five choices.

I'd be surprised if Rozelle didn't prefer the grouping that was selected and "might" have bent a corner or another identifying characteristic to find the one that he wanted, much as the urban legend of the "bent corner" that David Stern allegedly found on the envelope of the New York Knicks in the first lottery drawing to deliver Patrick Ewing to the Knicks.

The divisions would remain in this lineup until the 2002 season where there were some minor tweaks that were needed after various expansions.
The interesting part of these are the rivalries that could have been and the rivalries that occurred via the only possibility of the five.

The Dallas-Washington rivalry that developed starting with the Tom Landry Cowboys against the George Allen Redskins was only listed on the eventual winner.
The Green Bay-Minnesota rivalry between neighboring states was also only an option on the winning option and had an eighty percent chance of not occurring as well.
The Atlanta-New Orleans rivalry would have been lost on two of the five chances.

The Redskins, Eagles, and Giants were one group guaranteed to stay together, as were the Bears and Packers along with the Rams and 49ers, so there must have been some type of agreement for some franchises to stick together.
The Vikings had an eighty percent chance of being with the Redskins, Eagles and Giants and the Packers were listed on none of those slips.

The rivalries that we could have taken for granted and instead never happened are even more fun to think about.
Yes, we could have lost Cowboys-Redskins, but on two choices, the Cowboys would have been in the same division as the 49ers and Rams.
Imagine Tom Landry's Cowboys playing twice a year vs Chuck Knox's Rams in the '70s and then the early '80s against the 49ers of Bill Walsh and Jimmy Johnson's Dallas teams of the early '90s against the Steve Young/Jerry Rice Niners.

Another side of losing Cowboys-Redskins that could have been a positive would have been the Minnesota Vikings with new rivalries.
I bet the Bud Grant Vikings against George Allen's Redskins would have been a really good one and would have progressed into the 80s when the Vikings had good teams under Grant and Jerry Burns against the Joe Gibbs era Redskins.
The Vikings of the 80s and 90s would likely have developed something with the New York Giants with both teams being at the top of the league.

The Falcons and Saints would have been far different in the two scenarios without each other.
The Falcons would have been in the Eastern with the three-team block and the Vikings with the Saints with the Central block with Chicago, Green Bay and Detroit as a real fish out of water.
In the other, it would have been the Falcons in the Central with the Saints aligned with the Rams and 49ers in the Western Division as they would be in the real-life NFL, but with Dallas, who they would have looked at as a rival, but would have spent years getting swatted aside by the Cowboys.

The biggest loser seems to be the St.Louis Cardinals, who in two possibilities would have had their best teams in the 70s with Don Coryell with weaker teams ( New Orleans and Atlanta still building off expansion) and (Chicago and Green Bay in a time that both teams were at their weakest) and even though they would have been in the same division with Dallas in both, it brings interesting thoughts.
Could the Cardinals have been the big rival to Dallas that Washington became?
If the Cardinals had become a perennial contender, could the Cardinals have remained in St.Louis and assuming that happened, Don Coryell never leaves and what happens to the Air Coryell Chargers without Don Coryell?
If the Cardinals stay in St.Louis, what team moves to Arizona or does the Valley of the Sun wait for expansion and which expansion team would have been muscled aside- Carolina or Jacksonville?

Football history decided with the luck of the draw.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

2018 Hagerstown Suns: The Pitchers

The 2018 Hagerstown Suns weren't overloaded with prospects as last place teams rarely are, but even though the Suns may not have produced a pitching prospect on the same level as infielder Luis Garcia, they had a few more players worth a look for next year's system prospect list.

The top pitcher that spent most of his year with the Suns was Jackson Tetrault, whose initial numbers look just average until you dig deeper.
Tetrault's numbers after two months were terrible (0-6 with an ERA of over six) and then suddenly turned into an excellent starter.
Tetrault's second half finished with an ERA of 2.63 in nine starts and earned him an August promotion to High A Potomac.
SAL hitters hit .290 against Tetrault in the first half and only .217 in the second and for the season, Tetrault notched 118 strikeouts in 110 innings, which gives him a positive number in my favorite pitching statistic for future success for Low A pitchers and walked only 34 in his Hagerstown time.
At 6'5 and just 175 pounds, Tetrault is likely to grow into his frame and wasn't too old for the level as he spent the season at 22.
Tetrault's far from a sure thing, but he's definitely worth following.

Nick Raquet pitched well (2.79 ERA, two complete games in twelve starts) for the Suns, but the 2017 third rounder from William and Mary (and five other guys, I love that joke!) struck out only 56 in 67 innings and was the type of polished college pitcher that should do well in the SAL.
The general rule of thought was correct as Raquet allowed opponents to hit .319 against him in twelve starts in the Carolina League and his ERA almost hit five.
Raquet's ceiling might be as a long or situational reliever, but I'm still interested in Raquet's 2019 season.

Brigham Hill returned from a 2017 injury to pitch well in ten starts in the second half.
Hill's season looked a lot like that of Nick Raquet, a polished college pitcher that did what he should against the level of competition.
Still, Hill didn't miss a lot of bats (35 SO in 49 innings) and I wonder how his stuff will play (like Raquet) as he rises through the system.

Andrew Lee returned from injury and split his season between the rotation (10 starts) and the bullpen (10 appearances).
Lee's stats were similar to pre-injury Lee- 86 strikeouts in 67 innings and an opposing batting average of .166.
At 25, Lee could have just overmatched younger hitters, so it'll be interesting to see Lee next year in High A Potomac or AA Harrisburg, but he has the type of arm that might be best used as a gas thrower out of the bullpen.

Two middle round college picks in the 2017 draft were impressive in Hagerstown, but quickly moved on and impressed in Potomac as well.
Auburn's Ben Braymer posted an ERA of under two in seven Hagerstown appearances before splitting time between Potomac's rotation and the bullpen.
Braymer's interesting with a combined ERA of 2.28, 118 strikeouts and an opponents average of .219 and should start in AA Harrisburg.

Jeremy McKinney looked like roster filler as a 31st round pick in 2017 from Indiana State entering the 2018 season.
That was until McKinney didn't allow an earned run in eleven innings from the Suns' bullpen and then struck out 36 batters in 33 innings in Potomac with an ERA under two.
Can McKinney continue this performance at the next level? We'll see, but if he can post anything near those numbers in Harrisburg, he'll be a bullpen candidate for someone, if not Washington.

Kyle Johnston was a higher draft pick than Braymer and McKinney, but his numbers weren't quite as strong.
The former Texas Longhorn still allowed opponents to hit a combined .237 between Hagerstown and Potomac.
Johnston pitched more from the pen for the Suns than the rotation but reversed that order for when assigned to Potomac.
I see Johnston as a reliever in the future, but the Nationals may differ with that conclusion.

Former number one pick Seth Romero finally arrived in Hagerstown and struck out 34 batters in seven starts and opponents barely hit .200 against him.
Romero underwent Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2019 season.

The Suns otherwise featured more suspects than prospects.
Three of the four pitchers with the most innings pitched (Jackson Tetrault was the other) look to be organizational soldiers at this point.
20-year-old Tomas Alastre finished with an ERA over five, allowed 21 homers and struck out only 80 in over one hundred innings.
Alastre was a little young for the league, so give him one more season, but 2018 didn't look great for his future.

Jackson Stoeckinger's numbers were even worse than Alastre's and he'll also likely receive another chance in Hagerstown, while Sam Held improved in his second year as a Sun, pitching as a reliever and occasional starter, but his improvement wasn't enough to leap him forward as a true prospect.

2018 draft picks Tim Cate (2nd Connecticut) and Frankie Bartow (11th Miami Fla) each arrived late in the season, but with limited innings, it was hard to evaluate them.
Either or both could start in High A Potomac next year or start back with the Suns.

There isn't a sure thing in this crop of pitchers, but there are a few worth considering.
The Seth Romero injury robs the system of arguably the best toolbox in the system for 2019 and if one of those college draftees that performed well from the bullpen can repeat those numbers in AA, the Nationals would be pleased.
Still, none of these are true blue chippers (other than Romero) , all could be off the prospect charts at this time next year and Washington could be wondering just how they do so well in Latin America, yet draft so badly.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

2018 Hagerstown Suns: The Hitters

I'm way overdue with this, but with spring training coming in a month or so, I wanted to look back at the 2018 Hagerstown Suns, a team that in April was as good as they were going to get and as far as seeing prospects, one could have, with a few exceptions, concentrated on the visiting teams.

I was intrigued more with the pitchers than the hitters and I'm going to focus on a few players more than covering all players as I did in the past.
The prospect list is short and about what you would expect from a team that recently has been selecting at the bottom of the first round and one that finished last in both halves in their division and won eight fewer games overall than the team above them in the standings.

Basically, the highlight of the Hagerstown Suns season came and went by in the first three weeks of April when Juan Soto demolished SAL pitching for a sixteen game span that had to be seen to be believed.
Walk-off homers, game-winning hits and baseball bouncing off bats with sounds that haven't been heard in Municipal Stadium for years, Juan Soto's two homestands here had to be seen to be believed and the few fans that were able to see those games certainly won't forget them any time soon.
Soto traveled from Hagerstown to Potomac to Harrisburg to Washington in a six-week span and his five Hagerstown homers in sixteen games were exactly half of the Suns' team leader (Kameron Esthay) for the season, who hit his total in 334 at-bats.
Soto will be the player that will allow Nationals fans to feel a little better about the possible (of this writing) departure of Bryce Harper this winter.

We conclude the top hitting prospects with Luis Garcia, who hit  .297 with three homers in 78 games with the Suns before a promotion in July to High A Potomac.
At 18, Garcia has room to fill in on a six-foot frame and for a young player, Garcia didn't strike out a massive amount (49 in 296 at-bats) and made fewer errors at short (6 in 27 games) than he did at third base (12 in 36 games) or second (zero in eleven games) as the Nationals continue their strange love for moving prospects all over the infield rather than allowing them to settle in at one position,
I really like the ability to make contact as his "hit tool" and the only two questions that I would have will be long-term power potential (will he be a 12 homer guy or a 20-25 homer player?) and where will he play over the long-term?
My guess currently is maybe on the power potential and I lean towards Garcia having a chance to stay at shortstop with second base being slightly more likely as he moves up the ladder.
Garcia turns 19 in May and all things considered, had a strong 2018 and I would rate him as the Nationals second best prospect in the system behind Carter Kieboom ( I don't consider Victor Robles on my list, although many still do).

I do have two other players that are worth keeping tabs on with first/third baseman Omar Meregildo leading the way.
Meregildo showed up in mid-June and hit seven homers with nineteen doubles in sixty-five games, which on this team was downright Mike Schmidt-like along with a .268 average that was head and shoulders above his stats in the past in the GCL and at short-season Auburn
Meregildo split his time on each corner of the infield and didn't dazzle defensively if Meregildo has a future, it'll be at first
At 21, Meregildo wasn't young for the level as Garcia, but not excessively old either.
Consider me interested in watching Meregildo in 2019 to see if he could be a potential contributor or a Bryan Mejia type that caught fire for a few months in Hagerstown.

Yasel Antuna played the season as an eighteen-year-old and entered Hagerstown as the more heralded prospect between himself and Luis Garcia.
Antuna ended it with a .220 average, an astoundingly bad 29 errors, a season-ending injury that required Tommy John surgery after some of what we'll kindly state as indifferent play.
Antuna's still worth noting, but he's going to have to show much more than he did in 2018.

The rest of the hitters?
I just don't see much to be excited about.
The Suns had one player hit double figures in homers-Kameron Esthay with 10, the team leader in RBI, Jake Scudder with 55, hit only .244 and outside of Soto, the only player that hit above .300 (Branden Boggetto in 29 games,)was promoted to High A Potomac and was later released.
Considering that, a few of the "Highlights' as follows.

You would expect true prospects returning to Low A to tear the league up and earn quick promotions.
Aldrem Corredor (.289/4/30 in 187 at-bats) and Nick Banks (.260/6/27 in 200 at-bats) both earned promotions, but neither looked sensational doing it.
Corredor reminds me of the many first basemen from the system of late, a decent average, little to below average power and levels out at AA.
Banks starts next season at 24 and looks like a career AA player to me.

Alex Dunlap was a little old for the level (turned 24 after the season ) and coming out of Stanford, should have hit well.
Dunlap struggled with injuries and only played 35 games with all but two of them after the end of June.
Still, Dunlap's five homers in that period show a reason for some mild hope.

Cole Freeman's line of 266/3/43 was average but was the latest of the Nationals college infielder type that plays multiple positions, runs well (26 steals), plays hard and stays around for a while, but is an AA/AAA level player.
The Nationals always seem to draft this type of player and they rarely make an eventual impact.

Jake Scudder led the team in RBI (55) in 85 games, which is the good news.
The bad was he hit just .244 and with seven homers for a college prospect didn't move him up the ladder for me.
Scudder turns 24 before the season starts.

Kameron Esthay's ten homers led the team, but hit a mere .216 and struck out 126 times in 334 at-bats.
Just isn't going to make enough contact.

Only three other players finished with more than 200 at-bats.
Armond Upshaw stole 24 bases, but otherwise hit just .234 with only two homers at the age of 22.
Anderson Franco returned to Hagerstown and notched another unimpressive line (.237/3/34 in a half-season of play.
Alex Flores hit .216 with six homers in 213 at-bats and was selected from Washington by Houston in the AA phase of the Rule 5 draft.

I'll be trying to post the pitchers in the next day or two and there will be a pitcher or two that I like and might have a chance to surprise in 2019.