Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The 2012 Hagerstown Suns-The Pitchers

Time for our annual series where we look at the Hagerstown Suns from the previous season.
Today will be the pitchers and tomorrow the position players.

The 2012 Suns were not a team filled with prospect arms,but a few are of interest and many others are either organizational soldiers or non-prospects with plenty still to prove...

The most exciting prospect was 2011 first rounder Alex Meyer.
Meyer put up solid numbers as a Sun,but a mid-season promotion to Potomac saw dominant numbers.
The 6'9 Meyer struck out 139 between the two stops and walked just 45 with hitters hitting in the .210 area against him.
My biggest concern on Meyer is that his fastball seems awfully straight to me,which I think hitters at higher levels will take advantage of.

Taylor Hill finished the season with the most starts of the staff and was promoted to Potomac late in the season.
The former Vanderbilt Commodore finished with an ERA just under five,which for a college pitcher in the SAL is a huge disappointment.
Hill has underwhelming stuff and I think his 2012 season made me think of Matt Grace's 2011 campaign here. Grace did not pitch well at Potomac and I don't see Hill doing substantially better next season either.

The Nationals did send a few touted prospects to Hagerstown,but other than Meyer,all disappointed.

Matt Purke was a high bonus (2.75 million) third round pick from 2011,but in his two starts here clearly looked like an injured pitcher.
Purke's radar gun readings were in the mid 80's at best in his two starts in the Hub City (Purke made three total) and looked like a pitcher that was either on his way to the DL (he was) or getting ready to leave the game.
Purke's last outing made me think of the swan song of former first rounder Colton Willems in that I almost felt sorry for him being on the mound.
At this point,I think the Nationals might have lost a lot of money on Purke...

Brian Dupra was a college righthander was expected to move quickly through Hagerstown.
Instead,Dupra was hammered around the Muni (7+ ERA) and after eight starts hit the disabled list for the season.
Dupra walked 15 and only whiffed 20 in 37 innings in what had to be a disappointing season for both Dupra and the Nationals.

Kylin Turnbull spent some time on the disabled list,but didn't pitch well when he was healthy.
The lefty finished with an ERA over five and does not strike out many (51 in 89 innings),which is always an SAL warning sign to me.
I'd expect the 2011 fourth rounder to return here next year on performance,but might be promoted by attrition.

Hagerstown used three late callups as the basis of their late season rotation.
Blake Schwartz pitched the best of the three,but he is almost 23,came to the level late and is a flyball pitcher.
Schwartz will need to move quickly to be considered a true prospect.
Dixon Anderson had control problems (6 walks in 9 innings),bounces a lot of breaking balls,but does keep the ball down.
Brian Rauh had his numbers inflated by one bad start in Greensboro,or his stats would have been far better.
Rauh might be a guy that I am not willing to cross off the list yet,although I really do not have a concrete reason for doing so.

The rest of a less than motley crew bring hints of prospecthood,but just that hints.
Wirkin Estevez  showed the ability to keep the ball on the ground and was just 20,so despite a less than great season,I'm willing to keep him in mind for another year.
Taylor Jordan returned late in the season from Tommy John surgery and was hit hard in 40 innings.
Jordan's ERA was not awful (4.05),but opposing teams hit over .300 against him.
Bobby Hansen struggled in Potomac and was demoted midway through the season and his numbers did not improve.
Hansen walked more than he struck out and I have concerns about Hansen's future after an injury that ended his 2011 early.

The most interesting member of the bullpen to me was Christian Meza.
Meza struck out 94 in 88 innings and had an ERA of under three.
Combine that with being a lefthander and I think Meza has a chance to at least be a situational lefty down the road.

Nate Karns started and relieved for the Suns and earned a deserved promotion to Potomac,whre he was placed in the P-Nats rotation and posted similar numbers.
I didn't see much of Karns,but the numbers cannot be denied...
Karns should be moved to Harrisburg next season and was the Nationals minor league pitcher of the year.

Aaron Barrett pitched well as the Hagerstown closer and was even better after a Potomac promotion.
Barrett struck out 73 batters in 51 innings and Washington sent him to the Arizona Fall League.
My red flag on Barrett is that he turns 25 before next season,so he will have to be moved somewhat quickly.

Colin Bates posted similar numbers to Barrett,except for strikeouts.
Bates is a groundball pitcher,so of course he needs to keep the ball down and locate it well to succeed.
Bates too turns 25 before 2013 starts,so he has time to make up....

Richie Mirowski (ERA of two) and Ben Hawkins (almost a strikeout an inning,opponent average of .224) are the remaining relievers that are worth keeping tabs on with intriguing numbers.

The remaining arms are organizational soldier types or players headed for Independent leagues around the country unless they are able to improve in 2013.

Hope to be back tomorrow with the hitters....

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