We start our annual look at the Hagerstown Suns and my opinions of the players with an attempt to project their possible future development..
The start is with the hitters with the pitchers to come shortly after...
The Hagerstown Suns won the first half and advanced to the SAL title series and did so with a balanced lineup that relied on singles and doubles hitters and had little to offer in terms of home runs.
In fact,the Suns power was so anemic that just one player (Brandon Miller) hit more than seven homers on the campaign.
Starting in the outfield,Brandon Miller showed plus power before his promotion to High A Potomac with 18 homers,but hit just .241 and struck out a stunning 135 times in 395 at bats,which for the math majors out there is roughly once every three at bats.
I'd keep an eye on Miller,but between the contact issues and being 24 next season,I would say Miller is a less than safe bet...
Miller might be the best bet of all the flychasers and that raises eyebrows.
Wander Ramos has nice tools,but has problems staying healthy.
Ramos looks the part of growing into a power hitter physically,but on the field,not so much.
Estarlin Martinez finished the season with a strong August and showed surprising speed (20 steals) for a player with a stocky build.
I still think Martinez needs to hit with more power,but at just 21,Martinez is worth considering.
Will Pinwica-Worms looks to be an organizational soldier to me (sorry,Rachel),but Narciso Mesa is the latest contact slap hitter off the Nationals centerfield template and considering the Nationals fetish for the type,Mesa might move through the system,if he can fight off the injury bug....
Issac Ballou struggled in a last season cameo,but looked sharp in the playoffs.
The Marshall product turns 24 before the 2014 season,so if the Nationals think he is a prospect,he might start in Potomac.
The jewel of the infield looks like second baseman Tony Renda,who hit almost .300 and walked more than he struck out.
That is a favorite stat of mine in the low minors and bodes well for Renda.
Renda might not be a full time second baseman in the bigs,but I can see him easily fitting into a role similar to Steve Lombardozzi's in Washington.
In fact,I would say that Renda's prospects are better than I would have thought Lombardozzi's were when he was with the Suns.
Renda's glovework is average,so an improvement there would help Renda's standing as a potential everyday player in the future.
The prospects begin and end with Renda from my view point.
Shawn Pleffner hit just four homers and won't remind anyone of Vic Power with the leather.
Pleffner runs pretty well for a big man,but looks to be a non-prospect to me.
Stephen Perez doesn't hit (.234) and didn't do enough with the glove to be considered anything more than low minors material.
Khayan Norfork is the good teammate type that tends to stick around for a while because he's easy to plug into a lineup at multiple positions and is always a fan favorite,but doesn't appear to be a prospect.
Mike McQuillin has glove issues and not a real position defensively.McQuillin might use his ability to make contact to move up,if he could add some defensive versatility to his game.
Wes Schill can play infield and outfield,but simply is not going hit enough.
Matt Foat appeared here and there throughout the season and didn't distinguish himself.
Bryan Lippincott played outfield and first late in the season and showed a huge hole in his swing.
Lippincott might be Hagerstown's Adam Dunn next season-lots of walks and lots of whiffs....
The top prospect of all is Pedro Severino.
Severino didn't turn 20 until late in the season and showed off the best arm that the Suns have had in years.
Severino has the type of throwing arm that should he not turn out as a catcher that teams tend to give a shot as a pitcher.
If Severino can even hit a little bit (.241 for the year),he has major league backup potential and maybe even as a starter.
The bat needs work,but all things considered,Severino is the standout prospect in my opinion.
Craig Manuel was in a tough spot playing behind Severino,but he hit reasonably well in limited playing time and walked more than he struck out.
Manuel might have been better suited at High A Potomac to see if he had true prospect potential.
Overall,not the greatest prospect lineup ever.
I like Pedro Severino's chances as at least a backup due to his arm strength and defensive skills and Tony Renda has a good chance to at least make a team as a utility type,if not a starter on the right team.
Brandon Miller has a shot,if he can make better contact,but will need to do so quickly.
Other than that,the team was an example of older guys in a younger man's league and has little to show for true prospects.
I'll be working on the pitchers early next week after the Browns wrapup from their game with the Lions...