By request from my good friend Luke Erickson at NationalsProspects,here is the oft-delayed Hagerstown Suns season in review..
This version of the Suns won the first half title in the South Atlantic League before meekly bowing out in the Northern finals in two games to Lakewood (Phillies) and featured one top level prospect with a few others of interest to watch down the road...
The catchers entering the season saw Jakson Reetz reach Hagerstown for the first time and with a 800,000 dollar signing bonus,I expected a little more.
Reetz hit just .230 with four homers and didn't wow anyone defensively.
I do have a few positives-Reetz hit 24 doubles and is still just 20 (21 in January) and missed some of the season with injuries.
I'd return Reetz to Hagerstown,but unless High A Potomac wants to use an organizational soldier,Reetz might go there,ready or not.
The Suns used three different catchers to fill in for Reetz's absence,all of which fit the organizational mold.Jorge Tillero did hit .285 in his 37 games,but Matt Reistetter and Adderling Ruiz continue to be Paladin-like have mitts will travel backups.
The infield used Ryan Ripken in the first half at first base,but a sub .200 average in 163 at bats got the son of Cal a ticket to short season Auburn,where he hit .209.
Ripken may get one final chance in Hagerstown,but based on performance,he is likely down to his last chance.
Hired gun Grant DeBruin hit .290 for the Suns at first in Ripken's slot for the second half,but at 26 isn't a prospect.
The Suns and Nationals continue to play this bizarre game of infielders playing all over for some reason,which I guess is to build up versatility,but sometimes looks to produce players that aren't comfortable anywhere.
Max Schrock hit over .300 and brought back memories of a Tony Renda or Steve Lombardozzi type as a utility infielder.
Schrock was promoted to High A Potomac,but was swapped to Oakland at the trade deadline.
The Athletics make a lot of trades with Washington and value guys like Schrock,so he'll be one to watch.
Hagerstown used various players at second after Schrock moved up.
Austin Davidson looks to be headed to soldier status after a third straight year in Hagerstown,but did hit .285,so he'll get a Potomac promotion.
2016 draftee Jake Noll hit .259 in 32 games,but did hit 3 homers,so I'll need to see more,while 2015 draftee Angelo LaBruna hit .194 in 33 games and might not get another year.
Edwin Lora came up with some hype at shortstop,but disappointed with a .231 average and made 29 errors at short to go with 113 strikeouts at the plate.
Lora turned 21 after the season,so I'm not ready to give up on him,but after a season that the most notable thing that he did was hit on my daughter online,he'll need to pick up the pace next season to still have prospect status at this time next year.
Kelvin Gutierrez missed time during the season,made 21 errors at third base,but hit.300 and stole 19 bases.
Gutierrez is still very raw,but power questions for a big guy (6'3 but just 3 homers) make me wonder.
He might be one of those players that grow into the body and everything clicks,but he'll have to do it soon.
I like his tools and I'm not ready to give up on him yet..
Ian Sagdal hit.300 and ten homers,but was a DH a lot and I don't see him with a defensive position,he'll be at High A next season for sure..
Tyler Beckwith showed a light bat,but a sharp glove in a ten game late season cameo and should be starting somewhere in the infield next season and Cody Dent was released in mid-summer after a sub-.200 season with the stick...
Victor Robles clearly is the star of this team and showed five tool potential,although he'll need to increase his power (5 homers) to reach his potential.
Robles was the best outfield prospect in Hagerstown since Bryce Harper and flashed speed and defensive ability rarely seen at 19.
I might have waited a little before moving him up to Potomac,but that's a minor quibble.
Robles has the potential to replace Bryce Harper in the Washington outfield,should he leave for free agency down the road...
I also liked what I saw of another 19 year old in Telmito Agustin,who did miss half the season with injury,but his line was good for his age other than like most young player,learning plate discipline.
I'd start him back at Hagerstown,but wouldn't argue with a Potomac start either depending on each teams needs.
Rhett Wiseman led the team in homers (13),but spent the entire season in low A ,which can be a red flag for a college draftee (Vanderbilt).
Wiseman struck out 104 times and seems to me to be a guy that will flatten out at AA.
Randy Encarnacion hit just.208,but showed power (5 homers) and athletic ability in his 56 games.
Encarnacion will need to progress quickly at 22,but is intriguing as an athlete.
Matthew Page hit .280 with 10 homers before a promotion,but at 24,might be more of a soldier than a true prospect.
Speaking of organizational soldiers-the late season saw the return of the definition of one in Narciso Mesa,who hit .202 in 30 games.
I'd be surprised to see Mesa (24) around much longer,but former second rounder Blake Perkins played in seven games at the seasons end.
The toolsy high schooler will likely start in Hagerstown next year,but will have plenty to prove after a 233/1 homer line at short season Auburn.
Jack Sundberg hit a quiet .242 in a 62 at bat stint that saw him most remembered for being the only Sun without walkup music...
Overall,this was a interesting bunch.
Victor Robles has star potential,I like Telmito Agustin's potential at 19,Kelvin Gutierrez is worth keeping tabs on,but needs to progress a little quicker and I can see Max Schrock making the big time,albeit not as a starting type...
I'll try to be back soon with a look at the pitchers from the 2016 Suns