As the Nationals rest and refocus for the second half run, here’s a quick look around the minor league system reveals a few names that you could see playing time for the Nationals by the end of the season.
Already we have seen what Anthony Rendon and Ian Krol can do, plus the additions of Taylor Jordan, Fernando Abad, Nathan Karns and Ross Ohlendorf have meant to the Nationals roster as they tried to get through the first half, and battle to stay barely above .500.
Jordan could stick for a long time for one simple, important reason: he locates his pitches. He also repeats his delivery very well. And if you noticed against Miami, he did a better job of working on his grip in his glove instead of behind his back. That was a worry for Jordan after the Philadelphia game that he was tipping his pitches.
Whether it is in September or for another reason (trade?), here is a list of a few players that could don the red curly “W” uniform by season’s end:
RHP Aaron Barrett, Double-A Harrisburg Senators - closer for the Senators, but can pitch in any late inning scenario to get guys out. He has really come on this season and blossomed. Barrett is 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA and 19 saves. He has eight saves in his last 10 appearances without allowing a run. Not yet on 40-man roster.
CF Eury Perez, Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs - has been up with the big league club a couple of times and when he gets on base he is a threat because of his top speed. Perez plays center field very well and has a good arm. Perez is batting .311 through 55 games with a .333 OBP, 14 stolen bases and 20 extra base hits.
LHP Robbie Ray, Harrisburg - Ray was one of those names, alongside A.J. Cole, that we were talking about a couple of seasons ago and now he is starting to really get going. He starts tonight and is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in his first two starts at Double-A, with 19 strikeouts in his first two games.
LF/1B Tyler Moore, Syracuse - Obviously has the big bat but hasn’t been as consistent this season. Still could inject some power in the lineup if he can get going at the right time.
LF Chris Rahl, Syracuse - has been in minors his whole career and is scorching the ball. Recently he had another 5-for-5 game and is batting .389 the last 10 games, .307 for the season in 75 games. Not on 40-man roster.
2B Danny Espinosa, Syracuse - hitting .368 his last 10 games in the minors, with six extra base hits and six RBI. His 30-day rehab window closes in a few days. Could Espinosa getting hot right now be good trade bait for what the Nationals seek? Definitely, maybe.
OF Jeff Kobernus, Syracuse - another player who got a taste of the big leagues and showed some skills. His versatility to also play the infield helps his cause for a return trip to D.C. He is batting .316.
Others: 1B Chris Marrero, OF Corey Brown, C Sandy Leon, INF Zach Walters (not on 40-man), C Jhonatan Solano, RHP Christian Garcia, LHP Xavier Cedeno.
This is not a complete list but it gives us an idea of what the Nationals could do in injury situations, roster expansion or even future trades. Who do you think will get a shot?