Ranking the Senators’ MVP – Part I: 53 to 31

I’ll have more next week wrapping up the Harrisburg Senators’ 2011 campaign, but this week I’m going to rank all 53 players that played this season by what they contributed to the team’s successes and failures.

If you agree or disagree with any ranking feel free to leave a comment and try and sway my way of thinking.

53. Rick Ankiel (.000/.000/.000)

The Nationals’ centerfielder found himself donning the Senators’ uniform for only one game while he rehabbed his right wrist. Ankiel joined the team in Akron during a road trip and had a miserable night at the plate as he took the golden sombrero (0-4, 4 strikeouts).

52. Garrett Mock (0-1, 13.50 ERA)

Long thought to be a favorite of Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo from his days in the Arizona organization, Mock was given repeated chances this season at four different levels in the system. His time in Harrisburg was short-lived as he started only two games, but he got beat around badly surrendering 11 runs and three home runs in only 7.1 innings.

51. Luis Atilano (0-1, 13.50 ERA)

Atilano began the season with such promise that his injury woes were behind him. He was wrong. Opposing batters hit Atilano hard in his two short starts until he was placed on the disabled list with soreness in his surgically-repaired elbow for the remainder of the season.

Hairston runs out to warmup at Metro Bank Park
Photo courtesy Chris Knight / The Patriot-News

50. Jerry Hairston, Jr. (.167/.375/.167, 1R)

The 14-year MLB veteran pulled a bush league move when he showed up for his two-game rehab stint in Harrisburg and told Senators’ manager Tony Beasley that he was only playing shortstop or else he was going home.

49. Sean Nicol (.000/.250/.000)

Nicol was promoted all the way from Hagerstown when the Senators badly needed healthy bodies for a six-game weekend series against division rival Richmond. Nicol got into three games as a pinch-hitter and started a game at second base for the injury depleted Sens.

48. Miguel Perez (.000/.000/.000)

Perez was used sparingly after being re-acquired from the Pirates’ organization late in the season. Shockingly, Perez threw out both baserunners who attempted to steal on him during his two games behind the plate.

47. Matt Chico (1-1, 10.93 ERA)

Chico was just plain bad during his time in Harrisburg even though he somehow managed to vulture both a win and a save. Chico’s best contribution to the team was as a pinch-hitter despite appearing in 10 games as a pitcher.

46. Brian Peacock (.286/.286/.429, 1R, 1 RBI)

Peacock helped pick up the early-season catching duties after Derek Norris overturned his ankle on a wet first base.

45. Doug Slaten (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Public Enemy #1 for Nats’ fans looked much better in Harrisburg than he ever does at the major league level as he worked two scoreless innings in his only rehab appearance on City Island.

44. Evan Bronson (0-0, 2.25 ERA)

Bronson gutted out his one spot start after being promoted for an appearance in the middle of the grueling six-game/four-day series in Richmond. It might not look like much in the final stats, but it was the type of game that showed Bronson’s makeup.

43. Henry Rodriguez (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

“Lightning” struggled with his control for most of spring training, so he was sent on a minor league tour of Harrisburg and Syracuse at the start of the season trying to work out the kinks. While with the Senators, Rodriguez looked dominating as he touched 100 on the radar gun and struck out seven in four innings of work without walking a single batter.

Antonelli turns two on a double play ball
Photo courtesy Christine Baker / The Patriot-News

42. Matt Antonelli (.333/.333/.400, 3R, 1 RBI)

The San Diego Padres’ former first round pick didn’t even have enough time to look for an apartment here in Harrisburg before his level of play and clean bill of health had him promoted to Triple-A Syracuse for the remainder of the season.

41. Ivan Rodriguez (.222/.300/.333, 2R)

The 21-year veteran could have acted above his surroundings (see #50), but instead the future Hall of Famer integrated himself into the Senators’ clubhouse and became a coach/mentor/cheerleader for his couple of days here in Harrisburg.

40. Buck Coats
(.261/.370/.261, 0R, 3 RBI)

For the first nine games of the season, Coats was possibly the offensive MVP of the team. But unfortunately for Coats, that was all the journeyman outfielder would play as he suffered a knee injury that kept him out of the lineup from that point on.

39. Jeff Mandel (0-0, 2.25 ERA)

The last two seasons in Harrisburg, Mandel had started all 15 games he had appeared in. After converting to the bullpen following a promotion to Syracuse last season, the former Baylor product made a brief stay back in the midstate to begin the season as his role solidified as a reliever. Mandel appeared in five games in April for the Senators before he headed back to upstate New York for the rest of the season.

38. Ryan Tatusko (2-4, 5.94 ERA)

Tatusko has an infectious personality and an honesty about both his successes and failures, but I’m still not sure how he earned his early June promotion to Triple-A. During his time in Harrisburg this season, we rarely saw the same guy that came over from the Texas organization in a trade with a month left in the season last year. Tatusko struggled with both his mechanics and his control and was moved to the bullpen before getting the call from Syracuse.

37. Erik Davis (5-7, 4.79 ERA)

Nibble…nibble…nibble. That was the essence of almost every start by the native Californian. Davis seemed to never trust his stuff enough to challenge hitters and he often got into trouble by his steadfast refusal to throw his best pitch.

36. Stephen Strasburg (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

I know it was only one start on his way back to the majors, but it was a pretty dominating and important one as he allowed only one hit over six innings of work as he led the Senators to a 10-0 shutout clinching their first Division title since 1997.

Wang with pitching coach Randy Tomlin
Photo courtesy Jenny Kane / The Patriot-News

35. Chien-Ming Wang (2-0, 0.00 ERA)

No one knew what to really expect from Wang as he worked his way back into pitching shape after a long and frustrating recovery from shoulder surgery, but the Taiwanese star dazzled in his two starts on City Island as he combined for 11 scoreless innings.

34. Erik Komatsu (.234/.298/.297, 12R, 8 RBI, 1 HR, 8 SB)

Komatsu came over for the last month of the season from the Milwaukee system in the trade deadline deal for Jerry Hairston, Jr. Komatsu was named the Brewers’ minor league player of the year in 2010, but during his time in Harrisburg the centerfielder struggled in his transition to a new ballclub and league as he manged to only hit .234.

33. Carlos Martinez (3-4, 5.34 ERA)

When Martinez was bad, he was really bad. In the 32 games he pitched in, Martinez allowed at least one run in 17 of them and two or more in 10 of those games. The Dominican Republic native throws a heavy, sinking fastball but too many times lived up in the strike zone.

32. Zech Zinicola (2-0, 4 Saves, 2.08 ERA)

If anyone is familar with Harrisburg, it’s Zinicola. 2011 marked the sixth season that the righthander has played at least part of the season at the Double-A level and he showed his comfortability by posting a 2.08 ERA in his 13 innings of work before being elevated to Triple-A.

31. Ryan Mattheus (2-1, 4 Saves, 2.45 ERA)

Mattheus was a big question mark coming in to the season, but he proved any doubters by claiming the role of closer at the start of the season and earning a quick promotion to Syracuse and then the major leagues.

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