Who’s Headed to Syracuse Next?

In what has become an annual tradition around these parts, the Senators’ first planned day off since Easter Sunday let me gaze into my crystal ball for potential promotions and demotions. As we are at roughly the quarter pole for the 2012 season, this is as good a time as any to let the wild-ass guessing begin on who might be headed to Syracuse next (arbitrary odds are next to each player’s name).

Photo courtesy John C. Whitehead / The Patriot-News

Tim Pahuta (20-1)

The ripple effect of Jayson Werth’s broken wrist and Xavier Nady’s unproductive, decomposing corpse may cause the Nationals to keep Tyler Moore on the big league roster. If that’s the case, Pahuta is a good fit for the Syracuse Chiefs who are currently without a true first baseman or power threat from the left side of the plate. At 29 years old, Pahuta is not your typical prospect climbing the organizational ladder but he turned a corner at the All-Star break last season and he’s become a better ballplayer and clubhouse leader.

Kevin Pucetas (16-1)

If Syracuse’s bullpen continues to struggle (Bibens-Dirkx, Lehman, Martin, Pena, and VanAllen all sport ERAs above 5), the Chiefs are going to need better reinforcements sooner rather than later. Pucetas has settled in rather nicely in Harrisburg as his role has become more defined. In his last three appearances, the Newport Nightmare has thrown 11.2 innings and allowed only one run on five hits. Pucetas is no stranger to Triple-A as he has spent the last three complete seasons at that level for both San Francisco and Kansas City.

Jesus Valdez (12-1)

As the weather has warmed up, so has Valdez at the plate. In his last ten games, Valdez has hit .395 and scored six runs. At the beginning of the season it appeared that Valdez was disappointed he was starting the 2012 campaign back in Harrisburg after playing 102 games at Syracuse last year. Don’t be surprised to see Valdez get the call again if guys like Jason Michaels, Brett Carroll, or Xavier Paul are promoted due to injury or if they are outright released.

Chris Rahl (8-1)

I thought Rahl was deserving of a call-up last season, and this year he’s been even better. Rahl is batting .302 and is third in the Eastern League in RBIs (24), tied for first in runs (27), and third in stolen bases (12). Rahl is versatile as he can play any of the outfield positions and he has previous Triple-A experience at Reno in 2010 for 87 games. If Syracuse needs an outfielder in the future, he’s got to be your guy.

Christian Garcia (6-1)

The former Yankees’ farmhand has bounced back from two Tommy John surgeries to show the stuff this season that put him on many top prospects lists in the past. Last season, the Nats had success under similar circumstances with Ryan Mattheus and it looks like they might have caught lightning in a bottle again.

Photo courtesy Chris Knight / The Patriot-News

In 14.1 innings, Garcia has an ERA of 1.88, has whiffed 21, and has slammed the door shut at game’s end for four saves. Garcia has proved his durability to his doubters and that he is indeed back with a clean bill of health.

Danny Rosenbaum (2-1)

Ask an average fan about dominating pitching and he’ll more than likely talk about the power arms of guys like Stephen Strasburg or Aroldis Chapman. But what we’ve witnessed through seven starts this season from Rosenbaum has been perhaps more impressive. Rosenbaum has toyed with the rest of the Eastern League with a variety of pinpoint cutters, change-ups, and curves. Through 50.2 innings, the southpaw has yielded only four earned runs all season and has gone six of seven starts allowing one run or less. I know Rosenbaum loves his time with pitching coach Paul Menhart, but it’s about time he tests his repertoire against Triple-A hitters.

Devin Ivany (7-5)

Ivany was a late addition to the list as Wilson Ramos and Sandy Leon have gone down for extended periods of time in the last three days. The Nats have recalled Carlos Maldonado and with Jhonatan Solano still mysteriously out, the Chiefs are going to need a catcher to split the load with Jeff Howell. Ivany seems like the logical choice to get the call until Washington can swing a potential deal for catcher depth or Solano returns to the playing field.

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