In what has become an annual tradition around these parts, I gazed into my crystal ball for potential promotions and demotions affecting the Harrisburg Senators. As we are at roughly the quarter pole for the 2014 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).
Michael Taylor (20-1)
If the speedy centerfielder continues to make adjustments at the plate during his first go-round at Double-A, it’s conceivable that Taylor might get the call the Syracuse. With his defense already Major League ready, the Nationals may want to bump him up to get his feet wet and see what he can do at the upper level.
Justin Bloxom (15-1)
Although thought of as more of an OG (organizational guy) than a prospect, Bloxom continues to impress with his bat. The K-State product has also put in added work at third base that has actually improved his play at the hot corner and given him much needed flexibility. It’s not likely, but if the Nationals deal Tyler Moore or Brock Peterson goes into a prolonged slump Bloxom may be the answer,
A.J. Cole (10-1)
At the start of the season, I wasn’t sure Cole was long for Harrisburg. But when the righthander didn’t head north with the injuries to Doug Fister and Ross Ohlendorf and subsequent callups of Taylor Jordan and Blake Treinen, it became apparent that he wasn’t going to be rushed through the system. All that said, if Cole performs up to his capabilities he could be used as a weapon in the Nats’ bullpen for a late-season playoff push.
Tyler Herron (8-1)
Off a strong winter league showing in Puerto Rico, Herron had hoped for a Major League spring training invite. That never came and in fact he was shipped back to Harrisburg to start 2014. Herron has already done the I-81 shuffle once this season, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he racks up the miles with a couple more trips.
Matt Grace (7-1)
Throw out Grace’s dismal August and September of last year and the southpaw has posted great numbers since July 2012. In that timeframe, he has appeared in 53 games over 140.1 innings and established a 2.76 ERA while holding opponents to a .254 batting average and striking out 108. Grace’s status as the Senators’ only lefty in the bullpen may hurt his chances for promotion however.
Warner Madrigal (5-1)
We’ve yet to see very much of Madrigal since being assigned here off of Syracuse’s disabled list on April 30th. The reliever, who reminds me of once Tigers closer Jose Valverde with his pronounced set position towards 2nd base, has made 113 appearances at AAA over five seasons. I think it’s just a matter of time before Madrigal is back on the Chiefs’ roster for good.
Neil Holland (3-1)
Many expected or predicted Holland would start the season in Syracuse after a successful 2013. He probably would have if it wasn’t for the rash of Nationals’ free agent pickups that are stored in AAA (Manny Delcarmen, Mike Gonzalez, etc). He was a victim of the numbers game then and very little has changed. But, Holland has become Brian Daubach’s go-to reliever on this staff and I believe has earned a rightful promotion.