Saturday, July 16, 2005
Any Relief in the Minors?
The Washington Nationals are facing a serious concern with an aspect of their team credited as a key to their early success, the bullpen. Luis Ayala, Gary Majewski, and Hector Carrsco are tiring from their repeated appearance for the Nationals. The question is if there is any help on the farm. The short answer is yes, but the quality of what is available is not necessarily what a team in the playoff race would necessarily count on. I've limited my choices to players in AAA New Orleans and AA Harrisburg. It further culled down by focusing on arms that have been used in relief as it doesn't make sense to bring up a guy who is already piling up the IP as a starter to replace tired arms in Washington. Here's what is available: Travis Hughes - the 27 year old has already been with the Nationals making 4 appearances (4.1IP) allowing 2H, 0R, 0BB, and 3K. In 35G in New Orleans, he has 39IP allowing 28H (1HR) 43K and 16BB. His ERA is 2.54 and WHIP is 1.13. Danny Rueckel - a 25 year old in Harrisburg has served as both a setup man and a closer (5SV) for Harrisburg. In 33G, he has 50.2IP allowing 55H (4HR) 46K 14BB. His ERA is 4.26 and WHIP is 1.36 Saul Rivera - the 27 year old Eastern League All-Star has pitched in 29G with Harrisburg saving 5 games. In those 29G, he has 63.1IP allowing 50H (1HR) 56K 18BB. His ERA is 1.99 and WHIP is 1.07. As you can see, the options are limited. Odds are if any help is on its way to Washington's bullpen, it will be result of a Jim Bowden trade.