Results tagged ‘ Osvaldo Abreu ’

Senators’ Notebook: Raudy Read and Ozzie Abreu produce different results in first taste of Double-A

Raudy Read has made the transition to Double-A seamlessly (Samuel Getty / Harrisburg Senators)

A TALE OF TWO PROSPECTS

Charles Dickens began his classic novel A Tale of Two Cities with the famous opening line, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” After a week and a half of games, the same could very easily be said of Senators’ players Raudy Read and Ozzie Abreu. Both are getting their first taste of Double-A Harrisburg to start the 2017 season and while one prospect flourishes, the other flails.

Read, a 23-year-old catcher, has adapted to the better pitching and looks like he has already made the necessary adjustments to succeed at this level. In eight games so far, Read has four doubles and two home runs while driving in seven runs to match Neftali Soto for the team lead.

“I think going to big league camp and comparing himself to all these other players, he realizes he’s close. He sees if he goes out and competes and plays the game right, he’s there,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “I think that shows in the way he’s been going out and doing his work.”

Throughout his career, Read has been known as an offense first option behind the plate, but the backstop has impressed his skipper with other tools. “I think he’s done a really nice job with our pitching staff. That’s what I’ve been pleased with,” LeCroy said.

On the other hand, Abreu has struggled in his opening salvo with the Senators. The 22-year-old shortstop is hitting a meager .147 thanks to only five singles in 35 plate appearances. At the plate Abreu appears overwhelmed at times as evident by his 15 strikeouts. “The game is a little faster at this level, but I think he’ll catch up,” LeCroy said pointing to Abreu’s respectable numbers in the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League last fall where he slashed .267/.303/.317.

After batting second during the opening week, LeCroy moved the scuffling Abreu down to eighth for Saturday’s game. Hopefully, the lower spot in the batting order will take pressure off the shortstop until he can get his feet under him.

PITCHING LEADS THE WAY

Although the Senators came away with only one win in their three game set against Bowie, Harrisburg has to be happy with the way they pitched against the potent Baysox lineup. In the first seven games of the season against Akron and Erie, Bowie averaged over seven runs a game and had clubbed 33 extra-base hits including 11 home runs. The Senators limited the veteran lineup to just 12 total runs and only four doubles and one home run in the entire series.

Overall, the Senators pitching has been their strongest asset so far as the staff has posted a 3.20 ERA (second only to Altoona in the Eastern League) and given away the fewest base on balls in the league. Led by Nationals’ top pitching prospect Erick Fedde,the starting pitchers have been excellent so far this season and have carried the load admirably. In two starts, Fedde has tossed 11 scoreless innings while holding opponents to a .171 batting average.  As a unit, the starters are pitching to a 2.50 ERA while allowing a minuscule 1.09 WHIP.

CLEANING UP FROM THE CLEAN-UP SPOT

Much like he did last season for 93 games, Neftali Soto has provided the big veteran bat the Senators need in the middle of their lineup. He has provided protection for Drew Ward batting in front of him and has taken some pressure off Double-A rookies Read and Alec Keller behind him. Soto is in the top ten in the league in batting with a .382 average and has only whiffed twice in 39 plate appearances for an Eastern League best rate of 19.5 TPA/SO.

COMINGS AND GOINGS

The injuries to Trea Turner and Stephen Drew at the major league level caused a ripple effect down to the Senators as they embarked on their first road trip of the season. Adrian Sanchez, who had played second base this season but can handle multiple positions defensively, was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse. To fill Sanchez’s roster spot, the Senators activated Zach Collier off the disabled list and the outfielder went 2-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored in his first game action on Saturday afternoon.

VETERAN MOVE

Prior to the team arriving in Harrisburg, many of the players drove their vehicles up from spring training so they would have a means of getting around town. The coaching staff is normally not any different, but ths season LeCroy chose to fly here. In the past he has done this at least once before, but then he had gotten a player (Jose Lozada) to drive his pickup truck to the midstate. This time, though, LeCroy pulled what he called “a veteran move” when he left his vehicle here after this year’s Hot Stove banquet in late January.

Osvaldo Abreu’s rough day bleeds into his night

Photo courtesy Samuel Getty / Harrisburg Senators

A professional baseball team taking batting practice before a game can resemble chaotic anarchy to an uninitiated viewer as hitters are taking their hacks in the cage, infielders are fielding ground balls, and players are working on baserunning all at the same time. But if you look long enough you can see the beauty in the detailed organization and the inherent rhythms that make everything simultaneously work perfectly in sync.

But sometimes one wrong step can bring the system crashing to a halt.

As the Harrisburg Senators prepared for their Opening Night clash with the rival Altoona Curve, a group was cycling through the batting cage as pitcher Austen Williams was hitting fungo groundballs to Drew Ward at third base. A mere couple of hours away from his Double-A debut, Harrisburg shortstop Osvaldo Abreu took that one wrong step into the path of Williams’ bat.

Abreu, the Nationals’ 21st ranked prospect per Baseball America, got dinged around the temple above the right eye that required medical attention and forced the 22-year-old Dominican to miss his turn in batting practice.

It was a rough start to a day that was about to go from bad to worse for Abreu and the rest of his teammates as the Senators committed five errors in a 5-3 loss to the Curve to start their 2017 season on a down note.

Abreu struck out three times in five hitless trips to the plate and accounted for one of the miscues with an errant throw on a routine grounder.

“He had a really good Arizona Fall League, but it’s a different level now so he has to really step up his preparation before the games,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “The game is a little faster at this level, but I think he’ll catch up. I think tonight, his first time at Double-A, it kind of sped up on him a little bit.”

Abreu wasn’t the only Senator struggling at both the plate and in the field as 29-year-old Cuban outfielder Yadiel Hernandez whiffed twice and committed two errors including a dropped pop fly.

The game, however, marked the first time Hernandez was playing competitively in a game that counted since he defected to the United States at the end of June in 2015. So it makes sense he was a little anxious in the batter’s box as he saw only nine pitches in his first three at-bats and swung at seven of them.

“I don’t know how much he played last year. We gave him a lot of opportunities in spring training because we knew he hadn’t played much the year before,” LeCroy said. “It’s his first time out. He works hard, he just had a tough night.”

“I don’t like to make excuses. We didn’t secure the baseball and it ended up costing us the night.” – – LeCroy on playing in temperatures in the thirties with a biting wind.