Our Washington Nationals Minor League year in review series takes a look at the triple-A Syracuse Chiefs
Today, we continue our review of the Washington Nationals minor league affiliates in 2016 by looking at their triple-A team, the Syracuse Chiefs. In 2016, the Chiefs finished the season with a 61-82 record and they were in last place in the International League North division.
On offense, Billy Gardner Jr.’s team finished tied with the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays) for the lowest batting average in the IL. Their team leader in home runs was first baseman Matt Skole (.244, 24 home runs, 78 RBI’s).
Plus, this was an offense that featured Trea Turner (.302, six home runs, 33 RBI’s, and 25 stolen bases) and Brian Goodwin (.280, 14 home runs, 68 RBI’s, 15 stolen bases). Both Turner and Goodwin are now on the Washington Nationals roster.
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When it comes to pitching, the Chiefs had a team ERA of 3.79 (fourth highest in IL) and they had the fourth fewest strikeouts. Their rotation at one point had Lucas Giolito . Reynaldo Lopez, and A.J. Cole. One pitcher who was with the Chiefs the whole season was right-hander Austin Voth (7-9, 3.15 ERA in 27 games).
In the bullpen, Koda Glover had a 2.25 ERA in 16 games before being promoted to the big leagues. The pitcher who had the bulk of the saves during the year was Rafael Martin (4.56 ERA, 22 saves in 26 chances)
To get more information on the Syracuse Chiefs, I talked with Lindsay Kramer from the Syracuse-Post Standard to get his thoughts on the 2016 Chiefs season. Below you will find our Q+A discussion:
Ricky: What was your biggest takeaway from the 2016 Chiefs season?
Lindsay: My biggest takeaway is that for the Chiefs to start having a better product on the field the Nationals have to funnel more of their best prospects through Syracuse instead of simply launching them from Double-A.
R: One of the pitchers who didn’t get a chance to make his MLB debut this year is Austin Voth? How would you evaluate his first full year of AAA?
L: I didn’t see Voth a lot. The games I did see he was strong at the start but then inconsistent. Has some work to do to keep up with all of the Nationals good young arms.
R: Matt Skole ended the year with 24 home runs and ten in his last 35 games. How close do you think he is to being Major League ready?
L: Skole might be running out of time for a significant role. He’s 27 and has a lot of holes in his swing, with 119 strikeouts and a .244 batting average.
R: Which players were your biggest surprises this season?
L: Koda Glover was my biggest surprise of the season. What stood out to me was how ready he looked for the moment. He never looked overmatched and he raised his performances as necessary to keep up with his promotions. Trea Turner wasn’t a surprise, but it might have been a surprise how good he was so quickly, and all-around consistent.
R: What is your Washington Nationals playoff prediction?
L: I don’t really have a playoff prediction beyond the obvious, that Strasburg has to be back to full strength and the bullpen has to be strong for the Nationals to go far.
We at District On Deck thank Lindsay for taking the time to answer our questions on the Syracuse Chiefs.