The 2013 International League season begins on April 4 with a four game series at home vs. the Syracuse Chiefs, Triple-A team of the 2012 N.L. East Division Champion Washington Nationals. Here’s a look at the team that will be facing our Lehigh Valley Ironpigs. (Players of interest are marked with a **)
Yunesky Maya, 31 year old RH pitcher from Cuba. He is beginning his third season with Syracuse and was 4-9 5.00 in 2011 and 11-10 3.88 in 2012.
Tanner Roark, 26 year old RH pitcher, he was 6-17 4.39 with Syracuse in 2012.
Ryan Perry, 26 year old RH pitcher, he was a former 1st round draft pick by the Tigers and was traded to the Nationals for Collin Balester in December, 2011. He has a 6-6 career big league record, mostly with Detroit and he split time between AA Harrisburg and AAA Syracuse in 2012, going a combined 3-5 3.07.
Ross Ohlendorf, A veteran 30 year old righty, he has a career major league record of 18-32 with the Yankees, Pirates & Padres. He was 4-4 for the Padres in 2012 and 5-4 in AAA.
Danny Rosenbaum, A 25 year old LH pitcher drafted by the Nationals in the 22nd round in 2009. He was 8-10 3.94 in 26 starts with AA Harrisburg in 2012.
Erik Davis, A 26 year old RH reliever, he spent the majority of 2012 at AA Harrisburg where he went 7-3 2.52 with 5 Saves. He had 69 strikeouts in 64.1 innings pitched.
Jeff Mandel, A 27 year old righty, drafted by Washington in 2007 out of Baylor University. He was 4-4 4.66 in AA last year and 6-5 2.58 with Syracuse. He was used mostly as a starter last year.
Ryan Tatusko, 28 year old RH pitcher. He pitched at AA Harrisburg in 2012 where he went 4-5 3.50. His best year was 2010 when he was 12-3 in AA.
J.C. Romero, A familiar face from the Phillies bullpen, the now 36 year old lefty has a career big league record of 34-28 with a 4.16 ERA. He is best remembered by Phillies fans for winning game 3 and the clinching game 5 of the 2008 World Series vs. the Tampa Bay Rays.
Jeremy Accardo, Another veteran, the 31 year old righty spent time with the Indians and Athletics in 2012. He has a career big league record of 10-20 4.30 and has 38 career Saves.
Fernando Abad, A 27 year old lefty from the Dominican Republic, he has pitched parts of the past 3 seasons with the Houston Astros. He was 2-0 with 2 Saves in the Pacific Coast League last year.
Mike Crotta, A 28 year old RH pitcher, he missed the entire 2012 season after undergoing surgery for a stress fracture in his elbow in April, 2012. He pitched in 15 games for the Pirates in 2011.
Patrick McCoy, A 24 year old southpaw, he spent all of 2012 with Harrisburg in the Eastern League where he was 7-3 3.70, all out of the bullpen. He also had 2 Saves.
Jhonatan Solano, The 27 year old catcher played briefly with the Nationals in 2012 and hit .314 in 12 games. He hit .250 at Syracuse last year.
Carlos Maldonado, The 34 year old veteran catcher also spent most of 2012 at Syracuse where he hit .210 with 6 homers.
**Chris Marrero, The 24 year old RH first baseman was a 1st round draft pick by the Nationals in 2006. He had 109 at bats with the Nationals in 2011 but a torn hamstring in the winter leagues caused a major setback in 2012. He spent all of last year at 5 different minor league levels and hit just .244 with Syracuse with 0 HR. Still, the power potential is there and MLB.com has him rated as the #12 prospect for the Nats.
**Jeff Kobernus, A 2nd round pick in 2009, the 24 year old RH hitting second baseman is among the fastest players in the Nationals farm system. He hit .282 with 42 SB at Harrisburg in the Eastern League in 2012. He is rated the #16 prospect for Washington.
Carlos Rivero, The big third baseman hit 15 HR at Reading and 1 with the Ironpigs in 2011 and then played all of 2012 with Syracuse where he hit .303 with 10 HR. He is still only 24.
**Zach Walters, The 23 year old switch hitting shortstop is rated the #14 prospect in the Washington farm system. He played at 3 minor league levels in 2012 and hit a combined .266. He was acquired from Arizona for Jason Marquis on July 30, 2011 and is considered an above average shortstop with a strong arm. Walters hits best from the left side but doesn’t have much power. His versatility is a big plus and he can play well at any infield position.
Will Rhymes, The 30 year old LH hitting second baseman has played in the big leagues for the Detroit Tigers in 2010-2011 and with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012. He has a lifetime big league average of .266 but hit just .256 last year in 46 games with the Durham Bulls.
Mike Costanzo, The 29 year old LH hitting corner infielder/outfielder made his big league debut with Cincinnati in 2012 but had just 1 hit in 18 at bats. He was originally drafted by the Phillies and once hit 27 homeruns in a season with Reading. He hit .262 with 9 HR at Louisville in 2012.
**Corey Brown, The 27 year old LH hitting outfielder is one of the most dangerous hitters in the International League. He was a former first round draft pick by Oakland out of Oklahoma State University and in 2012 he hit .285 with 25 HR and 71 RBI with Syracuse. He also stole 18 bases. You will usually find him batting either first or third in the Syracuse lineup.
**Eury Perez, If Corey Brown doesn’t bat leadoff for Syracuse this year it’s because of the presence of Eury Perez. The 22 year old right-handed outfielder from the Dominican Republic is the #7 prospect for the Nationals according to MLB.com. He was a member of the Dominican team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He doesn’t have much power but he hit .299 with 26 stolen bases and Harrisburg last year before moving up to Syracuse where he hit .333 with 20 stolen bases. He is considered an above average centerfielder with a strong arm.
**Micah Owings, At the age of 30, the former pitcher with a career 32-33 big league record has decided to try to convert to an outfielder. He has always been a good hitter and has a lifetime major league batting average of .283 in 205 at bats. He also has 9 homeruns at the major league level. With those kind of numbers, most experts feel if he can do an adequate job in the outfield he should eventually make it back to the big leagues.
Jimmy Van Ostrand, The 28 year old RH hitting outfielder was a member of Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic. He was signed by Washington out of Independent League baseball last year and played at Harrisburg where he hit .310 with 10 HR.