When we checked in last with the Washington Nationals, we discussed how thin the pitching depth throughout the system was. Currently, the hitting depth isn’t particularly deep either. It does help that Anthony Rendon is finally playing again, and that players like Brian Goodwin and Matthew Skole are having good seasons. With that said, let’s take a look at how the hitter’s are doing on the season.
AAA Syracuse Chiefs
Bryce Harper OF – Age 19 – Why would I shamelessly write about a player that is no longer a prospect? Ratings baby. Seriously though, the fact that Harper is still just 19 years old and has 278 major league at bats is worth mentioning, even if it doesn’t exactly fit here. What’s impressive is that he’s taken to the major league with much more zest than the minor league game. Harper himself knew that he was just killing time in the minors, Almost in the same way a really smart kid gets bored with regular school classes. He hit .243 with 1 HR and 1 SB in 74 at bats at AAA. Since being promoted to the Nationals, he’s been a legit starting outfielder, hitting .273 with 8 HR’s and 11 SB over 278 at bats. His 58/29 K/BB rate is impressive too.
Tyler Moore 1B/OF – Age 25 – Moore is currently on his second tour of the season with the Nationals, and it appears as if he’s there to stay – even if it’s in a reserve role. He hit .307 with 9 HRs and 26 RBI in 101 at bats for Syracuse. He’s hitting .310 with 5 HRs and 13 RBI over 84 at bats with the Nationals. The HR power shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone as he hit 31 in each of the past two minor league seasons.
Corey Brown OF – Age 26 – Brown has registered just 3 at bats in the majors this season and 3 last season. He’s become a career minor leaguer, however he’s making a strong case to play in the big leagues. He’s hitting .300 with 21 HRs, 57 RBI, 69 Runs, and 12 SB to go with a 99/48 K/BB ratio over 363 at bats on the season. There’s no reason to think he won’t be able to stick as a platoon or reserve outfielder.
Chris Marrero OF – Age 24 – Marrero has seemingly been around for ever. The 2006 15th overall pick is hitting .283 with 2 HRs, 14 RBI, and 12 Runs to go with a 24/14 K/BB ratio over 113 at bats on the season. He’s been injured a couple of times and is currently on the DL. He played pretty well in 2011 and earned 108 at bats with the Nationals, but he’s going to have to pick it back up if plans to get back there. He’s likely to become a platoon outfielder at best.
AA Harrisburg Senators
Brian Goodwin OF – Age 21 – Goodwin hit .324 with 9 HRs, 38 RBI, 47 Runs, and 15 SB to go with an excellent 43/39 K/BB ratio over 216 at bats with Low-A Hagerstown. He earned a promotion and skipped right over High-A and is debuting today with Harrisburg at AA. It will be interesting to see how he handles this big of a promotion and definitely worth keeping your eye on.
Zach Walters 3B – Age 22 – Walters hit .269 with 5 HRs and 24 RBI over 193 at bats in the Carolina League before being promoted to AA. He’s hitting .315 with 5 HRs and 15 RBI over 108 at bats with Harrisburg. They moved him off of SS this season and he’s looking like he could become a quality infield utility man.
Eury Perez OF – Age 22 – Perez is hitting .306 with 2 Triples, 11 Doubles, 32 RBI, 38 Runs, and 31 SB to go with a 53/8 K/BB ratio over 372 at bats for Harrisburg. It’s been reported that he’s about to be promoted to AAA, but he’s going to need to take more walks and get on base more if he wants to take the next leap to the Nationals.
Jeff Kobernus 2B – Age 24 – Kobernus was the 50th overall pick in the 2009 draft after a fine career at Cal. He’s been slow to advance, playing all 4 of his seasons at stops that he’s too old to be at. He stole 53 bases last season and is on pace to match or top that total this season. He’s hitting .281 with 1 HR, 18 RBI, 38 runs, and 35 SB to go with a 51/17 K/BB ratio over 303 at bats. He’s got utility infielder/pinch runner written all over him.
Sandy Leon C – Age 23 - Leon spent part of this season on the DL and after a brief rehab stint in the NYP, is back in full action with Harrisburg. He’s hitting .311 with 1 HR and 12 Doubles to go with a 18/12 K/BB ratio over 150 at bats. He could turn into a useful back up catcher down the road.
Justin Bloxom 3B – Age 24 – The 2009 11th round pick is showing a little more pop in his bat this season. He hit .259 with 12 HRs and 34 RBI over 224 at bats with Potomac before getting promoted to Harrisburg, where he’s hitting .208 with 5 HRs and 13 RBI over 96 at bats. He’s never going to hit for a great average, but he might find his way to being a reserve who can provide a little power.
High-A Potomac Nationals
Anthony Rendon 3B – Age 22 – After missing most of this season with an ankle injury, Rendon is finally back into action and is currently on a rehab assignment in the GCL. From what we’ve seen in his brief return to action is that he looks healthy and that we will cross our fingers and hope it’s behind him. Unfortunately, Rendon comes pre-designated with the can’t stay healthy label. He’s a massive talent and we hope he gets on track and stays there.
J.P. Ramirez OF – Age 22 – The 2008 15th round draft pick is hitting .297 with 2 HRs, 27 RBI, 29 Runs, and 7 SB to go with a 43/9 K/BB ratio over 266 at bats between the Sally and the Carolina League. While his season is shaping up to be much better than his 2011 campaign, he’s still not looking like more than organization depth at this point.
Rich Hague SS – Age 23 – Considered to be one of the Nationals better hitting prospects by many, the 2010 third round draft pick isn’t exactly setting the world on fire at a stop that he’s a bit on the old side for. He’s hitting .252 with 4 HRs, 31 RBI, 39 Runs, and 14 SB to go with a 64/18 K/BB ratio over 254 at bats. The good news is that is he is healthy after missing almost the full 2011 season with a shoulder injury.
Low-A Hagerstown Suns
Matthew Skole 3B – Age 21 – The Nationals 2011 5th round pick had a nice debut in 2011 in New York-Penn League and started the 2012 season off on fire, but has cooled just a bit. He’s hitting .280 with 21 HRs, 73 RBI, 61 Runs, and 5 SB to go with a 94/74 K/BB ratio over 282 at bats. His .273 ISoP is very nice and his ability to take a walk is very good, despite having a bit of a high K rate. The K’s aren’t a surprise though for someone hitting with great power. It shoudn’t be long before he’s in the Carolina League.
Billy Burns OF – Age 22 – The 2011 32nd round draft pick is hitting .308 with 8 Doubles, 3 Triples, 31 RBI, 62 Runs, and 33 SB to go with a 48/49 K/BB ratio. There isn’t much power here but he is a very disciplined hitter and doesn’t make many mistakes on the bases as he’s been picked off just 3 times. We really need to see him at a higher level for his age.
Cutter Dykstra 3B – Age 23 – After spending an ugly season in 2011 in the High-A Carolina League, the Nationals decided to start the former 2008 2nd round pick of the Brewers at Low-A. The decision has been a successful one on some levels, Dykstra is hitting .299with 4 HRs, 46 RBI, 48 Runs, and 25 SB to go with a 54/34 K/BB ratio 304 at bats on the season. We just wonder at what point that they will have the confidence to promote the 23-year-old above the Sally.
Steve Souza, Jr OF – Age 23 – The Everett, WA native has been kicking around the Nationals organization since they drafted him out of Cascade High School in the third round in 2007. Like Dykstra, he was a disappointment in the Carolina League in 2011, so he’s back in the Sally. He’s hitting .290 with 17 HRs, 72 RBI, 48 Runs, and 7 SB to go with a 49/20 K/BB ratio over 262 at bats. The numbers seem good, but where’s the confidence to get him back to the Carolina League. He will be 24 at the start of the next season and needs to move quickly. Likely though, the window has passed and he will be trying to climb the ladder to find a reserve role somewhere.
Short Season A Auburn Doubledays
Estarlin Martinez 3B – Age 20 – After spending 2 seasons in the GCL after debuting in the DSL in 2009, The 6’1″ Dominican is having little trouble in the NYP. He’s hitting .293 with 2 HRs, 7 Doubles, 1 Triple, and 3 SB to go with a 13/7 K/BB ratio over 82 at bats.
Mike McQuillan 2B – Age 22 – The 2012 33rd round draft pick started the season, but was promoted quickly to the NY-P. He’s hitting .361 with 3 Triples, 2 Doubles and has a 10/11 K/BB ratio over 72 innings.
Tony Renda 2B – Age 21 – The 2012 2nd round pick is off to a slow start. He’s hitting just .196 in 112 at bats, but does have 9 stolen bases.
Brandon Miller OF – Age 22 – The 2012 4th round pick is hitting .214 with 2 HR’s and 5 RBI over 14 at bats. He’s currently on the 7 day DL.
Spencer Kieboom C – Age 21 – The 2012 5th round pik is hitting .224 with just 1 XBH on the season in 49 at bats.
Stephen Perez SS – Age 21 – The 2012 8th round pick is also on the 7 day DL. He’s hitting .250 with 1 HR and 3 SB over 68 at bats.
Carlos Lopez 3B – Age 21 - The 2012 12th round pick is hitting .214 with 1 HR and 1 SB to go with a 18/7 K/BB ratio over 56 at bats.
Craig Manuel C – Age 22 – is hitting a robust .340 with 1 Triple and 1 SB over his first 53 at bats.
Rookie Gulf Coast League Nationals
Matt Foat 1B – Age 22 – The 2012 non-drafted free agent is hitting .327 with 1 HR, 2 Doubles, and 1 SB to go with a 9/7 K/BB ratio over 55 at bats on the season. He hit .323 with USC before signing with the Nationals.
Jean Carlos Valdez 3B – Age 19 – The 6’2″ Dominican is hitting .262 with 9 Doubles and 1 SB to go with a 19/5 K/BB ratio over 82 at bats in his second trip through the GCL.
Hayden Jennings OF – Age 19 – The 2012 6th round pick is hitting .155 with 1 Triple and 4 SB to go with a wild 35/4 K/BB ratio over his first 71 professional at bats.
Rookie Dominican Summer League Nationals
Rafael Bautista OF – Age 19 - He’s hitting .295 with 1 Triple, 4 Doubles, and 23 SB to go with a 21/15 K/BB ratio over 122 at bats in his professional debut.
Osvaldo Abreu SS – Age 18 – Abreu is hitting .260 with 1 Triple, 7 Doubles, and 13 SB to go with a 38/15 K/BB ratio over 131 at bats. 2012 marks his first year of professional baseball.
Randy Novas OF – Age 17 – In his 2nd season in the DSL, Novas is hitting .245 with 1 HR, 10 Doubles, and 10 SB to go with a 30/8 K/BB ratio over 110 at bats.
That’s it for our look at the Washington Nationals farm system. Check back soon for more organizational reports.
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