June 2009

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Down on the Farm

Down on the Farm

Down on the Farm is a weekly window into the Nationals farm teams, with updated standings, league leaders, team and individual player stats, and the latest team and player news.  


This Week’s Top Headline


Harrisburg INF Ofilio Castro was named Double-A Eastern League Offensive Player of the Week by MILB.com, while Hagerstown LHP Patrick McCoy earned MILB.com Pitcher of the Week honors in the Single-A South Atlantic League.


Castro reached base 14 times in 17 plate appearances (.823 OBP), hitting .786 (11-for-14) with one double, one homer, seven RBI, three walks and four runs scored to garner the award. During the tear, he raised his average 50 points from .241 to .291. Castro leads the Senators in hitting and ranks second overall among Washington farmhands.


McCoy went 2-0 and fired 11.1 shutout innings in two relief appearances to earn the citation. The 20-year-old has fired 14.1 consecutive scoreless innings over his last three games. In four relief appearances this season, the southpaw is 2-0 with a 0.51 ERA (1 ER/17.2 IP), 20 strikeouts and a .175 batting average against (11-for-63). Overall, he has gone 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA while posting an impressive 13.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio (27 K/2 BB). McCoy, a Tucson, AZ native was Washington’s 10th-round selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.


Triple-A Syracuse ChiefsChiefs 2.JPG
International League North Division

32-32, 3rd Place, 7.5 Games Back


Balester Collin 1.JPGRHP Collin Balester:
He has won four straight starts and is 4-0 with a 1.52 ERA (6 ER/35.1 IP) and just 11 walks in his last six outings. Beginning with his May 17 start, Balester has lowered his ERA from 6.35 to 3.89. He has allowed three runs or less in 10 of 13 starts overall. Balester, 23, made 15 starts at the Big League level last season with Washington.


RHP Tyler Clippard: He has not allowed an earned run in 16.2 consecutive innings (12 games), beginning May 18. During that stretch, opposing batters have gone just 5-for-54 (.092) against him. For the season, Clippard is 3-1 with one save, a 0.98 ERA and a .159 BAA in 22 appearances. The 24-year-old has worked more than 1.0 inning on 15 occasions. He made two spot starts with the Nationals last season, going 1-1 with a 4.04 ERA. Clippard was acquired from the Yankees in exchange for RHP Jonathan Albaladejo, December 5, 2007.


C Jhonatan Solano: He has gunned down a combined 43% (11-for-26) of would-be basestealers with Columbus and Harrisburg. Before his June 4 promotion to Triple-A, the Barranquilla, Columbia native batted .280 with seven doubles, one homer and 11 RBI in 26 games with the Senators. Solano, 23, signed with Washington as a non-drafted free agent, September 14, 2005.


Double-A Harrisburg Senatorssenators-new-logo 1.JPG
Eastern League Southern Division
23-38, 5th Place, 17.5 Games Back


Everts, Clint 2.JPGRHP Clint Everts
: He is a combined 3-0 with a 0.69 ERA and a 5.2 strikeout-to-walk ratio (31 K/6 BB) in 17 appearances (26.0 innings) with Harrisburg and Single-A Potomac. Since being promoted to Harrisburg on June 9 he has pitched scoreless ball in 6.0 innings (four appearances) and recorded one save. Prior to joining the Senators, Everts went 3-0 with two saves and a 0.90 ERA in 13 games with Potomac. The Cypress, Texas native was Montreal’s first-round pick in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.


In a combined 14 games (13 starts) with Harrisburg and Potomac, RHP Erik Arnesen has gone 7-3 with a 2.76 ERA. He is tied with J.D. Martin (Syracuse) for most wins among Washington Minor Leaguers and ranks second with 63 strikeouts, trailing only Potomac’s Terrence Engles (73). Arnesen is 3-2 with a 3.16 ERA (15 ER/42.2 IP) and 38 strikeouts in seven games (six starts) since joining Harrisburg on May 11. The 25-year-old Arnesen went 4-1 with a 2.23 ERA (8 ER/32.2 IP) in six starting assignments with the P-Nats.


Single-A Potomac Nationalspotomac nationals 1.JPG

Carolina League Northern Division

36-27, 2nd Place, 5.5 Games Back


RHP Jeff Mandel and RHP Brad Meyers were selected to represent the Potomac Nationals and the Carolina League in the Single-A California/Carolina League All-Star Game being played June 23 at The Diamond, home of the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres).

Mandel is 6-4 with a 3.63 ERA in 12 starts. The 24-year-old ranks among Carolina League leaders in innings pitched (fourth, 69.1 IP), wins (t-fourth) and WHIP (seventh, 1.21). Mandel won a CL-best six consecutive starts from April 23-May 24. He was a 19th-round selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.


Meyers leads Carolina League starting pitchers with a 1.87 ERA. In his most recent start, Monday vs. Wilmington (Royals), he allowed three runs in a career-high 7.2 innings to earn the win. Meyers has allowed no more than one run in nine of his 12 appearances (11 starts) overall. He was selected in the fifth round of the 2007 Draft out of Loyola Marymount University (CA).


1B Chris Marrero: He is batting at a .454 clip (10-for-22) with one double, one home run, three RBI and three walks in his last six games. Marrero has reached base via hit, walk or HBP in 51 of 60 games this season. The 20-year-old is tied for fourth in the Carolina League with 66 hits. Marrero entered the season rated by Baseball America as the No. 3 prospect -the top hitter- in Washington’s system. He was the Nationals’ top selection (15th overall) in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

 hagerstown suns 1.JPG

Single-A Hagerstown Suns

South Atlantic League Northern Division

29-32, 6th Place, 8.5 Games Back


C Derek Norris and RHP Marcos Frias were named Single-A South Atlantic League All-Stars. The All-Star festivities will take place on June 23 at Appalachian Power Park, home of the West Virginia Power (Pirates).


Norris, Derek 1.JPGNorris
leads all catchers in professional baseball with 13 home runs and 46 RBI. The 20-year-old ranks among the Single-A South Atlantic League leaders in nearly every offensive category, including RBI (first), home runs (t-first), total bases (second, 124), slugging (second, .571), OPS (second, .968), runs (sixth, 40), walks (sixth, 30), doubles (t-sixth, 17) and OBP (seventh, .398). Norris has posted a team-best 19 multi-hit games. The Kansas native has thrown out 40% (22-for-57) of would-be basestealers. Per Baseball America, he entered the season rated as the No. 6 prospect and top overall catching prospect in Washington’s system.


Frias is 4-0 with a 2.07 ERA (9 ER/39.0 IP) and 38 strikeouts in his last eight games (seven starts). Overall, he is 4-1 with a 2.52 ERA (seventh-best in SAL) and has 50 strikeouts against just 13 walks (3.8 SO/BB ratio) in 11 games (10 starts). Frias, 20, signed with Washington as a Minor League free agent, March 5, 2007.

Lannan is locked in

041709-177 john lannan.JPGJohn Lannan entered the season as the Nationals pitching ace by default. After a rough start, he has pitched like one. He went 0-2 with a 10.00 ERA and a .366 BAA in his first two starts. He was the Nationals Opening Day starter against the Marlins but lasted 3.0 innings and surrendered six earned runs. His second start was slightly better against the Braves. He pitched 6.0 innings and gave up four runs.


Since April 17th, Lannan has been locked in and his 2.65 ERA ranks sixth in the NL. Lannan’s numbers get even more impressive if you remove his May 25th start against the Mets at Citi Field, when he pitched 5.0 innings and gave up eight hits, four walks and five runs. In those 10 starts since April 17th, he is 3-2 with a 2.14 ERA (63.0 IP/15 ER), 34 strikeouts, 24 walks and seven quality starts. In June, he leads all NL pitchers–minimum 15.0 innings pitched–with a 0.60 ERA. Like last season, he has been plagued by the Nationals inability to score runs. He sports the fourth lowest run support average in the NL.


All those numbers will be obsolete tonight when Lannan takes the mound against his hometown team. He grew up a Yankees fan in Long Island, N.Y. and now has the task of keeping their bats at bay.


“I went to more games at Yankee Stadium than I did at Shea Stadium,” Lannan said. “I’m going to try to control my emotions as much as possible. It’s going to be exciting. Believe it or not, I have more people calling me for Yankees tickets. I wasn’t expecting that. I was expecting it to be even [like Citi Field]. But it’s kind of crazy.”

Nats fall to the Yankees 5-3 in their first visit to the new Yankee Stadium

The Nationals lost 5-3 last night to CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees but there were some bright spots in the game. Shairon Martis had a solid outing going 6.0 innings while giving up two runs, one earned, on only four hits. He did not factor into the decision, keeping his overall record at 5-1.

anderson hernandez hr.jpg

On the offensive side, Anderson Hernandez blasted a three-run shot, his first of the season, to left field which put the Nats ahead 3-2. The lead was short lived as some timely hitting by New York and some defensive miscues allowed the Yankees to regain the lead. Reliever Ron Villone picked up the loss, and closer Mariano Rivera entered in the 9th to shut down the Nats for his 15th save of the season.

Villone’s loss to the Yankees on Tuesday night was his fourth in his last four appearances. According to Elias, over the last 10 seasons, only three other pitchers suffered losses in four consecutive relief outings: Brian Fuentes (2007), Fausto Carmona (2006), and Rheal Cormier (2001).

In other Nationals news:

With rumors of a managerial shake up in DC, the Nationals players show their support for Manager Manny Acta.

Teams around the Major Leagues, including the Nats, are using some creative ways to get their players voted into the All-Star Game.

– Long Island native John Lannan is looking forward to his first start at Yankee Stadium.

Yankee Stadium home run watch

The new Yankee Stadium has replaced Coors Field as the most generous hitter’s ballpark. The Nats start a three-game set with the Yankees tonight in their first trip to the Bronx in team history. There are sure to be plenty of fireworks. There have been 115 home runs at the new stadium already, 25 more than the second friendliest stadium, Camden Yards, and 79 more than Turner Field. There have only been 49 HR at Coors Field thus far in 2009. Of the 115 bombs, 64 HR have been hit by Yankees players and 51 HR by opponents. Mark Teixeira leads the pack with 13 blasts to souvenir city.  


042109-208 adam dunn.JPGIt is a short hop to the right field fence (314′) and the ball carries extremely well down the line. Routine fly balls turn into home runs. There have been 70 HR to right, five to center and 40 to left. It could be a fun series for slugger Adam Dunn.


Here’s a look at how the new stadium compared to the old stadium.

HR hit at Yankee Stadium (Through June 15 in 2008 and 2009)

                        2008      2009

HR                   66        115 

Games              32        32

HR/gm             2.1       3.6


With 49 regular season games remaining at Yankee Stadium, it is on pace to record 291 HR. Just short of the record set in 1999 when 303 HR were hit out of Coors field.

The Nats are also a much better home run hitting team when they leave the friendly confines of Nationals Park. There have only been 58 home runs at Nationals Park, 18th among ballparks.

Nats Home/Road Splits (Through June 15)
                        Home  Away
Games              33        29   
HR                   29        35
AB/HR             38.2     29.3

The MLB Average is 33.5 AB/HR.

All is Well

Right-handed pitcher Kip Wells is
off the DL. The Nats reinstated Wells from the 15-day disabled list and
optioned right-handed pitcher Jason Bergmann to the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs.


Wells missed the last 12 games
after he was placed on the DL with a right adductor strain on June 2
(retroactive to May 31). In four rehab appearances with the Single-A
Potomac Nationals, he posted a 1.80 ERA (1 ER/5.0 IP). Wells is 0-2 with a 6.26
ERA with the Nationals in 2009. In 19 appearances, he has tallied four holds
and has converted both save opportunities.


Bergmann, 27, went 0-1 with a 6.91
ERA in 14 appearances with the Nationals.



Nats sign 16 draftees

A week after the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, the Nationals have signed 17 of their draft picks, including first round pick Drew Storen, a right-handed relief pitcher out of Stanford University. Of the 16 picks signed yesterday, the Nationals picked up seven right-handed pitchers, two southpaws, three outfielders, two shortstops, one third baseman and one catcher.


Here are some of the highlights from the players signed:



Trevor Holder (Third round, University of Georgia): This pick by the Nationals stunned some draft experts with their third round selection. Trevor Holder, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound right-handed pitcher and recent Georgia graduate, had been drafted in the tenth round last year by the Florida Marlins. After going 7-5 with a 4.48 ERA, many people predicted that he would fare about the same this year. However, Assistant General Manager Mike Rizzo has information on Holder from the past five years and believes that, as far as he can see, he made the right decision.


“Every [scout that saw him] stamped the guy as a Big League starting pitcher,” Rizzo said. “Everyone in our room [saw a] Big League starting pitcher…He’s been a good performer in the SEC. He’s a college senior. People had seen him for too long and he’d had too much success to roll the dice. And if you like a guy and he’s a Big League player, you just take him.”


Patrick Lehman

Patrick Lehman (13th round, George Washington University): The Nationals went local with their 13th round pick when they drafted recent George Washington University graduate Patrick Lehman. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound right-handed pitcher, originally from New Jersey, just finished up a senior season where he led the A-10 Conference in ERA (2.40), strikeouts (89) and innings pitched (105), and was named A-10 Pitcher of the Year.


“Being selected by the Nationals is very exciting and is a great opportunity for me,” Lehman said. “They have a great organization and to be a part of their young pitching prospects is a great honor and opportunity for me. I am looking forward to getting back on the field and representing the Washington Nationals organization.”


Naoya Washiya (14th round, College [CA] of the Desert): Washiya, an outfielder, is originally from Hokkaido, Japan but played college baseball at the College of the Desert in California. In Japan he was a member of the Komadai Tomakomai team that won the prestigious 2005 Japanese High School Baseball Championship, a nationwide tournament which is the second most popular baseball event in Japan, behind the Japan Series (the Japanese league championship). This past season, Washiya stole 17 bases and batted .274 with three home runs and 24 RBI.


And here is the complete list of players signed thus far:


Right-handed pitcher Drew Storen (first round, Stanford University)

Right-handed pitcher Trevor Holder (third round, University of Georgia)

Shortstop Michael Taylor (sixth round, Westminster [FL] Academy)

Right-handed pitcher Taylor Jordan (ninth round, Brevard [FL] Community College)

Outfielder Justin Bloxom (11th round, Kansas State University)

Right-handed pitcher Patrick Lehman (13th round, George Washington University)

Outfielder Naoya Washiya (14th round, College [CA] of the Desert)

Shortstop Sean Nicol (16th round, University of San Diego)

Right-handed pitcher Frank Corolla (19th round, University of Houston)

Third baseman Jack Walker (20th round, Concordia [IL] University)

Left-handed pitcher Mitchell Clegg (21st round, University of Massachusetts)

Right-handed pitcher Dustin Crane (24th round, Snead [AL] State Community College)

Catcher Dianison Boekhoudt (Mary Carroll [TX] High)

Left-handed pitcher Evan Bronson (29th round, Trinity [TX] College)

RHP Rob Wort (30th round, Jefferson [Mo] College)

Outfielder Jay Sferra (31st round, UNLV)

Right-handed pitcher Kyle Morrison (32nd round, Wagner [NY] College)



The Nats visit Yankee Stadium


The Nationals begin a three game series against the New York Yankees tomorrow at the new Yankee Stadium. It is the Nats first trip to the Bronx since moving to DC in 2005. The last time the Nats played the Bronx Bombers was at RFK Stadium in 2006. The Nationals took two of three to win the series.


Ryan Zimmerman stole the show in the rubber match. With his father in the stands on Father’s Day, Zimmerman hit a two-run walk-off home run off Chien-Ming Wang to give the Nats a 3-2 victory. “I don’t remember what was going through my mind and that’s probably why it’s one of my best baseball memories,” he said. In the three games, Zimmerman batted .462 (6-for-13) with five RBI, two doubles and one home run.

All-Star ballot update


The NL All-Star ballot update was released today. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is seeking his first selection to the Mid-Summer Classic but needs help from you, the fans. For the third week in a row, he sits in second place behind Mets third baseman David Wright by approximately 336,000 votes. Outfielder Adam Dunn ranks 12th in the voting for the second straight week. Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times HERE until July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show on July 5.

Josh Willingham placed on Bereavement List

The Nationals selected outfielder Corey Patterson from Syracuse of the Triple-A International League, placed outfielder Josh Willingham on the Bereavement List and transferred right-handed pitcher Terrell Young to the 60-Day DL.

After a slow start this season, Patterson has batted .302 (35-for-116) with eight doubles, six home runs and 23 RBI over a 39-game span in May and June. His eight stolen bases in 2009 are tied for the Chiefs team lead.

Over nine Big League seasons (2000-08), Patterson has batted .253 with 104 home runs and 363 RBI in 991 career games. He possesses a rare blend of power and speed, and has posted a stolen base success rate of 74.8 (182 steals in 232 attempts) for his career. The 29-year-old ranks sixth among active major leaguers with 80 bunt hits.

A former first-round pick (third overall by Chicago-NL in 1998 Draft), Patterson signed with Washington as a Minor League free agent on December 18, 2008.

Willingham has batted .294 (25-for-85) with eight home runs and a .635 slugging percentage in his last 28 games played and he has gone 10-for-28 (.357) with three homers in his last nine games.