August 2009

News and Notes…

The Golden Glove:

 


 
zimmerman is amazing c.jpgRyan Zimmerman has been golden at the hot corner.
Zimmerman ranks among MLB leaders (min. 100 games) in total chances (MLB-best 389), total chances per 9.0 innings (MLB-best 3.20), assists (MLB-best 272), putouts (NL-best 102), range factor per 9.0 innings (MLB-best 3.08) and innings played (NL-best, 1093.2). Not to mention the number of Web Gems…

 

This season, “Baseball Tonight” has been tracking Web Gems and keeping score. They update the leaderboard on the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page each Monday. In addition to listing the leaders in appearances (both players and teams) on “Baseball Tonight,” they offer up the leaders in Web Gem points.

Web Gem points are calculated by awarding five points for the night’s top defensive play, four points for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth. Scoring is based on the Web Gems from the last “Baseball Tonight” show to air on a given night.

 

Web Gem points leaderboard

Ryan Zimmerman

40

Jack Wilson

37

Brandon Inge

34

Mark Reynolds

31

Carlos Gomez

27

Jacoby Ellsbury

27

Cristian Guzman

25

 

Web Gem appearances leaderboard (players)

Ryan Zimmerman

Washington

Third base

13

Brandon Inge

Detroit

Third base

11

Jack Wilson

Pittsburgh-Seattle

Shortstop

9

David Wright

New York Mets

Third base

9

Mark Reynolds

Arizona

Third base

8

Three tied

7

 

Web Gem appearances leaderboard (teams)

Pittsburgh

34

Washington

32

Cincinnati

30

Philadelphia

29

Minnesota

27

Zimmerman has also been consistantly strong at the plate this season. The Baseball Tonight Clubhouse also notes that:

Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman was the talk of baseball when he put together a 30-game hit streak earlier this season, but after that streak ended in San Francisco, Zimmerman continued hitting and has quietly put together a career season.

Zimmerman is hitting .299 and slugging .528 with a .373 OBP entering Monday — all have the 24-year-old on pace for career highs. His 27 home runs represent a new career high, and are almost double his output from a season ago, when he struggled with injuries and played only 106 games.

Zimmerman hits to all fields. He goes to the opposite field much better than most right-handed batters, with a batting average more than 50 points higher than the league average and a slugging percentage nearly 300 points higher.

Zimmerman and the Nationals head to San Diego to start a three-game series on Monday with the Padres. Padres pitchers have held opposing right-handed batters to a .227 batting average (third-lowest in the majors) and a .325 slugging percentage (fourth lowest) to right field.  

 

Ryan Zimmerman
Hitting by field (2009)

Zimmerman

MLB avg.

BA

SLG

BA

SLG

Left field

.382

.713

.354

.648

Center field

.438

.551

.348

.439

Right field

.318

.667

.263

.390

 

Nats Trade Belliard to Dodgers:

Three years ago today, the Dodgers acquired OF Marlon Anderson from the Nationals for RHP Jhonny Nunez. It went unnoticed to most people then and now has been forgotten by almost everyone but the trade yesterday that sent INF Ronnie Belliard to the Dodgers for Minor League pitcher Luis Garcia and a player to be named later gave us some time to remember it.

 (Brief history of the trade for those who forgot about it or never knew it happened: Anderson was batting .274 with five home runs and 23 RBI and a .331 on-base percentage in 109 games with the Nats. Then Anderson joined the Dodgers and his numbers sky rocketed. He batted .375 with seven home runs and 15 RBI and a .431 on-base percentage in 25 games. On September 18th, the Dodgers sat a half game behind the NL West leading Padres. In the final game of the four game series against the Padres, Anderson went 5-for-5 with two home runs, three runs and two RBI and the Dodgers won a dramatic 11-10 game in 10 innings. They went on to win 9 of the last 12 games to win the wild card. He couldn’t quite propel the Dodgers past the Mets in the NLDS but he batted .308 (4-for-13) with an RBI before the Mets swept them in three games. Nunez was shipped to the Yankees on July, 31 2008 in return for Alberto Gonzalez. It worked out for both clubs.)


belliard.jpg 
The Dodgers are trying to recapture the Marlon Anderson magic with Belliard. The 34-year-old Belliard hit .246 (46-for-187) with five home runs and 22 RBI in 86 games for the Nationals in 2009. He adds depth to the Dodgers bench and is a 12-year veteran who won a World Series with St. Louis in 2006. Belliard won’t get many starts but is a utility player that could give a few players a day off: Orlando Hudson at second base, James Loney at first base and Casey Blake at third base.

Garcia, 22, is currently 5-3 with five saves and a 2.92 ERA (23 ER/71.0 IP) in 34 appearances with Great Lakes of the Single-A Midwest League. He shows plus command, as he has walked just 15 in 71.0 innings (1.9 per 9.0 innings) en route to a 3.7/1 strikeout-to-walk and 1.8/1 ground out-to-air out ratios. In 16 appearances since the All-Star break, Garcia has registered a .220 batting average against (26-for-118).

In five-plus professional seasons, the 6-foot-2 Garcia is 14-7 with 14 saves and a 3.38 ERA (73 ER/194.2 IP) in 97 games. His career batting average against is .230 (168-for-732).

News that is still noteworthy:

The Nats lineup took a devastating blow on Thursday when Nyjer Morgan fractured his left hand sliding into third. Morgan was batting .307 with 42 stolen bases for the season, but since being acquired by Washington on June 30, he hit .351 with nine doubles, two triples, one homer, 12 RBI and 24 stolen bags. Morgan’s speed and unrivaled range in center field also stabilized the Nationals’ outfield defense as a whole.

 The Nats selected the contract of 30-year-old infielder Pete Orr from Syracuse to replace Morgan on the roster. On Saturday, he had the first four hit performance of his career.

“I feel good,” Orr said. “I’m just trying to stick with what I was doing down there and try to have good at-bats, see a few pitches and deal with what I got instead of trying to make something happen. I’m having fun playing, and that’s the most important thing. I think when I have fun, I do better.”

Orr was batting .245 with 13 doubles, five triples, nine home runs, 50 RBI and 18 stolen bases in 120 International League contests for Syracuse. Orr earned the promotion by hitting .297 with three homers and 17 RBI in 26 games during August for the Chiefs.

Orr is a career .261 (116-for-444) hitter with 14 doubles, two home runs, 25 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 320 Big League games with Washington (2008) and Atlanta (2005-07). He has twice represented Canada in the World Baseball Classic.

Maxwell recalled:


maxwell c.jpgThe Nats recalled outfielder Justin Maxwell from Syracuse today.

 

Maxwell, 25, returns for the third stint with the Nationals this season. To date, Maxwell has played in 13 games for the Nationals, going 3-for-24 (.125) with one RBI and three stolen bases. He is a career .200 (10-for-50) hitter at the Big League level with two home runs and six RBI in 28 games.

 

In 111 games with Syracuse this season, Maxwell hit .242 (93-for-384) with 10 doubles, five triples, 13 home runs, 42 RBI, 54 walks and 35 stolen bases. He is considered an excellent defensive outfielder with well-above-average range and arm strength. On May 23 at Nationals Park, Maxwell made perhaps the finest catch in the history of the Nationals as he tracked a long drive over 60 yards into right-center field, leapt and reached over the wall to rob Baltimore’s Adam Jones of what would have been a first-inning home run.

 

Maxwell was the Nationals’ 2007 Minor League Player of the Year as he was just one of six professional players–the lone minor leaguer–to tally at least 25 doubles, 25 home runs and 25 stolen bases that season.

 

 

Know Your Nats: Adam Dunn


 

052009-236 adam dunn c.JPGHere at Notes from NatsTown, we want to give YOU the opportunity to get to know some of your favorite players both on and off the field. Next homestand, slugger Adam Dunn will be answering YOUR questions–ask anything and everything. Submit your question(s) along with your name and city to us via e-mail at natstown@nationals.com from now until noon on September 8th and we will post his answers immediately. Check back and see if your question is answered! If your question is selected, you will receive a free gift from the Nationals.

Mr. Durability

Livan Hernandez isn’t flashy on the mound. He doesn’t throw fast. He doesn’t overpower batters. He just puts the ball in play and lets his defense make plays. That’s exactly what he did last night against the Cubs. The Nats came up short but it wasn’t because of the starting pitcher.

Just about three years and three weeks since his last start for the Nats on August 6th, 2006, Hernandez put on a Washington jersey again and toed the rubber against the Cubs. It was vintage Livan: he pitched six solid innings giving up five hits and a two-run home run, mixed in his breaking stuff with his 85 mph not-so-fast-ball and showed off his skills in the field. He got the no-decision but he is just glad to be back in the Nats clubhouse.

“It’s nice to be back,” Hernandez said. “I love the city. I’ve been asking every year to go back. Inside, it’s very emotional. I’m very happy. I’d like to thank the people here for giving me a chance to come back.”

Livan is a great model of Major League longevity. Since 1997 among all active and non-active players, the two-time All-Star ranks at the top or near the top in innings pitched, complete games and starts. He has started at least 30 games the past 11 seasons and needs just six more starts with the Nats to make it 12 straight seasons. His future is uncertain beyond this season, but you can bet your life savings that he will pitch every fifth day for the Nats in September.

Major League Leaders since 1997

Innings Pitched

 

Complete Games

 

Starts

 

1. Livan Hernandez  

2689.0

1. Randy Johnson    

59

t1. Greg Maddux

408

2. Greg Maddux         

2642.2

2. Curt Schilling        

56

t1. Jamie Moyer

408

3. Randy Johnson     

2610.0

3. Livan Hernandez 

46

3. Livan Hernandez

405

4. Jamie Moyer         

2598.2

4. Roy Halladay        

45

4. Andy Pettitte

392

5. Andy Pettitte        

2495.0

5. Pedro Martinez   

39

5. Tom Glavine

384

 

Hernandez recorded his 405th career start and was the 11 pitcher to start a game for the Nats this year. The other 10 have a combined 432 career starts. (Daniel Cabrera (154 career starts), Scott Olsen (112), John Lannan (63), Collin Balester (22) and Shairon Martis (19) are the top five and only Lannan is currently in the rotation.)

At the Plate: Hernandez is a career .227 hitter (193-for-849) with 34 doubles (first among active pitchers) and nine home runs (third among active pitchers).

 

 

Down on the Farm

WASHINGTON, DC – The Nationals Minor League report 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.  

 


061009-166 drew storen.JPGThis Week’s Top Headline

Nationals prospects ­­- SS Danny Espinosa (14 HR in Carolina League, played in ’09 MLB Futures Game), 1B Chris Marrero (.294, 16 HR, 70 RBI with Double-A Harrisburg and Single-A Potomac), C Derek Norris (leads WAS system with 23 HR and 78 RBI), RHP Drew Storen (2.20 ERA, 6.14/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio at 3 levels, currently with Harrisburg) and RHP Stephen Strasburg (top overall selection in ’09 Draft)will play for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League. Washington prospects will join farmhands from the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays on the Desert Dogs roster. Additionally, Harrisburg Head Athletic Trainer Atsushi Toriida will serve as one of the trainers for the Desert Dogs. The AFL, regarded throughout professional baseball as the “finishing school” for Major League Baseball’s top prospects, begins its 18th season on Tuesday, October 13.

 


Chiefs 2.JPGTriple-A Syracuse Chiefs

International League North Division

69-61, 2nd Place, 3.5 Games Back

 

SS Ian Desmond was recently cited in Baseball America’s Best Tools survey voted upon by league managers as possessing the Best Infield Arm in both the Triple-A International League and Double-A Eastern League. For the season, Desmond is hitting a combined .318 with 21 doubles, three triples, six homers, 26 RBI and 19 stolen bases in 83 games with Syracuse and Harrisburg. He is batting at a .333 (44-for-132) clip with nine doubles, two triples, eight RBI, 16 walks and six stolen bases in 41 games since being promoted to Syracuse on July 16. In 42 contests with Harrisburg, he collected 52 hits, including 19 of the extra-base variety (12 doubles, one triple, six home runs). Desmond was the franchise’s 3rd-round pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.

 


Everts, Clint 2.JPGRHP Clint Everts
fired 18.1 consecutive scoreless innings over 14 appearances with Syracuse and Harrisburg from July 12-August 24. For the season, Everts is a combined 8-1 with a 1.44 ERA and a 3.2/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (64 K/20 BB) in 39 games (56.1 innings) at the top three levels of Washington’s system. In six games with Syracuse, he is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA (2 ER/7.0 IP). In his first career action at the Double-A level, he went 3-1 with four saves and a 1.53 ERA (5 ER/29.2 IP) in 20 appearances with the Senators. Before joining Harrisburg on June 9, Everts went 3-0 with two saves and a 0.90 ERA (2 ER/20.0 IP) in 13 games with Potomac. The Cypress, TX native was the franchise’s first-round pick (5th overall) in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.

 

LHP Ross Detwiler is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA (2 ER/18.0 IP) in his last three starts. In eight Triple-A starts, Detwiler is 2-2 with a 2.97 ERA (13 ER/39.1 IP). He has struck out 34 and walked 14. Detwiler went 0-5 with a 6.40 ERA in 10 games at the Big League level with Washington before being optioned to Syracuse on July 12.

 


senators-new-logo 1.JPGDouble-A Harrisburg Senators

Eastern League Southern Division

62-66, 5th Place, 16.5 Games Back

 

RHP Drew Storen has fired scoreless ball in 8.0 innings of work and recorded a save in each of his six appearances since joining the Senators on August 11. Before reaching Double-A, Storen went 1-0 with two saves and a 1.80 ERA (2 ER/10.0 IP) in seven Carolina League games with Potomac. Prior to joining the P-Nats on July 19, he struck out 26 and did not walk a batter in 14.2 innings (11 games) with Single-A Hagerstown. Overall, the Stanford University product has fanned 43 and walked just seven in 32.2 combined innings (24 appearances) with Harrisburg, Potomac and Single-A Hagerstown.

 

21-year-old 1B Chris Marrero is hitting .393 (11-for-28) with four doubles, five RBI and six runs scored in his first eight games at the Double-A level. Marrero hit .287 (119-for-414) with 21 doubles, two triples, 16 homers, 65 RBI, 42 walks and 58 runs scored in 112 contests with Potomac. At the time of his promotion to Harrisburg, he ranked among the Carolina League leaders in hits (3rd), total bases (3rd, 192), home runs (5th), slugging percentage (5th, .464) and batting average (t-5th). Marrero was Washington’s first-round pick (15th overall) in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

 

RHP Brad Meyers is a combined 9-2 with a 1.58 ERA in 21 games (20 starts) with Double-A Harrisburg and Single-A Potomac. He has allowed no more than one earned run in 17 of those contests. On Saturday at Portland (Red Sox), Meyers picked up his third win as a member of the Senators, tossing 7.0 innings of one-run ball. In six starts during his first career stint at the Double-A level, he is 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA (7 ER/31.0 IP). At the time of his promotion to Harrisburg on July 7, he was 6-2 with a Carolina League-leading 1.43 ERA (14 ER/88.1 IP) in 15 games (14 starts) with Potomac. He was selected in the 5th round of the 2007 Draft out of Loyola Marymount University (CA).

 


potomac nationals 1.JPGSingle-A Potomac Nationals

Carolina League Northern Division

First Half: 37-30, 2nd Place, 3.0 Games Back

Second Half: 35-23, 2nd Place, 2.5 Games Back

 

After hitting just .219 (21-for-96) in 27 July contests, SS Danny Espinosa is batting .312 (24-for-77) in 23 games in August. Espinosa leads the Carolina League with 81 runs scored and ranks among the league leaders in walks (2nd, 68) and OBP (5th, .374). Espinosa entered the season as the Best Defensive Infielder among Nationals prospects according to Baseball America. He was selected in the 3rd round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Long Beach State University (CA).

 


hagerstown suns 1.JPGSingle-A Hagerstown Suns

South Atlantic League Northern Division

First Half: 31-36, T-6th Place, 10.5 Games Back

Second Half: 18-36, 8th Place, 19.0 Games Back

 

C Derek Norris leads the South Atlantic League with 215 total bases and 79 walks. His 23 home runs and .410 OBP are both tied for the league lead with Lexington’s (Astros) Brian Pellegrini. The 20-year-old paces all catchers in professional baseball in homers and RBI (78). He has reached base safely via hit (119), walk (79) or HBP (8) 194 times in 117 games (1.76 times per contest). Norris was a 2009 SAL All-Star selection and he entered the season rated as the No. 6 prospect and top overall catching prospect in Washington’s system by Baseball America.

 


vermont_lake_monsters.jpgShort-Season Single-A Vermont Lake Monsters

New York-Penn League Stedler Division

29-34, 3rd Place, 7.0 Games Back

 

In 17 games as a pro, LHP Evan Bronson has allowed just three earned runs in 42.1 innings (0.64 ERA). He is a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities. Bronson, a 2009 NY-Penn League All-Star, has recorded 31 strikeouts against just two walks (15.5/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio). He has limited opponents to a .171 batting average against along the way. The southpaw has worked 2.0 or more innings of relief in 15 of his 17 appearances. Bronson was drafted by the Nationals in the 29th round of the 2009 Draft out of Trinity College (TX).

 


curly w.JPGGulf Coast League Nationals

Gulf Coast League East Division

33-17, 2nd Place, 1.5 Games Back

 

Including a 5.0-inning, two-run outing on August 25 at GCL Twins, LHP Daniel Rosenbaum has won four straight decisions. In 11 games (eight starts) overall, he is 4-1 with a 1.95 ERA and a 4.2/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (38 K/9 BB). Rosenbaum was a 22nd-round selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

Hard hitting in the Windy City


hammer2.jpgOnce he made his way into the lineup, Josh Willingham began to tear the cover off of the ball. This season, he is projected to hit a career-high 28 home runs and finish the season batting over .300 for the second time in his career. With another two-home run game last night in a 15-6 romp over the Chicago Cubs, Willingham now has five two-home run games this season, including the July 27th game where he hit two grand slams. All of those games occurred on the road, where Willingham has shined this season.  Here is a look at The Hammer’s home vs. away production:

 

Games

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Home

51

155

39

5

19

.252

.371

.426

.797

Away

50

164

57

16

37

.348

.440

.726

1.165

 

Willingham ranks 8th in the National League in terms of percent of flyballs that are home runs (HR/FB) with 20.6 (min. 370 PA). But if you look at Willingham’s home/road splits, Willingham has hit 32.0% of flyballs for home runs on the road versus only 9.6% at home. 

The Nats have 34 games remaining in the season, including tonight’s game at Chicago. Of those, 19 are on the road, which will give Willingham a great shot at reaching some career highs.

Elias Sports Bureau had this to say about Willingham’s night last night:
Josh Willingham went 4-for-4, scoring five runs and driving in six in the Nationals’ 15-6 win at Wrigley Field. During the live-ball era, only five other players went 4-for-4 or better in one game, but had more runs and more RBIs than they had hits: Sean Casey (1999), Ken Griffey Jr. (1996), George Foster (1977), Rocky Colavito (1959) and Lou Gehrig (1928).


dukes2.jpgAlso, Notes from NatsTown would like to congratulate Elijah Dukes on his first career grand slam, which he hit in the 5th inning last night and helped the Nationals increase their lead to 9-1. Along with the grand slam, Dukes went 2-3 with two walks to break out of a 1-for-20 slump.

Tune in tonight at 8 p.m. as the Nationals go for a second straight win against the Cubs.

Livan Hernandez is Back


 
41405-380 opening night c.jpgLivan Hernandez is back. The person who threw out both the first pitch in the history of the Nationals (April 4, 2005 at Philadelphia) and the first pitch in Washington, DC (April 14, 2005 vs. Arizona) after 33 summers without Big League baseball is a member of the Washington Nationals again.

 

Following last night’s 15-6 win at Wrigley Field, the Nationals signed free agent right-handed pitcher Livan Hernandez and optioned right-handed pitcher Collin Balester to Syracuse after going 1-4 with a 6.82 ERA in seven starts for the Nationals this season.

 

“We are running out of innings with some of our young guys, and I refuse to push them past their limits,” General Manager Mike Rizzo said. “Livan was available, and I talked about him with our player personnel people. He is a good guy in the clubhouse. He has some friends here on the ballclub. He is nothing but a workhorse and a reliable arm to get some innings and get us through the rest of the season.”

 


hernandez c.jpgHernandez is an inning-eater that pitches to contact and lets his defense make plays. He won’t overpower anyone with his mid-80′s fastball but changes speeds well and throws a curveball that crawls to the plate. The Nats are just happy they don’t have to face him again. Three of his top pitching performances of the year have been against the Nats. In three games against the Nats, he went 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA (9ER/ 23.0 INN) with 13 strikeouts and seven walks.

 

Hernandez, 34, went 24-18 with a 4.49 ERA in 59 starts with the Nats during the 2005 and ’06 seasons. Including his days with the Expos, Hernandez went 50-43 with a 3.89 ERA in 127 starts for the Nationals/Expos franchise from 2003-06. Since being dealt to the Diamondbacks on August 7, 2006, Hernandez has pitched for Arizona, Minnesota, Colorado and New York (NL).

 

“His locker is going to be next to mine,” said Pitcher Garrett Mock, who the Nationals obtained when they traded Hernandez to Arizona in 2006. “I think Livan is an unbelievable pitcher. He has [a World Series] MVP Award. He seems to perform. It’s going to be a pleasure to watch the guy up close, watch him work and attack hitters. I’m going to pick his brain a little bit. It’s exciting.”

 

He will make his first start on Wednesday at Chicago (NL), while J.D. Martin (2-3, 4.76) will start Thursday’s series finale at Wrigley Field.

 

With 24 victories, Hernandez remains the winningest pitcher in the five-year history of the Nationals (2005-present), and he remains the leader in innings pitched (393.0). Hernandez’s 59 starts for the Nationals rank second behind John Lannan’s 63, and his 236 strikeouts rank third.

 

In 2005, he was the first National to participate in an All-Star Game.

 

Hernandez joins with the Nationals after going 7-8 with a 5.47 ERA in 23 starts for the Mets this season. He is 154-147 with a 4.43 ERA in 405 games (404 starts) spanning 14 Big League seasons. He is the only current Big League pitcher to have started at least 30 games 11 straight seasons. He needs seven more starting assignments to extend this streak to 12.

 

Strasburg Highlights AFL Roster


strasburg 100 c.jpg

The rosters were announced today for the Arizona Fall League (AFL), a league for each organization’s top prospects. Washington prospects will join farmhands from the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, Tampa Rays and Toronto Blue Jays on the Desert Dogs roster. Additionally, Harrisburg Head Athletic Trainer Atsushi Toriida will serve as one of the trainers for the Desert Dogs. The AFL, regarded throughout professional baseball as the “finishing school” for Major League Baseball’s top prospects, begins its 18th season on Tuesday, October 13.

 

The No. 1 and No. 10 overall picks–Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen–highlight the Nationals’ prospects for the Phoenix Desert Dogs. It will give Storen and Strasburg an opportunity to form a bond that may appear at Nationals Park next year. 

 

“I’m excited,” Storen said to mlb.com. “Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come for the future. It’ll be great to meet him and see him throw. I hope I’ll be able to close his games and hopefully it’ll be the first of many I get to do that.”

 

Catcher Derek Norris, shortstop Danny Espinosa and first baseman Chris Marrero will join them. Strasburg arrives in Florida at the end of the week to begin his pitching routine and should be set for the AFL. Storen continues to climb the Minor League ladder but GM Mike Rizzo has said he won’t be a September call-up.

 

“I want to keep building off what I’m doing now, making adjustments and getting better each outing,” Storen said. “I hope to put myself in position to help out the Nationals at a higher level next year.”

 

Storen: He has fired scoreless ball in 8.0 innings of work and recorded a save in each of his six appearances since joining the Senators on August 11. Before reaching Double-A, Storen went 1-0 with two saves and a 1.80 ERA (2 ER/10.0 IP) in seven Carolina League games with Potomac. Prior to joining the P-Nats on July 19, he struck out 26 and did not walk a batter in 14.2 innings (11 games) with Single-A Hagerstown. Overall, the Stanford University product has fanned 43 and walked just seven in 32.2 combined innings (24 appearances) with Harrisburg, Potomac and Single-A Hagerstown.

Norris: He leads the South Atlantic League with 215 total bases and 79 walks. His 23 home runs and .410 OBP are both tied for the league lead with Lexington’s (Astros) Brian Pellegrini. The 20-year-old paces all catchers in professional baseball in homers and RBI (78). He has reached base safely via hit (119), walk (79) or HBP (8) 194 times in 117 games (1.76 times per contest). Norris was a 2009 SAL All-Star selection and he entered the season rated as the No. 6 prospect and top overall catching prospect in Washington’s system by Baseball America.

Espinosa: After hitting just .219 (21-for-96) in 27 games during July, he is batting .312 (24-for-77) in 23 August contests. Espinosa leads the Carolina League with 81 runs scored and ranks among the league leaders in walks (2nd, 68) and OBP (5th, .374). Espinosa entered the season as the Best Defensive Infielder among Nationals prospects according to Baseball America. He was selected in the 3rd round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Long Beach State University (CA).

Marrero: The 21-year-old is hitting .393 (11-for-28) with four doubles, five RBI and six runs scored in his first eight games at the Double-A level. Marrero hit .287 (119-for-414) with 21 doubles, two triples, 16 homers, 65 RBI, 42 walks and 58 runs scored in 112 contests with Potomac. At the time of his promotion to Harrisburg, he ranked among the Carolina League leaders in hits (3rd), total bases (3rd, 192), home runs (5th), slugging percentage (5th, .464) and batting average (t-5th). Marrero was Washington’s first-round pick (15th overall) in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

If you need a brief history on the AFL: right from the website

 

Makeup of the AFL

- There are six teams in the Arizona Fall League: the Scottsdale Scorpions, Mesa Solar Sox, Peoria Saguaros, Phoenix Desert Dogs, Peoria Javelinas and Surprise Rafters. These club names were picked by Major League Baseball as reflective of the Southwestern desert traditions in the state.

- The teams are broken into two divisions, East and West. Each Major League Baseball team sends six top prospects to the Arizona Fall League, 180 players in all. The games are played in the Spring Training ballparks used by the Giants, Mariners, Padres, Cubs, A’s, Royals and Rangers.

- How good are the players in the Arizona Fall League? The 2006 All-Star Game in Pittsburgh featured 25 AFL alums, including first-time All-Stars David Wright, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

- Each August, Major League clubs hold a position draft to determine the players who will go to Arizona. Most are Double-A and Triple-A Minor League players. Each club can opt to send one player considered a Class A player.

 

History of the League

 

The roots of the Arizona Fall League go back several years, when the Major Leagues wanted to create an easily accessed offseason league. A concern was that some of the best ballplayers left to play winter ball out of the country, such as in the Caribbean and there was no way to monitor them.

 

If Major League Baseball created a league that it could govern and monitor, it would be better organized. If a player was injured, proper care and treatment would be on-hand. With the Arizona Fall League, managers, coaches, scouts and league officials could participate.

 

“That was the beauty of this,” says Steve Cobb, AFL executive vice president, “and that seemed to be one of the unifying factors for all the clubs. They created a Fall League where all of their personnel would be involved, with reduced travel and immediate accessibility on the part of scouting.”

Lineups 8/24

Brewers:
Lopez – 2B
Catalanotto – RF
Braun – LF
Fielder – 1B
McGehee – 3B
Cameron – CF
Kendall – C
Gallardo – RHP (11-10, 3.56)
Escobar – SS

Nationals:
Morgan – CF
Guzman – SS
Zimmerman – 3B
Dunn – 1B
Willingham – RF
Harris – LF
Gonzalez – 2B
Nieves – C
Balester – RHP (1-3, 6.75)

 

From the Stats Gurus…

The Nationals are fortunate enough to have two of the best defensive fielders in the game.  According to FanGraphs.com, one of the leading websites in baseball statistics, Nyjer Morgan ranks first overall in the Major Leagues in terms of fielding runs above average, while Ryan Zimmerman ranks fifth. No other team has two players within the top 10. Here are the top five:

Name                          Team                                Fielding          RAR               WAR

Nyjer Morgan              Nationals/Pirates                  26.7                 48.0                 4.8
Franklin Gutierrez         Mariners                              18.3                 40.3                 4.0
Ben Zobrist                  Rays                                    17.5                 62.6                 6.2
Randy Winn                 Giants                                  17.2                 19.5                 1.9
Ryan Zimmerman         Nationals                             16.5                 59.3                 5.9


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Fielding runs above average means the number of runs a player prevents over the number of runs that the average player would prevent.  So for example, Nyjer Morgan prevents 26.7 runs above the average player. The RAR shows the Runs Above Replacement, which factors in a player’s offense and defense and combines that with a replacement-level adjustment and a positional adjustment to determine how many runs a player is worth to his team. Ten RAR equals an extra win for a team, or the Wins Above Replacement (WAR).  The Nationals are one of only two teams with multiple players in the top 15 in the Majors for WAR (the other is the Rays, who have three).

Know Your Nats: Adam Dunn


 
052009-236 adam dunn c.JPGHere at Notes from NatsTown, we want to give YOU the opportunity to get to know some of your favorite players both on and off the field. Next homestand, slugger Adam Dunn will be answering YOUR questions–ask anything and everything. Submit your question(s) to us via e-mail at
natstown@nationals.com from now until noon on September 8th and we will post his answers immediately. Check back and see if your question is answered! If your question is selected, you will receive a free gift from the Nationals.

Capture the Caption

Capture the Caption: Submit your caption to natstown@nationals.com or in the comments section. The winning caption receives a free Nationals T-shirt.


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