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Spring Training Preview: Outfielders

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SPRING TRAINING PREVIEW – OUTFIELDERS

This spring, 63 players — each member of the Nationals’ 40-man roster, plus 23 additional non-roster invitees — will vie for the 25 spots on Dusty Baker’s Opening Day ball club. Over the course of this week, we are introducing these players in their position groups, concluding today with the outfielders.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

March 5 – Starting Pitchers

March 6 – Relief Pitchers

March 7 – Catchers

March 8 – Infielders

March 9 – Outfielders

MATT den DEKKER

2015 Season Totals: .253/.315/.485, 117 wRC+, 8.2% BB rate, 18.2% K rate, 0.4 fWAR

Acquired late last spring from the New York Mets’ organization, den Dekker split time between Triple-A Syracuse and Washington during the first four months of the 2015 season. The left-handed hitting outfielder turned it on late in the year, slashing .302/.368/.616 in 86 August at-bats for the Chiefs and then exceeded those numbers by hitting .320/.370/.620 in 50 at-bats with the Nationals. The 28-year-old has power and can play all three outfield positions.

BRIAN GOODWIN

2015 Season Totals: N/A

Goodwin, a fleet-footed defender, has the ability to play center field, swipe bases and hit for power from the left side of the plate. He recorded a career-high 46 RBI in 114 games for Double-A Harrisburg after returning from a left shoulder injury that plagued him during the 2014 season. Following the season, he excelled in the Venezuelan Winter League, hitting .316 (42-for-133) with eight doubles, three home runs, 18 RBI, 19 walks, five stolen bases and 21 runs scored in 35 games for Bravos de Margarita.

BRYCE HARPER

2015 Season Totals: .330/.460/.649, 197 wRC+, 19.0% BB rate, 20.0% K rate, 9.5 fWAR

Few players in baseball history have matched Harper’s achievements at such a young age. With a dominant display of plate discipline and power in 2015, Harper hit an incredible .330/.460/.649, led the National League in home runs (42), runs scored (118) and OPS (1.109) and also tallied 124 walks. His historic age-22 campaign earned him National League MVP honors, as he garnered all 30 first-place votes to become the youngest player ever to win the award unanimously.

BEN REVERE

2015 Season Totals: .306/.342/.377, 98 wRC+, 5.0% BB rate, 10.1% K rate, 1.9 fWAR

Revere, acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in January, brings contact and speed to the top of the Nationals’ batting order. The 5-foot-9 left-handed hitter stole 49 bases and tied Denard Span with an NL-leading 184 hits in 2014, and then matched that season’s .306 batting average with another .306 campaign in 2015. Revere is of the game’s toughest men to strike out, fanning in less than 10 percent of his plate appearances with Minnesota, Philadelphia and Toronto.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

MICHAEL A. TAYLOR

2015 Season Totals: .229/.282/.358, 69 wRC+, 6.8% BB rate, 30.9% K rate, 1.0 fWAR

Pressed into action in 2015 following offseason surgeries performed on Jayson Werth and Denard Span, Taylor held his own in his first full big league season with the Nationals. The 24-year-old blasted 14 home runs, drove in 63 runs, stole 16 bases and finished ninth among all qualified Major League outfielders with a 12.4 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating). Despite hitting just .229 on the season, Taylor came up big in the clutch, hitting .317/.397/.500 with runners in scoring position.

JAYSON WERTH

2015 Season Totals: .221/.302/.384, 87 wRC+, 10.1% BB rate, 22.2% K rate, -0.3 fWAR

Werth was just beginning to heat up at the plate before a pitch injured his left wrist on May 15, costing him 60 games during the middle of the year. The 36-year-old slugger recovered in time to put together a solid month from August 18–September 18, batting .303/.397/.598 with 10 doubles, eight homers, 20 RBI and 25 runs scored in 30 games over that span. Werth looks to return to his 2013-14 form, when he compiled a 144 OPS+ and registered 9.7 WAR according to FanGraphs.com.

 

NON-ROSTER INVITEES

TONY CAMPANA…Speedy lefty owns an 88 percent stolen base success rate in four MLB seasons.

CHRIS HEISEY…Former Reds outfielder is reunited with Nationals Manager Dusty Baker in Viera.

REED JOHNSON…Back in 2016, Johnson played in 17 games for the Nationals a season ago.

LOGAN SCHAFER…Former Milwaukee product played 49 games in center field for the Brewers in 2015.

 

Spring Training Preview: Infielders

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SPRING TRAINING PREVIEW – INFIELDERS

This spring, 63 players — each member of the Nationals’ 40-man roster, plus 23 additional non-roster invitees — will vie for the 25 spots on Dusty Baker’s Opening Day ball club. Over the course of this week, we are introducing these players in their position groups, continuing today with the infielders.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

March 5 – Starting Pitchers

March 6 – Relief Pitchers

March 7 – Catchers

March 8 – Infielders

March 9 – Outfielders

CHRIS BOSTICK

2015 Season Totals: N/A

A speedy, versatile defender, Bostick was added to Washington’s 40-man roster following the 2015 season. After being acquired from the Texas Rangers along with right-handed pitcher Abel de Los Santos on December 11, 2014, Bostick led Nationals Minor Leaguers with a career-high 31 stolen bases while hitting .258 with 22 doubles, eight triples, 12 home runs, 58 RBI, 31 walks and 57 runs scored between High-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg.

WILMER DIFO

2015 Season Totals: .182/.182/.182, -9 wRC+, 0.0% BB rate, 18.2% K rate, -0.1 fWAR

Difo, a switch-hitting middle infielder with speed, enters 2016 rated as the No. 6 prospect in Washington’s system, per Baseball America. He was recalled from Double-A Harrisburg on May 19, making his MLB debut and notching his first MLB hit that night vs. the New York Yankees. Difo hit .286 with 39 extra-base hits, 30 stolen bases and 61 runs scored in 106 games between Single-A Potomac and Harrisburg.

STEPHEN DREW

2015 Season Totals: .201/.271/.381, 76 wRC+, 8.6% BB rate, 16.6% K rate, 0.2 fWAR

A veteran left-handed bat with the ability to play shortstop, second base and third base, Drew signed a one-year deal with Washington on January 6, 2016. He clubbed 17 home runs in his first full season with the New York Yankees in 2015, tied for third among MLB second basemen. It was his largest power output since 2008, when he hit 21 home runs with Arizona. Drew appeared in 123 games (94 starts) at second base, 15 games (10 starts) at shortstop and four games (one start) at third base.

DANNY ESPINOSA

2015 Season Totals: .240/.311/.409, 94 wRC+, 8.0% BB rate, 25.7% K rate, 2.3 fWAR

One of Major League Baseball’s best and most versatile infielders, Espinosa will likely see an increased role at shortstop in 2016. A season ago, he clubbed 13 home runs, his most since 2012, and slugged .409, his highest figure since 2011. If qualified, he would have ranked first in UZR/150 (18.4) and third in defensive runs saved among MLB second basemen (10). He earned starts at second base (74), third base (9), shortstop (5), first base (5) and left field (2) during the 2015 season.

TYLER MOORE

2015 Season Totals: .203/.250/.364, 61 wRC+, 5.5% BB rate, 22.5% K rate, -0.9 fWAR

A power hitter who adds defensive versatility to Washington’s roster, Moore saw action at first base (39 games/23 starts), left field (20 games/13 starts), and right field (one game) and as a pitcher (one game/0.2 IP). He posted career highs in games played (97), at bats (187) and doubles (12) in 2015 while ranking second on the club with five hits as a pinch hitter. He became the second Nationals position player to pitch in a game, and the first at Nationals Park, August 5 vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks.

DANIEL MURPHY

2015 Season Totals: .281/.322/.449, 110 wRC+, 5.8% BB rate, 7.1% K rate, 2.5 fWAR

A 2015 postseason hero with the New York Mets, Murphy signed a three-year deal with the Nationals on January 6, 2016. He garnered NLCS MVP honors after clubbing four home runs during New York’s four-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs, also becoming the first player in MLB history to hit a home run in six consecutive postseason games. He hit a career-high 14 home runs in 2015, adding 38 doubles and 73 RBI. He proved to be the toughest batter to strike out in MLB, fanning once every 14.2 plate appearances.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

ANTHONY RENDON

2015 Season Totals: .264/.344/.363, 97 wRC+, 10.1% BB rate, 19.7% K rate, 0.9 fWAR

A versatile infielder and one of the top young hitters in Major League Baseball, Rendon looks to bounce back from an injury-plagued 2015 campaign. After suffering a sprained MCL in his left knee in Spring Training, Rendon made his 2015 debut on June 14 before returning to the DL on June 25 with a left quad strain. His best stretch of the season came from August 22–September 17, when he hit .356 (37-for-104) with four doubles, four home runs, 16 runs batted in, 12 walks and 25 runs scored.

CLINT ROBINSON

2015 Season Totals: .272/.358/.424, 115 wRC+, 10.5% BB rate, 14.8% K rate, 0.4 fWAR

Robinson joined the Nationals on a Minor League deal with an invite to 2015 Spring Training, and would end up making his first Opening Day roster. In his first full MLB season, Robinson ranked among NL rookies in on-base percentage (3rd, .358), walks (3rd, 37) and slugging percentage (10th, .424). Robinson finished strong, hitting .284 with three homers, nine RBI and 10 walks in 27 September games. On May 12 at Arizona (1.0 IP, H, SO), Robinson became the first-ever Nationals position player to pitch in a game.

TREA TURNER

2015 Season Totals: .225/.295/.325, 72 wRC+, 9.1% BB rate, 27.3% K rate, 0.1 fWAR

The No. 2 prospect in Washington’s system per Baseball America, Turner was acquired from the San Diego Padres on June 14 to complete an offseason trade between the teams. He had his contract selected from Triple-A Syracuse on August 21 and made his Major League debut that night vs. the Milwaukee Brewers, entering the game as a defensive replacement. In 116 Minor League games in 2015, Turner hit .322 with 24 doubles, seven triples, eight homers, 54 RBI, 29 stolen bases and 68 runs scored.

RYAN ZIMMERMANSPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

2015 Season Totals: .249/.308/.465, 107 wRC+, 8.5% BB rate, 20.3% K rate, 0.6 fWAR

A former Gold Glove third baseman, Zimmerman made the transition across the diamond to first base in an injury-shortened 2015 campaign. He hit .249 with 25 doubles, 16 home runs, 73 RBI, 33 walks and 43 runs scored in 95 games, including .311/.372/.652 after returning from plantar fasciitis in his left foot on July 28. He clubbed his 200th career home run during an 11-game span from August 23–September 2, in which he collected 23 RBI — the most over 11 games in franchise history (Nationals/Expos).

 

 

NON-ROSTER INVITEES

JASON MARTINSON2010 fifth-round pick enters his first training camp on the Major League side.

BRENDAN RYANDefensive wizard and veteran of nine big league seasons competing for a utility role.

SCOTT SIZEMOREVirginia Beach native and VCU alum got off to a fast start in Grapefruit League play.

MATT SKOLENationals 2012 Minor League Player of the Year hit 20 homers in the Minors in 2015.

 

Spring Training Preview: Catchers

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SPRING TRAINING PREVIEW – CATCHERS

This spring, 63 players — each member of the Nationals’ 40-man roster, plus 23 additional non-roster invitees — will vie for the 25 spots on Dusty Baker’s Opening Day ball club. Over the course of this week, we are introducing these players in their position groups, continuing today with catchers.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

March 5 – Starting Pitchers

March 6 – Relief Pitchers

March 7 – Catchers

March 8 – Infielders

March 9 – Outfielders

SPENCER KIEBOOM

2015 Season Totals: N/A

Kieboom earned a non-roster invite to 2015 Spring Training and was added to Washington’s 40-man roster following the 2016 season. He boasts above-average defensive skills, having thrown out 41 percent (77-of-189) of would-be base stealers during his Minor League career. This past season, Kieboom hit .248 with 16 doubles, two home runs, 26 RBI and 30 runs scored in 71 games for Single-A Potomac en route to being named a Carolina League All-Star.

JOSE LOBATON

2015 Season Totals: .199/.279/.294, 57 wRC+, 9.7% BB rate, 25.8% K rate, -0.3 fWAR

Lobaton, acquired along with left-handed reliever Felipe Rivero and Minor League outfielder Drew Vettleson prior to the 2014 season, enters his third year as the Nats’ primary backup catcher. Known for his glovework behind the plate, Lobaton ranked 16th out of 117 catchers in pitch framing according to Matthew Carruth’s StatCorner. The 31-year-old switch-hitter contributed to the Nats’ wildest win of the 2015 season, going 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in a 13-12 win over Atlanta on April 28.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

WILSON RAMOS

2015 Season Totals: .229/.258/.358, 63 wRC+, 4.2% BB rate, 20.0% K rate, 0.4 fWAR

Ramos, a 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove Award finalist, enters his sixth full season as the Nationals’ primary backstop after playing a career-high 128 games played a season ago. “The Buffalo” also notched career bests in hits (109), runs batted in (68) and sacrifice flies (8), while coming within one of his top individual mark with 15 home runs. Behind the plate, the strong-armed 28-year-old tallied 77 assists and threw out 24-of-54 would-be basestealers, a 44 percent clip — 16 percent above the league average.

PEDRO SEVERINO

2015 Season Totals: .250/.250/.500, 97 wRC+, 0.0% BB rate, 25.0% K rate, 0.0 fWAR

A young, athletic catcher, Severino made his MLB debut in 2015. He was tabbed the “Best Defensive Catcher” in Washington’s system per Baseball America. He opened the season with Double-A Harrisburg and eventually made his MLB debut September 20 vs. Miami after having his contract selected on September 1. Severino hit .246 with 13 doubles, five homers, 34 RBI and 33 runs scored in 91 games with the Senators while being named an Eastern League midseason and postseason All-Star.

 

NON-ROSTER INVITEES

BRIAN JEROLOMAN…10-year Minor League veteran spent 2015 in Double-A Harrisburg.

JHONATAN SOLANO…Former Nationals backstop hit .314 for the 2012 NL East Division champs.

 

Spring Training Preview: Relief Pitchers

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SPRING TRAINING PREVIEW – RELIEF PITCHERS

This spring, 63 players — each member of the Nationals’ 40-man roster, plus 23 additional non-roster invitees — will vie for the 25 spots on Dusty Baker’s Opening Day ballclub. Over the course of this week, we are introducing these players in their position groups, continuing today with relief pitchers.

March 5 – Starting Pitchers

March 6 – Relief Pitchers

March 7 – Catchers

March 8 – Infielders

March 9 – Outfielders

AARON BARRETT

2015 Season Totals: 4.60 ERA, 2.21 FIP, 10.74 K/9, 2.15 BB/9, .351 BABIP, 0.9 fWAR

Although Barrett will begin the 2016 season on the disabled list following Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the 28-year-old has a bright future in the nation’s capital. Barrett has posted remarkable numbers during his first two big league seasons, including a 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2015 that led all Nationals relievers. Armed with a hard fastball and wipeout slider, Barrett has a chance to provide the team with a boost either down the stretch in 2016 or by Opening Day, 2017. 

ABEL De LOS SANTOS

2015 Season Totals: 5.40 ERA, 9.13 FIP, 16.20 K/9, 5.40 BB/9, .333 BABIP, -0.1 fWAR

A live-armed right-hander, de Los Santos has posted 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings and a 3.61 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 144 Minor league games (36 starts) over his professional career. He went 4-4 with a 3.43 ERA in 39 games for Double-A Harrisburg, and was 8-for-11 in save opportunities for the Senators. He struck out 55 batters in 57.2 Minor league innings (8.6 K/9.0 IP). De Los Santos had his contract selected on July 20 and made his MLB debut the next night vs. New York Mets.

TREVOR GOTT

2015 Season Totals: 3.02 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 5.10 K/9, 3.02 BB/9, .266 BABIP, 0.1 fWAR

Gott, 23, comes to Washington after being acquired in a December deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The young right-hander, just three years removed from his junior season at the University of Kentucky, profiles as a late-inning reliever with a fastball that averaged more than 96 mph during his rookie season with the Angels a year ago. Prior to reaching the Major Leagues, Gott posted an impressive 2.25 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 28 innings between Double-A and Triple-A ball in 2015. 

MATT GRACE

2015 Season Totals: 4.24 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 7.41 K/9, 4.24 BB/9, .426 BABIP, 0.3 fWAR

Left-handed and featuring a fastball and slider repertoire that induced groundballs at a rate of 59 percent in his 26 big league games in 2015, Grace would have ranked in the top 15 in baseball in ground ball rate if qualified. He began the season with Triple-A Syracuse before being recalled to the big leagues on April 22 and made his MLB debut that night against the St. Louis Cardinals. On the season, he allowed just one extra base hit in 38 at-bats against left-handed batters, striking out nine and walking just two. 

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALSSHAWN KELLEY

2015 Season Totals: 2.45 ERA, 2.57 FIP, 11.05 K/9, 2.63 BB/9, .301 BABIP, 1.0 fWAR

Kelley brings a wealth of experience to the revamped Nationals’ bullpen from his seven seasons with the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees and San Diego Padres. The 31-year-old right-hander has developed into a reliable reliever, striking out 246 opposing hitters in 200.2 innings over the past four years and featuring a slider he has thrown more than 50 percent of the time during that span. The Louisville, Ky. native signed a three-year deal with Washington in December.

NICK LEE

2015 Season Totals: N/A

Lee was added to Washington’s 40-man roster following the 2015 season. He began his professional career as a starter, but transitioned to the bullpen during the 2014 season. Lee is effective with the strikeout, posting 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings over his five-year professional career. He went 3-1 with 10 saves and a 3.12 ERA in a career-high 40 outings between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg in 2015, while his 10 saves ranked tied for second among Nationals farmhands.

RAFAEL MARTIN

2015 Season Totals: 5.11 ERA, 4.76 FIP, 18.24 K/9, 3.65 BB/9, .381 BABIP, -0.1 fWAR

An eight-year Minor League veteran, Martin earned an invite to 2015 Spring Training and quickly made his mark in the big leagues, striking out five consecutive Boston Red Sox batters in two scoreless innings in his MLB debut on April 15. Martin utilizes an upper-echelon slider to produce impressive strikeout numbers, helping him lead Washington’s minor league system with 12 saves, going 5-5 with a 3.21 ERA (20 ER/56.0 IP) in 46 games for Triple-A Syracuse.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

JONATHAN PAPELBON

2015 Season Totals: 2.13 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 7.96 K/9, 1.71 BB/9, .258 BABIP, 0.4 fWAR

One of the game’s most decorated closers, Papelbon has a chance to climb up the all-time saves list in 2016. With 349 in his career, the 35-year-old veteran is just nine behind Troy Percival (10th; 358), 18 behind Jeff Reardon (9th; 367) and 28 behind Joe Nathan (8th; 377). Papelbon successfully closed out 24 games in 2015, posting 17 saves and a 1.59 ERA with the Phillies and seven saves and a 3.04 ERA with the Nationals, after being acquired just prior to the non-waiver trade deadline in late July.

OLIVER PEREZ

2015 Season Totals: 4.17 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 11.20 K/9, 3.29 BB/9, .321 BABIP, 0.5 fWAR

Perez’s resurgence has been one of baseball’s best stories over the past few years, as the one-time starter has rediscovered his magic as a short-inning reliever. The left-hander’s career took a positive turn under the tutelage of Nationals’ instructors in 2011, and he now joins the organization at the Major League level for the first time. In 232 appearances since 2012, Perez has posted a 3.31 ERA and 225 strikeouts in 182.1 innings, while proving to be one of the game’s toughest draws for left-handed hitters.

YUSMEIRO PETIT

2015 Season Totals: 3.67 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 6.99 K/9, 1.78 BB/9, .278 BABIP, -0.1 fWAR

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALSPetit, a versatile swingman with the ability to go multiple innings as a starter or reliever, signed with the Nationals this offseason after four successful campaigns with the San Francisco Giants. He set a Major League record in 2014, retiring 46 consecutive hitters at one point over an eight-game stretch. Fans may also remember his winning performance in Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS at Nationals Park, in which he held the Nats to one hit over six shutout innings from the 12th through the 17th frames.

FELIPE RIVERO

2015 Season Totals: 2.79 ERA, 2.64 FIP, 8.01 K/9, 2.05 BB/9, .250 BABIP, 0.9 fWAR

A breakout rookie in the Nationals’ 2015 bullpen, Rivero returns with a chance to earn a more prominent role during the 2016 season. The left-hander pitched in relief over a full season for the first time a year ago, and seemed to get stronger as the season wore on. Rivero finished the year with seven consecutive scoreless appearances — holding opponents to just one hit and one walk while striking out seven batters — while earning his first two Major League saves in the process.

SAMMY SOLIS

2015 Season Totals: 3.38 ERA, 3.46 FIP, 7.17 K/9, 1.69 BB/9, .329 BABIP, 0.1 fWAR

Solis entered 2015 in good health after struggling with injuries his first few years as a professional. He began the season with Double-A Harrisburg before being recalled to the Major Leagues on April 29. Solis made his big league debut the next night, April 30 at the New York Mets. He enjoyed four stints with Washington over the course of the year, going 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA (8 ER/21.1 IP) in 18 games. In 20 games between Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse, Solis went 0-3 with four saves and a 4.39 ERA (13 ER/26.2 IP).

BLAKE TREINEN

2015 Season Totals: 3.86 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 8.65 K/9, 4.26 BB/9, .328 BABIP, 0.4 fWAR

Treinen made his first Opening Day roster in 2015 and spent the majority of the season in the Nationals’ bullpen, showing electric stuff and a dominant streak against opposing right-handed hitters. Righties hit a paltry .187/.276/.216 against the 6-foot-5 Kansan, striking out in 28.8 percent of all plate appearances. Treinen compiled a nearly flawless month of August, holding opponents scoreless over 11 appearances while allowing just six hits and two walks over 12.1 innings, striking out 12.

NON-ROSTER INVITEES

BURKE BADENHOP6-foot-5 right-hander is a noted ground ball specialist, with a 54.4 percent career rate.

MATT BELISLEVeteran righty made 34 relief appearances for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015.

MICHAEL BRADYSecond piece of the deal that brought fellow reliever Trevor Gott to Washington.

SEAN BURNETTFormer Nationals left-hander returns to the organization after three-year absence.

ERIK DAVISStanford product fanned 12 batters and walked just one in 10 appearances in 2013 debut.

NICK MASSETPitched four seasons in Dusty Baker’s bullpen in Cincinnati from 2008-11.

WANDER SUEROSlender Dominican right-hander posted a 2.41 ERA for Single-A Potomac in 2015.

Spring Training Preview: Starting Pitchers

Twitter: @Nationals | Facebook: Nationals | Instagram: @Nationals

This spring, 63 players — each member of the Nationals’ 40-man roster, plus 23 additional non-roster invitees — will vie for the 25 spots on Dusty Baker’s Opening Day ball club. Over the next week, we will introduce these players in their position groups, beginning today with starting pitchers.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

March 5 – Starting Pitchers

March 6 – Relief Pitchers

March 7 – Catchers

March 8 – Infielders

March 9 – Outfielders

A.J. COLE

2015 Season Totals: 5.79 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 8.68 K/9, 0.96 BB/9, .394 BABIP, 0.1 fWAR

A highly-regarded right-handed pitching prospect, Cole saw his first Major League action in 2015. He opened the season with Triple-A Syracuse before being recalled to Washington on April 28 to make his MLB debut that night against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Cole later rejoined the Nationals in mid-May and made two relief appearances, converting his first save May 15 at San Diego. The Winter Springs, Fla. native went 5-6 with a 3.15 ERA in 21 games (19 starts) for Syracuse.

GIO GONZALEZ

2015 Season Totals: 3.79 ERA, 3.05 FIP, 8.66 K/9, 3.54 BB/9, .341 BABIP, 3.7 fWAR

Entering his fifth season in Washington, Gonzalez will look to improve upon his stellar 53-34 record as a member of the Nationals’ organization. The affable southpaw induced a career-high 53.8 percent ground ball rate in 2015, but was also stung by a .341 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). A correction to previous levels could be a key indicator for Gonzalez’s success in 2016, as his previous Nationals high was just .294 prior to last season.

TAYLOR JORDAN

2015 Season Totals: 5.29 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 5.82 K/9, 3.18 BB/9, .333 BABIP, 0.3 fWAR

Jordan, a local product out of Merritt Island High School and Brevard County Community College, enters the 2016 season looking to catch the eye of new manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Mike Maddux. The 6-foot-5 sinkerball specialist appeared in nine games (six starts) for the Nationals over the past two seasons, after earning nine starts and posting a 3.66 ERA over 51.2 innings in 2013. Jordan put together 19 solid outings at the Triple-A level a season ago, contributing a 2.95 ERA.

TANNER ROARK

2015 Season Totals: 4.38 ERA, 4.70 FIP, 5.68 K/9, 2.11 BB/9, .292 BABIP, -0.2 fWAR

One of the game’s biggest success stories in 2013 and 2014 when he compiled a 22-11 record with a 2.57 ERA, Roark will battle in Spring Training to return to the Nationals’ starting rotation on a full-time basis. The 29-year-old appeared in 40 games in 2015 (12 starts), picking up his first career save with a scoreless ninth inning on May 4 against the Miami Marlins. Roark had his best stretch of the season from July 25 to August 11, holding his opponents scoreless with a .103 batting average over six games.

JOE ROSS

2015 Season Totals: 3.64 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 8.10 K/9, 2.47 BB/9, .265 BABIP, 1.4 fWAR

Ross burst onto the scene for the Nationals in early June, making the leap from Double-A Harrisburg to the big leagues and holding his own at the highest level. Still just 22 years of age, the big right-hander posted historic numbers in his first seven starts, recording 47 strikeouts against just four walks in 45 innings pitched. Ross finished his rookie campaign with a 5-5 record and a 3.64 ERA over 16 games in Washington (13 starts), plus 2-2 with a 2.81 ERA in Double-A and 3-1 with a 2.19 ERA in Triple-A.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALSMAX SCHERZER

2015 Season Totals: 2.79 ERA, 2.77 FIP, 10.86 K/9, 1.34 BB/9, .268 BABIP, 6.4 fWAR

No hurler had ever authored two no-hit performances as dominant as the pair Scherzer turned in this past season, as the right-hander etched his name in the history books. Between his performances on June 20 against the Pittsburgh Pirates and October 3 against the New York Mets, Scherzer fired 18 no-hit innings, walked no opposing hitters and struck out 27. For the year, the first-year National compiled an 8.12 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the fifth-best mark in MLB history for a pitcher with 200 strikeouts.

STEPHEN STRASBURG

2015 Season Totals: 3.46 ERA, 2.81 FIP, 10.96 K/9, 1.84 BB/9, .311 BABIP, 3.4 fWAR

Strasburg recovered from early ankle and back ailments to deliver one of baseball’s best second-half performances, building momentum toward the 2016 campaign. Over his last 13 starts, Strasburg compiled an 8-2 record with a 1.76 ERA, held opponents to a .175 batting average and recorded a 112-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 82 innings. He enters the season just two strikeouts shy of Jordan Zimmermann’s team record and just 99 punchouts from the 1,000 mark for his career.

 

NON-ROSTER INVITEES

BRONSON ARROYO… 39-year-old veteran right-hander has 145 victories and a World Series ring.

PAULO ESPINO… Panamanian righty posted a 3.21 ERA in 117.2 IP for Triple-A Syracuse in 2015.

LUCAS GIOLITO… Nats’ consensus top prospect split time between Single-A and Double-A last season.

TAYLOR HILL… Made 22 starts for Triple-A Syracuse and added six relief appearances in Washington.

AARON LAFFEY… Southpaw has pitched in the Major Leagues for CLE, SEA, NYY, TOR, NYM and COL.

AUSTIN VOTH… 23-year-old righty with a 2.70 career ERA in three Minor League seasons.

 

Dusty Baker: Higher Ground

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by Mike Feigen

The Nationals’ new skipper brings not just a wealth of managerial experience to the dugout, but a cultural consciousness that could make him D.C.’s baseball Renaissance man.

 

Nationals Park, quiet since it was shuttered at the close of the 2015 regular season, bustled with excitement on the morning of November 5. As media members gathered and club staffers prepared the press conference room for the arrival of the sixth full-time manager since baseball returned to the District, a spring-like energy pulsed through the ballpark despite the gray-skied autumn weather outside.

That afternoon, following an inspiring 35-minute press conference — after Dusty Baker introduced himself, and quickly charmed the assembled press, staffers, and fans — the decision made by the Nationals ownership and front office to install the 66-year-old Baker in their dugout was given instant validation. Outside, the vestige of clouds and rain had given way to warm, midday sunshine.

The breath of fresh air Baker helped usher in was meaningful and poetic.

Baker’s biography reads like something straight out of central casting: nearly 50 years of professional baseball experience, including 20 successful seasons as a player and 20 more as a Major League manager; six times an All-Star, twice a Silver Slugger, once a Gold Glove winner and once a World Series champion; three times a National League Manager of the Year, eight times the pilot of a 90-win team.

But this hire was about much more than just the resume. After enduring an unexpected end to the 2015 season, the Nationals’ organization knew it had to find the type of leader who could command the respect of the clubhouse, and restore a positive, winning belief in its fan base and community.

On that score, Baker’s track record is nearly impeccable.

“I want to get this team together as soon as possible, from top to bottom,” Baker said at his November 5 press conference. “Because the great teams I’ve been on and organizations that I’ve been in, from top to bottom, everyone believes.”

Asked what he’d say to his new team the first day of Spring Training, Baker said he actually believes the progress of cultivating organizational belief starts long before pitchers and catchers report, beginning with conversations he’ll have with players and personnel this offseason.

“It’s something I have to feel,” Baker said about his approach. “(It’s) something that can’t be fabricated, something that can’t be fake, because guys can see when you’re not being genuine. I’ll see what this team needs, because I really don’t know exactly what they need.”

That flexible approach to handling players lends insight into Baker’s managerial style. He uses his instincts and deep baseball knowledge to guide his moves throughout the course of the season, relying on a roughly 7,000-game personal sample to inform his decision-making. According to President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo, Nationals fans won’t see a scripted, by-the-numbers style of managing in 2016; like some of the musicians he cited in his introductory press conference, Baker’s improvisational skills and feel for the rhythm of the game may be his greatest attribute.

Moreover, that free-flowing style will not preclude the dugout veteran using statistics and analytics in his game preparation. The game has evolved, and so has he.

“Adaptation is no problem for me,” Baker explained. “My friends call me ‘The Chameleon’ because they think I can adapt to any place, anytime, anywhere, and so I would like to think that I transcend different generations, like some musicians. I mean, Stevie Wonder still sounds good. And The Doors might sound even better.”

A self-described working man, Baker will first work with Rizzo to fill out the rest of the Nationals’ coaching staff. Baker’s connections within the game span his playing (Atlanta Braves, 1968-75, Los Angeles Dodgers, 1976-83, San Francisco Giants, 1984, Oakland Athletics, 1985-86) and coaching days (Giants, 1988-2002, Chicago Cubs, 2003-06 and Cincinnati Reds, 2008-13), giving him a multitude of options to fill the various assistant roles.

The club has already announced the additions of respected pitching coach Mike Maddux and first base coach and baserunning specialist Davey Lopes, who own a combined 37 years of Major League experience in similar positions.

Baker said he and Maddux had always shared a mutual interest in coaching with one another, and he and Lopes, who managed the Milwaukee Brewers from 2000-02, were best of friends from their playing days with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In the greater D.C. community, Baker has a close relationship with University of Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson that dates back some 50 years. He knows local politicians, “from the President on down,” he quipped at his press conference. He understands the large military influence in the area, having served as a reservist in the United States Marine Corps at Quantico during the Vietnam War era. He’s a business owner, an author, a philanthropist and a leader.

And while he’s never resided full-time in the District, he feels familiar and comfortable in his new surroundings.

“It’s like a family — it’s like coming home,” Baker said.

Baker’s ability to adapt to the pulse of the people around him, like his ability to work with his players, will also be welcomed by the greater Washington community.

The area, left without Major League Baseball from 1972-2004, is still rebuilding after just 11 continuous seasons of baseball after a 33 season absence. That lost generation of baseball fans, many of whom have children currently growing up with the Nationals, is slowly coming back into the fold and reclaiming their allegiances. When baseball returned 11 years ago, some neighborhoods, such as Wards 7 and 8 east of the Anacostia River, had little remaining infrastructure to support the game.

Recognizing that challenge, members of the Lerner family, in coordination with local civic leaders and Major League Baseball, have worked hard to bring baseball back to the children of the DMV, from the Nationals Youth Baseball Uniform Program to the instruction at the state-of-the-art Youth Baseball Academy in Southeast D.C.

Those endeavors have proven fruitful, particularly at the Academy, as cohorts of scholar-athletes — many of whom who were not previously exposed to baseball and softball — have learned the game as well as lessons in math, science, reading and personal nutrition.

And while Baker was explicitly hired to bring success to the Nationals baseball team, as the only African-American manager at the game’s highest level, he says he is excited to join a community with such a rich demographic fabric.

“I’m used to diversity, and this is probably the most diverse setting and most diverse town I’ve been in,” he said.

“I’ve felt a sense of responsibility the whole time I’ve been managing,” he continued. “I’ve had a sense of responsibility since I was a kid, in different walks of life. My parents were heavily involved in the NAACP when I was a kid, and I was in the Junior NAACP. There’s a sense of pride, and at the same time, hopefully I can help make a difference, because all the calls I’ve gotten, a lot of people say, ‘Hey man, it’s better to have you in the game then out of the game.’”

Having Baker back in the game will be a welcome sight to Nationals players and fans alike, a group collectively ready to turn the page on the 2015 season and take the next step after the division titles of 2012 and 2014.

After a brief introduction and an opening statement at his press conference, Baker received his cap and No. 12 jersey. He put on the cap, curling the brim in his hands, and cracked a smile.

“My son wants me to wear a flat bill,” he said with a grin. “I can’t do it.”

Then he stood tall, stretching his 6-foot-2 frame. On went the jersey.

“My mom used to be a model,” he said. “She used to go like this.”

Baker spun and sashayed his hips on the dais. The crowd laughed. The clouds were lifted. The Nationals were back in business.

Nationals present Nesting Doll ‘Golden Ticket’ giveaway

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“How do they do it?”

Do you ask a fish how it swims? Or a bird how it flies? No, you don’t. They do it because they were born to do it. Just like Willy Wonka was born to be a candy man…and you were born to be a Nats giveaway seeker.

On Thursday, September 3, the first 20,000 fans to enter Nationals Park will receive a Nationals-themed Nesting Doll, celebrating 10 years of Washington Nationals uniforms and the stars who wore them. Featuring Max Scherzer (2015), Bryce Harper (2014), Ryan Zimmerman (2012), Chad Cordero (2007) and Frank Robinson (2005), the special set will be sure to thrill fans young and old.

Nesting Doll 5 Piece w selectionHowever, for 100 lucky guests, the ballpark will be transformed into a land of pure imagination. Inside 100 regular Nesting Doll boxes randomly placed at all gates, fans can find a Golden Ticket — redeemable for a larger, more exclusive Nesting Doll set of 10 dolls.

You may have to outwit Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt and Violet Beauregarde to find your Golden Ticket, but the reward will be worth the effort. In the larger set of 10 dolls, fans will get Max Scherzer (2015), Bryce Harper (2014), Anthony Rendon (2013), Gio Gonzalez (2012), Jayson Werth (2011), Stephen Strasburg (2010), Cristian Guzman (2008), Chad Cordero (2007), Alfonso Soriano golden-ticket-HR-forpublic(2006) and Ryan Zimmerman (2005).

Upon finding your Golden Ticket, you will be whisked away (OK, you’ll actually walk) to the Taft Conference room behind Sections 201­–203 on the Club Level, where your Golden Ticket will grant you admission inside to redeem your special set. We won’t spoil the fun of what else will be in the Taft room — there’s no earthly way of knowing, which direction you are going — but just know you’re safe from the Hornswogglers, Snozzwangers and rotten, Vermicious Knids.

 

10 Piece Nesting DollThe Center Field Gate will open at 4:30 p.m., all other gates will open at 5:30 p.m., and Golden Tickets must be redeemed by the end of the seventh inning on the day of the game only. So gather your friends, acquaintances, and most importantly your Grandpa Joe, and get out to Nationals Park for the game against the Atlanta Braves and a chance to live out a childhood dream.

After all, to paraphrase a wise man, “Nationals baseball, my dear friends, is 93 percent perspiration, 6 percent electricity, 4 percent evaporation and 2 percent butterscotch ripple.”

For promotional and ticket information, please visit nationals.com/promotions.

What to Watch for: Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies, April 10–12

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by Mike Feigen

What to Watch for: Washington Nationals (1-2) at Philadelphia Phillies (1-2)

April 10–12, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia

The Scene

The Nationals and Phillies hook up for the first three of 19 match-ups during the 2015 season, seven of which will take place over the next 10 days. Both clubs got off to slow starts earlier this week, with Washington dropping two of three to the visiting New York Mets and Philadelphia doing the same against the Boston Red Sox.

2015 Washington NationalsThe Stakes

Surprisingly, the 2014 NL East Champion Nationals went just 3-6 at Citizens Bank Park last season, including a three-game sweep in late August. However, two of the three Philadelphia starters from that series — A.J. Burnett and Kyle Kendrick — have since moved on to the Pirates and Rockies, respectively. Still, it’s so early in the year that it’s hard to place any added importance on this series. The Nationals know their offense is not yet at full strength, with Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon and Denard Span due back over the next several weeks, so until then they will continue to focus on putting together good at-bats and playing strong fundamental defense behind their elite rotation.

The Starters

FRIDAY, 7:05: LHP Gio Gonzalez (0-0, -.–) at RHP Jerome Williams (0-0, -.–)

SATURDAY, 7:05: RHP Doug Fister (0-0, -.–) at LHP Cole Hamels (0-1, 7.20)

SUNDAY, 1:35: RHP Max Scherzer (0-1, 0.00) at RHP Sean O’Sullivan 0-0, -.–)

Left-hander Gio Gonzalez and righty Doug Fister will each make their 2015 season debuts in the series, with Opening Day starter Max Scherzer pitching in the finale. Scherzer went 7.2 strong innings in the opener, allowing just six base runners while striking out eight, but suffered the loss after a pair of errors led to three unearned runs.

Philadelphia will counter with veteran right-hander Jerome Williams in the first game, southpaw Cole Hamels on regular rest on Saturday before concluding the series with right-hander Sean O’Sullivan against Scherzer on Sunday. Hamels was roughed up by the Red Sox on Opening Day, allowing four solo home runs in his five innings of work — after surrendering just 14 long balls in 204.2 innings in 2014.

The Offenses

2015 Washington NationalsShortstop Jimmy Rollins has moved on to the Los Angeles Dodgers, marking a new era in Philadelphia baseball. The Phillies’ all-time hits leader had manned their shortstop position every year since 2001, four years before the Nationals moved to Washington. Long-time stars Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz still power the middle of the Phillies’ lineup, with veterans Grady Sizemore and Jeff Francoeur platooning in right field. Leadoff man Ben Revere gave the Nationals trouble at times in 2014.

The Nationals enter the series looking to capitalize on a late-game offensive spark in Thursday’s game against the Mets. Washington has pushed across just six runs in three games thus far, with Bryce Harper (.364/.417/.636), Michael A. Taylor (.308/.308/.462) and Ryan Zimmerman (two-run home run in Wednesday’s 2-1 victory) leading the offense. Ian Desmond, who doubled twice on Thursday afternoon, could be ready to break out this weekend.

The Best of the Rest

Should the Nationals and Phillies produce any tight ballgames, each team lays claim to advantages in the bullpen. The Nationals ‘pen has acquitted itself well to begin the season, with all seven relievers getting at least one appearance and none allowing a run to cross the plate. On the Phillies’ side, hard-throwing youngster Ken Giles and closer Jonathan Papelbon anchor the back end of the bullpen, though Giles walked three batters in two-thirds of an inning in his first action of the season.

——–

Here are tonight’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals Baseball Communications department:

Nationals Magazine: Opportunity Knocks

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The following is an excerpt from the Spring Training issue of Nationals Magazine. To read the full story, visit nationals.com/publications to find out how you can subscribe. The Spring Training issue of Nationals Magazine is on sale now, can be purchased online, or at Space Coast Stadium on gamedays.

by Mike Feigen

The Washington Nationals were already excited to get to Florida for Spring Training, with a loaded roster capable of making a run at an elusive World Series championship. Then they acquired the consensus top pitcher on the free agent market. Game on.

ST Cover socialBy now, as the Nationals celebrate their 10th Anniversary season, fans have surely discovered that baseball is a game that offers exuberant highs in the good times and tests one’s resolve in the down times. After a 162-game grind separates the best from the rest from April through September, 10 names are thrown into a hat and a champion is crowned. At least that’s the way it often seems in the Wild Card era.

In other words, nothing can be taken for granted. No amount of planning or preparation is guaranteed to produce the desired result. No team wins a World Series on paper. So even if President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo looked at his embarrassment of riches this offseason and saw a roster capable of earning the National League’s best record for the third time in four seasons, he wouldn’t rest.

For a team already loaded in the starting rotation, acquiring another quality arm would provide Rizzo cover for a variety of scenarios, including potential trades, free agent departures or injuries. It would also give the club yet another weapon to deploy during the regular season to try to help ensure it would find its way back into the unpredictable postseason tournament.

Max Scherzer isn’t just any pitcher, though. the 6-foot-3, 220-pound right-hander boasts a resume more complete than any other pitcher in the vaunted Nationals rotation, including an American League Cy Young Award, 91 wins, 1,321 career strikeouts in 1,239.1 innings pitched and appearances in 12 postseason games. He demonstrated durability during his five seasons in Detroit, starting no fewer than 31 games or reaching less than 187.2 innings in any single year with the Tigers.

“Whenever you can acquire a player of Max Scherzer’s ability level, character, and toughness on the mound, those opportunities are few and far between,” Rizzo said January 21 at Scherzer’s introductory press conference. “He fits all the criteria that we’re looking for in a Washington Nationals-type of player.

“He’s good between the lines, he’s a tough guy, he gets after it, he takes the ball (and) he attacks hitters. In the clubhouse (he’s a) magnificent teammate. In the community (he) does nothing but impress everybody he touches. He’s a guy who you can’t ask for more from. He’s the type of guy we’re looking for, and he’s the guy we went after very aggressively — and we strengthened a strength. Who wouldn’t want Max Scherzer on their club?”

ST Cover socialTo continue reading “Opportunity Knocks” on Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer, along with more great content from Nationals Magazine, please visit nationals.com/publications, or pick up a copy at the Main Clubhouse Team Store at Nationals Park or Space Coast Stadium, as well as inside Nationals Park on gamedays.

Spring Training Preview, Part VI: Non-Roster Invitees

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by Mike Feigen and Kyle Brostowitz

Every spring, teams from throughout Major League Baseball bring players to camp that are not part of the organization’s official 40-man roster. Known as non-roster invitees (NRIs), these players are often talented youngsters on their way to The Show, veteran Minor Leaguers looking for a breakthrough moment, or former Major Leaguers looking for a fresh start.

In all, 20 such players will head to Viera, Fla. with hopes of making it to Washington. That’s part of what makes their journey so special; should they impress the coaching staff, as Chad Tracy did in 2012, they could not only force their way onto the Opening Day roster but become household names on a championship-contending club.

Below is the final installment of our Spring Training Preview series: the non-roster invitees.

STARTING PITCHERS (4)

St Louis Cardinals v Colorado RockiesBruce Billings

Right-hander Bruce Billings is a veteran of eight Minor League seasons and brings with him experience as a starter and reliever. He has accumulated a 65-61 record while posting a 4.08 ERA in 217 Minor League appearances (145 starts). Billings made his MLB debut with Colorado in 2011 and appeared in one game for the Yankees in 2014, striking out seven batters in four innings.

Mitch Lively

Mitch Lively signed with the Nationals organization in July of 2014, after making the transition from reliever to starting pitcher over the last two seasons. As a reliever, the 6-foot-5, 255-pound right-hander was 22-19 with 14 saves and a 3.76 ERA in 212 career Minor League appearances. In 42 career starts, he is 16-9 with a 4.10 ERA. Last season, Lively reported to Triple-A Syracuse where he went 5-2 with a 3.86 ERA in nine games/seven starts for the Chiefs.

Scott McGregor

A former St. Louis Cardinals farmhand, right-hander Scott McGregor joined the Nationals in June of 2014 and reported to Double-A Harrisburg before earning a promotion to Syracuse in August. He went a combined 3-3 with 4.64 ERA in 12 games/10 starts between the two levels.

Matt Purke

Matt Purke, the Nationals’ third-round selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, appeared in eight games for Double-A Harrisburg before undergoing Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his left elbow on May 28. The 6-foot-4 southpaw will enter his fourth camp as a member of the Nationals organization.

RELIEF PITCHERS (5)

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego PadresHeath Bell

Veteran reliever Heath Bell joins the Nationals after a 2014 season in which he appeared in 13 games with the Tampa Bay Rays before stints with Triple-A Norfolk (Baltimore Orioles) and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (New York Yankees). The Nationals will be his eighth organization since signing with the Mets as an undrafted free agent in 1998. Bell was one of the premier closers in MLB from 2009-13, tallying 166 saves for three separate clubs, third most in MLB over that span. He appeared in three All-Star Games and took home the 2009 and 2010 NL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year.

Manny Delcarmen

Manny Delcarmen returns for his second season with the Nationals organization. He went 4-4 with four saves and a 3.13 ERA in 46 games out of the Triple-A Syracuse bullpen. Delcarmen struck out 8.2 batters per nine innings and improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio to 2.39, while surrendering just two home runs in 60.1 innings.

Eric Fornataro

Right-hander Eric Fornataro is a former St. Louis Cardinals farmhand who came to Washington on a waiver claim following the 2014 season. He began his professional career as a starter, but has transitioned to a relief role over the last three seasons. As a reliever, he is 9-12 with 21 saves and a 3.40 ERA in 141 Minor League appearances. Fornataro made his Major League debut in 2014, posting a 4.66 ERA in eight appearances for the Cardinals.

Rafael Martin

Rafael Martin advanced through three levels of Washington’s Minor League system in 2014, going 3-2 with 11 saves and a 1.39 ERA while striking out 66 batters and holding opposing hitters to a .171 batting average. He did not allow an earned run from May 16 to Aug. 17, a span of 46.1 innings over 29 games between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse. His 11 saves were fourth among Nationals farmhands. Martin was named a MiLB.com Organization All-Star following the season.

Evan Meek

Evan Meek comes to Washington after spending the 2014 season with the Baltimore Orioles organization. The former All-Star (Pittsburgh Pirates, 2010) enjoyed five separate stints with the Orioles, going 0-4 with a 5.79 ERA in 23 appearances. He went 2-0 with 16 saves and a 1.94 ERA in 39 games for Triple-A Norfolk. His 16 saves were tied for seventh in the International League.

CATCHERS (3)

Spencer Kieboom

Former Clemson Tiger Spencer Kieboom is coming off his most productive season, bouncing back from 2013 “Tommy John” surgery by hitting .309 with 28 doubles, four triples, nine home runs and 61 RBI in 87 games for Single-A Hagerstown. He was named a South Atlantic League midseason All-Star and a MiLB.com Organization All-Star. Following the season, Kieboom hit .324 with two doubles, one home run, seven RBI and three runs scored for the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League.

Steven Lerud

Left-handed hitting catcher Steven Lerud comes to the Nationals after playing in 60 games for the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves, batted .250 with nine doubles, one triple, four home runs and 19 RBI. The former third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates has spent time in five organizations, including the Philadelphia Phillies, with whom he briefly reached the Major Leagues in 2012 and 2013.

Pedro Severino

Pedro Severino is considered the best defensive catcher in the Nationals’ chain per Baseball America, and will enter the 2015 season rated as Washington’s top catching prospect and No. 13 prospect overall. The 21-year-old Bonao, Dominican Republic native advanced to Single-A Potomac for the first time in 2014, hitting .247 with 15 doubles, one triple, nine home runs and 36 RBI in 94 games.

INFIELDERS (7)

Emmanuel Burriss

Emmanuel Burriss, a Washington, D.C., native and graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, returns for his second season with his hometown organization after spending the 2014 season with Triple-A Syracuse. He earned International League All-Star honors after hitting .300 with 18 doubles, seven triples, six homers, 46 RBI, 22 stolen bases and 80 runs scored. He ranked among IL hitters in runs scored (3rd, 80), triples (T-3rd, 7), batting average (T-7th, .300), and on-base percentage (9th, .377) while his .300 batting average was tied for fifth among Nationals farmhands.

Cutter Dykstra

A former second-round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers and the Nationals’ return in the Nyjer Morgan trade, Cutter Dykstra advanced to Double-A for the first time in his career in 2014. He was named an Eastern League mid-season All-Star after hitting .297 with 15 doubles, three triples, five home runs, 43 RBI, 10 stolen bases and 39 runs scored in the season’s first half.

Kila Ka’aihue

Kila Ka’aihue returns to the United States after spending the previous season-and-a-half with the Hiroshima Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball, where he hit .258 with 20 doubles, 25 home runs, 85 RBI, 77 walks and 56 runs scored in 156 games spanning the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He has appeared in 126 Major League games over parts of four seasons with Kansas City (2008–11) and Oakland (2012).

Clint Robinson

Left-handed power-hitting first baseman Clint Robinson, a former teammate of Ka’aihue in the Kansas City Royals system, joins the Nationals after spending last year in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. Robinson, 30, is a career .300/.381/.510 hitter in 921 games spanning eight Minor League seasons, including a Texas League Triple Crown in 2010. He appeared in nine games for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014, going 3-for-9 with two RBI and three runs scored.

Matt Skole

Matt Skole returned to full strength in 2014 following 2013 Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, playing in 132 games for Double-A Harrisburg. He hit .241 with 29 doubles, one triple, 14 home runs, 68 RBI, 78 walks and 58 runs scored for the Senators. Skole ranked second in the Eastern league with 78 walks and was named an Organization All-Star by MiLB.com following the season.

Ian Stewart

A member of the Los Angeles Angels’ Opening Day roster in 2014, Ian Stewart played in 24 games before landing on the disabled list with a left-hand contusion. The power-hitting left-handed hitter has played parts of seven MLB seasons with three clubs, including Colorado (2007–11), Chicago-NL (2012) and Los Angeles (2014).

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia PhilliesDan Uggla

Dan Uggla joins the Nationals after spending the previous nine seasons with the Marlins (2006–10), Braves (2011–14) and Giants (2014). His 233 home runs as a second baseman lead all active players. Uggla, a three-time All-Star and 2010 Silver Slugger winner, is the only second baseman in Major League history to begin his career with six consecutive 20-plus home run seasons.

OUTFIELDERS (1)

Mike Carp

Mike Carp is a left-handed hitting slugger and versatile defender who has appeared in Major League games at first base (143 games/122 starts) and outfield (110 games/90 starts). In 2013, he set career marks in nearly every offensive category, starting 56 games for the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. The former Mets draft pick has also played for the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers during his six seasons in the big leagues.

In 10 seasons in D.C., 76 players (Ray King and Pete Orr twice) have played in at least one game with the Nationals despite entering that same Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. 21 times players have earned spots on the Nationals’ Opening Day 25-man roster (designated by [OD]). A closer look:

2005 (7) 2006 (12) 2007 (11) 2008 (10) 2009 (11) 2010 (7)
INF Carlos Baerga LHP Micah Bowie RHP Winston Abreu RHP Collin Balester C Josh Bard [OD] RHP Miguel Batista [OD]
RHP Hector Carrasco LHP Bill Bray LHP Mike Bacsik LHP Michael Hinckley LHP Jesus Colome C Jamie Burke
OF Jeffrey Hammonds SS Royce Clayton [OD] 1B/3B Tony Batista LHP Ray King [OD] INF Alex Cintron RHP Livan Hernandez
RHP Sun-woo Kim OF Alex Escobar 2B Ronnie Belliard [OD] LHP Charlie Manning LHP Wil Ledezma [OD] RHP Joel Peralta
C Keith Osik C Wiki Gonzalez RHP Jesus Colome [OD] LHP Mike O’Connor RHP J.D. Martin RHP Drew Storen
INF Rick Short RHP Kevin Gryboski C/1B Robert Fick [OD] INF Pete Orr INF Pete Orr RHP Willy Taveras [OD]
OF Brandon Watson C Brandon Harper INF D’Angelo Jimenez LHP Odalis Perez [OD] OF Jorge Padilla
OF George Lombard LHP Ray King [OD] RHP Brian Sanches OF Corey Patterson
RHP Santiago Ramirez LHP Arnie Munoz RHP Steven Shell RHP Jorge Sosa
RHP Saul Rivera RHP Jason Simontacchi C Wil Nieves RHP Julian Tavarez [OD]
OF Mike Vento 1B Dmitri Young [OD] RHP Jordan Zimmermann
1B Daryle Ward [OD]
2011 (6) 2012 (7) 2013 (4) 2014 (1) 2015 (TBD)
INF Brian Bixler OF Rick Ankiel LHP Fernando Abad RHP Blake Treinen
INF Alex Cora [OD] OF Corey Brown RHP Ross Ohlendorf
RHP Chad Gaudin [OD] OF Brett Carroll [OD] RHP Tanner Roark
RHP Ryan Mattheus C Sandy Leon INF Zach Walters
OF Laynce Nix [OD] C Carlos Maldonado
1B/OF Matt Stairs [OD] 1B/OF Xavier Nady [OD]
1B/3B Chad Tracy [OD]
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