Welcome back to the 2014 Minor League Report, a comprehensive collection of notes from the Washington Nationals PR staff that highlights the outstanding performers in the Nationals’ Minor League system through the last few weeks.
Here are the top headlines:
TOP PERFORMER: LUCAS GIOLITO — In four starts dating to July 25, RHP Lucas Giolito is 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA (3 ER/22.0 IP). He has tallied 24 strikeouts while allowing just 12 hits and three walks, with opponents hitting just .160 against him over that stretch. Following his start on July 25 vs. Kannapolis (CWS), Giolito was named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week, the second time he’s earned the honor in 2014. Despite making just 19 starts this season, Giolito ranks second among Nationals farmhands and fourth in the SAL with 105 strikeouts. All told this season, the 2012 first-round pick is 9-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 19 starts, all for Single-A Hagerstown. He falls just short of qualifying to be among the SAL leaders in ERA, WHIP (0.98) and AVG (.188).
LAIRD LEADS – With the promotions of Steven Souza Jr., and Michael A. Taylor, 3B Brandon Laird has stepped up to lead the Triple-A Syracuse offensive attack. Laird is 14-for-34 (.412) with seven doubles, three home runs, 13 RBI and six runs scored over the last eight games. Syracuse has gone 6-2 over that stretch. On the season, the 26-year-old is hitting .316, second-best among Nationals farmhands and fifth-best in the International League. He also leads Syracuse’s active roster with 29 doubles and 14 home runs.
Below is the full report. To view this report on your full screen, please click the icon in the bottom right corner of the notes.
Potomac claimed the Carolina League Northern Division first-half title with a 38-31 record, besting Lynchburg (ATL) by 4.5 games. Hagerstown finished in a tie with Greensboro (MIA) for their division crown, however Greensboro was granted the title via tiebreaker.
Team success often garners individual honors, and, as such, both Hagerstown and Carolina will be well-represented in each team’s league All-Star Games.
A quick look at the players and coaches representing their clubs, as well as the Nationals organization, is below:
South Atlantic League
All-Star Game: June 17, 2014 at L.P. Frans Stadium in Hickory, North Carolina (Hickory Crawdads)
Patrick Anderson — Manager
- Led Hagerstown to a 44-26 first-half record.
Sam Narron — Pitching Coach
- Suns hurlers posted a 3.78 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP (5th in the SAL) through the season’s first half.
Luis Ordaz — Hitting Coach
- Suns hitters rank in in the top four in the SAL in stolen bases (1st, 118), triples (T1st, 24), runs scored (3rd, 359), hitting (3rd, .272), and RBI (4th, 318).
Spencer Kieboom — C
- Hit .319 with 12 doubles, two triples, three home runs, 23 RBI and 24 runs scored in 37 games. At 2.2 plate appearances/team game, he falls just short of qualifying to be amongst the SAL leaders (2.7 PA/G).
Wilmer Difo — 2B
- Leads the Suns in batting average (.308), doubles (tied, 16), triples (4), home runs (7) and RBI (54). His 31 stolen bases lead the South Atlantic Leaguer and are tied for fifth-most in all of Minor League Baseball.
John Wooten — UTIL
- Hit .288 with 16 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 39 RBI and 36 runs scored in 60 games for the Suns.
Nick Pivetta — RHP
- Tied for the South Atlantic League lead with eight wins, he is 8-3 with a 3.95 ERA in 12 games/11 starts for the Suns.
Austin Voth — RHP
- Voth is second in the the SAL in WHIP (1.05) and ranks among SAL pitchers in ERA (6th, 2.45) and strikeouts (3rd, 74). He has posted a 4-3 record in 13 starts this season.
Jake Walsh — LHP
- Has posted a 1.80 ERA (5 ER/25.0 IP) and a 1.00 WHIP in 19 appearances out of the Suns’ bullpen.
All-Star Game: June 17, 2014 at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington, Delaware (Wilmington Blue Rocks)
Stephen Perez — INF
- Leads the P-Nats in runs scored (42, 6th in Car. League) and stolen bases (18, 6th in Car. League) while ranking second on the club with 16 doubles. Perez is hitting .299 (7th in the Car. League) with one triple, one home run and 30 RBI in 64 games this season.
Shawn Pleffner — INF
- Leads qualified Potomac Nationals and ranks fifth in the Carolina League with a .312 batting average. Pleffner has clubbed 14 doubles and two home runs, while driving in 21 and scoring 23 runs for the Nationals this season.
Derek Self — RHP
- Is 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA (5 ER/26.2 IP) in 17 appearances out of the bullpen. Self has recorded 30 strikeouts and posted a 0.90 WHIP along the way. He was recently promoted to Double-A Harrisburg.