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Nationals agree to terms with 23 players from 2016 First-year Player Draft

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The Washington Nationals have agreed to terms with 23 players from the 2016 First-Year Player Draft, including their first pick (No. 28 overall), shortstop Carter Kieboom, and second-round pick (No. 58 overall), third baseman Sheldon Neuse.

Kieboom, 18, will begin his professional career in Viera, Fla., playing for the Gulf Coast League Nationals. The standout infielder was considered one of the best prep hitters in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft after hitting .366 (37-for-101) with nine doubles, two triples, five home runs, 37 RBI, 24 walks, seven stolen bases and 39 runs scored for Walton High School in Marietta, Ga. He posted a .504 on-base percentage and a .644 slugging percentage during his senior season.

The full list of signed players can be found in the press release below.

MLB Network’s ‘Intentional Talk’ comes to Nationals Park

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During this week’s series against the Cubs, MLB Network’s popular show Intentional Talk is on site at Nationals Park. Hosted by longtime MLB broadcaster Chris Rose and 2004 World Series champion Kevin Millar, the shows airs Monday through Friday at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Before the game yesterday, the hosts previewed the upcoming series, interviewed special guests Ryan Zimmerman and Ben Revere, tasted food available at various concession stands around Nationals Park and were joined by the Racing Presidents.

Be sure to check out these behind-the-scenes pictures from yesterday, and tune in to MLB Network for the second episode of Intentional Talk live from Nationals Park today at 5 p.m. ET!

Nationals 2016 Dream Gala netted more than $400,000 for Dream Foundation

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On Saturday evening, Nationals players, coaches and guests from around the region celebrated the “Power of Baseball” at the 11th annual Dream Gala, held at the Marriott Marquis Washington DC. As the primary fundraiser for the Nationals Dream Foundation, the 2016 Dream Gala netted more than $400,000 for the Foundation’s initiatives focused on academics, the arts, nutrition and sports for children and teens in the Washington, D.C. region.

The event featured a cocktail reception and silent auction, as well as a dinner program and a live auction hosted by Nationals radio broadcaster Charlie Slowes. Live auction items included memorabilia from Max Scherzer’s two no-hitters in 2015, and an autographed watercolor painting of 2015 National League MVP, Bryce Harper. Experiences included a trip to Hawaii, spending the day with the Nationals Baseball Operations team and General Manager Mike Rizzo, as well as the once-in-a-lifetime experience to travel with the team to Citi Field in July when they face the New York Mets.

A 501(c)3 charitable organization, the Dream Foundation is committed to improving the lives of children and teens in the Washington, D.C. region through community partnerships. Enjoy the above photos, and to find out more information on the Dream Foundation or to make a donation, visit www.nationals.com/dream.

2016 First-Year Player Draft – Day 2

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The second day of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft kicks off at 1:00 P.M. ET with rounds 3-10. The Nationals  will have the 17th pick in the third round (No. 94 overall) and the 18th pick in each round the rest of the way.

Stay tuned to Curly W Live for a running blog of the picks throughout the day!

The Nationals kicked off today’s action by selecting prep left-handed pitcher Jesus Luzardo out of Stoneman Douglas High Schoool in Parkland, Fla. Luzardo is rated as the No. 45 draft prospect in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft, per Baseball America and the No. 77 prospect according to MLB.com. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound lefty went 4-0 with a 0.66 ERA (2 ER/21.0 IP) in four starts in 2016. He underwent “Tommy John” ligament replacement surgery (Dr. James Andrews) on March 22, 2016. Prior to the 2016 season, Luzardo was named a Rawlings/Perfect game preseason first-team All-American and Louisville Slugger preseason first-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball.

In the fourth round, the Nationals selected Nick Banks, an outfielder from Texas A&M University. Banks is hitting .289 (66-for-288) with 13 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, 49 RBI, 22 walks, seven stolen bases and 47 runs scored. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound junior was named MVP of the 2016 SEC Tournament and will continue to play for the Aggies as they advance to the Super Regionals of the NCAA Tournament. As a sophomore in 2015, Banks earned American Baseball Coaches Association third-team All-America honors and was named second-team All-SEC He ranked fourth in the SEC in batting average (.364), fifth in on-base percentage (.450), and sixth in hits (87).

The Nationals selected outfielder Daniel Johnson, the 2016 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, in the fifth round. The 5-foot-10, 185 pound lefty led the league in batting average (.416), slugging percentage (.720), home runs (8), hits (52), total bases (90), runs (36) and stolen bases (15) during conference play. On the season, he hit .382 (94-for-246) with 11 doubles, seven triples, 12 homers, 50 RBI, 18 walks, 29 stolen bases and 67 runs scored in 57 total games. Johnson began his career at Northeast Oklahoma A&M Junior College before transferring to New Mexico State.

In the sixth round, Washington selected Tres Barrera a 6-foot, 215-pound catcher from the University of Texas. Barrera hit .289 (61-for-211) with 17 doubles, six homers, 37 RBI, 28 walks and 35 runs scored in 57 games as Texas’ primary backstop in 2016. He was named honorable mention All-Big 12 following the season.

The Nationals selected the Atlantic Sun Player of the Year, Jacob Noll, in the seventh round. The 6-foot-1 righty led the conference in nearly every offensive category, hitting .367 (87-for-237) with 20 doubles, two triples, 12 homers, 61 RBI, 20 walks, nine stolen bases and 58 runs scored.  In addition to player of the year honors, Noll was also named a second-team All-American by Baseball America and a Louisville Slugger second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball. Noll was second-team Atlantic Sun in 2015 and in 2014, he was named the Louisville slugger National Freshman Player of the Year, Louisville Slugger third-team All-American, NCBWA 2014 Freshman All-American,  Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year and first-team Atlantic Sun.

In the eighth round, the Nationals selected right-handed pitcher A.J. Bogucki from the University of North Carolina. Bogucki went 5-5 with a 2.86 ERA (16 ER/50.1 IP) in 28 appearances for the Tar Heels in 2016. He struck out 53, walked 25 and surrendered 39 hits.

Washington selected Joesph Harris, a catcher from Gonzaga (WA) University, with their ninth round pick. Harris, a senior, hit .274 (38-for-154) with 10 doubles, two homers, 22 RBI, 22 walks and 38 runs scored in 47 games for the Bulldogs. As a junior in 2015, Harris was West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year after finishing the regular season second in nation with 28 runners caught stealing and .509 caught stealing percentage.

In the tenth and final round of the day, the Nationals selected shortstop Paul Panaccione from Grand Canyon (AZ) University. He hit .363 (53-for-146) with nine doubles, one triple, four homers, 26 RBI, 25 walks and 36 runs scored in 41 games during his senior season.

Nationals select 3B Sheldon Neuse

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The Washington Nationals selected third baseman Sheldon Neuse out of the University of Oklahoma with the 58th-overall selection in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft.

A 6-foot, 195-pound junior, Neuse hit .369 (73-for-198) with 15 doubles, five triples, 10 home runs, 48 RBI, 39 walks, 12 stolen bases and 42 runs scored in 55 games for the University of Oklahoma. He led the Big 12 Conference in slugging percentage (.646), tied for the conference lead in triples (5) and ranked among league leaders in total bases (T2nd, 128), on-base percentage (4th, .465), home runs (T4th, 10), walks (T4th, 39), batting average (5th, .369), RBI (7th, 48) and stolen bases (T8th, 12).

For his efforts, Neuse was named first-team All-Big 12, a Louisville Slugger second team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and is a semifinalist for the National College Baseball Writers Association Dick Howser Trophy and USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award, awarded annually to the top collegiate player and top amateur player, respectively. He is also a semifinalist for the John Olerud Award, awarded to the top two-way player in college baseball and the Brooks Wallace Award, given to the top shortstop in college baseball.

“He’s a good bat. He’s got power. He catches the baseball. He hardly had any errors the last two years. Really good throwing arm,” said Nationals Midwest Crosschecker Jimmy Gonzales. “Super ballplayer. Great kid. Really love the makeup on him. Overall, good package there.”

On the mound, Neuse went 4-1 with five saves and a 1.40 ERA (3 ER/19.1 IP) in a career-high 14 appearances out of Oklahoma’s bullpen. His five saves were tied for seventh in the Big 12.

The 2014 Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Neuse was one of the top offensive players in the Big 12 the last three seasons, earning three consecutive unanimous first-team All-Big 12 selections while becoming the 40th player in Oklahoma’s program history to score at least 100 runs and record at least 100 RBI in his career. He is one of just 10 players in Big 12 history to be selected to the first team All-Big 12 three times and just the second player to be unanimously selected three times.

In three collegiate seasons, Neuse hit .313 with 42 doubles, 15 triples, 23 home runs, 138 RBI, 90 walks, 29 stolen bases and 11 runs scored in 174 games (all starts). He posted a .525 slugging percentage and a .390 on-base percentage. On the mound, he went 6-2 with seven saves and a 1.60 ERA (7 ER/39.1 IP) and 36 strikeouts in 29 appearances out of the bullpen.

Neuse is a native of Fort Worth, Tex., and attended Keller Fossil Ridge High School where he was District MVP as a junior and a senior and hit 30 home runs during his high school career. He was originally selected by the Texas Rangers in the 38th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.

 

Nationals select SS Carter Kieboom, RHP Dane Dunning

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The Washington Nationals selected prep shortstop Carter Kieboom out of Walton (GA) High School with the 28th-overall pick in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft and followed that selection with collegiate right-handed pitcher Dane Dunning out of the University of Florida with the 29th-overall selection.

Kieboom, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound infielder is considered one of the best prep hitters in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft after hitting .366 (37-for-101) with nine doubles, two triples, five home runs, 37 RBI, 24 walks, seven stolen bases and 39 runs scored for Walton High School in Marietta, Ga. He posted a .504 on-base percentage and a .644 slugging percentage during his senior season.

The younger brother of Nationals catcher Spencer Kieboom, Carter has collected numerous prep All-America honors, including being named a 2016 Rawlings/Perfect Game preseason first-team All-American, 2016 Louisville Slugger first-team preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball and the 2015 Under Armour All-American Game MVP. He is rated by Perfect Game as the fifth-best high school prospect coming out of the talent-rich state of Georgia for the 2016 First-Year Player Draft.

Nationals Assistant General Manager and VP of Scouting Operations Kris Kline said: “He’s a very athletic high school shortstop that I think stays at shortstop. He has an advanced approach at the plate with very good tools. We think he’s going to be a very good big leaguer. He has good makeup and a really good feel for the game. He’s a baseball player.”

A shortstop in high school, Kieboom – who signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at Clemson (SC) University – also saw time on the mound for Walton as an ambidextrous pitcher.

Kieboom led Walton High School to its first state title in 2016, as the school claimed the Georgia Class 6A championship. In addition to Spencer, Carter’s other older brother, Trevor, just completed his junior season at the University of Georgia and is draft-eligible this year.

A 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior, Dunning is 5-3 with two saves and a 2.50 ERA (19 ER/68.1 IP) in 29 games (five starts) for the University of Florida. Dunning has struck out 78 batters and walked just 11 batters to this point in the 2016 season. Dunning will continue to pitch for the top-seeded Florida Gators as they advance to the Super Regional Round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

“He’s coming from one of the best staffs in college baseball right now,” explained Kris Kline. “If he was coming from another program, he would’ve been the Friday night starter for 95 percent of the teams in the country.”

A native of Fleming Island, Fla., Dunning attended Clay High School in Green Cove Springs, Fla. He was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 34th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, but chose to attend the University of Florida. He was named to the Rawlings/Perfect Game preseason second-team Florida All-Region prior to his senior year. As a senior at Clay, he earned all-state honors in Class 5A and was the school’s Athlete of the Year after going 5-2 with a 1.27 ERA.

Flashback Friday: The Nationals meet the U.S. Men’s National Team

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In honor of the beginning of the Copa América Centenario, the soccer tournament commemorating the 100th anniversary of CONMEBOL and the Copa América, we’re flashing back to a few weeks ago when members of the Nationals had the chance to meet players from the U.S. Men’s National Team.

USMNT

Before their game against the Miami Marlins on May 20, several members of the Nationals met with players from the USMNT. Nationals OF Bryce Harper and 2B Daniel Murphy exchanged jerseys (Harper) and a bat (Murphy) with USMNT goalies Tim Howard and Brad Guzan. Manager Dusty Baker also got a chance to interact with Howard, one of the heroes of the 2014 World Cup.

USMNT2

Video of the visit can be seen below (fast forward to 2:00 for Nationals content).

Good luck to the USMNT tonight as they begin the tournament against Colombia in Santa Clara!

 

Max Scherzer: Making friends everywhere he goes

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How did Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer build a soft spot into the hearts of two die-hard Mets fans last week? With a simple game of catch, of course.

Joe La Rocca and his son, Joe, were taking in what seemed like a routine round of batting practice at Citi Field on May 18 when Scherzer turned it into a lifelong memory. After seeing a ball hit Scherzer’s way in the outfield, the younger Joe shouted down from the stands and complimented the righty on his performance the night before.

As Joe found out, Scherzer was pretty grateful.

“Want to have a catch?” Scherzer asked.

The answer was easy.

And luckily, thanks to the elder Joe La Rocca, this great moment was captured on video for the rest of us to enjoy. 

“You know, seeing what Bryce Harper did (giving away a bat to fans in the stands during the same series in New York) and what Scherzer did, it’s hard,” La Rocca told The Junkies on 106.7 The Fan. “It’s hard to hate them. But I have to be a Met fan. My dad was a Brooklyn Dodger fan; I’m a Met fan. But we are definitely Scherzer fans. And I have to get him a Scherzer jersey, for sure.”

Countdown to Taste of the World: Embassy of South Korea to serve ‘bibimbap’

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In anticipation of Saturday’s Taste of the World at Nationals Park, we continue our series of recipes of foods that will be offered at the event with bibimbap, courtesy of  the Embassy of South Korea.

A signature Korean meal, bibimbap is a dish made with fried egg, beef and an assortment of fresh and seasoned vegetables. It is generally served over cooked rice.

Tickets for the event are still available at nationals.com/taste. For more information on Taste of the World, you can check out last week’s blog post here.

Bibimbap

Ingredients & Recipe for Bibimbap:

Ingredients

  • 450 grams (2.5 cups) non-glutinous rice
  • 600 grams (3 cups) water
  • 300 grams (1 ¼ cups) zucchini
  • 2 grams (0.5 teaspoons) salt
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) skinned bellflower roots (also known as “doraji”)
  • 4 grams (1 teaspoon) salt
  • 120 grams (1/2 cup) beef (top round)
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) soaked bracken (also known as “gosari”)
  • *Bellflower roots and the bracken can be purchased in Korean grocery stores in the DC Metro area.

Seasoning sauce:

  • 18 grams (1 tablespoon) soy sauce
  • 6 grams (0.5 tablespoons) sugar
  • 9 grams (2 teaspoons) minced green onion
  • 5 grams (1 teaspoon) minced garlic
  • 2 grams (1 teaspoon) sesame salt
  • 3 grams (0.125 teaspoons) ground black pepper
  • 4 grams (1 teaspoon) sesame oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 grams (a little more than half a teaspoon) of kelp (seaweed)
  • 26 grams (2 tablespoons) oil

Fried red pepper paste:

  • 95 grams (5 tablespoons) red pepper paste
  • 20 grams (4 teaspoons) minced beef
  • 9 grams (2 teaspoons) minced green onion
  • 5 grams (1 teaspoon) minced garlic
  • 90 grams (6 tablespoons) water
  • 18 grams (1.5 tablespoons) sugar
  • 19 grams (1.5 tablespoons) sesame oil

Preparation

Wash the rice. Soak it in water for 30 minutes. Drain the water through a strainer for 10 minutes.

Cut the zucchini into 5- or 6-centimeter (about 2 inches) slices, and then cut them into 0.3-centimeter (0.1 inch) thick rounds. Shred them into matchsticks. Soak them with salt for 10 minutes. Wipe away the water with a cotton cloth. Shred the bellflower roots into 5- or 6-centimeter (about 2 inches) long and 0.3-centimeter (0.1 inch) wide slices. Add salt and use your hands to make sure they’re all well coated. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Rinse and squeeze out any water.

Shred the beef into 6-centimeter long (about 2 inches) and 0.3-centimeter (0.1 inch) thick slices. Wash the bracken. Cut it into 5-centimeter (about 2 inches) long strips. Season the beef and the bracken with the seasoning sauce.

Separate an egg into the yolk and the white and fry them each separately. Shred each into 5-centimeter (about 2 inches) long strips that are 0.3 centimeters (0.1 inch) wide.

  1. Put the rice and water in a pot and heat it for 4 minutes over a high heat. When it boils, continue to boil it for another 4 minutes and then lower the heat to medium and let it simmer for 3 minutes. When the rice becomes saturated, lower the heat to low and steam for 10 minutes until it is well done.
  1. Preheat a frying pan with oil. Stir fry the zucchini over a high heat for 30 seconds and then spread them out and let cool.
  1. Preheat a frying pan with oil. Stir fry the bellflower roots over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  1. Preheat a frying pan with oil. Stir fry the beef and bracken separately over a medium heat for 3 minutes.
  1. Pour a bit of oil into the pan. Fry the kelp over a medium heat for 10 seconds and then crush it into large pieces.
  1. Put the minced beef, green onion, garlic and half of the sesame oil into the pot. Stir fry it all over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the red pepper paste, sugar and sesame oil. Stir fry for 5 minutes. Add the water. Stir fry for another 3 minutes.
  1. Serve over steamed rice with all the prepared ingredients and the fried red pepper paste on top.

Enjoy! We hope you’ll join us at Taste of the World!

Countdown to Taste of the World: Embassy of Guatemala to serve ‘mixtas’

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This week, we will be highlighting a selection of recipes on Curly W Live to get fans excited for Saturday’s Taste of the World event. If these recipes are making you hungry, then you are in luck – each of these delicious dishes will all be at Taste of the World for fans to enjoy!

Tickets are still available at nationals.com/taste. For more information on Taste of the World, you can check out last week’s blog post here.

On Saturday, the Embassy of Guatemala will serve mixtas, which is normally served as a Guatemalan street food, and is essentially a hot dog in a taco, covered in delicious slaw, guacamole, hot sauce and green chiles.

Ingredients & Recipe for Mixtas:

Recipe courtesy of FoodWolf.com

  • 1 package of fresh tortillas (corn), heated in microwave in a towel or warmed over gas flame of stove
  • 1 package of hot dogs (beef or pork), cooked in boiling water
  • Guatemalan slaw (recipe below)
  • Guatemalan guacamole (recipe below)
  • Hot sauce (Tapatio or Sriracha)
  • 1 can of green chili

Guatemalan Slaw

  • 1 bag of shredded cabbage “angel hair” style (or thinly slice half of one cabbage)
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 tbs chopped cilantro
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Toss shredded cabbage with the juice of one lime, chopped cilantro and minced red onion. Drizzle with olive oil, enough to just coat the mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Guatemalan Guacamole 

  • 2 ripe Haas avocados
  • ¼ red onion, minced
  • ½ small lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 can of green chiles (optional)

Remove meat of the avocado and mash with a fork in a bowl (or on a plate). Mix in the red onion. Squeeze the juice of half a lime over the mixture–the citrus not only flavors the mixture, it keeps the avocado from turning brown. Rub the teaspoon of oregano in your hand to release the herb’s oils and then add to avocado mixture. Add salt to taste.

To make mixtas:

Boil hot dogs in hot water. When done, serve on warm tortillas (double up the tortillas if you prefer) with slaw, guacamole, hot sauce and green chiles. Enjoy!

We hope you’ll join us at Taste of the World to try mixtas from Guatemala and other delicious cuisine!

 

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