The Washington Nationals acquired All-Star right-handed pitcher Jonathan Papelbon from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Minor League right-handed pitcher, Nick Pivetta. President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcements. Papelbon, a six-time All-Star and one of the most prolific closers in Major League Baseball history, joins the Nationals after spending the last three-plus seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies. He is 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA (7 ER/39.2 IP) and is 17-for-17 in save opportunities this season. He has tallied 40 strikeouts, issued eight walks and has allowed opposing batters to hit .211 against him. He is one of only three MLB closers to be perfect in save opportunities and ranks among National League relievers in ERA (7th, 1.59) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (T10th, 5.00),
Since assuming the closer’s role for the Boston Red Sox in 2006, Papelbon has converted 342 saves, the most in Major League Baseball during the last 11 seasons. His 342 saves are good for 12th in MLB history and are third-most among active pitchers. He also ranks among MLB relievers in strikeouts (1st, 727), strikeout-to-walk ratio (5th, 4.85), walks and hits/innings pitched (6th, 1.00) and ERA (8th, 2.30) since 2006.
In 2014, he became just the fifth reliever in MLB history to convert at least 25 saves in nine consecutive seasons, joining Mariano Rivera, Lee Smith, John Wetteland, and Troy Percival. On June 10 vs. San Diego, he became the 26th pitcher in MLB history to record 300 saves, tying Trevor Hoffman as the second fastest player to reach the 300 save mark.
Papelbon converted 39 saves in 2014, his most since converting a career-high 41 saves for the Boston Red Sox in 2008. He ranked among National League relievers in save percentage (T4th, 90.7%), saves (T5th, 39), walks and hits/innings pitched (8th, 0.90) and opponents OPS (9th, .500). With 66 games pitched, he appeared in 50 or more games for the ninth straight season and 60 or more for the seventh year in a row. On August 26, 2014 vs. Washington, he converted his 100th career save as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies and became the first player in MLB history to convert at least 200 saves in one league (AL, BOS – 219) and 100 saves in another league (NL, PHI – 123).
Papelbon, 34, is 37-30 with a 2.32 ERA over his 11 Major League seasons with Boston (2005-2011) and Philadelphia (2012-2015). He was selected in the fourth round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft out of Mississippi State University. During his time with the Phillies, he supported youth living in Philadelphia-area foster programs through his participation in “Papelbon’s Pen” charitable ticket program. He and his wife, Ashley, have a daughter, Parker, and a son, Gunner.
Pivetta, 22, was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of New Mexico Junior College. He was 7-6 with a 3.02 ERA in 18 games/17 starts between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg.
The Washington Nationals returned from rehab and reinstated infielder Anthony Rendon from the 15-day disabled list and optioned right-handed pitcher Abel de Los Santos to Double-A Harrisburg on Saturday.
Rendon, 24, returns to the Nationals’ active roster after missing 25 games with a left quad strain. He appeared in six Minor League rehab games with Single-A Potomac, hitting .471 (8-for-17) with two doubles, one RBI, three walks and two runs scored.
The Nationals’ first-round selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Rendon is coming off a superb 2014 season in which he took home the National League Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award for third basemen and finished fifth in the National League Most Valuable Player Award voting.
Rendon, who is an exceptional defender at second and third base, hit .287 with 39 doubles, six triples, 21 home runs, 83 RBI, 58 walks and 111 runs scored in 153 games in 2014. The gifted infielder ranked fourth in the Major Leagues (second in the NL) in wins above replacement (6.6), according to FanGraphs.com, at the conclusion of the season.
de Los Santos, 22, appeared in two games for the Nationals allowing one earned run on two hits with three strikeouts and one walk in 1.2 innings of relief. He made his Major League debut on July 21 vs. New York.
by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals recalled right-handed pitcher Joe Ross from Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday and optioned infielder Wilmer Difo to Double-A Harrisburg. Ross will start for the Nationals against the Mets on Tuesday night.
Ross, 22, returns to the Nationals for his second Major League stint of the season. The Nationals selected Ross’ contract from Double-A on June 6 and the rookie right-hander dazzled in three starts for Washington, going 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA. The first Major League assignment of Ross’ career included eight innings of two-run baseball over the Milwaukee Brewers on June 13 and one run over 7.1 IP in his next start, June 19 vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Ross, who has posted a 2.6 walks/9.0 IP mark over the course of his Minor League career, faced 51 Major League batters before he issued his first walk, a new Nationals (2005-present) record.
Since returning to the Minor Leagues, Ross has worked to a 3-1 record with a 2.19 ERA over five starts in his first experience at the Triple-A level. With Syracuse, Ross has never allowed more than three earned runs in a start.
Ross was acquired, along with infielder Trea Turner, from the San Diego Padres in a three-team trade that sent outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and Minor League left-handed pitcher Travis Ott to the Tampa Bay Rays on December 18, 2014. He was originally selected by the Padres in the first round (No. 25 overall) of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
Difo, 23, is 1-for-8 (.125) in the Major Leagues this season. The Nationals’ No. 8 prospect, per Baseball America’s mid-season rankings, is hitting .296 with a .343 on-base percentage and a .416 slugging percentage in 63 Minor League games this season across High Single-A and Double-A.
by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Abel de Los Santos from Double-A Harrisburg on Monday and optioned right-handed pitcher Blake Treinen to Triple-A Syracuse. Left fielder Jayson Werth was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to clear space for de Los Santos on the 40-man roster.
de Los Santos, 22, is 4-4 with a 2.65 ERA in 26 appearances (31.1 IP) for Double-A Harrisburg this season. The Dominican Republic-native has not allowed a run since June 8 – a 15-inning stretch (nine appearances) in which he has held opposing batters to a .104 average and struck out 15.
The hard-throwing right-hander has struck out 8.4 batters per nine innings this season in the Eastern League (career K/9: 9.1) and has posted a 0.884 WHIP. He has allowed only nine extra-base hits (7 doubles, 2 home runs) and walked just eight while striking out 35.
de Los Santos was acquired from the Texas Rangers, along with second baseman Chris Bostick, in exchange for left-handed pitcher Ross Detwiler on Dec. 12, 2014.
Though he made eight appearances to begin 2014 with Single-A Hickory of the South Atlantic League, de Los Santos spent the majority of his season with Single-A Myrtle Beach (33 games), where he was 5-2 with a 1.97 ERA. Signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Rangers in 2010, de Los Santos worked to a 0.959 WHIP and struck out 10.4 batters per nine innings in 2014.
Treinen, 27, is 2-2 with a 4.39 ERA in 32 appearances (41.0 IP) out of the Nationals’ bullpen in 2015. His 44 strikeouts rank 16th in the National League and he has walked 21 batters this season.
by Amanda Comak
Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper was announced Sunday night as a starter in the 2015 Major League All-Star Game. Harper earned his selection to the National League team by garnering 13,964,950 fan votes, the most votes of any player ever to appear on the National League ballot and third-most votes for any player in MLB this season.
Harper, 22, entered Sunday night’s game against the San Francisco Giants hitting .344 with a .470 on-base percentage and a Major League-best .719 slugging percentage. In 75 games this season, Harper has hit 25 home runs to go along with 19 doubles and one triple. He has walked 60 times in 319 plate appearances.
The Nationals’ right-fielder, who won back-to-back National League Player of the Week awards in May, as well as the National League Player of the Month Award for the same month, currently leads the Major Leagues in on-base percentage (.470), slugging percentage (.719) and on-base plus slugging percentage (1.189). He ranks tied for second in the Major Leagues in home runs (25), third in walks (60) and fourth in RBI (60). His batting average (.344) ranks fourth, and his 57 runs scored slot in fifth.
With his 25th home run, hit on Saturday vs. the Giants, Harper became just the seventh player in Major League history, age 22 or younger, to hit 25 home runs in the season’s first 81 games. He joined four Hall of Fame players (Harmon Killebrew, Eddie Mathews, Joe DiMaggio, Mel Ott) on that list, along with Alex Rodriguez. On May 6 vs. the Miami Marlins, Harper became the 10th-youngest player in MLB history to hit three home runs in a single game.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only two other players in Major League history have hit .340 or better with at least 25 home runs, 60 RBI and 60 walks through July 4th – Hall of Famers Frank Thomas (1994 and 2000) and Babe Ruth (1921, 1926-27, 1930).
While Harper’s home runs have drawn him significant praise, as well as placed him in some elite company, Harper’s .470 on-base percentage is more than .100 points higher than any of his previous career marks. Harper has reached base safely (including on errors) in 68 of the 75 games he’s played in this year, and hasn’t been held hitless in back-to-back games since May 4-5.
This will be Harper’s third career All-Star Game selection and his second career All-Star start. Harper, who previously attended the 2012 and 2013 All-Star Games (in Kansas City and New York-NL), started in center field for the National League team in the 2013 contest. Harper, the first three-time All-Star in Nationals history (2005-present), is also the first Nationals player to claim multiple fan-elected starting assignments. He is the fourth player in franchise history to accomplish the feat, joining Hall of Famers Gary Carter (1981-84) and Andre Dawson (1981-83), as well as Tim Raines (1982-83).
The rest of the 2015 Major League All-Star participants will be announced Monday night at 7 p.m. during the “Esurance All-Star Selection Show” on ESPN. The 86th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be held at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Tuesday, July 14.
by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals selected the contract of infielder Emmanuel Burriss from Triple-A Syracuse on Friday and placed infielder Anthony Rendon on the 15-day disabled list with a left quadriceps strain, retroactive to June 25. Outfielder Reed Johnson was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Burriss, a Washington, D.C. native and a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in the Tenleytown neighborhood of Northwest D.C., joins the Nationals for his first Major League assignment since 2012 (San Francisco).
The 30-year-old infielder is coming off one of his finest professional seasons, posting a .300 average, .377 on-base percentage and .412 slugging percentage in 116 games for Triple-A Syracuse in 2014. In 62 games with Syracuse this season, Burriss is hitting .278 (66-for-237) with eight doubles, five triples, three home runs, 25 walks, 10 stolen bases and 21 RBI.
A versatile infielder, Burriss has Major League experience at all four infield spots (183 games at second base, 62 games at shortstop, eight games at third base and two games at first base), and has appeared in four games in the outfield as well. Over the course of his Minor League career, Burriss has primarily played shortstop (470 games) and second base (146 games).
Over parts of five Major League seasons, all with the San Francisco Giants, Burriss is a career .243 hitter with 14 doubles, one triple and one home run.
Rendon, 25, returns to the disabled list for the second time this season. The Nationals’ dynamic infielder missed the first 52 games of the season as he worked through a left knee sprain as well as a left oblique strain. Rendon is hitting .290 (20-for-69) in 18 games this season with a .375 on-base percentage. He’s clubbed five doubles, walked nine times, driven in five runs and scored nine runs.
Nationals top prospects Lucas Giolito & Trea Turner selected for 2015 Sirius/XM All-Star Futures Game
Right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito and infielder Trea Turner have been selected to represent the Washington Nationals in the 2015 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which will be played at 3:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, July 12th at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Giolito, 20, is considered by many, including industry experts Baseball America and MLB.com, as the top pitching prospect in all of baseball. He is the consensus top prospect in the Nationals’ organization and is ranked by MLB.com as the No. 4 prospect and by Baseball America as the No. 7 prospect overall. Giolito will participate in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game for the second consecutive season.
A first-round pick (No. 16 overall) in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, Giolito is 2-4 with a 2.71 ERA (18 ER/43.2 IP) in eight starts for the Potomac Nationals of the Single-A Carolina League. He has piled up 57 strikeouts (seventh in the Carolina League) and has allowed 51 hits against just 12 walks this season.
Giolito was named the Washington Nationals 2014 Minor League Pitcher of the Year after going 10-2 with an organizational-best 2.20 ERA in 20 starts for Single-A Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League. He led Nationals farmhands with 110 strikeouts and, following the season, was named the “Most Outstanding Pitcher” and the “Top Major League Prospect” in the South Atlantic League by MiLB.com.
Turner, 21, joined the Nationals organization on June 14, completing the Dec. 18, 2014 three-team trade in which Washington also acquired right-handed pitcher Joe Ross. In ten games since joining the Double-A Harrisburg Senators, Turner is 14-for-39 (.359) with four doubles, one triple, four RBI, four stolen bases and six runs scored.
He joined the Nationals after hitting .322 (73-for-227) with 13 doubles, three triples, five home runs, 35 RBI, 24 walks, 11 stolen bases and 31 runs scored in 58 games for San Diego’s Double-A affiliate, the San Antonio Missions. He posted a .385 on-base percentage, a .471 slugging percentage and an .856 OPS along the way. Turner’s .322 average ranked third and his .471 slugging percentage ranked tied for sixth in the Texas League at the time of the trade.
A first-round selection in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft (No. 13 overall), Turner entered the 2015 season rated as the No. 2 prospect in the Padres’ chain and the No. 65 prospect in all of baseball, according to Baseball America. The same publication cited Turner as having the “Best Strike-Zone Discipline,” and being the “Best Athlete” and “Best Defensive Infielder” in the San Diego Minor League system prior to the trade to Washington. He is currently ranked as the No. 51 prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com.
Major League Baseball, in conjunction with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, MLB.com, Baseball America and the 30 Major League Clubs, selected the 25 players currently on each team.
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by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals returned from rehab and reinstated right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday and optioned right-handed pitcher Joe Ross to Triple-A Syracuse. Strasburg will start for the Nationals on Tuesday night vs. Atlanta.
Strasburg returns to the Nationals after missing 21 games due to neck tightness. The right-hander, who tossed 5.0 innings in his lone rehab start, with Double-A Harrisburg vs. Richmond on June 17, allowed one earned run off four hits and six strikeouts while on rehab assignment.
Strasburg was 3-5 with a 6.55 ERA in 10 starts prior to landing on the disabled list on May 30. A career 46-35, Strasburg has posted a 3.25 ERA in 119 Major League starts.
Ross, 22, went 2-1 in three starts during the first Major League assignment of his career. The rookie right-hander followed up his MLB debut by pitching into the eighth inning in back-to-back starts. Over the course of his call-up, Ross posted a 2.66 ERA and an 11.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio (23 SO/2 BB).