Fruits of their Labor: Nationals Youth Baseball Academy Hosts Fall Harvest at ‘Field of Greens’ Urban Garden
Nationals Youth Baseball Academy scholar-athletes and community members got to truly experience farm-to-table eating on Wednesday when they conducted a fall harvest to celebrate the Academy’s urban farm, known as the ‘Field of Greens’.
Scholar-athletes, Academy staff and DC Greens staff harvested and taste-tested fall vegetables grown at the Academy.
Scholar-athletes took home their harvest and a deeper understanding of how food impacts personal and community health.
“Wednesday’s harvest event marked the Academy’s introduction to being a true ‘food production site,’” said Tal Alter, executive director of the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. “The scholar-athletes that took part in harvesting, taste-testing and pumpkin painting will grow up with this resource at their disposal, which will be complemented by holistic food education programs. This is an exciting accomplishment for us and consistent with our three core pillars – character development, academic enrichment and improved health.”
In September, the Academy expanded the ‘Field of Greens’, a 1,000-square-foot urban farm, in an effort to improve food access and food education for Academy scholar-athletes, their families and residents of Ward 7.
The expanded ‘Field of Greens’ became a reality with support from Walmart and DC Greens – a local organization striving to connect communities to healthy food through education, access and policy.
“We are teaching students that nutrition is key to being both a scholar and an athlete,” said Lauren Shweder Biel, co-founder and executive director of DC Greens. “It is especially important in a community where there are so many struggles surrounding food access. This is an ideal location to expose kids to food and planting, and we are excited to be here making fresh food fun!”
Additional harvests will take place throughout the autumn.
The Washington Nationals named first baseman Jose Marmolejos their Minor League Player of the Year and right-handed pitcher Austin Voth their Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The club also named right-handed pitcher Austen Williams the recipient of the third-annual Bob Boone Award.
Marmolejos, 22, led the South Atlantic League in hits (145), doubles (39) and RBI (87), ranked second in the league in slugging percentage (.485) and batting average (.310), and ranked third in OPS (.848) while playing in a team-high 124 games for Washington’s Single-A affiliate. He paced the Nationals’ Minor League system in hits (145), doubles (39), RBI (87), slugging percentage (.485) and batting average (.310).
A former non-drafted free agent, Marmolejos had a particularly strong second half of the season, hitting .335 with 24 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 55 RBI, 27 walks and 37 runs scored in the final 70 games of the season. All told, the first baseman hit .310 with 39 doubles, five triples, 11 home runs, 87 RBI, 35 walks and 63 runs scored in 2015. For his efforts, he was named a South Atlantic League post-season All-Star.
Marmolejos is in his fifth season in the organization. He was signed by Modesto Ulloa on June 9, 2011 after going undrafted in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. On September 9th, he was selected eighth overall by Tigres del Licey in the 2015 Dominican Winter League Rookie Draft.
Voth, 23, led all Nationals farmhands with 148 strikeouts and he ranked third in the organization with a 2.92 ERA. His 148 strikeouts ranked second in all of Double-A and were tied for ninth in all of Minor League Baseball. Voth went 6-7 with a 2.92 ERA in 28 games (27 starts) for the Harrisburg Senators, Washington’s Double-A Eastern League affiliate.
A fifth-round pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Washington, Voth led the Eastern League in strikeouts (148), strikeouts/9.0 innings (8.47) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.70). He also ranked among league leaders in hits/9.0 innings (2nd, 7.67), WHIP (5th, 1.11), home runs/9.0 innings (5th, 0.57), ERA (8th, 2.92) and walks/9.0 innings (9th, 2.29). He earned Eastern League Pitcher of the Week honors September 7th and was named an Eastern League mid-season All-Star.
Williams, 22, becomes the third recipient of the Bob Boone Award, which is granted annually to the Nationals minor leaguer who best demonstrates the professionalism, leadership, loyalty, passion, selflessness, durability, determination and work ethic required to play the game the ‘Washington Nationals Way.’
Williams went 12-8 with a 2.58 ERA in 25 starts across three levels of Washington’s Minor League system. He began the season with Single-A Hagerstown before being promoted to Triple-A Syracuse for a spot start on June 4. He was then transferred to Single-A Potomac on June 11, where he finished the season. Williams struck out 106 batters, walked 33, surrendered just five home runs and posted a 1.10 WHIP while opposing batters hit .231 against him. He ranked among Nationals Minor Leaguers in ERA (2nd, 2.58), wins (2nd, 12) and strikeouts (T4th, 106).
Selected in the sixth round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Texas State University, Williams was named a South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star after going 8-1 with a 2.10 ERA (17 ER/73.0 IP) in 13 starts for Single-A Hagerstown.
The Nationals will honor these players in a ceremony at Space Coast Stadium during 2016 Spring Training.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS ORGANIZATIONAL AWARD WINNERS
2015: 1B Jose Marmolejos (Player of the Year), RHP Austin Voth (Pitcher of the Year), RHP Austen Williams (Boone)
2014: OF Steven Souza Jr. (Player of the Year), RHP Lucas Giolito (Pitcher of the Year), INF Wilmer Difo (Boone)
2013: OF Billy Burns (Player of the Year), RHP Taylor Jordan (Pitcher of the Year), 2B Tony Renda (Boone)
2012: INF Matthew Skole (Player of the Year), RHP Nathan Karns (Pitcher of the Year)
2011: INF Steve Lombardozzi (Player of the Year), RHP Brad Peacock (Pitcher of the Year)
2010: OF Tyler Moore (Player of the Year), LHP Tom Milone (Pitcher of the Year)
2009: C Derek Norris (Player of the Year), RHP Brad Meyers (Pitcher of the Year)
2008: OF Leonard Davis (Player of the Year), RHP Jordan Zimmermann (Pitcher of the Year)
2007: OF Justin Maxwell (Player of the Year), LHP John Lannan (Pitcher of the Year)
2006: INF Kory Casto (Player of the Year), RHP Zechry Zinicola (Pitcher of the Year)
2005: INF Kory Casto (Player of the Year), LHP Michael O’Connor (Pitcher of the Year)
by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals announced their 2016 schedule on Tuesday, in conjunction with Major League Baseball, revealing an 81-game home slate that will begin with the home opener on April 7 vs. the Miami Marlins. The 83rd home opener in D.C. since 1901 will come after the Nationals begin the season at Atlanta with a two-game series April 4-6. Visit nationals.com to view the full schedule.
Nationals Park will play host to 11 homestands, four of which will span 10 days, and include 13 weekend series. The home schedule will be highlighted by visits from the American League Central in Interleague play. The Nationals will welcome the Minnesota Twins (April 22-24), Detroit Tigers (May 9-11), and the Cleveland Indians (Aug. 9-10), and will visit the Chicago White Sox (June 7-9), the Kansas City Royals (May 2-4), and Cleveland (July 26-27).
The Nationals will celebrate with holiday crowds twice in 2016, first with the annual Fourth of July contest, as the Milwaukee Brewers visit the nation’s capital for the nation’s birthday, and concluding with a visit from the Philadelphia Phillies on Labor Day (Sept. 5).
Weekends at Nationals Park will feature visits from the Miami Marlins (April 7-10, May 13-15, Sept. 30-Oct. 2), Minnesota Twins (April 22-24), St. Louis Cardinals (May 26-29), Philadelphia Phillies (June 10-12, Sept. 8-11), Cincinnati Reds (July 1-3), Pittsburgh Pirates (July 15-17), San Diego Padres (July 22-24), San Francisco Giants (Aug. 5-7), Atlanta Braves (Aug. 12-14), and Colorado Rockies (Aug. 26-28).
The Nationals’ road slate features two west coast trips as the club will travel to San Diego and Los Angeles in June (16-22) before closing that 10-game trip with a three-game set in Milwaukee. The Nationals will then head west once more at the end of July as they close a nine-game trip that begins in Cleveland (July 26-27), with stops in San Francisco (July 28-31) and Arizona (Aug. 1-3).
The annual Beltway Series with the Baltimore Orioles will take place in August during a four-game home-and-home. The Nationals will travel to Baltimore at the end of a nine-game trip that starts in Colorado (Aug. 15-17), stops in Atlanta (Aug. 18-21) and wraps up in Baltimore (Aug. 22-23). The two Mid-Atlantic teams will then head down to D.C. to finish up the series with two at Nationals Park (Aug 24-25).
Nineteen of the Nationals’ first 22 games will come against divisional foes. Washington will finish the 2016 season playing 25 of their final 32 games within the National League East as well.
The Nationals will conclude the 2016 regular season with a seven-game homestand that will feature a four-game set with the Arizona Diamondbacks (Sept. 26-29) and finish with three games against the Miami Marlins (Sept. 30-Oct. 2).
All dates and opponents on this schedule are subject to change. Visit nationals.com to view the full schedule. To secure the best seats at the best price with a 2016 NATS PLUS Membership, visit nationals.com/natsplus, call 202.675.NATS(6287) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals returned from rehab and reinstated center fielder Denard Span from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, and optioned right-handed pitcher Tanner Roark to Single-A Potomac.
Span, 31, returns to the Nationals after missing 40 games due to back tightness. The Nationals’ leadoff man is coming off six rehab games – spanning stops with Single-A Hagerstown, Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg – in which he hit .412 with a .500 on-base percentage and a .588 slugging percentage. Span went 7-for-17 with one home run, three walks and six runs scored.
In 59 games with the Nationals this season, Span is hitting .304 (72-for-237) with a .367 on-base percentage and a .430 slugging percentage. In 265 plate appearances, Span has clubbed 15 doubles and five home runs, walked 24 times and stolen 11 bases.
One of the most dynamic center fielders in the game, Span is coming off arguably his finest Major League season. Hitting .302 with a Nationals (2005-present) single-season record 184 hits in 2014, Span collected a career-high 52 extra-base hits last season, to go along with a career-best 31 stolen bases. He became just the sixth qualified player in Nationals history to hit .300 or better, joining Cristian Guzman, Michael Morse, Jayson Werth, Dmitri Young and Ryan Zimmerman.
Roark, 28, is 4-4 with four holds and one save, along with a 4.54 ERA in 34 games (six games started) this season. The versatile right-hander is career 26-15 with a 3.04 ERA since his MLB debut, Aug. 7, 2013. In that span, Roark has started 42 games for the Nationals, including 31 (15-10, 2.85 ERA) during his breakout 2014 season. While with Potomac Roark will transition to the starting rotation.