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.
Dear Nationals fans,
The last time I was back home in Cincinnati, it was during “Bill and Teddy’s Executive Adventure” in February of 2013. So you could imagine my excitement when I found out the Reds were interested in bringing me and the rest of the Racing Presidents to town for the Nationals series this July!
I couldn’t wait to get on the road. The rest of the guys and I boarded the NatMobile at 6 a.m. on the morning of July 24 and headed west. It was about a nine hour drive, and we pulled into Great American Ball Park around 4 p.m. and got settled in at what would be our home for the weekend.
The following evening, during the first game of the series, I wanted to give my fans a real show — I just had to win! I could feel the adrenaline rushing as I took the field for our first race. As we neared the turn, it was just Teddy and me, and you may have seen what happened next. Teddy got a little too close, so he had to be taken out. Victory was mine!
Saturday morning, I decided to swing out to my boyhood home before the game. I was lucky enough to be greeted by Paula Marett from the National Park Service. I met Paula last year during the “Executive Adventure” and it was great to be able to reconnect with her. Even my bobblehead checked out the house, getting all kinds of pictures, which you may have seen posted on my Twitter account, @NatsBigChief27.
After two more successful races (and two Nationals wins in three games), we headed back home to Washington. Looking back, it was great to meet so many new friends and see old ones I had lost touch with. We met with many local fans and Nationals fans alike, and it was really impressive to see all the Nats fans that traveled to watch their favorite team and favorite Presidents. The trip confirmed that even though I have a lot of history in Cincinnati, my heart is here with the Washington Nationals.
I would also like to send a heartfelt thank you to the Cincinnati Reds organization for inviting us out and showing us what Midwest hospitality is all about! I look forward to visiting them again soon!
P.S. Don’t forget to get your tickets now for MY bobblehead day, on Aug. 17 vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates. The first 25,000 fans in attendance will get one!
In the meantime, you can also win my bobblehead, along with tickets to that game, as part of our Facebook contest! Click here for details!
by Matt Laux
The Washington Nationals and Harris Teeter teamed up to host their annual Food Drive at Nationals Park on Aug. 2 and 3, benefiting the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB). Over the two-day span, the Food Drive collected a record total of 8,331 lbs. of food for the CAFB, which assists roughly 500,000 children, seniors and families struggling with hunger in the Washington metro area each year.
The first day of the Food Drive began extra early as the team accepted donations prior to the Nationals Season Plan Holder Event. As volunteers opened for business, they eagerly anticipated the possibility of surpassing last year’s 3,854-pound first-day total. The exceptional turnout aided in the 4,879 pounds donated. The event’s success continued on Day Two, as the Nationals and Harris Teeter received another 3,452 pounds in donations.
Fans who contributed three or more non-perishable food items earned two tickets to one of two future Nationals games, while supplies lasted. Additionally, the first 1,000 fans to donate three or more Harris Teeter Private Label canned goods each day of the drive were rewarded with $5 in Nats Bucks.
The campaign began in earnest on July 8, when relief pitchers Jerry Blevins and Craig Stammen worked with the Jubilee Housing Teen Renaissance at CAFB’s Kid’s Cafe. Blevins, Stammen and the children made “1-2-3 Salsa,” a healthy, budget-friendly snack, while raising awareness for the August Food Drive.
On top of the Food Drive, fans were able to donate at their local Harris Teeter stores. While this year’s total is still being counted, Harris Teeter raised an additional 2,145 pounds last year. Harris Teeter is also a proud supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project, as well as the Together In Education program.