Results tagged ‘ Aaron Barrett ’
SPRING TRAINING PREVIEW – RELIEF PITCHERS
This spring, 63 players — each member of the Nationals’ 40-man roster, plus 23 additional non-roster invitees — will vie for the 25 spots on Dusty Baker’s Opening Day ballclub. Over the course of this week, we are introducing these players in their position groups, continuing today with relief pitchers.
March 5 – Starting Pitchers
March 6 – Relief Pitchers
March 7 – Catchers
March 8 – Infielders
March 9 – Outfielders
2015 Season Totals: 4.60 ERA, 2.21 FIP, 10.74 K/9, 2.15 BB/9, .351 BABIP, 0.9 fWAR
Although Barrett will begin the 2016 season on the disabled list following Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the 28-year-old has a bright future in the nation’s capital. Barrett has posted remarkable numbers during his first two big league seasons, including a 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2015 that led all Nationals relievers. Armed with a hard fastball and wipeout slider, Barrett has a chance to provide the team with a boost either down the stretch in 2016 or by Opening Day, 2017.
ABEL De LOS SANTOS
2015 Season Totals: 5.40 ERA, 9.13 FIP, 16.20 K/9, 5.40 BB/9, .333 BABIP, -0.1 fWAR
A live-armed right-hander, de Los Santos has posted 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings and a 3.61 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 144 Minor league games (36 starts) over his professional career. He went 4-4 with a 3.43 ERA in 39 games for Double-A Harrisburg, and was 8-for-11 in save opportunities for the Senators. He struck out 55 batters in 57.2 Minor league innings (8.6 K/9.0 IP). De Los Santos had his contract selected on July 20 and made his MLB debut the next night vs. New York Mets.
2015 Season Totals: 3.02 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 5.10 K/9, 3.02 BB/9, .266 BABIP, 0.1 fWAR
Gott, 23, comes to Washington after being acquired in a December deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The young right-hander, just three years removed from his junior season at the University of Kentucky, profiles as a late-inning reliever with a fastball that averaged more than 96 mph during his rookie season with the Angels a year ago. Prior to reaching the Major Leagues, Gott posted an impressive 2.25 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 28 innings between Double-A and Triple-A ball in 2015.
2015 Season Totals: 4.24 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 7.41 K/9, 4.24 BB/9, .426 BABIP, 0.3 fWAR
Left-handed and featuring a fastball and slider repertoire that induced groundballs at a rate of 59 percent in his 26 big league games in 2015, Grace would have ranked in the top 15 in baseball in ground ball rate if qualified. He began the season with Triple-A Syracuse before being recalled to the big leagues on April 22 and made his MLB debut that night against the St. Louis Cardinals. On the season, he allowed just one extra base hit in 38 at-bats against left-handed batters, striking out nine and walking just two.
2015 Season Totals: 2.45 ERA, 2.57 FIP, 11.05 K/9, 2.63 BB/9, .301 BABIP, 1.0 fWAR
Kelley brings a wealth of experience to the revamped Nationals’ bullpen from his seven seasons with the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees and San Diego Padres. The 31-year-old right-hander has developed into a reliable reliever, striking out 246 opposing hitters in 200.2 innings over the past four years and featuring a slider he has thrown more than 50 percent of the time during that span. The Louisville, Ky. native signed a three-year deal with Washington in December.
2015 Season Totals: N/A
Lee was added to Washington’s 40-man roster following the 2015 season. He began his professional career as a starter, but transitioned to the bullpen during the 2014 season. Lee is effective with the strikeout, posting 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings over his five-year professional career. He went 3-1 with 10 saves and a 3.12 ERA in a career-high 40 outings between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg in 2015, while his 10 saves ranked tied for second among Nationals farmhands.
2015 Season Totals: 5.11 ERA, 4.76 FIP, 18.24 K/9, 3.65 BB/9, .381 BABIP, -0.1 fWAR
An eight-year Minor League veteran, Martin earned an invite to 2015 Spring Training and quickly made his mark in the big leagues, striking out five consecutive Boston Red Sox batters in two scoreless innings in his MLB debut on April 15. Martin utilizes an upper-echelon slider to produce impressive strikeout numbers, helping him lead Washington’s minor league system with 12 saves, going 5-5 with a 3.21 ERA (20 ER/56.0 IP) in 46 games for Triple-A Syracuse.
2015 Season Totals: 2.13 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 7.96 K/9, 1.71 BB/9, .258 BABIP, 0.4 fWAR
One of the game’s most decorated closers, Papelbon has a chance to climb up the all-time saves list in 2016. With 349 in his career, the 35-year-old veteran is just nine behind Troy Percival (10th; 358), 18 behind Jeff Reardon (9th; 367) and 28 behind Joe Nathan (8th; 377). Papelbon successfully closed out 24 games in 2015, posting 17 saves and a 1.59 ERA with the Phillies and seven saves and a 3.04 ERA with the Nationals, after being acquired just prior to the non-waiver trade deadline in late July.
2015 Season Totals: 4.17 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 11.20 K/9, 3.29 BB/9, .321 BABIP, 0.5 fWAR
Perez’s resurgence has been one of baseball’s best stories over the past few years, as the one-time starter has rediscovered his magic as a short-inning reliever. The left-hander’s career took a positive turn under the tutelage of Nationals’ instructors in 2011, and he now joins the organization at the Major League level for the first time. In 232 appearances since 2012, Perez has posted a 3.31 ERA and 225 strikeouts in 182.1 innings, while proving to be one of the game’s toughest draws for left-handed hitters.
2015 Season Totals: 3.67 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 6.99 K/9, 1.78 BB/9, .278 BABIP, -0.1 fWAR
Petit, a versatile swingman with the ability to go multiple innings as a starter or reliever, signed with the Nationals this offseason after four successful campaigns with the San Francisco Giants. He set a Major League record in 2014, retiring 46 consecutive hitters at one point over an eight-game stretch. Fans may also remember his winning performance in Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS at Nationals Park, in which he held the Nats to one hit over six shutout innings from the 12th through the 17th frames.
2015 Season Totals: 2.79 ERA, 2.64 FIP, 8.01 K/9, 2.05 BB/9, .250 BABIP, 0.9 fWAR
A breakout rookie in the Nationals’ 2015 bullpen, Rivero returns with a chance to earn a more prominent role during the 2016 season. The left-hander pitched in relief over a full season for the first time a year ago, and seemed to get stronger as the season wore on. Rivero finished the year with seven consecutive scoreless appearances — holding opponents to just one hit and one walk while striking out seven batters — while earning his first two Major League saves in the process.
2015 Season Totals: 3.38 ERA, 3.46 FIP, 7.17 K/9, 1.69 BB/9, .329 BABIP, 0.1 fWAR
Solis entered 2015 in good health after struggling with injuries his first few years as a professional. He began the season with Double-A Harrisburg before being recalled to the Major Leagues on April 29. Solis made his big league debut the next night, April 30 at the New York Mets. He enjoyed four stints with Washington over the course of the year, going 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA (8 ER/21.1 IP) in 18 games. In 20 games between Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse, Solis went 0-3 with four saves and a 4.39 ERA (13 ER/26.2 IP).
2015 Season Totals: 3.86 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 8.65 K/9, 4.26 BB/9, .328 BABIP, 0.4 fWAR
Treinen made his first Opening Day roster in 2015 and spent the majority of the season in the Nationals’ bullpen, showing electric stuff and a dominant streak against opposing right-handed hitters. Righties hit a paltry .187/.276/.216 against the 6-foot-5 Kansan, striking out in 28.8 percent of all plate appearances. Treinen compiled a nearly flawless month of August, holding opponents scoreless over 11 appearances while allowing just six hits and two walks over 12.1 innings, striking out 12.
BURKE BADENHOP…6-foot-5 right-hander is a noted ground ball specialist, with a 54.4 percent career rate.
MATT BELISLE…Veteran righty made 34 relief appearances for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015.
MICHAEL BRADY…Second piece of the deal that brought fellow reliever Trevor Gott to Washington.
SEAN BURNETT…Former Nationals left-hander returns to the organization after three-year absence.
ERIK DAVIS…Stanford product fanned 12 batters and walked just one in 10 appearances in 2013 debut.
NICK MASSET…Pitched four seasons in Dusty Baker’s bullpen in Cincinnati from 2008-11.
WANDER SUERO…Slender Dominican right-hander posted a 2.41 ERA for Single-A Potomac in 2015.
by Kyle Mann
Over each of the next few weeks, we’ll break down the entire Nationals roster as the team prepares to take the field in Viera, Fla., to get to work on defending their NL East Division title. Continuing this week with relief pitchers, we’ll take a look at the stockpile of talent acquired and developed by President of Baseball Operations & General Manager Mike Rizzo, 2014 NL Manager of the Year Matt Williams and their respective staffs.
We already reviewed the catchers, so now let’s delve into some of the arms they’ll spend their time catching: the relievers.
*Note, 2014 totals reflect only Major League stats.
2014 Season Totals: 2-1, 11 saves, 1.12 ERA, 2.71 FIP, 7.35 K/9, 1.76 BB/9, 0.9 fWAR in 56.1 IP
2015 Steamer Proj.: 3-3, 33 saves, 3.37 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 7.89 K/9, 2.28 BB/9, 0.3 fWAR in 65.0 IP
Since being drafted No. 10 overall in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, right-hander Drew Storen has been a steady contributor in the Nationals bullpen. After the toughest year of his young career in 2013, Storen came back with a vengeance last season, posting an N.L best 1.12 ERA (min. 50 innings pitched). Coming off such a strong year, Storen is being counted on to build off his great 2014 campaign and lock down the ninth inning for the defending NL East Champions.
2014 Season Totals: 1-3, 0 saves, 1.75 ERA, 2.66 FIP, 7.00 K/9, 2.00 BB/9, 0.7 fWAR in 36.0 IP
2015 Steamer Proj.: 3-2, 2 saves, 2.96 ERA, 3.11 FIP, 8.33 K/9, 2.26 BB/9, 0.5 fWAR in 55.0 IP
An 11-year veteran, Matt Thornton was acquired by the Nationals from the Yankees last August to provide a veteran left-handed presence in the bullpen. Thornton responded with 18 scoreless appearances for the Nationals while also stranding 100 percent of inherited baserunners. Signed through 2015, Thornton is projected to continue his success in the back-end of the Nationals bullpen in 2015, which will likely include a significant late-inning load again this season.
2014 Season Totals: 4-5, 0 saves, 3.84 ERA, 3.19 FIP, 6.94 K/9, 1.73 BB/9, 0.6 fWAR in 72.2 IP
2015 Steamer Proj.: 3-3, 3 saves, 3.46 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 7.53 K/9, 2.42 BB/9, 0.3 fWAR in 65.0 IP
Craig Stammen has proven to be Mr. Everything for the Nationals since making his Major League debut in 2009. A starting pitcher in 2009 and 2010, Stammen has since established himself as a solid, versatile reliever for the Nationals the last four seasons, posting an ERA under 4.00 each year. While Stammen’s ERA rose from 2.76 in 2013 to 3.83 last season, his FIP and underlying peripherals indicate his performance was much closer to his outstanding 2013 than his ERA showed. With a career best 4:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio last season, thr right-hander should be in line for another solid season in 2015, no matter which role he occupies in the Nationals’ bullpen.
2014 Season Totals: 3-0, 0 saves, 2.66 ERA, 2.59 FIP, 10.84 K/9, 4.43 BB/9, 0.6 fWAR in 40.2 IP
2015 Steamer Proj.: 2-2, 1 save, 3.21 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 9.20 K/9, 3.07 BB/9, 0.3 fWAR in 45.0 IP
Whether you count securing the win in his Major League debut on Opening Day, or taking down the Rockies Brandon Barnes in a July 23rd anthem stand-off among the highlights, there’s no doubt that Aaron Barrett proved himself as a bullpen force during his rookie season. Finishing the year with an outstanding 2.66 ERA and extremely impressive 10.84 K/9 mark, Barrett provided plenty of reasons for Nationals fans to be excited about his second MLB season. Barrett has the ability to pitch in a right-handed set-up role for the Nationals in 2015, and if he can improve upon last season’s 4.43 BB/9, it seems the sky is the limit for him.
2014 Season Totals: 2-3, 0 saves, 4.87 ERA, 2.77 FIP, 10.36 K/9, 3.61 BB/9, 0.7 fWAR in 57.1 IP
2015 Steamer Proj.: 3-2, 1 save, 3.11 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 9.03 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, 0.2 fWAR in 55.0 IP
A teammate of Stammen’s at the University of Dayton, Jerry Blevins joined Stammen as a key bullpen contributor during his first season in the Nation’s Capital. The left-hander’s 4.87 ERA from last season may be a bit misleading, but if you dig a bit deeper you’ll see that he had an outstanding 10.36 K/9 and 2.77 FIP, plus some impressive performances out of the bullpen during the postseason. Blevins’ strong peripheral stats lead to a rosy 2015 projection for the international traveler where he should combine with Thornton to provide solid left-handed contributions in the Nationals’ bullpen.
2014 Season Totals: 0-0, 0 saves, 3.86 ERA, 3.56 FIP, 6.43 K/9, 0.00 BB/9, 0.0 fWAR in 7.0 IP
2015 Steamer Proj.: 3-2, 1 save, 3.11 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 9.03 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, 0.2 fWAR in 55.0 IP
While Cedeno has only pitched 13 innings for the Nationals since being acquired from the Houston Astros early in the 2013 season, he has performed well at the Major League and Triple-A levels during his time in the Nationals organization. In 74 appearances for Triple-A Syracuse, Cedeno has a 1.84 ERA with 102 strikeouts in only 73.2 innings. As a left-hander with great numbers in the Minor Leagues and several solid stints with the big league club, Cedeno is a great option as a third lefty out of the ‘pen for the Nationals in 2015.
2014 Season Totals: N/A
2015 Steamer Proj.: 1-1, 0 saves, 3.52 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 7.87 K/9, 2.75 BB/9, 0.0 fWAR in 15.0 IP
Davis, a college teammate of Drew Storen’s at Stanford University, underwent Tommy John surgery last season and is due back during 2015. Davis impressed during a call-up in 2013 with 12 strikeouts in 8.2 innings pitched for the Nationals. With a 3.10 ERA in Triple-A Syracuse in 2013, Davis could be another option for the Nationals bullpen as soon as he returns to full health.
2014 Season Totals: 0-0, 0 saves, 4.66 ERA, 3.13 FIP, 4.66 K/9, 3.13 BB/0, 0.0 fWAR in 9.2 IP
2015 Steamer Proj.: 1-1, 0 saves, 4.44 ERA, 4.52 FIP, 5.70 K/9, 3.08 BB/9, -0.2 fWAR in 20.0 IP
Acquired from the Cardinals this offseason, Fornataro is known for premium velocity and posted a 2.57 ERA for Triple-A Memphis last season. Fornataro had a 4.66 ERA in eight MLB appearances with the Cardinals last season and the 27-year-old provides solid right-handed depth for the Nationals bullpen.
2014 Season Totals: N/A
2015 Steamer Proj.: 1-1, 0 saves, 4.24 ERA, 4.40 FIP, 5.86 K/9, 3.16 BB/9, -0.2 fWAR in 25.0 IP
Grace, a 2010 selection in the First-Year Player Draft out of UCLA, has excelled in the minors since a move to the bullpen. After posting a 1.17 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A last season, the 6-foot-4 left-hander was selected to attend the Arizona Fall League, regarded as a finishing school for Major League prospects. Grace posted a 3.18 ERA in the hitter-friendly league, showing that he is ready should the Nationals call on him to provide left-handed depth in their bullpen in 2015.
by Kyle Mann
Washington Nationals reliever Aaron Barrett and utility man Kevin Frandsen made the most of their respective visits to D.C. for NatsFest last weekend, coming in a day early to brighten the spirits of local children.
Barrett and Frandsen started their day on Friday, Dec. 12 by visiting with patients battling life-threatening illnesses at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital at its annual Hope for Henry Foundation’s Winter Wonderland Holiday Party. They followed that up with a visit to the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, located in Ward 7’s Fort Dupont Park.
During the hospital visit, the players, and their wives, visited patient rooms and took part in fun activities with the children, including participating in a photo station and decorating a gingerbread replica of Nationals Park — complete with Racing Presidents. The stunning detail put into the gingerbread Nationals Park illustrated the level of care Hope for Henry and MedStar Georgetown put forth in preparing the entire day for the children and their families.
Hope for Henry, a charitable organization founded by Laurie Strongin and Allen Goldberg in 2003 following the loss of their son Henry to Fancolni anemia, made the visit special for everyone. When going through years of treatments with Henry, they noticed how much visits, parties, and even cupcakes and pizza meant to Henry, so they decided to focus on lifting the spirits of other children suffering with life-threatening diseases and their families.
Frandsen spent the much of his time focusing on the siblings of patients during his visit.
As a child, he spent a lot of time accompanying his brother, DJ, who passed away in 2004, to the hospital. After DJ’s passing, Frandsen started ’19 for Life’ to honor his brother. For more on his foundation, visit www.19forlife.org.
Frandsen said he felt a connection with Henry’s brother, Joseph, who attended the holiday party.
“To see Henry’s brother, Joe — at 13 — put everything on and raise the money to do it all was a totally different experience,” Frandsen said. “What Joe did today was unbelievable.”
Later in the afternoon, Frandsen and Barrett visited the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. Both players felt compelled to return after visiting the Academy this past summer and coaching scholar-athletes in the Summer Academy Program.
During the visit, the players provided some hands-on baseball instruction and each took part in a Q&A session. Based on the hard-hitting questions asked of Barrett, some of the Academy’s scholar-athletes may have a future as Nationals beat writers.
The “Bear” was asked to name the entire Nationals roster (he went position by position with aplomb), if he was friends with Ian Desmond (of course), and perhaps the toughest question of all, would he rather eat a toenail or dog food (he begrudgingly answered dog food).
“It’s a great facility — certainly the nicest I’ve seen,” Barrett said. “It was fun to interact with kids and teach them some things I was taught at their age. It’s wonderful how the Academy focuses on education and nutrition as well as baseball.”
Frandsen estimated it was the fourth or fifth time he’s visited.
“It’s always enjoyable coming here,” he said. “Some of the kids remember you and you can get to know their names, which has been great. I’ve been on a lot of teams (that focus on) kids in the community, but never with one central academy like this, in this Ward where they need it.”
The goals of the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy are to use baseball and softball to foster positive character development, academic achievement and improved health among at-risk Washington, D.C. youth. Frandsen said the fact that it all can happen at one facility is one of the many standout qualities of the Academy.
“There is a common goal,” Frandsen said. “It’s a spot for education, tutors, they teach teamwork, eating right and all of this is accomplished at a common location to work together to help to achieve all of these goals.”
by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals September call-ups arrived on Monday as the team recalled RHP Aaron Barrett, LHP Xavier Cedeno, C Sandy Leon, 1B/OF Tyler Moore and RHP Blake Treinen from Triple-A Syracuse. Additionally, OF Steven Souza Jr. (left shoulder) was returned from rehab and reinstated to the active roster.
Barrett, 26, is 3-0 with a 3.21 ERA in 40 games, (33.2 IP) for the Nationals this season. The hard-throwing righty made the Nationals 25-man roster out of Spring Training and quickly earned an integral role in manager Matt Williams’ bullpen. His 11.50 strikeouts per nine innings ranks second among all rookie National League relievers this season, behind only Philadelphia’s Ken Giles (12.72).
Barrett returns to the Nationals after going 1-0 with two saves in 10 games for Syracuse – in which he did not allow a run, surrendered five hits, walked one batter and struck out eight.
Cedeno, 28, rejoins the Nationals for the fourth time this season. The left-handed reliever has not allowed a run at the Major League level this season, scattering four hits in three appearances (3.1 IP) with one strikeout. At Triple-A, Cedeno was 5-1 with a 2.29 ERA in 35 games (39.1 IP).
While holding International League batters to a .163 average against and possessing a 0.86 WHIP, Cedeno has struck out 57, walked 12 and allowed just 10 earned runs. Against left-handed batters, his ERA drops to 1.35.
Leon, 25, strengthens the Nationals’ catching corps for the stretch run in his fourth Major League stint of the season. The switch-hitting catcher hit his first Major League home run on April 14 off Kevin Slowey in Miami, and posted a .169 average in 18 Major League games this season. Leon hit .229 for Syracuse with five home runs and 25 RBI.
Known for his above-average defensive skills behind the plate, Leon has caught 45 percent of attempted base stealers over the course of eight Minor League seasons.
Moore, 27, makes his third return to the Nationals’ Major League roster this season, adding power and versatility off the bench. In 34 Major League games (16 starts) this season, Moore hit .214 with three home runs and 11 RBI. The first baseman/outfielder hit .265 with a .367 on-base percentage and a .434 slugging percentage at Triple-A this season, clubbing 31 extra-base hits and driving in 44 runs in 84 games.
In 46 career big league games as a first baseman, Moore has hit .325 with eight doubles, six home runs and 26 RBI.
Treinen, 26, rejoins the Nationals for the sixth time this season. He is 1-3 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 Major League games (five starts) this year. The right-hander earned his first MLB win on June 28 at Wrigley Field when he held the Cubs to two earned runs over 5.0 IP. As a starter in the majors, Treinen has worked to a 2.50 ERA, and as a reliever he’s posted a 1.54 mark.
Treinen had an 8-2 record with a 3.35 ERA in 16 starts at Triple-A this year.
Souza Jr. returns to the active roster after missing 20 games with a left shoulder contusion. The 25-year-old, who was named the International League MVP last week, led the league in almost every offensive category: batting average (.350), on-base percentage (.432), and slugging percentage (.590). He also hit 18 home runs, drove in 75 and stole 26 bases.
Souza Jr. is 1-for-12 (.083) with one walk and four strikeouts in the Major Leagues this year.
The Nationals’ September call-ups helped the Chiefs clinch their first IL North Division title in 25 years on Saturday night. The players will join the Nationals before the start of their three-game series at the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday evening.
by Kyle Mann
On the final day of its Summer Academy Program, the scholar-athletes at the Washington Nationals’ Youth Baseball Academy had a few special visitors.
Aaron Barrett, Ian Desmond, Kevin Frandsen, Scott Hairston and Adam LaRoche visited the YBA on Friday morning, and though the experience was surely one the nearly-100 scholar-athletes participating would never forget, the Nationals players may have been the ones most impacted.
“It’s been a blast to be here,” LaRoche said of the Academy, a place he referred to as ‘The Disneyland of Baseball.’ “It was two hours of nothing but fun and smiles.”
The schedule for the day included games played simultaneously on the Academy’s three fields, one overseen by Hairston and his two sons, Dallas and Landon, one run by LaRoche and his daughter, Montana, and another by Barrett and Frandsen.
Desmond, who hosts a group of 20 Academy scholar-athletes at Nationals Park every month during the season as part of his Ian’s Academy All-Stars program, is also a Youth Baseball Academy Board Member. Serving in a role best described as roving fun instructor, he rotated between fields, alternating teaching proper footwork around the second base bag and giving one-on-one pep talks to future stars.
“All we can do is try to make an impact,” Desmond said. “It’s good for the kids, the parents, it’s all positive.”
While the constant chants supporting every batter emphasized how much fun this day was for the kids, Summer Academy coach Travaughn Kinney reminded his team about the importance of striving to be your best.
“Focus on having fun, but we love to win,” he told his team as they took the field.
Kinney, a two-sport college athlete from D.C., discussed the importance of baseball for children as part of their development.
“Baseball teaches patience, and kids from (this area) need that,” he said. “Baseball truly requires a team, and that’s my favorite part about the game.”
The Youth Baseball Academy is about a lot more than baseball, and the Summer Academy program is no exception. An integral part of the YBA’s year-round youth development program, the Summer Academy provides a safe, fun, and active learning environment that furthers its mission to use baseball and softball as vehicles to develop literacy and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills. The program also teaches scholar-athletes how to lead healthy lifestyles through fitness, proper nutrition and cooking lessons in a safe, nurturing environment.
The scholar-athletes partaking in the Summer Academy included rising fourth and fifth graders who participated in the Academy’s inaugural After-School Program, and rising third graders who started with the first Summer Academy.
In future years, Academy attendees will matriculate through the eighth grade while a class of rising third graders is added. To supplement learning at the Academy, the scholar-athletes took part in weekly experiential-learning field trips, including to the United States Botanic Gardens, the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theater and the National Zoo.
But playing baseball with their favorite Nationals on the program’s final day may have offered the biggest highlight.
Here’s a photo gallery from the day:
by Amanda Comak
PHILADELPHIA — There may be a moment on Sunday afternoon when the bullpen phone rings and Craig Stammen’s name is called. He’ll rise from his seat in right center field at Citizens Bank Park and begin warming. His focus will be on only one thing: getting the Philadelphia Phillies’ batters out.
Stammen, 30, has completed his coursework at the University of Dayton and his class will walk in their graduation on Sunday. While Stammen won’t be there in person to don a cap and gown, he will join an elite fraternity of Major League Baseball players who possess a college degree from a four-year university.
“I am relieved that it’s over and that I don’t have to do anymore tests or homework,” Stammen said Saturday, cracking an earnest smile.
“And when somebody asks me if I’ve finished college I can say, ‘Yes.’ I won’t have to explain to them why I haven’t finished, what more I have to do and all that. I can say, ‘Yes.'”
A 2005 selection of the Nationals’ in the First-Year Player Draft, Stammen left college after his junior year at Dayton, with 15 credits remaining, to pursue his baseball career. But finishing his degree in Entrepreneurship was something the right-hander always hoped to do. He began working toward that goal this past offseason, taking classes in person, and finished his coursework online once Spring Training began in February.
“It was a lot of work,” Stammen said. “A lot more work during the season than I thought it was going to be. I just didn’t realize how much I don’t like doing anything during the season other than baseball, so it was kind of hard to stay connected to the class and stay motivated, but I got through it.”
On a normal week, Stammen said, he’d save most of his schoolwork for one designated day. He put a bit less emphasis on tests, feeling that if he grasped the subject matter he would be able to score fine, but had multiple research papers due at the end of the semester that each took about four or five hours of his time.
The fact that he won’t be able to walk with his class didn’t bother Stammen too much. His family will be busy on Sunday, anyway, as his younger brother graduates from Ohio State.
“I technically graduate a few hours before him — and he’s seven years younger than me,” Stammen said with a laugh. “So they’ve got their own graduation celebration to go to… I was never big into all the hoopla of putting a cap and gown on, anyway, so I’m all right being at our game.”
Not being there for the graduation itself won’t dampen the accomplishment, though.
Among his colleagues, Stammen is joining a small fraternity. The Nationals now have at least three players with college degrees on the active 25-man roster, including Kevin Frandsen and Aaron Barrett. Ross Ohlendorf, who is on the 60-day Disabled List, also got his.
But a Fox Sports survey from 2012 found that only 39 Major League players, 4.3 percent, had graduated from four-year universities.
While a large number of players are drafted out of high school, several Nationals players are close to their degrees, but just not there yet. Right-hander Doug Fister said he is three classes away, and right-hander Drew Storen spent his first offseason as a big leaguer back at Stanford University working toward completing his. Stephen Strasburg queried Stammen on the process and the logistics this season.
Barrett took 15 hours of classes in the 2011 offseason and took his final three classes during the 2012 season when he was at Single-A Hagerstown. He finished that fall while he was playing in the Arizona Fall League.
But given the rigors of the baseball schedule, and how important the down time in the offseason is, it’s certainly not an easy thing to accomplish.
Stammen will be happy to add his name to the list.
“(My parents) have told me (that they’re proud of me) the whole time,” Stammen said. “They’ve been super supportive and I think they’ll both be pretty proud.”
by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals recalled right-handed reliever Aaron Barrett from Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday afternoon and optioned left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeno there.
In two appearances since being optioned to Triple-A on April 12, Barrett, 26, collected two saves and did not allow a run in 2.1 innings pitched. He surrendered just two hits, walked one and struck out two.
Barrett, a rookie who made the Nationals out of Spring Training after a strong performance in Major League camp, has pitched in six Major League games (4.1 IP) this season and has not allowed an earned run.
Of the 16 batters Barrett has faced in the Major Leagues, he’s allowed just one hit, walked only two and struck out six.
Despite his youthful status on the Nationals’ roster, manager Matt Williams rarely hesitated to trust Barrett with getting big outs early in the season. He made his Major League debut in the ninth inning of a tie game on Opening Day, and on another occasion he was summoned to face Giancarlo Stanton, one of the most feared power hitters in the Major Leagues, in a one-run game. He met those challenges head-on.
Cedeno, 27, appeared in one game for the Nationals, tossing 1.1 innings against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night. He allowed two hits but did not surrender a run.
In three appearances with Triple-A Syracuse this season, Cedeno has tossed 3.2 scoreless innings. For the Chiefs, Cedeno has allowed just one hit, walked one and struck out four while holding opponents to a .077 batting average. Acquired from the Astros in April of 2013, Cedeno has amassed 46.1 innings and worked to a 4.16 ERA in parts of four Major League seasons.
by Amanda Comak
In the final weeks of Spring Training, as the Washington Nationals began to whittle their roster down to the 25 men who would travel north with them to begin the 2014 season, manager Matt Williams had to have several difficult conversations. Rosters constraints are what they are, Williams had to explain, and at that moment there just wasn’t room for everyone.
There was one caveat Williams tried to impress on some of the young talent that made the trek to his office in those final days of camp.
“You need 35 guys during the course of a season – on the low end,” he told them. “We’re going to need you guys at some point. Make sure you’re ready.”
In the first three weeks of the season, the Nationals have already summoned four of those players, and no fewer than five rookies, including right-hander Aaron Barrett who made the team out of camp, have made significant contributions. It’s the first time since 2009 that the Nationals have used as many as five rookies in the month of April.
Early-season injuries, along with a taxed bullpen, have necessitated the promotions of catcher Sandy Leon, right-hander Blake Treinen, outfielder Steven Souza Jr., and infielder Zach Walters. Barrett, who was outstanding in six games (4.1 IP), did not surrender a single earned run and allowed just one hit before a the need for a fresh arm sent him to Syracuse last weekend.
On the Nationals’ most recent road trip, clubhouse manager Mike Wallace was so busy properly inscribing important baseballs for the many “firsts” the rookies racked up, it seemed the Nationals were rolling a ball out of play every night.
“They all proved that they were capable during Spring Training,” Williams said this past week. “Some guys have been up here before, but they were ready to come when they were called. That’s a testament to player development, making sure they’re playing enough and getting at-bats and doing things they need to do to be ready when they’re called.
“We don’t want them called – and by that I mean, because you want your starting guys out there – but it’s a testament to them that they were ready.”
For the players, it has been quite an experience.
“The whole thing is a dream,” Walters said. “Just being here.”
When Barrett entered to make his Major League debut on Opening Day – in a tie game – his adrenaline surged. Before he began his warm-up pitches, shortstop Ian Desmond approached him.
“He just looked at me and said, ‘Hey, just take a second and look around. Just take this all in,’” Barrett said later that day. “I’m just really glad he did that, because I’ll never forget that moment and that he did that for me.”
Treinen made his Major League debut on Saturday, April 12, and registered his first Major League strikeout that night when Atlanta Braves third baseman Chris Johnson swung at strike three.
Leon, who has appeared in the big leagues in each of the past two seasons but retains his rookie status, smashed his first Major League home run over the right field wall on Monday night in Miami. After that game, Leon smiled often and called his first MLB homer “really awesome.”
Walters, who is also in his second big league stint after a September call-up last season, followed suit on Tuesday, crushing his first big league home run to right field. He didn’t wait long for his second, either, with a shot to deep left field that broke a 3-3 tie with the Marlins in an eventual 6-3 victory.
Souza Jr., whose indirect path to the Major Leagues has brought his emotions right to the surface now that he is here, picked up his first big league hit on Tuesday night, a single up the middle. When he got back to the dugout, his teammates were waiting for him.
“It’s so cool, man,” Souza Jr. said. “The love you get around here, the camaraderie. I’m just the new guy up there. Everybody is making me feel so welcome. To get hugs from (Desmond), who I started (in the organization) with, to Tyler (Moore), one of my best friends, it’s just a moment I’ll never forget.”
“I was just glad I was able to get a couple of zeroes and some outs, and do what I was called up here to do: eat some innings and help save our bullpen,” Treinen said after his debut. “It felt good. I’m kind of at a loss for words. It was fun to be up here at this level.”
The baseballs used in those “firsts” become the ultimate keepsakes for the players. They are authenticated by a Major League Baseball authenticator and inscribed by Wallace. Where they go from there is up to each guy. Treinen immediately gave his to his parents, and Souza Jr. said his was likely heading to his parents as well.
“It’s one of those things,” Souza Jr. said. “You’ve come so far, and all the hard work (that’s gone into getting here), and the people who helped me along this way, it’s a moment to kind of share with everyone.”
“These guys have wanted to do this since they were six years old,” said Williams, who still has the baseballs from his “firsts” as a player. “It’s the culmination of your efforts to become a big leaguer. And then there are three stages of that: you want to get there, you want to stay, and then you want to win a championship.
“I’m happy to see them all doing well.”
Nationals select RHP Blake Treinen, recall OF Steven Souza Jr., option RHP Aaron Barrett and place OF Denard Span on 7-day DL
by Amanda Comak
ATLANTA – In need of bullpen reinforcements after a taxing few games, the Washington Nationals selected the contract of right-hander Blake Treinen from Triple-A Syracuse and optioned right-handed reliever Aaron Barrett there on Saturday.
Additionally, the team recalled outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and placed outfielder Denard Span on the 7-day Disabled List with a concussion.
A power right-hander, Treinen has a 3.73 career ERA in 69 Minor League games (38 starts). This will be his first Major League assignment.
A seventh-round draft pick of the Oakland Athletics in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft (No. 226 overall), Treinen was acquired by the Nationals, along with right-hander A.J. Cole and left-handed reliever Ian Krol, from the Athletics in the three-team trade in Jan., 2013, that sent outfielder Michael Morse to the Seattle Mariners.
Treinen drew raves this spring as he participated in his first Major League camp. His fastball was routinely clocked in the mid-upper 90s and evaluators inside the Nationals’ organization, and out, were impressed by his performance.
A starter for the majority of his career, Treinen provides the Nationals with the luxury of being able to pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen. The team is currently in a stretch where they will play 20 consecutive games without an off day.
Souza Jr., one of the Nationals’ top 10 prospects as ranked by Baseball America, is hitting .273 with a .429 on-base percentage and a .545 slugging percentage in seven games for Triple-A Syracuse this season. Souza has clubbed two home runs, walked six times and struck out on just four occasions.
A third-round selection of the Nationals in the 2007 First Year Player Draft (No. 100 overall), Souza Jr., 24, has hit .247 in 629 Minor League games with 209 extra-base hits (117 doubles, 15 triples and 77 home runs) and 351 RBI. Since the start of the 2012 season, Souza Jr. has posted a .296 batting average. This will also be his first Major League assignment.
Barrett, a rookie who made the Nationals out of Spring Training after a strong performance in Major League camp, pitched in six games (4.1 IP) and did not allow an earned run. Of the 16 batters Barrett faced, he allowed just one hit, walked only two and struck out six.
Despite his youthful status on the Nationals’ roster, manager Matt Williams rarely hesitated to trust Barrett with getting big outs. He made his Major League debut in the ninth inning of a tie game on Opening Day, and was summoned to face Giancarlo Stanton, one of the most feared power hitters in the Major Leagues, on Thursday in a one-run game.
Span, the Nationals’ starting center fielder, is hitting .222 this season with a .300 on-base percentage, three doubles, a triple, four walks and four RBI. He suffered the injury in a collision with Braves second baseman Dan Uggla on the basepaths on Friday night.
Additionally, infielder/outfielder Jeff Kobernus was recalled from Triple-A and placed on the 60-day Disabled List with a left hand fracture. Kobernus underwent surgery on his hand this week.
by Amanda Comak
“I don’t need to go out there and trick guys, and I don’t need to go out there and be perfect. I’ve just got to attack the strike zone, let my stuff work and get much better results that way.” — Stephen Strasburg after tossing 6.2 innings of one-run ball and striking out 12.
“To see him go out and execute it today, exactly the way he wanted to change and what he was going to mess with, was pretty good to see. That’s maturity. Everyone forgets how young he is. He’s going to keep on getting better and better, and today was proof of that.” — Ian Desmond on Stephen Strasburg
“This is the type of ball that we can play. You’ve got to keep tacking on runs late. These teams in our division, they can hit. So they’re going to be doing the same. But I think night in, night out if we come in here looking to outslug the other team, we’re going to be in good shape.” — Jayson Werth after the Nationals hit their second late-inning grand slam in as many games.
“We were already winning. ‘Come through’ is what Aaron Barrett did.” — Ian Desmond, when asked how he felt to ‘come through’ for the team with his grand slam that blew open a close game, referencing Aaron Barrett striking out Giancarlo Stanton to keep it a one-run game.
“The next one better be in the dirt.” — Catcher Sandy Leon to Aaron Barrett after Giancarlo Stanton crushed a slider foul. Stanton struck out on the next pitch.