Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rendon ’
The Washington Nationals farm system hasn’t so much met expectations in 2013 as it’s surpassed every one.
Ranked the No. 13 farm system overall in the preseason by Baseball America, the Nationals have surged to the third-best organizational record at 403-322 (.558) overall, trailing only Houston (.572) and San Francisco (.564). Three of Washington’s seven affiliates are playoff-bound, with a fourth in a close division race.
None of this is entirely unexpected either. Under the guidance of President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo, the Nats have gone from the Minor League cellar six years ago to a brief stint at No. 1 in last year’s Baseball America preseason rankings. Not to mention that this farm system has cultivated such talent as Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon. In fact, 11 players on Washington’s active roster have come through its Minor League system.
Perhaps most remarkable has been the Gulf Coast League Nationals, which have notched the most impressive mark in all of professional baseball. Since the season began on June 21, the Rookie-level entry has gone 48-9 (.842), better than even the tremendous run by the Los Angeles Dodgers, who posted a 47-12 (.797) record in the same span. The GCL Nationals lead their division by 24.0 games, have 13 more wins than the next best team in the league, and clinched their playoff spot long ago.
Obviously, such a run requires more than just luck. The GCL Nationals are tops in the league in most meaningful statistical categories. Their 2.49 team ERA and .279 team batting average pace the field, while their 5.52 runs per game is more than six-tenths of a run better than the next closest total. They boast the league’s leader and runner-up in ERA among qualifiers, 21-year-old righty Wander Suero (8-1, 1.65) and 20-year-old southpaw Hector Silvestre (7-0, 1.82). Righty Lucas Giolito, the Nationals’ No. 2 prospect, drafted 16th overall out of high school in 2012, has returned from Tommy John surgery and was recently promoted to Short-Season Auburn in the New York-Penn League after notching a 2.78 ERA and 25 strikeouts over 22.2 innings in the Gulf Coast League.
Like the GCL Nats, the High-A Potomac Nationals have put up ridiculous numbers in the Carolina League. Potomac is 81-51 overall, having already locked up a playoff spot by winning the Northern Division’s first-half championship with a 42-27 record. They’re currently 7.5 games up on Lynchburg in the second half, and will earn home-field advantage in all three Carolina League Division Series contests if they secure the second half title as well.
Cutter Dykstra has helped pace Potomac on its most recent tear. During the P-Nats recent 10-game winning streak (August 10-20), the infielder racked up a .316/.447/.421 line. He also reached base in a league-best 29 games, putting together an 18-game hitting streak in the process. Meanwhile, right-hander Blake Schwartz is 11-4 with a 2.56 ERA and leads the league with a 1.03 WHIP.
The Low-A Hagerstown Suns (77-53) are also headed to the postseason, while the Double-A Harrisburg Senators (72-63) are a half-game up in their Eastern League division, where the top two teams reach the playoffs. The Suns are pacing the South Atlantic League with 5.03 runs per game, benefitting from a fairly balanced lineup. They’ve also recently added 2013 draft pick Jake Johansen, who was 1-1 with a 1.06 ERA and a 9.4 K/9 rate with Auburn. The Senators, meanwhile, boast a pitching staff that leads the league with a 3.46 ERA. Nationals third-rated prospect A.J. Cole — who earned the save in the 2013 Futures Game — is sitting at 3-2 with a 2.58 ERA since being promoted in late July.
Though the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs have posted just a 65-72 record, they have their bright spots as well in prospects like Jeff Kobernus and Zach Walters. Kobernus served a brief stint in the big leagues and earned International League Player of the Week honors for the week of August 12-18. He leads the team and is second among Nationals farmhands with a .324 batting average. Walters, meanwhile, has slugged 29 home runs, 10 more than the next closest total in the organization. The infielder has posted a .531 slugging percentage on the season, especially impressive from the shortstop position.
8.10.13 – Nationals 8, Phillies 5
Stat of the Game: Jayson Werth had three knocks, the last of which was a go-ahead, two-run home run for the 1000th hit of his career.
Under-the-Radar Performance: Tanner Roark recorded six outs on just 12 pitches for his first Major League win.
It Was Over When: Anthony Rendon‘s two-out, bases-loaded single in the seventh capped a five-run frame to put the game out of reach.
The video below is supplemental bonus footage of Anthony Rendon‘s first Major League at-bat, featured in the Smile Like You Mean It cover article in Issue 10 of Inside Pitch. For the full story, be sure to pick up a copy this homestand at the the ballpark.
On Tuesday, Nationals trainers and players hosted the PLAY Clinic, in partnership with the Taylor Hooton Foundation and MLB Charities. PLAY, which stands for Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth, is a public awareness campaign founded in 2004 by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society to promote a healthy lifestyle and encourage daily activity among youth.
“Childhood obesity was rising in the early 2000s and they were directly tying Type II diabetes to inactivity with kids,” said PLAY campaign coordinator Zachary Reed, who hopes this clinic will encourage kids to be active for at least 60 minutes each day. “From the year 2000 to the year 2004, it had spiked. About 25% of kids were obese, so the campaign was founded to get kids out for some more activity.”
More than 60 children from Kyle’s Kamp and Ward 7 in Washington, D.C., were on hand at Nationals Park to learn about various topics including healthy eating, injury prevention and strength and conditioning, while also improving their baseball skills.
Brian Parker of the Taylor Hooton Foundation kicked off the clinic with a chalk talk about the dangers of steroid abuse. Head trainer Lee Kuntz then demonstrated proper stretching techniques in the Nationals bullpen to warm up the kids for the day’s activities. Second baseman Anthony Rendon and pitcher Ian Krol also stopped by to share their daily routines with the children, from agility drills to the importance of staying hydrated.
“It’s great that the kids are able to meet the players and see a little bit of what we do throughout the day. We hope to instill those [lessons] and get kids back into baseball,” said Kuntz.
“They realized how important it is to get outside and be active,” said Krol. “In this day and age, you see all the kids with electronics like iPads and they don’t get to experience great things like sports and other activities.”
One of those fun activities was their own Home Run Derby, the “grand finale and the fireworks” of the PLAY clinic, as Kuntz described it. For many kids, including the Kelley brothers – Jaden, 8, and Cristopher, 9 – the derby was their favorite part of the day.
It is now their charge to incorporate the invaluable lessons they learned in their everyday lives. “Stay healthy, drink water and eat vegetables,” was Jaden’s key takeaway from speaking with Rendon and Krol.
With the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy expected to open later this fall for youth in Wards 7 and 8, many of these PLAY clinic participants will have the opportunity to continue to learn and practice the fundamentals of baseball and softball while also taking part in health and educational programs.
7.14.13 – Nationals 5, Marlins 2 (10 innings)
Stat of the Game: Denard Span had three hits including a pair of RBI-doubles, the last of which broke a 2-2 tie in the 10th inning.
Under-the-Radar Performance: Anthony Rendon also swatted two doubles, giving him 14 through his first 43 Major League games.
It Was Over When: Washington rode three consecutive two-out, RBI-hits in the top of the 10th to a three-run frame to win the final game before the All-Star break.
After a pair of comeback attempts had come up just shy the previous two nights, the Nationals faced the tall order of trying to beat Cliff Lee Wednesday night in Philadelphia. That challenge appeared particularly daunting as Lee, named to the All-Star Game last week, entered the contest riding an eight-game winning streak, including a 4-2 decision just a few weeks prior over Washington at Citizens Bank Park.
After four scoreless innings to open the game, Lee sat at 135.2 innings pitched for the year, having allowed just nine home runs all season. He quickly got ahead of Anthony Rendon 0-2 to start the fifth. And then, out of nowhere, a quick flip of the rookie’s wrists sent the next pitch into the first row in the left field bleachers. Two pitches later, Wilson Ramos rode an outside fastball to the opposite field and out for a solo shot of his own. Just like that, 2-0 Nationals.
But Washington wasn’t done there. The very next inning, nearly the exact same scenario played out once more. Ryan Zimmerman fell behind 0-2 leading off the inning. Then he turned around an elevated fastball and crushed it to deep left-center to make it 3-0. Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz tossed Lee a new baseball, which Jayson Werth promptly deposited into the left field seats on the first pitch of his at-bat. Back-to-back home runs in back-to back-innings.
Of course, you may remember that Lee’s only other game allowing multiple home runs this season was that start against the Nationals, when both Werth and Jeff Kobernus took him deep for the only Washington scoring of the game. But for those of you whose only knowledge of Lee has come from that other Nationals game, you may have a skewed view of just how stingy he normally is when it comes to the longball. By the end of the night, Lee had the following astounding split:
123.2 innings pitched vs. rest of the league – seven home runs
15.0 innings pitched vs. the Nationals – six home runs
That means the Philadelphia southpaw holds the rest of baseball to just 0.5 home runs per nine innings pitched. Meanwhile, the Nationals are averaging 3.6 big flies per nine frames against him.
With four games left on the final road swing before the All-Star break, it was a good sign that the Nationals have brought their newfound high-scoring offense on the road with them.
7.7.13 – Nationals 11, Padres 7
Stat of the Game: Ryan Zimmerman hit his fourth career grand slam, an opposite field blast that broke a 1-1 tie and put the Nationals ahead for good.
Under-the-Radar Performance: Anthony Rendon also homered and matched his career high with three RBI.
It Was Over When: Washington added a four-run fifth inning following a six-run third frame to put the game away.
Milwaukee Brewers (34-49) vs. Washington Nationals (42-42)
RHP Donavan Hand (0-1, 2.63) vs. RHP Taylor Jordan (0-1, 2.08)
Washington and Milwaukee close the Brewers lone visit to D.C. of the 2013 campaign with a matchup of two rookies with three combined career Major League starts. The Nationals get Wilson Ramos back from the disabled list for his first game since May 15 as they aim for the series split and attempt to move back above .500.
1. Span CF
2. Desmond SS
3. Harper LF
4. Zimmerman 3B
5. LaRoche 1B
6. Werth RF
7. Rendon 2B
8. Ramos C
9. Jordan RHP
WELCOME BACK, WILSON
Wilson Ramos returns to the Nationals for the first time in nearly two months, following a rehab assignment at High-A Potomac. Ramos batted .250 (12-for-48) with three doubles, two home runs and six RBI in 14 games before landing on the DL.
Anthony Rendon accounted for Washington’s lone run last night, blasting his second Major League home run. The rookie is batting .330 (34-for-103) with 13 runs scored and eight RBI since his early June recall.
At 42-42, the Nationals own a .500 record for the 19th time this year (excluding season-opening 0-0 record). In recent weeks, the Nationals have sported almost methodical 27-27, 28-28, 29-29, 31-31, 32-32, 33-33, 34-34, 36-36, 37-37, 38-38, 39-39, 40-40 and 42-42 records.
7.2.13 – Brewers 4, Nationals 0
Stat of the Game: Stephen Strasburg twirled seven scoreless frames, lowering his ERA to 2.24 for the season.
Under-the-Radar Performance: Anthony Rendon picked up another multi-hit game, his 12th in 32 big league contests.
It Was Over When: The Brewers broke scoreless tie with a four-run eighth inning for the only scoring of the game.
Arizona Diamondbacks (41-36) vs. Washington Nationals (39-38)
LHP Patrick Corbin (9-0, 2.28) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (4-6, 2.40)
After getting another steady performance out of National League wins leader Jordan Zimmermann in last night’s 3-2 victory over the Diamondbacks, the Nationals look for their first series sweep since blanking the Chicago White Sox back in April. Stephen Strasburg, whose current batting average against of .208 is a career best, will take the mound for the Nats tonight.
1. Span CF
2. Rendon 2B
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. Werth RF
5. LaRoche 1B
6. Desmond SS
7. Moore LF
8. Solano C
9. Strasburg RHP
ZIMMERMANN WINS 13TH STRAIGHT D.C. DECISION
Jordan Zimmermann earned the win, his 13th straight positive home decision, as he became the National League’s first 11-game winner. After allowing two D-Backs runs in the first, Jordan’s final 6.0 innings of work included five 1-2-3 frames. With the 3-2 victory, Washington is now an NL-best 15-9 in one-run games.
In 18 games since being recalled by the Nationals on June 4, Anthony Rendon is 29-for-74 (.392) with three walks, nine doubles, a homer (game-winning blast in the 9th, June 15 at Cleveland) and 10 runs scored. With 35 hits in 99 career at-bats, Rendon has matched a franchise mark for most hits registered within a player’s first 100 major-league at-bats. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Rendon has matched Coco Laboy’s franchise mark (35-for-100), which he set with the inaugural-season 1969 Expos. Rendon can claim the record with a hit in his next at-bat.
DOWN ON THE FARM
On Wednesday, Harrisburg right-hander Taylor Jordan was selected to participate in MLB’s 15th Futures Game on Sunday, July 14 at Citi Field. In 15 combined games/14 starts for Double-A Harrisburg and Single-A Potomac this season, Jordan is 9-1 with a 1.00 ERA (10 ER/90.1 IP) thanks to an ability to keep the ball in the yard (one homer allowed this season), a strong strikeout rate (7.2 per 9.0 innings) and a stingy walk rate (1.5 per 9.0 innings).