Results tagged ‘ Lucas Giolito ’

Nationals Game Notes: August 28 vs. Colorado Rockies

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Colorado Rockies (61-68) vs. Washington Nationals (75-54)

RHP Chad Bettis [10-7, 5.29] | RHP Lucas Giolito [0-0, 4.91]

Sunday, August 28 l Game #130 / Home #64 l Nationals Park l Washington, D.C. l 1:35 P.M.

Television: MASN2 l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network


The Nationals and Rockies face off in the rubber game of this three-game weekend set…Following the game, Washington will travel to Philadelphia where the Nationals will begin a three-game series with the Phillies on Monday night.

  • On September 1st, the Nationals will enjoy their first off day since August 11, concluding a stretch of 20 games in 20 days…Following the day off, Washington will visit the New York Mets for a three-game series before returning to D.C.


The Nationals recalled RHP Lucas Giolito on Sunday and optioned INF Wilmer Difo to Double-A Harrisburg. Giolito will start Sunday’s game against the Colorado Rockies…Giolito, 22, returns to the Nationals to start the fourth Major League game of his career.


Among MLB rookies with at least 180 plate appearances, Nationals INF/OF Trea Turner leads in batting average (.341) while ranking in the top five in slugging percentage (5th, .532) and on-base percentage (5th, .363)…He leads all rookies with six triples and ranks third among all rookies with 17 stolen bases.

  • With one more stolen base, Turner will tie Bryce Harper (18 in 2012) for the most stolen bases in a rookie season in Nationals history (2005-present).
  • Turner has reached base safely in 17 straight games, hitting safely in 15 of the 17…During this stretch, he is hitting .405 (32-for-79) with five doubles, two triples, two homers, eight RBI, two walks, nine stolen bases and 20 runs scored.
  • Since the All-Star break, Turner leads MLB in triples (6), while ranking among hitters in stolen bases (3rd, 17), hits (T6th, 56), and runs scored (T7th, 33).
  • Turner leads MLB with 26 runs scored this month…According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that matches the franchise record for most runs in a month by a Nationals/Expos rookie, tying Bryce Harper (26, September 2012)…Only Turner, Harper, and Ryan Zimmerman (26, July 2012) have scored at least 26 runs in a month since 2005.


At 75-54 (.581), the Nationals boast the second-best record in the National League, trailing only the Chicago Cubs (82-46, .641).

  • Washington also ranks second in MLB with a +137 run differential, behind the Cubs (+218).
  • Since August 10, the Nationals lead Major League Baseball in runs scored (105) and batting average (.292) while ranking third in on-base percentage (.352) and sixth in slugging percentage (.479).

Nationals Game Notes: July 8 at New York Mets

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Washington Nationals (51-36) at New York Mets (47-38)
RHP Stephen Strasburg [11-0, 2.71] | RHP Noah Syndergaard [9-3, 2.41]
Friday, July 8, 2016 l Game #88 / Road #46 l Citi Field l New York, N.Y. l 7:10 P.M.
Television: MASN/MLBN l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network

The Nationals and Mets combined for eight home runs last night as Washington fell, 9-7, to New York…The eight combined homers were the most in a game the Nationals have been involved in in team history (2005-pres.) and were the most ever hit in a game at Citi Field.

  • For the 11th time this season, the Nationals hit back-to-back home runs with 1B Clint Robinson and 3B Anthony Rendon going deep in the fourth inning…The 11 back-to-backs are a Nationals (2005-pres.) and a franchise (WSH/Mon) record.
  • On the season, Washington leads the National league with 121 home runs.

At 51-36 (.586), the Nationals possess the third-best record in the National League, behind only the San Francisco Giants (54-33, .621) and the Chicago Cubs (52-33, .612).

  • The Nationals run differential sits at +97, second-best in MLB behind the Cubs (+148).

The Nationals recalled OF Michael A. Taylor and INF/OF Trea Turner from Triple-A Syracuse, placed 1B Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to July 7) with a left rib cage strain and optioned RHP Lucas Giolito to Triple-A Syracuse on Friday.

Nationals Game Notes: July 7 at New York Mets

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Washington Nationals (51-35) at New York Mets (46-38)
RHP Lucas Giolito [0-0, 0.00] | RHP Bartolo Colon [7-4, 2.87]
Thursday, July 7 l Game #87 / Road #45 l Citi Field l New York, N.Y. l 7:10 P.M.
Television: MASN/MLBN l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network

The Nationals’ conclude the season’s first “half” this weekend at Citi Field where they will play a four-game set against the New York Mets…Following these four, Washington, like the rest of baseball, will embark on the All-Star break from Monday-Thursday…The Nationals will open the second “half” with a nine-game homestand where they will welcome Pittsburgh, Los Angeles (NL), and San Diego to Nationals Park.

  • At 51-35 (.593), the Nationals possess the third-best record in the National League, behind only the San Francisco Giants (54-33, .621) and the Chicago Cubs (52-32, .619).
  • The Nationals run differential sits at +99, second-best in MLB behind the Cubs (+149).

Washington’s starter tonight, RHP Lucas Giolito, was born on July 14, 1994…RHP Bartolo Colon, who starts for New York, was in his first professional season in 1994, playing for the Burlington Indians of the rookie-level Appalachian League.

  • According to researchers Cory Schwartz and Bryan Evans of MLB, Colon made a start for Burlington on July 13, 1994, the day before Giolito was born.

Washington went 7-3 on its most recent homestand, clubbing 36 extra-base hits (18 doubles, three triples and 16 home runs) as well as a .475 team slugging percentage along the way.

  • The Nationals avoided the sweep on Wednesday topping the Brewers 7-4 behind home runs by RF Bryce Harper (3-R), C Jose Lobaton (solo) and 1B Ryan Zimmerman (2-R).

Since June 1, Washington ranks among all National League squads in OPS (1st, .800), onbase percentage (1st, .341) , runs scored (2nd, 177), slugging percentage (2nd, .459), HR (2nd, 48), walks (2nd, 116), doubles (T2nd, 62), and batting average (4th, .270).

  • Since June 1, SS Danny Epinosa is third in the NL with a .718 slugging percentage…He paces the Nationals and ranks tied for second in the NL with 12 HR, while his 29 RBI are a team-high, and rank tied for fourth in the NL.
  • LF Jayson Werth leads Nationals hitters and ranks fifth in the National League with a .432 on-base percentage since June 1…His 25 walks since June 1 are third-most in the NL.

Nationals Game Notes: June 29 vs. New York Mets

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New York Mets (40-36) vs. Washington Nationals (46-32)
RHP Logan Verrett [3-4, 4.14] | RHP Max Scherzer [8-5, 3.52]
Wednesday, June 29 l Game #79 / Home #35 l Nationals Park l Washington, D.C l 7:05 P.M.
Television: MASN/ESPN2 l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network

The Nationals dodged the raindrops in two separate delays to earn their third straight victory with a 5-0 win over the New York Mets on Tuesday night…Washington’s longest homestand of the season enjoyed the addition of top prospect RHP Lucas Giolito, who made his Major League debut on Tuesday night with four scoreless innings of work before the rain returned…The Nationals’ bullpen took it from there, with RHP Yusmeiro Petit, LHP Oliver Perez, LHP Sammy Solis, and RHP Shawn Kelley combining on five scoreless frames to seal the W.

  • The Nationals will continue this 10-game homestand on Wednesday with the finale vs. NYM…Washington will welcome the Reds this weekend and the Brewers early next week…With 78 games in the rearview, the Nationals are enjoying their first homestand longer than seven games (10)…Washington plays 17 of its next 21 games at home.
  • At 46-32 (.590), the Nationals possess the third-best record in the National League, behind the San Francisco Giants (49-30, .620) and the Chicago Cubs (50-26, .658).

Despite rain delaying the start of his Major League career by 55 minutes, and cutting it short after four innings of work, the Nationals welcomed arguably the best prospect in baseball (Ranked No. 1 by and to the big leagues on Tuesday night as RHP Lucas Giolito made his Major League debut…The promising 21-year-old allowed just one hit and walked two in four scoreless frames, adding the first strikeout of his career on a 3-2 pitch to Mets SS Asdrubal Cabrera….Giolito became the first pitcher in Major League history to start his MLB debut and finish with a line of 4.0 IP, 0 R.

  • Giolito is the 13th pitcher drafted and developed by the Nationals (2005-present) to start a game for Washington…He joins: RHP A.J. Cole, LHP Ross Detwiler, RHP Marco Estrada, RHP Taylor Hill, RHP Taylor Jordan, RHP Nathan Karns, LHP John Lannan, LHP Tommy Milone, RHP Brad Peacock, RHP Craig Stammen, RHP Stephen Strasburg, and RHP Jordan Zimmermann…He is the first player from Washington’s 2012 draft class to make it to the Major Leagues.

The Nationals bats are starting to sizzle in the summer heat…As a team, Washington has posted a National League-best .277 batting average since June 1, and a .797 on-base plus slugging percentage, the second-best mark in the NL (1st: COL, .833).

  • Leading the way is C Wilson Ramos who went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a run on Tuesday night to extend his current hitting streak to 11 games…Ramos is hitting .373 since June began, with five doubles, six homers, 18 RBI and 17 runs scored.
  • Closely behind Ramos is Nationals SS Danny Espinosa, who matched a career high with three walks on Tuesday night…With 13 home runs, Espinosa has already tallied the third-highest home run total for a season in his career, matching his output from the entire 2015 season, and only seven behind the career-best 21 he hit in his rookie season (2011)…Only three shortstops in MLB have hit more HR this year than Espinosa, who is averaging one home run every 18.54 at-bats: COL SS Trevor Story (19), LAD SS Corey Seager (16), and OAK SS Marcus Semien (15)…Since June 8, Espinosa is hitting .333 (19-for-57) with three doubles, five homers, 11 RBI, five HBP, nine walks, two stolen bases and 15 runs.
  • Add fellow infielder 3B Anthony Rendon to the “heating up” list as well…Rendon, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI-triple on Tuesday, has reached base safely in his last eight games, hitting .345 with a .394 OBP and .483 SLG in that stretch…In his last four games, Rendon is 7-for-15 (.467) with one BB, one 2B, one 3B, four RBI, one SB and four runs scored.
  • And who could overlook LF Jayson Werth, who is hitting .348 (23-for-66) since June 7, with six doubles, one homer, 12 RBI, 18 walks and 12 runs scored…He has posted a .482 on-base percentage and a .485 slugging percentage in those 18 games…Since his pinch-hit grand slam against STL on May 29, Werth ranks sixth among NL hitters in on-base percentage (.430), third in walks (18), and 13th in batting average (.318).

Nationals Game Notes: June 28 vs. New York Mets

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New York Mets (40-35) vs. Washington Nationals (45-32)
RHP Matt Harvey [4-9, 4.64] | RHP Lucas Giolito [0-0, -.–]
Tuesday, June 28 l Game #78 / Home #34 l Nationals Park l Washington, D.C l 7:05 P.M.
Television: MASN/MLBN l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network

The Nationals opened their longest homestand of the season thus far with a rousing 11-4 comeback victory over the New York Mets on Monday evening…The 11 unanswered runs started with a five-run fifth inning, and scoring in each inning, three through six…The output featured hits from every member of the Nationals’ starting lineup, including RHP Joe RossCF Ben Revere (4-for-5), RF Bryce Harper (2-for-3), 2B Daniel Murphy (2-for-5), 3B Anthony Rendon (2-for-4) and SS Danny Espinosa (3-for-5) all posted multi-hit efforts in the win.

  • The Nationals stole six bases on the Mets on Monday, matching a team record (2005-present) for stolen bags in a single game (also: July 8, 2012 vs. COL)…The six stolen also tied for the most in a Major League game this season, joining the Arizona Diamondbacks, who stole six off the Rockies on June 24.
  • The Nationals will continue this 10-game homestand on Tuesday night with the second of three contests vs. NYN…Washington will welcome the Cincinnati Reds this weekend and the Milwaukee Brewers early next week…With 77 games in the rearview, the Nationals are enjoying their first homestand longer than seven games (10)…Washington plays 18 of its next 22 games at home.
  • At 45-32 (.584), the Nationals possess the third-best record in the National League, behind the San Francisco Giants (49-29, .628) and the Chicago Cubs (49-26, .653).

Nationals CF Ben Revere put together a game unlike any other in franchise history (Nationals/Expos) on Monday night when he went 4-for-5 with three stolen bases and three runs scored…Matching career highs in each of those categories, Revere joins Ron LeFlore (Montreal) as the only players in franchise history with at least three hits, at least three runs, and at least three stolen bases in a single game (LeFlore: June 6, 1980 & July 17, 1980).

  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no other player in MLB has stolen three bases and scored three runs in the same game this season.
  • Revere is hitting .314 since June 5 (22-for-70) with one double, six RBI, four walks, eight stolen bases and 12 runs scored.

The Nationals selected the contract of RHP Lucas Giolito on Tuesday and the top-ranked right-handed pitching prospect will make his Major League debut Tuesday night vs. the New York Mets… The promising 21-year-old, currently ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect in Major League Baseball by, entered the season as the No. 5 prospect in MLB per Baseball America…A hard-throwing right-hander who possesses an advanced fastball/curveball/changeup repertoire, Giolito joined the Major League roster after working to a 24-13 record and a 2.74 ERA in 67 Minor League games (65 starts)…A first-round selection (No. 16 overall) in the 2012 First Year Player Draft, Giolito has been ranked as the No. 1 or No. 2 prospect in Washington’s chain since he joined the organization that July.

  • When he makes his MLB debut, Giolito will become the 13th pitcher drafted and developed by the Nationals (2005-present) to start a game for Washington…He joins: RHP A.J. Cole, LHP Ross Detwiler, RHP Marco Estrada, RHP Taylor Hill, RHP Taylor Jordan, RHP Nathan Karns, LHP John Lannan, LHP Tommy Milone, RHP Brad Peacock, RHP Craig Stammen, RHP Stephen Strasburg, and RHP Jordan Zimmermann…He is the first player from Washington’s 2012 draft class to make it to the Major Leagues.

Getting to Know Lucas Giolito

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Tuesday night at Nationals Park, Nationals right-hander Lucas Giolito – arguably the best pitching prospect in the game – will make his Major League debut vs. the New York Mets. During Spring Training, his first in Major League camp with the Nationals, Giolito answered a few questions about the upcoming season. The following is a transcript of his answers to six of those questions:

What are your goals heading into the season?

I’m just here to take it all in. It’s my first big league camp — I’m not coming into it with expectations of making the team or anything like that. It’s all about the experience. I want to be able to pick the brains of these awesome coaches and these decorated players who have been playing in the big leagues for a long time. Just try to take it all in and learn from the best.

What do you want to learn from the other members of the pitching staff?

As a rookie, I don’t want to come in there and talk too much and annoy anybody, obviously. Hopefully I can hang around, hear little bits of wisdom or knowledge, and try to put that into my game.

After seeing Joe Ross jump from Double-A to the Major League rotation last year, does that give you any added confidence?

Joe’s a really good player. He was in Harrisburg not too long before I got there last year, so I know that jump is possible. And if I were to start in Harrisburg this year it would be great if I put up some good numbers, pitched well and got an opportunity later in the year.


Did you pick up any big differences between Single-A and Double-A last season?

Hitters are more disciplined — that’s probably the biggest thing I noticed. They’re not only disciplined with balls out of the strike zone, but they pick a certain pitch in the zone that they want to hit. So, as long as you can stay away from those spots, pitching at the higher level can actually become a little bit easier — but it requires really good pinpoint control, which I’m still trying to develop.

What is your current pitch repertoire?

I’ve got my four-seam fastball and my two-seam fastball, which I’m trying to introduce this year.  I’m excited about that pitch and I’ve been tinkering with it here and there. The change-up has been developing a lot and my curveball as well. I just want to be able to throw all of those pitches for strikes at any time in the count. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable doing that with the change-up and curveball, and I want to command the fastball low and away, low and in and even up at times as well.

How was the process of recovering from Tommy John surgery with the Nationals organization?

After being hurt in high school and getting drafted in the first round despite that, it was a tough decision whether to go to college or to sign. But I feel like I made an excellent choice signing back in 2012. The rehab process from Tommy John with the Nationals was perfect — I had no issues throughout the whole process. It’s awesome that I’m fully healthy.

Spring Training Preview: Starting Pitchers

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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 ball club. Over the next week, we will introduce these players in their position groups, beginning today with starting pitchers.


March 5 – Starting Pitchers

March 6 – Relief Pitchers

March 7 – Catchers

March 8 – Infielders

March 9 – Outfielders


2015 Season Totals: 5.79 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 8.68 K/9, 0.96 BB/9, .394 BABIP, 0.1 fWAR

A highly-regarded right-handed pitching prospect, Cole saw his first Major League action in 2015. He opened the season with Triple-A Syracuse before being recalled to Washington on April 28 to make his MLB debut that night against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Cole later rejoined the Nationals in mid-May and made two relief appearances, converting his first save May 15 at San Diego. The Winter Springs, Fla. native went 5-6 with a 3.15 ERA in 21 games (19 starts) for Syracuse.


2015 Season Totals: 3.79 ERA, 3.05 FIP, 8.66 K/9, 3.54 BB/9, .341 BABIP, 3.7 fWAR

Entering his fifth season in Washington, Gonzalez will look to improve upon his stellar 53-34 record as a member of the Nationals’ organization. The affable southpaw induced a career-high 53.8 percent ground ball rate in 2015, but was also stung by a .341 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). A correction to previous levels could be a key indicator for Gonzalez’s success in 2016, as his previous Nationals high was just .294 prior to last season.


2015 Season Totals: 5.29 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 5.82 K/9, 3.18 BB/9, .333 BABIP, 0.3 fWAR

Jordan, a local product out of Merritt Island High School and Brevard County Community College, enters the 2016 season looking to catch the eye of new manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Mike Maddux. The 6-foot-5 sinkerball specialist appeared in nine games (six starts) for the Nationals over the past two seasons, after earning nine starts and posting a 3.66 ERA over 51.2 innings in 2013. Jordan put together 19 solid outings at the Triple-A level a season ago, contributing a 2.95 ERA.


2015 Season Totals: 4.38 ERA, 4.70 FIP, 5.68 K/9, 2.11 BB/9, .292 BABIP, -0.2 fWAR

One of the game’s biggest success stories in 2013 and 2014 when he compiled a 22-11 record with a 2.57 ERA, Roark will battle in Spring Training to return to the Nationals’ starting rotation on a full-time basis. The 29-year-old appeared in 40 games in 2015 (12 starts), picking up his first career save with a scoreless ninth inning on May 4 against the Miami Marlins. Roark had his best stretch of the season from July 25 to August 11, holding his opponents scoreless with a .103 batting average over six games.


2015 Season Totals: 3.64 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 8.10 K/9, 2.47 BB/9, .265 BABIP, 1.4 fWAR

Ross burst onto the scene for the Nationals in early June, making the leap from Double-A Harrisburg to the big leagues and holding his own at the highest level. Still just 22 years of age, the big right-hander posted historic numbers in his first seven starts, recording 47 strikeouts against just four walks in 45 innings pitched. Ross finished his rookie campaign with a 5-5 record and a 3.64 ERA over 16 games in Washington (13 starts), plus 2-2 with a 2.81 ERA in Double-A and 3-1 with a 2.19 ERA in Triple-A.


2015 Season Totals: 2.79 ERA, 2.77 FIP, 10.86 K/9, 1.34 BB/9, .268 BABIP, 6.4 fWAR

No hurler had ever authored two no-hit performances as dominant as the pair Scherzer turned in this past season, as the right-hander etched his name in the history books. Between his performances on June 20 against the Pittsburgh Pirates and October 3 against the New York Mets, Scherzer fired 18 no-hit innings, walked no opposing hitters and struck out 27. For the year, the first-year National compiled an 8.12 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the fifth-best mark in MLB history for a pitcher with 200 strikeouts.


2015 Season Totals: 3.46 ERA, 2.81 FIP, 10.96 K/9, 1.84 BB/9, .311 BABIP, 3.4 fWAR

Strasburg recovered from early ankle and back ailments to deliver one of baseball’s best second-half performances, building momentum toward the 2016 campaign. Over his last 13 starts, Strasburg compiled an 8-2 record with a 1.76 ERA, held opponents to a .175 batting average and recorded a 112-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 82 innings. He enters the season just two strikeouts shy of Jordan Zimmermann’s team record and just 99 punchouts from the 1,000 mark for his career.



BRONSON ARROYO… 39-year-old veteran right-hander has 145 victories and a World Series ring.

PAULO ESPINO… Panamanian righty posted a 3.21 ERA in 117.2 IP for Triple-A Syracuse in 2015.

LUCAS GIOLITO… Nats’ consensus top prospect split time between Single-A and Double-A last season.

TAYLOR HILL… Made 22 starts for Triple-A Syracuse and added six relief appearances in Washington.

AARON LAFFEY… Southpaw has pitched in the Major Leagues for CLE, SEA, NYY, TOR, NYM and COL.

AUSTIN VOTH… 23-year-old righty with a 2.70 career ERA in three Minor League seasons.


Six Nationals prospects among Baseball America’s Top 100

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by Kyle Brostowitz

farm graphicIndustry expert Baseball America released its 2015 Top 100 Prospect list on Thursday night and the Washington Nationals placed six prospects on that list. They were tied with the Cubs and Diamondbacks with six, and behind only the Mets (7) and Red Sox (7) for the most in Major League Baseball.

Below is a quick look at the Nationals prospects represented on this year’s Top 100 list:

No. 7 – RHP Lucas Giolito

Giolito jumped from No. 21 in the 2014 ranking all the way into the Top 10 thanks to a stellar 2014 campaign, and for the second straight season, he is ranked as the top prospect in the Nationals system. Giolito was named the 2014 Washington Nationals Minor League Pitcher of the Year after going 10-2 with an organizational-best 2.20 ERA in 20 starts for Single-A Hagerstown. He was selected to represent the Nationals in the 2014 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in Minneapolis. His 110 strikeouts were fifth-best among Nationals farmhands.

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals - Game TwoNo. 32 – OF Michael A. Taylor

Taylor was absent from the 2014 Top 100 list but catapulted to No. 32 after a breakout 2014 season that included his Major League debut. He has always boasted advanced defensive skills, but showed his ability at the plate last season. He began the season with Double-A Harrisburg before being promoted to Triple-A Syracuse on Aug. 2 and was summoned to D.C. on Aug. 12 for his big league debut. He posted his first hit (second-inning single off Rafael Montero) and home run (sixth inning, two-run, off Carlos Torres) in his MLB debut, Aug. 12 at New York. At the top two levels of Washington’s chain, he ranked among system leaders in batting (fourth, .304 AVG), home runs (second, 23) & stolen bases (third, 37). Following the season, he was ranked by Baseball America as the top prospect in the Eastern League. Along with Giolito, Taylor was selected to play in the Sirius-XM All-Star Futures game in Minneapolis.

No. 49 – RHP Reynaldo Lopez

Like Taylor, Lopez was unranked prior to the 2014 season, but went 7-3 with a 1.08 ERA in 16 starts between Short-Season Auburn and Single-A Hagerstown to vault into the top 50 in all of baseball. From July 9 through the end of the season, a span of 10 starts (55.0 IP), Lopez allowed just one earned run (a solo home run) while holding opposing batters to a .126 average. Following the season, he was rated by Baseball America as the No. 3 prospect in the South Atlantic League and the No. 2 prospect in the New York-Penn League.

No. 90 – RHP Erick Fedde

Fedde was the Nationals’ first-round selection (18th overall) in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft after going 8-2 with a 1.76 ERA (15 ER/76.2 IP) and 82 strikeouts in 11 starts for the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in 2014. He was named the 2014 Mountain West Pitcher of the Year. Fedde underwent “Tommy John” ligament replacement surgery in mid-May, but remains ranked as the No. 4 prospect in Washington’s system.

Washington Nationals v St Louis CardinalsNo. 91 – RHP A.J. Cole

In his second season in the organization, after returning in 2013, Cole took the next step in his development, going 13-3 with a 3.16 ERA in 25 combined starts between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse. He ranked among Nationals farmhands in wins (tied, first), strikeouts (tied, third) and ERA (fourth), and his 13 wins marked a career high. Cole was a non-roster invitee to 2014 Spring Training and did not allow a run in three Grapefruit League contests (6.2 IP, 5 H, 7 K).

No. 96 – RHP Joe Ross

Ross came to the Nationals’ chain from San Diego in the three-way deal that sent OF Steven Souza Jr. and LHP Travis Ott to Tampa Bay. Prior to being traded to the Nationals, Ross was rated by Baseball America as the No. 4 prospect in San Diego’s chain. In 2014, he went a combined 10-6 with a 3.92 ERA in 23 games/22 starts between Single-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio. While with Lake Elsinore, he was named a California League mid-season All-Star. He was promoted to Double-A in mid-July. Following the season, he was rated by Baseball America as the No. 6 prospect in the Single-A California League.

Wilmer Difo named South Atlantic League MVP; Lucas Giolito named Most Outstanding Pitcher & Top Prospect

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by Amanda Comak

Two more Washington Nationals prospects earned end-of-year accolades on Thursday with the South Atlantic League announcing Single-A Hagerstown infielder Wilmer Difo as the league’s Most Valuable Player and right-hander Lucas Giolito the league’s Most Outstanding Pitcher and Most Outstanding Major League Prospect. Additionally, Suns center fielder Rafael Bautista was named to the SAL post-season All-Star team and Single-A Potomac manager Tripp Keister was named the Carolina League Manager of the Year.

Difo, a mid-season SAL Northern Division All-Star and post-season All-Star second baseman, currently leads or is tied for the league lead in hits (174) and total bases (257). Hitting .321 this season, good for sixth in the league among qualifiers, Difo has worked to a .366 on-base percentage and a .474 slugging percentage for the Suns.

The 22-year-old native of the Dominican Republic is among the SAL leaders in RBI (88, third), stolen bases (49, second), runs scored (90, tied for second), extra-base hits (50, fourth) and most plate appearances per strikeout (9.55, fifth).

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game - World Team v United StatesGiolito, ranked by Baseball America as the No. 11 prospect in all of baseball at mid-season, went 10-2 with a 2.20 ERA for the Suns in 20 games this season. Over 98.0 innings he allowed 28 runs (24 earned) on 70 hits, including seven homers. Giolito, the Nationals’ first-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, walked 28 and struck out 110.

The 20 year old was named the SAL Pitcher of the Week on two occasions this season and represented the Nationals at the Sirius/XM All-Star Futures Game, along with outfielder Michael A. Taylor, in Minneapolis in July.

Bautista, like Difo, was named to the mid-season Northern Division All-Star team as well. The 21-year-old currently leads the league in stolen bases (66), and is tied with Difo for second in runs scored. Bautista is hitting .283 this year with a .337 on-base percentage and .373 slugging percentage. His 66 stolen bases are a Suns single-season record since the team has been a member of the South Atlantic League.

Keister managed Potomac to the first- and second-half Northern Division titles, clinching the second-half crown on Wednesday night. With a 75-55 record this season, Potomac will host Game 1 of the Northern Division Championship Series on Sept. 3 at Pfitzner Stadium.

Nationals Minor League Report

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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. Taylor3B 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.