Results tagged ‘ Steven Souza Jr. ’
by Amanda Comak
The finest season in recent memory for the Washington Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate Syracuse Chiefs produced several accolades on Tuesday as the International League announced its year-end award winners and post-season All-Star team.
Steven Souza Jr., who led the International League in almost every statistical offensive category, was named the league’s Most Valuable Player as well as its Rookie of the Year, and Chiefs manager Billy Gardner Jr. was honored as the International League’s Manager of the Year. Additionally, infielders Emmanuel Burriss and Brandon Laird were named to the International League’s post-season All-Star team, along with Souza Jr.
Souza Jr. was called up to the Major Leagues three times this season, including most recently on Aug. 4. But in 91 games at Triple-A, Souza Jr. hit .354 with a .435 on-base percentage and a .601 slugging percentage — all of which lead the International League. The 25-year-old is on track to take home the International League batting title at year’s end.
While clubbing a team-high 18 home runs, Souza Jr. stole 24 bases and was selected as a starting outfielder at the Triple-A All-Star Game in Durham, North Carolina.
Souza Jr. is the sixth league MVP in Syracuse history, and the first since Chad Mottola in 2000. He’s also the franchise’s seventh International League Rookie of the Year, and first since Shawn Green in 1994.
Souza Jr. was also the first Syracuse outfielder selected to the International League’s post-season All-Star Team since Corey Brown in 2012.
This is the second consecutive season in which a player won the league’s MVP and Rookie of the Year awards, following Rochester’s Chris Colabello in 2013. Souza Jr. is the first Syracuse player ever to win both honors in the same season.
In his first season in the Nationals organization, Gardner Jr. has the Chiefs on the verge of the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 1998, bringing the Chiefs back to contention after a lengthy postseason drought.
Syracuse struggled early and was in last place in the North Division as late as May 21, but the Chiefs played the best baseball in the league in May and June, surging to the top of a tight IL North Division race. The Chiefs have scored the second-most runs in the league and allowed the second-fewest. Their pitching staff also leads the IL with 15 shutouts this season.
Gardner, who is in his 20th season managing in the Minor Leagues, becomes the fifth IL Manager of the Year from Syracuse, following Frank Verdi (1970), Vern Benson (1979), Doug Ault (1985), and Bob Bailor (1989). Gardner is the son of Billy Gardner Sr., who managed the Minnesota Twins from 1981-1985 and the Kansas City Royals for part of the 1987 campaign.
Emmanuel Burriss: While being among the International League leaders in batting average (.307), on-base percentage (.383), runs scored (79), and triples (7), Burriss has struck out fewer times per plate appearance than any hitter in the league. The 29-year-old, who played in 282 Major League games with the San Francisco Giants from 2008-2012, signed with the Nationals as a free agent this past December. Burriss follows Zach Walters to give the Chiefs two straight seasons claiming IL post-season All-Star shortstop honors.
Brandon Laird: Laird, 26, is one of just two players in the International League to tally 80 or more RBI this season. He is also among the league leaders in slugging percentage (.486), batting average (.303), and OPS (.839). Laird is in his first season with the Nationals after coming over in a March trade. The infielder has played 53 games in the Major Leagues since 2011, with the Yankees and Astros and his older brother, Gerald, is a catcher for the Atlanta Braves. The last Syracuse third baseman on the IL post-season All-Star Team was Carlos Rivero in 2012.
by Amanda Comak
by Amanda Comak
The Washington Nationals recalled outfielder Steven Souza Jr. from Triple-A Syracuse on Monday afternoon and placed outfielder Nate McLouth on the 15-day Disabled List (retroactive to Aug. 2) with right shoulder inflammation.
Souza, who rejoins the Nationals for his second Major League stint of the season, currently leads the International League in batting average (.354), on-base percentage (.435), slugging percentage (.601) and OPS (1.036).
In 91 games with Syracuse this season, Souza, 25, has collected 43 extra-base hits, including 23 doubles, two triples and 18 home runs. He has stolen 24 bases and been caught seven times.
During his first call-up this season, Souza was 1-for-8 (.125) with a walk and three strikeouts in nine plate appearances spanning eight games (one start).
McLouth, 32, is 24-for-139 (.179) in 79 games (33 starts) this season. The Nationals’ primary left-handed bat off the bench has six doubles, one home run and seven RBI this season. He’s walked 16 times and stolen four bases.
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
VIERA, Fla. — For the next two weeks, as the Washington Nationals‘ 25-man roster comes into focus and Opening Day nears, we’ll post a “Daily Wrap” featuring a Player of the Day, Quote of the Day and any other notables to pass along.
So without further ado, here’s our first edition:
Player of the Day: Steven Souza Jr.
The Nationals were a split squad today with half the team heading to Kissimmee, Fla., to play the Houston Astros, and the other half sticking around Viera, Fla., to face the Detroit Tigers. While the home game was the one that most were tuned to, as it aired on MASN, our Player of the Day for March 16 comes from the game in Kissimmee: Steven Souza Jr.
Souza Jr. has been making a strong impression on the Nationals’ during his first Major League camp. While they certainly thought well of him prior to this — the Nationals added the 24-year-old to their 40-man roster this offseason — his performance this spring has, if anything, validated their evaluations. In 17 Spring Training games, Souza has hit .355 with a .429 on-base percentage and .806 slugging percentage.
On Sunday, he went 3-for-3, homered twice, walked once and capped his day with a triple off good friend and former teammate, Brad Peacock.
Quote of the Day: Ryan Zimmerman
Zimmerman moved from third base to first base at the start of the sixth inning in the Nationals’ game against the Tigers, marking the first time the Nationals’ third baseman has ever played first in his Major League career.
“When it comes down to it, you just catch the ball,” Zimmerman said. “You do the same thing you do (at third base) but you have a few different responsibilities. Those I’ll have to learn, but other than that it’s about the same.
“Being a third baseman, shortstop, growing up, I appreciate a good first baseman, so it makes me want to be that much better over there. I know, as a position player, if you can save an error or make them feel confident that if they just get it close over there they’re going to be good, it does a lot for the fielder. That’s the goal: to try to make those guys think that way of me when I’m over there, so they have enough confidence to just let it go and know if they get it close, I got it.”
Jordan Zimmermann tosses four innings in pitchers duel with Justin Verlander.
Jeff Kobernus scores on a wild pitch.
Manager Matt Williams said right-hander Doug Fister, who has been working back from some slight elbow inflammation, is scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game on Monday and Wilson Ramos will likely catch him… Sunday was the Nationals’ final split-squad day of Spring Training… The Nationals and Tigers will be well acquainted by Tuesday as the Nationals will travel to Lakeland, Fla., on Monday for the second time in four days and will play their third game against Detroit in that span.