Aug 282014
 


With a long weekend to get the hell of out of Dodge enjoy, league offices aren’t waiting until the regular season is over to churn out the postseason accolades.

Well, two can play at that game. Here’s a look at the how the Nationals have been honored thus far this week…

SYRACUSE
Steve Souza was named the International League’s MVP and Rookie of the Year (an award that meant more prior to expansion) while necomer Billy Gardner took home Manager of the Year honors. Souza was also named to the postseason All-Star team along with teammates Emmanuel Burris and Brandon Laird.

HARRISBURG
Amid the worst season the Senators have had since the Expos became the Nationals, Michael Taylor was a bright spot until his callup to Syracuse (and briefly, Washington) as he was named the Eastern League’s MVP and Rookie of the Year as well as a postseason All-Star.

POTOMAC
The full list has not yet been announced, but should be soon as former National Michael Burgess was named to the C.L. Team and the Frederick folks have been quick to publicize the exploits of a 25-year-old in his fifth year at the High-A level.

UPDATE: Tripp Keister was named the Manager of the Year while IFs Stephen Perez, Shawn Pleffner, Tony Renda, and Oscar Tejeda were named to the Carolina League Postseason All-Star Team.

HAGERSTOWN
Lucas Giolito was named both Most Outstanding Pitcher and the Most Outstannding Prospect for the Sally League while Wilmer Difo was the third Nationals farmhand to garner an MVP title. Joining them on the All-Star team is outfielder Rafael Bautista, who leads the league with 66 steals.

The GCL, which finishes today, and the NYPL have not yet announced their postseason teams/awards.

Sep 132013
 

The Washington Nationals have announced that Billy Burns and Taylor Jordan have been named the organization’s 2013 Player and Pitcher of the Year while Tony Renda will be the inaugural Bob Boone Award winner.

Burns and Jordan were teammates in Potomac for about a month before the latter began his unexpected and meteoric rise from High-A in April to the Majors in July. Burns was promoted in August and was a key cog in the Senators run to the Eastern League Finals that ended last night. Renda has been a stalwart in the Hagerstown Suns lineup, playing in 135 of 137 games in the regular season and all six in the postseason thus far.

Burns, who turned 24 in late August, was an All-Star for Potomac in both the midseason game in San Jose and the postseason all-league team. He hung a combined line of .315/.425/.383 in 121 games between High-A and AA with a whopping 74 steals in 81 attempts. Burns was originally drafted by the Braves coming out of high school in Marietta, GA but the diminutive speedster opted for college and played 154 games with Mercer University. He signed with the Nats after being drafted in the 32nd round in 2011, playing sparingly for Auburn before moving up to Hagerstown in 2012.

Burns broke out in 2012, returning to switch hitting after abandoning it in college, and hit .322 with “only” 38 steals in 113 games. If there’s a knock on Burns it’s that he’s a “slash and burn” type hitter that often gets caught on his front foot (H/T to Zach Mortimer) which could be troublesome because he has very little power to begin with.

Jordan came into 2012 as a question mark. He had his 2011 season cut short by Tommy John surgery and didn’t exactly light a fire in 2012, going 3-7 with a 5.13 ERA in 15 starts between Auburn and Hagerstown. Still, the first season back from TJ is generally considered a success simply if a player doesn’t reinjure himself and given his relative youth (24) and the promise he showed in 2011, he became part of this site’s M*A*S*H unit for the 2013 watchlist.

Instead, Jordan blew through two levels of the minors — going 2-1 with a 1.24 ERA win six starts for A+ Potomac, then 7-0 with an 0.83 ERA in nine appearances (eight starts) for AA Harrisburg. After comically trying to pretend they weren’t, the Nats recalled Jordan on the last day in June. Jordan then went 1-3 with a 3.66 ERA in nine starts for the “Big Nats,” becoming one of two four farmhands to graduate (Anthony Rendon, Ian Krol, and Chris Marrero were the others).

Finally, the Nats have created a new honor — The Bob Boone Award, which goes to the player “who best demonstrates professionalism, leadership, loyalty, passion, selflessness, durability, makeup, intangibles and a tremendous work ethic.” No word on the requisite of “grit.”

As aforementioned, that honor went to Tony Renda, the Suns second baseman. Like Burns, Renda was a both a midseason and postseason All-Star. He led the Sally League with 43 doubles 99 runs scored while going .294/.380/.405 with 30 steals and 51 RBI. Renda was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2012 First Year Player Draft out of the Univ. California.

Aug 292013
 

For the second straight season, multiple leagues have begun issue the press releases for the postseason awards — rather than waiting until, say, after the regular season,

Here’s a rundown of how the Nationals farmhands have been honored thus far…

SALLY LEAGUE
Tony Renda was named to the Sally League Postseason All-Star team as its utility infielder, with Micah Johnson (and his Mr. Spock eyebrow) taking the honors at 2B. Renda currently leads the Sally League with 42 doubles and is fourth in walks drawn (42) and sixth in on-base percentage (.381) and seventh in batting average (.295). Hagerstown skipper Tripp Keister was also honored as the Manager of the Year.

CAROLINA LEAGUE
Three P-Nats got the nod, including two-thirds of the outfield. Billy Burns and Michael Taylor — the top two thieves on the basepaths at 54 and 45 repsectively — were named to the all-league squad. Robert Benincasa, despite only pitching in 23 games, was named the top reliever (though his 15 saves does lead the circuit).

INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE
Just one Syracuse player was named and it should shock no one that the sole midseason all-star would be the sole postseason all-star. Soon-to-be 24-y.o. Zach Walters was named the league’s best shortstop, in large part due to his corner-infielder offensive production of 29 HRs (1st), 250 total bases (1st), and 77 RBI (3rd).

No Harrisburg Senators were named to the Eastern League postseason team, which is hardly a surprise when you consider that the most likely candidates (Anthony Rendon, Taylor Jordan) were making their contributions in DC, not PA. The New York-Penn League has not yet announced its postseason team, but the odds of a Doubleday making the cut are pretty slim.

At 49-9, it’s probably safe to bet on at least a couple of G-Nats making the postseason team, which also has not yet been announced.

Sep 032012
 

Not sure how much earlier the PR machine can push out the news (September 28th in 2010, September 10th last year), but today it was announced that the Washington Nationals Player and Pitcher of the Year honors will go to 3B Matt Skole and RHP Nathan Karns.

Photo Credit: Potomac Nationals

Both players split time between Hagerstown and Potomac, with a considerable contingent upset that the promotion of Skole came only slightly faster than Mississippi’s ratification of the 13th Amendment.

Skole was named the Sally League’s MVP late last week and 3B for the Postseason All-Star team. He led the Sally League with 27 HRs and a slugging percentage of .574 and has a combined line of .292/.427/.562 and 104 RBI entering play today. Skole was a 2011 fifth-round pick out of Georgia Tech and led the New York Penn League in RBI with 48 in 72 games last summer.

Karns spent too much time in the Sally League to garner either an All-Star nod or postseason honors from the Carolina League, but led the Potomac starters in ERA (2.26), WHIP (1.02), and strikeouts (87). Combined, Karns went 11-4 with a 2.17 ERA, 2.09 FIP, 1.01 WHIP with 47BB (3.65/9) and 148K’s (11.48/9). Karns was 12th-round pick out of Texas Tech but underwent shoulder surgery in 2010 and did not pitch for the Nationals until last summer, when he went 3-2 in 13 starts in the GCL and Auburn.

At 23 (in late July) and 24 (turning 25 in November), Skole and Karns will have high expectations from fans next year to produce similar results at subsequent levels, particularly for Skole, who appears to be playing second fiddle to Anthony Rendon in the 3B depth chart… unless he is converted to another position. Karns, who was shut down after hitting an unspecified innings limit, will represent a more difficult decision for the front office of deciding whether to continue developing him as a starter or, as speculated last offseason, whether he’ll be converted to relief to accelerate his ascent to AAA and/or D.C.

The two are slated to be honored on Friday night in Nationals Park prior to the Nationals game with the Miami Marlins.

Aug 302012
 

Rather than wait until, say, after the regular season, multiple leagues have begun issue the press releases for the postseason awards, perhaps because Labor Day is so early this year.

Here’s a rundown of how the Nationals farmhands have been honored thus far…

GCL
Matt Foat was named to the GCL’s All-Star team at second base, the lone G-Nat to make the squad. The 22-year-old NDFA posted a line of .333/.404/.401 in 43 games. He signed on June 11, after a breakout season at USC in which he hit .323 with 3HR and 27RBI in 54 games.

SALLY LEAGUE
To no one’s surprise, Matt Skole was named the League’s MVP and starting 3B for his .286/.438/.574 marks over 101 games, which included 27HRs and will likely be good enough to earn him the HR title as well. He’s also the focus of John Sickels’s prospect report today.

INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE
As noted a couple of days ago, Corey Brown and Carlos Rivero were named to the International League’s All-Star team at outfield and and third base, respectively. Both are acquisitions under Rizzo, with Brown coming in the December 2010 Washington-Oakland trade and Rivero getting claimed in December 2011 on waivers from Philadelphia.

The Carolina and Eastern Leagues have issued their postseason awards, but no Nationals were honored. The New York-Penn League has not yet announced its awards.

Sep 162011
 

The accolades keep coming for the Washington Nationals minor-leaguers, as six farmhands (five current and one former) were named by Baseball America in its roundup of All-Star Teams.

Brad Peacock was named to the first team of the 2011 Minor-League All-Star Team as one of the five starting pitchers, while Bryce Harper was named to the second team as one of three outfielders. Unlike the league awards, this a higher honor because the pool was all of minor-league baseball.

At the classification level (AAA, AA, Hi-A, etc.) the following Nationals were named:

AAA
Tommy Milone, SP

AA
Peacock, SP

High-A
Jeff Kobernus, 2B

Low-A
Harper, OF
Chris Manno, RP*
*Manno was traded along with Bill Rhinehart for Jonny Gomes to Cincinnati

Short-Season A
Matt Skole, 3B