Dec 072013
 

This seems to be a trend… for the second straight year, there was a consensus at the top of the list… then a free-for-all afterwards.

The two of the top three guys were each left off at least one ballot, while the number two guy was unanimously named, enabling him to garner the no. 2 spot without a single first-place vote.

A total of 24 players were named on 14 ballots, some of which had less than 10 names and/or an ineligible player. While I adjusted the points accordingly (e.g. #1 on a nine-player ballot = 9 pts vs. 10 pts. on a ten-player), it did not affect the rankings.

Without further ado, ze list:

                              1. Brian Goodwin
                              2. Matt Skole
                              3. Steve Souza
                              4. Billy Burns
                              5. Michael Taylor
                              6. Jeff Kobernus
                              7. Zach Walters
                              8. Drew Ward
                              9. Tony Renda
                              10. Adrian Nieto

Others receiving votes: Corey Brown, Eury Perez, Justin Bloxom, Randy Encarnacion, Narciso Mesa, Pedro Severino, Isaac Ballou, Brandon Miller, Cody Gunter, Rafael Bautista, Josh Johnson, Jose Marmolejos-Diaz, Bryan Mejia, Caleb Ramsey

Some observations:

• Goodwin received ten first-place votes, similar to how he was the near-consensus at #2 last year behind Anthony Rendon.

• This year’s #2 is a bit of a shock: Matt Skole was hurt all year long and struggled some in the Arizona Fall League, but moved up a spot from #3 to #2 nevertheless.

• Souza’s strong AFL campaign and addition to the 40-man roster seemed to stick out in many voter’s minds, vaulting him from an also-ran in 2012 to #3 with three first-place votes.

• Burns and Taylor nearly tied despite Taylor being left off two ballots, nearly closing the gap in points by receiving a pair of second-place votes (Burns’s highest was a third-place spot).

As it traditionally has, the list skews towards the upper minors; this year’s exception: Ward, who might have missed the cut — like Skole did in 2011 — were it not for the GCL Nationals’ championship run (likewise for his teammates that were in the “also-rans”). Still, I think a lot of this is simply the bias of familiarity, which also explains why a couple of players aged 27+ players received votes.

Next up: the pitchers, which is always contentious thanks to folks’ biases of starter vs. reliever, lefty vs. righty, fireballer vs. junkballer, floor wax or dessert topping, etc. Plus, with one less no-doubt pick (Robbie Ray), the last couple of spots ought to be closely contested.

Oct 052013
 

Ok, so maybe it’s a little easier to place multiple players in an eight-team league, but that should shouldn’t diminish the distinction of four Potomac Nationals making the Baseball America Top 20 Prospects List — A.J. Cole (#10), Michael Taylor (#12), Robbie Ray (#16), and Billy Burns (#19).

Like last year’s contingent of Suns to get the BA badge of approval, three of the four P-Nats were promoted to the next level, led by the two pitchers, with the older of the two position players going last.

Alright, fine, you’ve probably already skipped ahead to see what the folks in Durham had to say, going from highest to lowest, beginning with #10, A.J. Cole…

Cole can command his fastball to both sides of the plate and the pitch can be explosive coming out of his long, lanky frame. The fastball, however, is the only pitch he throws with any consistency. He’s still inconsistent with a slurvy curveball, though he did begin to show better feel for it by the end of the season. His changeup remains a work in progress. One scout suggested Cole should abandon the curveball for more of a power slider.

This matches up well with what I saw in Woodbridge, but when Cole racked up W’s in three of his first four starts, such naysaying seemed out of place. Not to mention, the similar success shown by Robbie Ray after his promotion.

Taylor began to tap into his power at the plate but still isn’t disciplined enough in his approach to drive balls with regularity. At his best, he has the bat speed to turn on fastballs and the strength to take breaking balls to the opposite field. Yet he is susceptible to chasing fastballs up in the zone and curveballs off the plate. If he makes the necessary adjustments, Taylor has all-star potential. If not, he figures to be a 4th outfielder [like] Justin Maxwell.

Last year, Taylor couldn’t correct either flaw (bolded) and this year the weaknesses would come and go. No doubt he’ll be challenged with AA in ’14, but those are the kind of holes that pitchers can consistently exploit at the next level.

Ray attacks hitters with a 90-94 mph fastball and has the arm strength to add more velocity down the road. His slider grew from more of a slurvy pitch to a power one with good depth that could turn into an above-average offering. He showed feel for a changeup to keep hitters off-balance. Ray still struggles with his command at times and gets in trouble when he leaves pitches up — his nine home runs in just 84 innings were the 11th most in the league.

Quite frankly, had Ray been a righty or a year or two older, I’d have dropped him from the ’13 Watchlist — that’s how bad he looked in ’12. But after making some serious adjustments to recover from that debacle, there’s reason to hope that he can refine his game further in ’14.

Burns excels at working counts and putting the ball in play as a slap-and-dash hitter. He’s more than willing to put the ball on the ground and beat throws to first base. The natural righthanded hitter began switch-hitting in 2012, but he hit a respectable .312/.418/.383 in 266 at-bats from the left side in the CL. One scout suggested that Burns could be more of a line-drive hitter if he incorporated his powerful legs into his swing.

In his last month or so in Woodbridge, Burns certainly did appear to be working on trying to hit balls into the gaps, but with mixed success (a fair amount of weak flyballs). Given that small-ball skills — aside from speed — have fallen out of favor lately, this is Burns’s next challenge to meet if he’s to proceed beyond AA.

Quite a gap between the next BA Top 20 post for which a National may be named — next Thursday for the International League. It looks like they’re saving the Eastern League for last, on the 14th. Next up: perhaps a morning reading post before we begin following the Arizona Fall League.

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.

Sep 062013
 

Our final look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues. Repeats from 2012 are in italics.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS
66-78, 6th place International League North, 14½ games back

Good Bat: Zach Walters .253/.286/.517, 29HR, 77RBI in 134G
Arm: Tanner Roark 9-3, 2SV, 3.15 ERA, 33 appearances, 11 starts, 105⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Danny Espinosa 101K in 75G, .566 OPS
Arm: Chris Young 1-2, 7.88 ERA / 7.17 FIP / 2.00 WHIP, 9HR in 32IP
Interesting Bat: Chris Rahl .293/.308/.431, 14SB in 111G
Arm: Caleb Clay 5-2, 2.49/3.37/0.99 in 14 appearances (13 starts):

HARRISBURG SENATORS
77-65, 1st place Eastern League Western Division, 1 game ahead

Good Bat: Steve Souza .300/.396/.557, 15HR, 20SB in 77G
Arm: Nathan Karns 10-6, 3.26/3.48/1.18, 155K in 132⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Jose Lozada .529 OPS, 11E in 81G
Arm: Ryan Perry 2-5, 4.43/4.86/1.21 in 22⅓ IP (18 appearances)
Interesting Bat: Billy Burns .325/.434/.360, 20SB in 30G
Arm: A.J. Cole 4-2, 2.18/2.56/0.90 in 45⅓ IP (7 starts)

POTOMAC NATIONALS
42-28 in 2nd half, 1st place Carolina League Northern Division, 9 games ahead
42-27 in 1st half, 1st place, 6 games ahead
84-55 overall

Good Bats: Michael Taylor .263/.340/.426, 51SB, 87RBI, .986FA, 21 assists in 133G
Adrian Nieto .285/.373/.449, 11HR, 53 RBI in 110G
Arm: Robbie Ray 6-3, 3.11/3.82/1.20, 100K in 84IP (16 starts)
Bad Bat: Adrian Sanchez .278OBP (17BB in 120G)
Arm: Derek Self 4-2, 4SV, 6.29/4.52/1.66, 4BS in 23 appearances
Interesting Bats: Cutter Dykstra .308/.459/.456, 50BB in 55G
Arm: Blake Schwartz 11-4, 2.65/3.52/1.08

HAGERSTOWN SUNS
42-28 in 2nd half, 2nd place South Atlantic League Northern Division, 3 games behind
38-29 in 1st half, 1st place, ½ game ahead
80-57 overall

Good Bats: Tony Renda .294/.380/.405, 43 doubles, 30SBs in 135G
Brandon Miller .243/.308/.456, 18HR, 72RBI in 103G
Arm: Brett Mooneyham 10-3, 1.94/3.65/0.98 in 93IP (17 starts)
Bad Bat: Pedro Severino .608 OPS in 84G
Arm: Will Hudgins 2-1, 4.79/5.96/1.60 in 20⅔ IP (16 appearances)
Interesting Bat: Shawn Pleffner .288/.386/.399 in 101G
Arm: Gilberto Mendez 3-2, 7SV 0.91/2.53/0.94 in 29⅔ IP (24 appearances)

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS
26-49, 6th Place Pinckney Division of New York-Penn League, 22 games behind

Good Bat: Isaac Ballou .294/.405/.398, 20RBI in 59G
Arm: Jake Johansen 1-1, 1.06/2.77/0.92 in 42⅓ IP (10 starts)
Bad Bat: David Masters .183/.254/.242 in 45G
Arm: Deion Williams 0-6, 9.42/4.35/1.99 in 28⅔ IP (8 starts)
Interesting Bat: Jean-Carlos Valdez .374 SLG as a 20-y.o. in 48G
Arm: Austin Voth 2-0, 1.47/0.95/0.82 in 30⅔ IP (7 starts)

GCL NATIONALS
49-9, 1st place Gulf Coast League East Dvision, 24½ games ahead

Good Bat: Randy Encarnacion .349/.437/.523 in 34G
Arm: Wander Suero 8-1, 1.65/2.77/0.82 in 49IP (13 appearances, 3 starts)
Bad Bat: 17-y.o. Luis Guzman .222/.278/.265 in 36G
Arm: 23-y.o. Michael Boyden 0-0, 4.61/5.25/2.27 in 13⅔ IP (13 appearances)
Interesting Bat: Drew Ward .292/.402/.387, 28RBI in 49G (turns 19 in Nov.)
Arm: Nick Pivetta 1-0, 2.13/2.41/1.03 in 3GS (promoted to Auburn)

DSL NATIONALS
38-32, 3rd place, Boca Chica South Division of Dominican Summer League, 11 games behind

Good Bat: 19-y.o. Kelvin Gutierrez .255/.333/.337 in 60G
Arm: 18-y.o. Deibi Yrizarri 5-3, 1.99/2.66/1.10 in 68IP (14 appearances, 13 starts)
Bad Bat: 18-y.o. Miguel Atencio .183/.246/.183 in 23G
Arm: 22-y.o. Adrian Green 0-2, 5.40ERA, 2.00 WHIP in 10IP (12 appearances)
Interesting Bat: 17-y.o. Oliver Ortiz .307/.402/.386 in 26G
Arm: 18-y.o. Luis Reyes 5-3, 2.82/2.76/1.07 in 54⅓ IP (promoted to GCL)
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.

Aug 162013
 


Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 59-68, 6th place I.L. North, 10 games behind

Good Tyler Moore .366/.449/.653, 6HR, 30RBI since All-Star Break (27G)
Bad Ryan Tatusko 5.78 BB/9IP (64 in 99⅔ IP)
Interesting Josh Johnson .328/.458/.478 in 28G



HARRISBURG SENATORS 66-58, 1st place E.L. West, 1 game ahead

Good Billy Burns .312/.429/.319, 5SB in 12G since promotion
Bad Rob Gilliam 0-4, 5.15 ERA, 1.34 WHIP since All-Star Break
Interesting Tyler Herron 0-1, 3SV, 1.50 ERA in last 10 appearances



POTOMAC NATIONALS 31-20, 1st place C.L. North, 8 games ahead (73-47 overall)

Good Colin Bates 2.10 ERA/3.02 FIP/1.01 WHIP in 30 appearances
Bad Mike Gilmartin, bases empty: .313/.425/.493
Gilmartin, RISP: .167/.258/.241
Interesting Greg Holt 4-0, 2.33 ERA, 1.26 WHIP since All-Star Break (15 appearances)



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 33-20, 2nd place Sally North, ½ game behind (71-49 overall)

Good Nick Lee 10.2K/9 (93K in 82IP)
Bad Wes Schill .160/.323/.160 in last 10G
Interesting 1st in runs scored, T12th in home runs (50, 18 by Brandon Miller)



AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 18-36, 6th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 15 games behind

Good James Yezzo .294/.306/.412 in August
Bad Mike Mudron 1.75 WHIP, 6.38 ERA in 15 appearances
Interesting 38 of 69E committed by 3B or SS



GCL NATIONALS 41-7, East Division Champions, 20½ games ahead

Good Lucas Giolito 0.64 ERA, 0.86 WHIP in August (3GS, 14IP
Bad Luis Guzman 17-y.o. .219/.281/.257 in 32G
Interesting Need to finish 7-5 to set GCL record for best W% (1994 Royals, 47-12)



DSL NATIONALS 34-28, 4th place Boca Chica South, 10 games behind

Good 17-y.o. Israel Mota .361 OBP
Bad 18-y.o. Jonathan Aquino 1.58 WHIP in 19⅔ IP
Interesting Pitchers T2nd with 8 shutouts in DSL
Aug 022013
 

Moving On Up for NPPThe Potomac Nationals announced today that OF Billy Burns has been promoted to Harrisburg. Taking his place on the P-Nats roster is OF Brandon Miller, who was also promoted from Hagerstown.

Burns becomes the ninth P-Nat to get the bump this season, but just the second position player. He’s currently riding a 24-game hit streak, which has been aided by a recent propensity to get hit by pitches as he’s twice left the game without an official at-bat, which is one of the exceptions of the hitting-streak rule (10.24b).

For the season, Burns is hitting .308/.417/.387 with 51 stolen bases and 68 runs scored, which is first and tied for second respectively in the Carolina League. Burns was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2011 First Year Player draft out of Mercer University (Georgia) and has played the past two seasons at Auburn and Hagerstown.

Most notably, Burns resumed switch-hitting last season after abandoning it in college, a rather odd decision for an undersized outfielder (listed very, very generously at 5’9″) whose primary weapon is his speed. In the past few weeks, he’s been spotted trying to reduce his reliance on small-ball in favor of turning gap hits into doubles and triples, which he’s obviously had some success doing (five 2B three 3B in July).

Brandon Miller will take his place in Woodbridge, but will presumably continue to play right field where he can leverage his throwing arm as some 14 Sally League runners have walked off the field when trying to take the extra base against the former catcher. Miller has led the Suns all year long in HRs (18), RBIs (72), and strikeouts (135), totals that currently place him tied for fourth, second and tied for second in the Sally League batting leaderboard.

Replacing Miller on the Suns roster is utilityman Wes Schill, who was activated from the Hagerstown DL (placed on it eight days ago). Likewise, Brian Goodwin, who had missed the previous three games with a “stomach ailment” per Dave Sottile of PennLive.com was placed on the 7-Day DL to make room for Burns in Harrisburg.

Jul 262013
 


Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 45-59, 6th place I.L. North, 11½ games behind

Good Mike Crotta 0HR in 43⅓ IP
Bad Kelly Shoppach .179/.324/.179 in first nine games
Interesting 271 batting BB dead last in I.L.



HARRISBURG SENATORS 58-48, 1st place E.L. West, 3 games ahead

Good Matt Swynenberg 1-0, 0.87 ERA, 1.16 WHIP in July (5 appearances)
Bad Jason Martinson .176BA, 16K in last 10 games
Interesting Taylor Hill 1.82/3.40/1.16 in six AA starts



POTOMAC NATIONALS 18-14, 1st place C.L. North, 4 games ahead (60-40 overall)

Good Billy Burns .364/.440/.489, 13SB in July
Bad Matt Purke 0-3, 8.34/4.70/1.99 in first five A+ starts
Interesting David Fischer 2-0, 2.08 ERA, 0.923 WHIP in July (6 appearances)



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 20-13, T1st place Sally North, .007 W% behind (58-42 overall)

Good Narciso Mesa .309/.397/.364 in 29G
Bad Ian Dickson 6HR in 28⅔ IP (9 appearances)
Interesting 37% CS rate by Suns catchers 2nd best in Sally League



AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 12-25, 6th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 11½ games behind

Good L.J. Hollins 1.35/3.20/1.20 in 13 appearances
Bad Cody Gunter 11E in 30G
Interesting Back-to-back wins thus far: 0



GCL NATIONALS 24-5, 1st place East Division, Gulf Coast League, 9 games ahead

Good Drew Ward .330/.435/.440 in 27G
Bad Travis Ott 8.31/6.20/1.85 in four appearances
Interesting Team Pitching No. 1 in GCL for ERA, Runs Allowed, and WHIP



DSL NATIONALS 21-17, 4th place Boca Chica South, 5&fra12; games behind

Good 18-y.o. Maximo Valerio 3-2, 1.39/2.78/0.93 in nine starts
Bad 19-y.o. Dionicio Rosario .146/.212/.188 in July
Interesting 18-y.o. Luis Reyes 8HBP in 36⅔ IP, 3.19 BB/9, 10.8 K/9
Jul 122013
 

Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 39-55, 6th place I.L. North, 13 games behind

Good Caleb Clay 3-2, 1.62/3.29/0.99 in five appearances
Bad Mike Costanzo .185/.241/.333 in final 10 games before release
Interesting Danny Espinosa .417/.475/.750 over last 10 games



HARRISBURG SENATORS 51-41, 1st place E.L. West, 3frac12; games ahead

Good Robbie Ray (duh) 2-0, 0.64/1.34/1.00 after first two starts in AA
Bad Sandy Leon .172/.226/.172 over last 10 games
Interesting #1 E.L. pitching team in ERA (3.43), fewest runs allowed (3.79), CGs (11) and shutouts (7)



POTOMAC NATIONALS 11-7, T1st place C.L. North, .011 W% ahead (53-34 overall)

Good Billy Burns .375/.419/.450, 6RBI, 6SB in July
Bad 15 relievers used thus far in less than 90 games
Interesting Cole Leonida active team leader with nine HR in 36 games


HAGERSTOWN SUNS 13-8, 2nd place Sally North, ½ game behind (51-37 overall)

Good Shawn Pleffner .343/.415/.514 since All-Star break (currently on DL)
Bad Brett Mooneyham 32BB in 46⅔ IP
Interesting Brett Mooneyham 2.31 ERA, 4.49 FIP, 5.2 H/9IP


AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 8-15, 5th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 7½games behind

Good Jake Johansen 0.71 ERA, 0.95 WHIP in 1st four starts (12⅔ IP)
Bad David Masters .179/.220/.232 in 14 games
Interesting 151 batting strikeouts 3rd fewest in NYPL


GCL NATIONALS 14-4, 1st place East Division, Gulf Coast League, 4½ games ahead

Good Bryan Mejia .385/.396/.596 in 15G
Bad David Ramos 7.56 ERA, 1.44 WHIP in 4 appearances
Interesting Drew Ward 12BB in 17G


DSL NATIONALS 17-15, 4th place Boca Chica South, 5 games behind

Good 18-y.o. Deibi Yrizarri 2-1, 1.99/3.07/1.26 in seven appearances (six starts)
Bad 19-y.o. Brayan Serrata .194/.254/.194 in 22 games
Interesting Luis Reyes 2-1, 2.28ERA, 18H, 8HBP, 12BB in 27⅔ IP
Jun 072013
 

For the first time since 2009, Potomac has multiple representatives named to the Carolina League All-Star team, as the rosters for the 2013 contingent were announced today.

OF Billy Burns, LHP Robbie Ray, and RHP Blake Schwartz were among those named on the roster. It’s believed to be the first All-Star appearance for all three players.

Burns will be among the starting outfielders, most likely in center. The 23-year-old Georgia native leads the Carolina League with 28 steals, while his .418 on-base percentage is second in the league.

Ray leads the Carolina League with 81 strikeouts in 62 innings, but is also third in most walks allowed with 29. After a disastrous 2012 (4-12, 6.56), the 21-year-old from Tennessee will take it as he’s also third in ERA at 2.32 and has posted a won-loss mark of 4-2.

Schwartz is a bit of a surprise, given that he began the season in Hagerstown and in the bullpen. Since his promotion in late April he’s won five of eight starts (5-1 for Potomac, 7-1 overall) and posted a league-best ERA of 1.29. The 23-year-old Minnesotan has risen rapidly up the Nationals ladder, going from a 17-round pick from Okalahoma City College to High-A in less than a calendar year.

The 2013 Carolina-California All-Star game is scheduled for June 18th with the San Jose Giants as the host city for the California League. The game will be televised locally as well as on MiLB.tv.

As aforementioned, the P-Nats have had only one player named the past three seasons with OF Michael Burgess the sole representative in 2010 and 2011 and C David Freitas in 2012 (RHP Rob Wort was named as an injury replacement). The previous multiple-player representation came in 2009, when RHPs Brad Meyers and Jeff Mandel were named to the Carolina League’s pitching staff.