October 24, 2014

Trio of Washington Nationals Prospects in Arizona Fall League

The 2012 AFL Rising Stars Game featuring Potomac Nationals 3B Anthony Rendon and RHP Aaron Barrett will air on Saturday night, November 3rd at 8:00pm EST on MLB Network, MLB.com, and Sirius/XM Radio.

Anthony Rendon – Winston-Salem Dash v. Potomac Nationals, 8/12/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Brian Goodwin on deck during spring training 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

PAIR OF P-NATS PROSPECTS TO SHINE IN ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE’S RISING STARS GAME
P-Nats 3B Anthony Rendon and RHP Aaron Barrett set for national stage in the desert

Woodbridge, VA—Perhaps the most efficient barometer in determining the playing career projections of Major League Baseball’s most esteemed prospects is the nationally televised Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game. Since the annual blue chip showdown was initiated for baseball’s most polished prospects in 2006, a whopping 72.6 percent of the contest’s participants graduated to The Show. With almost three out of four prospects within this supreme talent pool accruing time in MLB, the 2012 AFL Rising Stars Game certainly provides a glimpse of the bright big league futures for the desert’s cream of the crop.

A pair of Potomac Nationals standouts and three Washington Nationals farmhands in all, who wear the uniform of the AFL’s Salt River Rafters, are set to make appearances on Saturday night in a ballgame that will definitely radiate the ambiance of a souped-up all-star prospect classic. Third baseman Anthony Rendon (1st Rd, No. 6 Overall, 2011), right-handed pitcher Aaron Barrett (9th Rd, 2010), and outfielder Brian Goodwin (Supplemental 1st Rd, No. 34 Overall, 2011) were chosen to compete by invitation only in the all-star game wrapped in an all-star league.

Among the best of the best, Rendon, 22, and Barrett, 24, both spent time with Potomac during the 2012 season, while Goodwin made the springboard jump from Class-A Hagerstown to Double-A Harrisburg. Amidst an injury plagued season, Rendon played well in limited action hitting .333 to complement five extra base hits and 17 total bases in just nine games with the P-Nats. Barrett was lights out in relief for the Potomac bullpen as he maintained a 1.06 ERA in 11 appearances, striking out 21 batters in 17.0 IP, and earning one save. Goodwin, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on the eve of the Rising Stars Game, hit .280 in 100 games over two Minor League levels, collecting 107 hits, 26 doubles, 14 home runs, 52 runs batted in, and 18 stolen bases in 25 attempts.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS AFL RISING STARS (stats as of 11/2/12)

RHP Aaron Barrett: NR, 3.38 ERA, 7 G, 8.0 IP, 1 BB, 7 SO, 2.00 GO/AO

OF Brian Goodwin: .268 BA, 14 G, 15 H, 11 R, 4 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, .931 OPS

3B Anthony Rendon: .275 BA, 14 G, 14 H, 8 R, 5 2B, 6 RBI, 19 TB, 3 SB, .367 OBP

2012 AFL Rising Stars Game will air on Saturday night, November 2nd at 8:00pm EST on MLB Network, MLB.com, and Sirius/XM Radio.

2012 AFL Rising Stars weigh in on the biggest star:
http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20121102&content_id=40150518&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

To follow 2012 stats for the Salt River Rafters of the AFL head here:
http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=t_ibp&sid=l119&cid=527

ABOUT THE ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE
There are six teams in the Arizona Fall League: the Scottsdale Scorpions, Mesa Solar Sox, Salt City Rafters, Phoenix Desert Dogs, Peoria Javelinas and Surprise Saguaros. These club names were picked by Major League Baseball as reflective of the Southwestern desert traditions in the state.

The teams are broken into two divisions, East and West. Each Major League Baseball team sends six top prospects to the Arizona Fall League, 180 players in all. The games are played in the Spring Training stadiums used by the Giants, Mariners, Padres, Cubs, A’s, Royals, Rangers, D-backs and Rockies.

How good are the players in the Arizona Fall League? The 2011 All-Star Game in Arizona featured 41 AFL alums, including both starting pitchers — Roy Halladay and Jered Weaver.

Each August, Major League clubs hold a position draft to determine the players who will go to Arizona. Most are Double-A and Triple-A Minor League players. Each club can opt to send one player considered a Class A player.

Renew your P-Nats season tickets at Pfitzner Stadium for only $50 per seat. Five-game Pick ‘em Packs start at just $55 per seat. Sponsorship opportunities for the ‘13 season are now available. Plan your corporate outing now in preparation for next season as the P-Nats offer discounted group rates and all-inclusive picnic options. Visit the P-Nats online at www.potomacnationals.com or call the ticket office at 703-590-2311 for more!

Bryce Harper and Derek Norris Failed to Shine in AFL Rising Stars Game

RESULTS:
The rising stars game was expected to be a pitcher’s duel with the two starting pitchers as the top two picks in the 2011 draft. Unfortunately, No. 1 pick Gerrit Cole only made it through two-thirds of an inning and the AFL East (team with Harper and Norris) fell to the AFL West 11-2.

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The Arizona Fall League (“AFL”) was created by Major League Baseball in 1992 to act as an offseason “graduate school” for top prospects and teams play a thirty-eight game season. Nationals Bryce Harper is the first player to play in the AFL that is younger than the league itself.

There are six teams that comprise the AFL – Surprise Saguaros, Peoria Javelinas, Phoenix Desert Dogs, Salt River Rafters, Mesa Solar Sox and Scottsdale Scorpions.

The best prospects from the AFL East and AFL West played in the sixth annual Rising Stars Game on Saturday, Nov. 5 in Surprise, Arizona. Outfielder Bryce Harper and Catcher Derek Norris, two of the Washington Nationals top prospects, were on the AFL East Rising Stars roster facing Seattle Mariners 2011 number one draft pick (second overall) LHP Danny Hultzen of the AFL West.

The rising stars players wore the uniform of their home team and the hat/batting helmet of AFL team. East Rising Stars lineup: Grossman 9, Trout 8, Lake 6, Arenado 5, Harper DH, Norris 2, Paulsen 3, Dozier 4, T. Wheeler, 7, Cole 1. West Rising Stars lineup: Mattison 8, Franklin 6, Myers 9, Olt 5, Choice DH, Terdoslavich 3, Decker 7, Bethancourt 2, Colon 4 Hultzen 1.

Bryce Harper during first plate appearance in AFL Rising Stars Game (iPhone Screen Shot Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Bryce Harper has been red-hot recently and had a thirteen game hitting streak going into the Rising Stars game. Harper has played in eighteen games for the Scottsdale Scorpions with a .314 AVG, 6 HR, 24 RBIs and 3 SB.

Dale Valle of MLB Network talked about Bryce Harper prior to the game. “There is a certain sound when Bryce Harper hits the baseball. Tremendous power to all fields, tremendous athlete.” Valle went on to say that he had spoken to Nationals GM Mike Rizzo earlier in the day and asked about where Harper would play in the field. Rizzo said, “It might be in right field, moving Jayson Werth over to center field.”

MLB Network announcers and graphics discussed and analyzed Harper throughout the game wondering if he was the most exciting player, gushed about his power, compared him to Mike Trout and on and on. However, overall agreed that the hype was warranted.

Unfortunately, neither Harper or Norris had a remarkable game.

Playing as a designated hitter in the rising stars game, Bryce Harper went 0 for 2 with a walk, an RBI and two strikeouts in four at-bats. Harper walked in his first at-bat, being the only player to get on base against the dominant Danny Hultzen. In his second plate appearance, Bryce hit a sacrifice fly off of Wes Etheridge to deep left field and Junior Lake scored the last run of the night for the AFL East. Harper struck out swinging in his third and fourth chances (against Jeremy Jeffress and Brad Boxberger).

Derek Norris started at catcher and went 0 for 2 with a walk and a strikeout in three at-bats. Norris just missed a two-run homer in his first at-bat after Harper walked in the second inning. Kevin Mattison caught the ball with his back against the center field wall. Norris walked in the fourth inning and struck out swinging in the sixth. Derek made a great defensive play at the play in the bottom of the second inning which saved a run. Jason Castro replaced Norris at catcher in the bottom of the sixth.

There are no AFL games scheduled for today, Sunday, Nov. 6. Scottsdale Scorpions have ten more games to play with the next game at Salt River on Monday.

Derek Norris during AFL Rising Stars Game (iPhone Screen Shot Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Arizona Fall League Update: Bryce Harper on fire; Joins Norris for Rising Stars Game

For Bryce Harper, what a difference a couple of weeks makes.

The 19-year old Washington Nationals phenom got off to a slow start in the Arizona Fall League this season, struggling out of the gate as he seems to do every time he changes a level.  For the last two weeks, however, he’s has been flat-out raking.  In his last ten games, the outfielder has hit .410/.467/.923 with three doubles, five home runs and 19 RBIs.

Harper on deck at spring training (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Overall, in 16 games and 62 at bats, Harper is hitting .290/.357/.613 with five homers and 20 BRIs.  Oh, and he’s still the youngest player in the league. [Read more...]

Bryce Harper off to slow start in Arizona Fall League

The Arizona Fall League is in its second week already, so there’s a big enough sample size to take a look at how the Nats prospects are faring.  The biggest thing that jumps out in the stats is that Bryce Harper, playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions, is 2-for-23 in six games (.087/.160/.087) with no extra base hits and just one RBI.  He’s walked twice, struck out four times, and is 3-for-4 in stolen base attempts.  Harper hit a combined .297/.392/.501 in 109 games between Single-A Hagerstown and Double-A Harrisburg last season with 17 home runs, 58 RBIs and 26 steals in 33 attempts.

Harper on deck at spring training (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Harper’s been a notorious slow starter at every level he’s attempted, but this is his second go-round in the AFL.  His numbers will bear watching over the next month (the AFL runs through Nov. 17) to see how he rebounds from this mostly miserable start.  Something worth keeping in mind: he’s still the youngest player on his AFL team, by more than a year behind Angels outfielder Mike Trout. [Read more...]

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