November 24, 2014

Washington Nationals trade for Denard Span

NATIONALS SURRENDER 2011 FIRST ROUND PICK ALEX MEYER IN DEAL

The Washington Nationals Thursday acquired the “dynamic” center fielder GM Mike Rizzo has coveted really since he was appointed GM of the team.

In a trade with the Minnesota Twins, the Nats receive Denard Span, 29 in February, a left-handed hitting centerfielder with terrific defensive instincts. The Nats sent Alex Meyer, the No. 23 overall pick in the 2001 MLB Amateur Draft.

Span is a career .284/.357/.389 hitter over five seasons (589 games) with the Twins. He actually has better numbers against left-handed pitchers than righties, hitting .293/.374/.398 in 344 games. For his career, he’s stolen bases at a 76.2 percent clip (90-for-118).

Span missed 92 games in 2011 with concussion symptoms, but returned healthy in 2012 to play 128 games, hitting .283/.342/.395 in 568 at bats. Span is under contract through 2014 on a five-year, $16.5 MM contract he signed with the Twins, with a team option for 2015.

In a conference call with reporters, Rizzo extolled the virtues of Span’s defensive capabilities.

With Span in center field, Bryce Harper will move to a corner outfield slot with Jayson Werth in the other position. That leaves the Nats in a quandary with what to do with Michael Morse. The slugger is under contract for another season, but it seems the only position he would qualify for now is at first base, where Adam LaRoche excelled last season for the club. LaRoche is a free agent this off-season, and while the Nats have had discussions with LaRoche, the player and his representatives are exploring their options.

What is crystal clear is that the team cannot keep both Morse and LaRoche on the roster.

Meyer, 22, was one of the Nationals’ top pitching prospects. The 6-foot-9 right-hander went 10-6 with a 2.86 ERA in 2012 with low-Class A Hagerstown and high-Class A Potomac. Many industry scouts think Meyer’s lack of a MLB-quality third pitch, plus the added burdens of his size and repeatability issues, have Meyer destined for a big league career in the bullpen, but there’s no doubt he has an MLB-quality arm.

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

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

NATS/P-NATS: Skole, Karns and Meyer Nominated for 2012 MiLBY Awards

Congratulations to Matt Skole, Nathan Karns and Alex Meyer. Fans can vote online up to 25 times until October 22.

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

Nationals minor league players of the year Matt Skole and Nathan Karns live on scoreboard with Clint before 3rd inning – Miami Marlins v. Washington Nationals, 9/7/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

P-NATS TRIO NOMINATED FOR 2012 MiLBY AWARDS
Skole up for “Offensive Player of the Year”; Karns and Meyer for “Starting Pitcher of the Year”

Woodbridge, VA— The Potomac Nationals are proud to announce a trio of nominations for the 2012 MiLBY Awards. P-Nats finalists include slugger Matt Skole, proposed for “Offensive Player of the Year,” as well as right-handed hurlers, Nathan Karns and Alex Meyer, nominated in the same category for “Starting Pitcher of the Year.”

The 8th Annual MiLBY Awards, hosted by MiLB.com, allow fans to cast their ballot for the best players, performances, plays, promotions, and more from the 2012 season. Twelve nominees have been selected in each award category.

The official categories for the MiLBY accolades include: Play, Moment, Home Run, Offensive Player, Starting Pitcher, Relief Pitcher, Breakout Prospect, Game, Team, Promo, and Photo.

Voting has already begun and fans can vote up to 25 times per email address through October 22nd by heading to MiLB.com. Head online to: http://www.milb.com/news/awards/y2012/index.jsp to visit the MiLBY Awards election headquarters to vote for Matt Skole’s offensive prowess, and to pick either Nathan Karns or Alex Meyer as the best starting pitcher in the Minor League landscape.

3B Matt Skole (5th Round, 2011) tore up the South Atlantic League in 2012 (led circuit with 27 HR and .574 SLG%) and was promoted to the Carolina League on August 14th where he hit .314 in 18 games for the P-Nats, collecting 10 doubles and 12 RBIs. Skole was named the 2012 SAL Most Valuable Player and 2012 Washington Nationals Player of the Year for his career season which featured the third-most four-baggers in MiLB and a .989 total OPS for the campaign.

RHP Nathan Karns (12th Round, 2009) was stellar in 2012, going (11-4) on the year, while posting an organizational-best 2.17 ERA in 24 games and 18 starts between Single-A Hagerstown and Class-A Advanced Potomac. Karns fanned the most batters in the organization (148 strikeouts) and collected the 2nd most wins among Nationals farmhands. Karns was honored as the Washington Nationals Pitcher of the Year.

RHP Alex Meyer (1st Round, No. 23 Overall, 2011) began the season as the Washington Nationals’ 6th best prospect per Baseball America and did not disappoint. Meyer dominated across both class-A levels, going (10-6) with a 2.86 ERA in 25 starts, while striking out 139 hitters in 129.0 IP. During his tenure as a member of the P-Nats pitching arsenal, Meyer surrendered just one earned run or less in six of his seven outings after being selected to pitch in the prestigious prospect showcase, the MLB Futures Game during the MLB All-Star Game festivities at Kauffman Stadium.

The Potomac Nationals are the Class-A Advanced Minor League Affiliate of the Washington Nationals. For season tickets or corporate sponsorship inquiries call 703-590-2311 or visit www.potomacnationals.com.

Photo Courtesy of Potomac Nationals

Washington Nationals prospects Alex Meyer and Anthony Rendon at Potomac

by Dave Nichols, photos by Cheryl Nichols

The Potomac Nationals, the High-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, feature two of the top three picks from the Nats’ 2011 MLB draft class. On Sunday, RHP Alex Meyer was the starting pitcher for the P-Nats, while Anthony Rendon started at third base and hit third in manager Brian Rupp’s lineup. [Read more…]

NATS/SUNS: Alex Meyer selected to represent USA in All-Star Futures Game

Congratulations to Washington Nationals top pitching prospect Alex Meyer! Meyer was selected to represent USA in the All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City on July 9. Meyer was also recently named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week.

1st round pick, 23rd overall (2011) Alex Meyer pitching at spring training 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Suns’ Meyer to Represent U.S. in MLB Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game
Suns starter selected among 50 of MiLB’s top prospects to play at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium

Hagerstown, MD – The Hagerstown Suns, Single-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, are pleased to announce that starting pitcher Alex Meyer has been selected to represent the United States of America at the 14th Annual Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game as a part of Major League Baseball’s Taco Bell All-Star Sunday festivities.

The 6-foot-9, 220-pound, right-hander leads the Suns staff with six wins on the season to go along with a 3.33 ERA. In his 14 starts, Meyer ranks fifth in the South Atlantic League (SAL) with 77 strike outs over 70.1 innings pitched. The Greensburg, IN, native also claims the league’s fifth lowest opponent batting average against (.217).

Meyer is the reigning SAL pitcher of the week, having earned the honor by going 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his final two starts of the first half. His accomplishments included a shortened complete game (6.0 IP) shutout victory over the Hickory Crawdads and a career high nine strike out performance against the West Virginia Power in his second outing.

The Futures Game will take place on Sunday, July 8, at 5:00 p.m. and can be seen on MLB.TV, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com’s Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game.

The Suns will begin their second half schedule at Municipal Stadium tonight at 7:05 p.m. against the Lakewood BlueClaws. A Thirsty Thursday, presented by Benny’s Pub, will kicks off a four game home-stand on Civil War Weekend.

Suns individual game tickets, season tickets, mini-plans, and group packages are on sale now. For more information and to reserve your seat at Municipal Stadium, call 301-791-6266, or www.hagerstownsuns.com. The Hagerstown Suns are owned by Hagerstown Baseball, LLC.

NATS/SUNS: Alex Meyer Named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week

Top Nats Prospect Alex Meyer named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week for June 11-17, 2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Meyer Named Pitcher of the Week, Skole Reaches Derby Finals
Suns starter earns first SAL weekly honor, Skole bids for Home Run King honors tonight

Hagerstown, MD – The Hagerstown Suns, Single-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, are please to announce that starting pitcher Alex Meyer has been named the South Atlantic League (SAL) Pitcher of the Week for June 11-17, 2012. Meyer is the first Suns player to be selected as a player or pitcher of the week this season.

The 6-foor-9, 220-pound, right-hander earned the honor by going 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in two starts, including a complete game (6.0 IP) shutout victory over the Hickory Crawdads. In his second start of the week, the Nationals’ first-rounder struck out a career high nine batters in a no-decision against the West Virginia Power. In total, Meyer racked up 14 strike outs over 11 innings pitched, while walking just three batters and allowing two earned runs in his two outings combined.

Meanwhile, Suns All-Star third baseman Matt Skole advanced to the finals of the South Atlantic League Miller High Life Home Run Derby on Monday afternoon from the flight deck of the USS Yorktown in Charleston (SC) harbor. Skole, who is tied for the SAL lead in home runs with 14, will participate in the championship round of the derby later this afternoon at 5:30 p.m. prior to the start of the 53rd SAL All-Star Game, which begins at 7:30 p.m.

The Suns will begin their second half schedule at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday, June 21, at Municipal Stadium against the Lakewood BlueClaws. A Thirsty Thursday, presented by Benny’s Pub, will kick-off a four-game home-stand on Civil War Weekend.

Suns individual game tickets, season tickets, mini-plans, and group packages are on sale now. For more information and to reserve your seat at Municipal Stadium, call 301-791-6266, or www.hagerstownsuns.com. The Hagerstown Suns are owned by Hagerstown Baseball, LLC.

Washington Nationals Minor League Scoreboard for May 18

Comprised of press releases from the Washington Nationals minor league affiliates

Syracuse Chiefs, AAA International League

The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, were bombarded by Columbus hitters on Friday night in a 12-2 loss to the Clippers. The loss gave Syracuse a split of the four-game series.

Columbus (20-21) took control early in the game with two runs in the first inning against Syracuse left-hander Zach Duke. After Ezequiel Carrera singled, left fielder Matt LaPorta launched a home run just over the 365-foot mark in left-center field. His 12th home run of the year gave Columbus a 2-0 lead.

The Clippers quickly added to the lead in the bottom of the second inning. With two outs and two runners on, Jason Donald lined a single to left field, scoring Russ Canzler from second base.

Syracuse (19-23) plated its first run in the fifth inning against Clippers right-hander Kevin Slowey. Seth Bynum singled to lead off the frame, with Jeff Howell following with a double. Corey Brown’s sacrifice fly to straightaway center field scored Bynum, cutting the lead to 3-1, but Slowey struck out Jarrett Hoffpauir and retired Mark Teahen on a fly out to left field, limiting the damage.

The Clippers then immediately reasserted control in the bottom half of the frame. LaPorta and Jared Goedert each walked with one out. After Duke induced a fly out from Cord Phelps, designated hitter Andy LaRoche blasted a two-run double off the right-center field wall. One batter later, Duke would exit after five innings of five-run ball.

Columbus scored a sixth-inning run against Erik Arnesen when Donald tripled in Luke Carlin. Carlin had started the inning by striking out, but he advanced to second when the ball got away from catcher Jeff Howell, who then threw wildly to first.

The Clippers then blasted off for six runs in an 11-batter seventh inning. Carlin’s two-run double against left-hander Cory VanAllen was the big blow, with five different Columbus hitters driving in runs in the frame.

A Bynum RBI single in the ninth inning capped off the scoring for Syracuse. The shortstop was 2 for 4, scoring one Chiefs run and driving in the other.

Syracuse now heads to Toledo for a Saturday night affair at 7:00. Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang is slated to make his third start for the Chiefs, with the Mud Hens sending right-hander Jacob Turner to the hill.

Harrisburg Senators, AA Eastern League

On Friday night at Metro Bank Park, the Bowie Baysox snapped their six-game losing streak with a 9-3 win over the Senators. Bowie scored single runs in each of the first three innings, two of them with two outs and no one on base, before scoring three in the seventh and the eighth to break the game open.  Zelous Wheeler homered twice in the game for Bowie to lead their 13-hit attack.

LJ Hoes and Robbie Widlansky combined to put on the board in the first as Hoes tripled with two outs and Widlansky followed with a single. In the third, Hoes doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Widlansky.

Trailing 3-0 into the sixth inning, Harrisburg caught a break when Manny Mayorson scored from first base on a groundball to short stop, that was thrown away at second base. With Jesus Valdez at second and no outs though, the Senators did not score further in the inning.

Rob Gilliam started for Harrisburg and pitched six quality innings, allowing eight hits but just three runs while striking out five.

Bowie broke the game open against Ryan Tatusko, scoring three runs in the seventh and three more in the eighth.  The Senators scored a pair of runs in the ninth to account for the final tally on the night.

Jesus Valdez had three hits in the game.

Game two of the three game series is Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.

Potomac Nationals, High-A Carolina League

In their first ever game at Pfitzner Stadium, the Carolina Mudcats pounded out a season-high 18 hits as they knocked off the Potomac Nationals 12-5.  The loss ends the P-Nats win streak at three games.

Both offenses were on display early in the contest.  The Mudcats behind four straight hits in the second inning took a 2-0 lead against Potomac starter Matt Grace.  With one out, Jeremie Tice, Jake Lowery, and Ronny Rodriguez each singled to load the bases.  Anthony Gallas then drove home Tice and Lowery with the fourth consecutive single of the inning to put the Mudcats up 2-0.

Justin Bloxom tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the second with a two-run home run off Kyle Blair.  The home run was Bloxom’s second off of Blair this season after he homered last Saturday at Five County Stadium.

Carolina (21-19) continued to swing the bats well in the third inning tacking on four more runs.  Tyler Holt and Tony Wolters singled to begin the frame and Carlos Moncrief followed with an RBI single to regain the lead for the Mudcats at 3-2.  Tice then delivered the biggest hit of the inning crushing his eighth home run of the season, a three-run shot, to increase the advantage to 6-2.

Potomac (16-22) battled back once again in the bottom of the third inning.  Randolph Oduber led off with a solo home run and with one out, David Freitas and Zack Walters hit back-to-back RBI singles to cut the deficit to 6-5.

Those would be the last runs scored by the P-Nats in the game as the Mudcats bullpen combined to throw six scoreless innings.  Jordan Cooper (1-2) picked up his first win of the season firing four shutout innings allowing just one hit while striking out five.

The Mudcats kept the pedal down in the fourth inning adding two more runs.  Holt brought home Gallas with an RBI triple and Jesus Aguilar added an RBI single to put Carolina back up three runs at 8-5.

Grace (2-5) made his seventh start of the season for Potomac and second straight against the Mudcats.  He took the loss yielding a season-high eight runs on twelve hits in five innings of work. Carolina added one run in the sixth and one in the eighth against the P-Nats bullpen courtesy of RBI singles by Tice and Lowery to push the lead to 10-5.

The Mudcats scored their final two runs of the night in the ninth inning.  With two outs, Wolters tripled home Justin Toole and eventually scored on another RBI single by Moncrief to make it 12-5.

The P-Nats continue their series against the Carolina Mudcats tomorrow evening at 6:35 PM.  Trevor Holder (2-0, 4.34 ERA) will be on the mound making his first start of the season for the Nationals while Francisco Jimenez (4-1, 2.43 ERA) will pitch for the Mudcats.

Hagerstown Suns, Low-A South Atlantic League

The Hagerstown Suns (23-15) rallied for three runs to tie in the eighth inning, and then walked-off with a 5-4 win in the ninth against the Delmarva Shorebirds(18-22) at Municipal Stadium on Friday Night.

 teven Souza got the Suns eighth inning rally started with an RBI sac-fly, followed by Caleb Ramsey’s two-run home run to even the score at 4-4. Brian Goodwin led-off the ninth inning with a walk and then went to third on a throwing error by the pitcher Williams Louico (0-1). With one out, Jason Martinson singled to drive in Goodwin and give Hagerstown their third walk-off win of the season.

Suns starting pitcher Alex Meyer did not factor in the decision, allowing four runs in five innings. The Suns relief combination of Ben Hawkins and Bobby Lucas (2-0) each pitched two perfect innings, with Lucas earning the win.

Delmarva starter Eduardo Rodriguez also took a no-decision after pitching six innings, allowing one run (unearned) on four hits. Louico took the loss after walking Goodwin to begin the ninth inning and then committing a throwing error to advance him to third base.

Shorebirds right fielder Brenden Webb homered in his second straight game, while left fielder Kyle Hoppy went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

The Suns and Shorebirds will play game three of the series at Municipal Stadium on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. when righty Taylor Hill (3-2) takes the ball against Delmarva’s RHP Miguel Chalas (3-2).

Baseball America ranks Nationals’ minor league prospects

For serious Washington Nationals fans, the names on Baseball America’s list of top ten prospects in the organization should not be unfamiliar.  Several have been on the list before, several more were part of 2011’s draft class, two of them made their MLB debuts last season and one of them happens for be completely tearing up the Arizona Fall League currently.  You may have heard of him, a kid named Harper.

Bryce Harper does indeed fill the No. 1 spot on BA’s top Nats prospects.  The left-handed outfielder is hitting .311/.381/.622 with six homers and 24 RBIs in 74 at bats for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the AFL.  His AFL teammate, catcher Derek Norris, comes in at No. 9 on the list, which is based on projections of a player’s long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel.  Norris is hitting .328/.427/.459 with two home runs as 11 RBIs in 61 at bats, following a somewhat disappointing year where he hit just .210 at Double-A Harrisburg.

Here’s the complete list:

1. Bryce Harper, OF

2. Anthony Rendon, 3B

3. Brad Peacock, RHP

4. A.J. Cole, RHP

5. Brian Goodwin, OF

6. Alex Meyer, RHP

7. Matt Purke, LHP

8. Sammy Solis, LHP

9. Derek Norris, C

10.  Steve Lombardozzi, UTL

It’s interesting that of the Nats top ten prospects, seven have come out of the last two draft classes.  The Nats have recently graduated several players out of the “prospect” category, such as SP Stephen Strasburg, 2B Danny Espinosa and C Wilson Ramos, so the Nats best players in the system are still at the lowest levels.   But draft experts everywhere think Harper, Rendon and perhaps Purke will be quick movers once they get their professional careers started.  The narrative in the report speaks glowingly of the talent the Nats are accumulating in their minor league system though, and BA named the Nats as their “top rated draft” of 2011 with the additions of Rendon, Meyer, Goodwin and Purke.

Baseball America’s article also list the Nats minor leaguers with the “Best Tools” and a projected 2015 lineup. 

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