October 30, 2014

Washington Nationals’ Matt Williams Wins Sporting News Manager Of The Year

On Tuesday afternoon, Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams hauled in his first major award at the helm of a MLB franchise.

As voted on by the National League managers, Sporting News awarded the first-year skipper the NL Manager of the Year Award. Receiving four first place votes, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny got second (2) and the Miami Marlins Mike Redmond placed third (1). [Read more...]

DC-IBWA announces 2014 Player Achievement Awards

The Washington, DC chapter of the Internet Baseball Writers Association is an organization comprised of Internet writers, on-line media outlets, and bloggers.

In accordance with its stated goal of promoting the members of the association and increasing awareness and respect as active members of the media that cover the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball club, the DC-IBWA is pleased to announce its member-voted winners of the 2014 Player Achievement Awards.

Each individual award is named after a member of the district’s storied baseball heritage, to promote awareness of the significance of the history of Washington, DC baseball. Biographies of the honored historical players can be found at this link.

Voters were asked to name first, second and third place for each category. First place votes received five points, second place votes received three points and third place votes received one point.

In addition, the voters were also asked to respond to six survey questions about the Nationals and the on-line media community.

We received 21 ballots from association members from the following online media outlets: District Sports Page, Federal Baseball, WeLoveDC.com, The Nats Blog, D.C. Baseball History, DC is for Baseball, Let Teddy Win!, Matt’s Bats, Nationals Arm Race, Nationals GM, Nationals Prospects, Nationals Review, Nats Nation, Nats Noodles, Natstadamus, Red Porch Report.

You can find more information about the DC-IBWA, or our membership, by visiting our website at http://dc-ibwaa.blogspot.com/ or contacting us at DCIBWA@gmail.com.

2014 WASHINGTON NATIONALS PLAYER ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

Goose Goslin Most Valuable Player
(Player most valuable to the success of the Washington Nationals):

1st: Anthony Rendon (62 points, 9 first place votes)
2nd: Denard Span (38 points, 4 first place votes)
3rd: Jayson Werth (25 points, 2 first place votes)

Others receiving votes: Adam LaRoche (17, 1 first place vote), Doug Fister (8, 1 first place vote), Ian Desmond (7, 1 first place vote), Tanner Roark (4), Jordan Zimmermann (1).

Walter Johnson Starting Pitcher of the Year
(Excellent performance as a starting pitcher):

1st: Jordan Zimmermann (64 points, 10 first place votes)
2nd: Doug Fister (46 points, 6 first place votes)
3rd: Tanner Roark (26 points, 2 first place votes)

Others receiving votes: Stephen Strasburg (26).

Frederick “Firpo” Marberry Relief Pitcher of the Year
(Excellent performance as a relief pitcher):

1st: Drew Storen (76 points, 11 first place votes)
2nd: Tyler Clippard (68 points, 7 first place votes)
3rd: Rafael Soriano (10 points)

Others receiving votes: Craig Stammen (4), Aaron Barrett (2), Matt Thornton (1).

Sam Rice Hitter of the Year
(Excellence in all-around hitting, situational hitting and baserunning):

1st: Anthony Rendon (67 points, 12 first place votes)
2nd:  Denard Span (39 points, 3 first place votes)
3rd: Jayson Werth (36 points, 3 first place votes)

Others receiving votes: Adam LaRoche (10), Ian Desmond (5).

Frank Howard Slugger of the Year
(Excellence in power hitting):1st: Adam LaRoche (71 points, 15 first place votes)
2nd: Ian Desmond (33 points, 2 first place votes)
3rd: Anthony Rendon (29 points, 1 first place vote)Others receiving votes: Jayson Werth (11), Wilson Ramos (3), Bryce Harper (2), Ryan Zimmerman (1).

Joe Judge Defensive Player of the Year 
(Excellence in fielding):

1st: Denard Span (68 points, 12 first place votes)
2nd: Anthony Rendon (46 points, 4 first place votes)
3rd: Ian Desmond (14 points, 2 first place vote)

Others receiving votes: Adam LaRoche (13),  Bryce Harper (7), Wilson Ramos (4), Danny Espinosa (3), Jayson Werth (3), Asdrubal Cabrera (2), Jose Lobaton (1).

Mickey Vernon Comeback Player of the Year
(Player who overcame biggest obstacle in the preceding season to contribute on the field):

1st: Drew Storen (51 points, 8 first place votes)
2nd: Adam LaRoche (30 points, 4 first place votes)
3rd: Wilson Ramos (16 points, 2 first place votes)

Others receiving votes: Denard Span (13, 1 first place vote), Bryce Harper (8), Danny Espinosa (5), Ryan Zimmerman (3), Kevin Frandsen (3), Aaron Barrett (1), Rafael Soriano (1).

Josh Gibson Humanitarian Player of the Year
(Player who meritoriously gave of himself to the community):

1st: Ian Desmond (51 points, 7 first place votes)
2nd: Ryan Zimmerman (41 points, 5 first place votes)
3rd: Adam LaRoche (27 points, 3 first place votes)

Others receiving votes: Bryce Harper (10, 1 first place vote), Denard Span (8), Tyler Clippard (3), Wilson Ramos (1).

Minor League Player of the Year
(Minor league player most destined for big league success):

1st: Lucas Giolito (47 points, 8 first place vote)
2nd: Michael Taylor (47 points, 4 first place votes)
3rd: Steven Souza (42 points, 5 first place vote)

Others receiving votes: A.J. Cole (13), Taylor Hill (1), Reynaldo Lopez (1).

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SURVEY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

1. Which players on the 40-man roster at the end of the season are least likely to return in 2010?

Rafael Soriano (19), Adam LaRoche (12), Asdrubal Cabrera (10), Nate Schierholtz (10), Ross Ohlendorf (6), Scott Hairston (6), Ross Detwiler (6), Ryan Mattheus (5), Kevin Frandsen (5), Danny Espinosa (4), Erik Davis (4), Jerry Blevins (3), Tyler Moore (2), Pedro Florimon (2), Xavier Cedeno (2), Nate McLouth (2), Jhonatan Solano (2), Jose Lobaton (1), Denard Span (1), Matt Thornton (1), Ian Desmond (1).

2. Will the Nats sign Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann to long-term contract extensions before they reach free agency?

Desmond Yes (12), Desmond No (7), Zimmermann Yes (5), Zimmermann No (14).

3. What player was the biggest surprise for the Nats this season?

Tanner Roark (15), Anthony Rendon (3), Drew Storen (1), Denard Span (1).

4. What player was the biggest disappointment for the Nats this season?

Rafael Soriano (7), Bryce Harper/health (6), Ryan Zimmerman/health (3), Ross Detwiler (2), Nate McLouth (1).

5. Who is your favorite professional Nationals writer?

Adam Kilgore (8), Mark Zuckerman (6), James Wagner (3), Barry Svrluga (3), Tom Boswell (1).

6. Who is your favorite non-professional Nationals writer?

Patrick Reddington-Federal Baseball (6), Red Porch Report (3), Dave Nichols-District Sports Page (3), Luke Erickson-Nationals Prospects (3), James O’Hara-Citizens of NatsTown (2), Joe Drugan-The Nats Blog (2), Nationals Archive (1), Nationals GM (1), Nationals 101 (1), Stuart Wallace-District Sports Page (1), Harper Gordek-Nationals Baseball (1).

MSE Foundation Receives The Salvation Army’s Community Partner Award

Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation received The Salvation Army’s Community Partner Award on May 13 at United in Service. United in Service was a Salvation Army award ceremony in recognition of volunteers and community partners for their compassionate work on behalf of The Salvation Army, which assists people in need throughout the Washington, D.C., region. (Photo Courtesy of MSE)

Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation received The Salvation Army’s Community Partner Award on May 13 at United in Service. United in Service was a Salvation Army award ceremony in recognition of volunteers and community partners for their compassionate work on behalf of The Salvation Army, which assists people in need throughout the Washington, D.C., region. (Photo Courtesy of MSE)

ARLINGTON, Va. – Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation received The Salvation Army’s Community Partner Award on Tuesday, May 13, at United in Service.

United in Service was a Salvation Army award ceremony in recognition of volunteers and community partners for their compassionate work on behalf of The Salvation Army, which assists people in need throughout the Washington, D.C., region.

The Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards provided The Salvation Army with volunteer and financial support throughout their 2013-14 seasons. In March 2013 Capitals players delivered meals to the homeless through The Salvation Army’s Grate Patrol program, while Monumental Sports & Entertainment staff members volunteered in The Salvation Army’s Back-to-School Shopping event at Target in Hyattsville, Md., in July. In conjunction with the Capitals and Wizards toy drives, MSE Foundation donated $10,000 to The Salvation Army National Area Command in December. The Salvation Army served as the beneficiary of both the Capitals and Wizards toy drives and was a beneficiary of the Foundation’s Family-to-Family program, through which MSE teams adopt families for the holidays. The teams also hosted bell ringers as part of The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign at home games in December.

In 2013 MSE Foundation, along with the Leonsis Foundation, donated more than $1.5 million to local charities. MSE Foundation partners in 2014 include the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, Flashes of Hope, KaBOOM!, Playworks DC, the Potomac Valley Amateur Hockey Association and The Salvation Army.

MSE Foundation supports the charitable efforts of the professional teams under its umbrella: the Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards. MSE is committed to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and focuses on the following five pillars to maximize its impact and engagement with the community: youth basketball and hockey, education and scholarship, pediatric health and fitness, military and veterans’ affairs and hunger and homelessness.

United in Service was held in conjunction of the 100th anniversary of World War I and The Salvation Army’s United War Service Program. The event was held to celebrate volunteers, to promote positive change and to discuss how to better serve veterans in the community. David Finkel, Pulitzer Prize award recipient and Washington Post journalist served as the event’s keynote speaker.

The Salvation Army National Capital Area Command assisted more than 85,000 individuals last year from families living across the Greater Washington region by providing help and hope through a diverse range of social services. The organization offers emergency eviction and utility cut-off prevention assistance; grocery, clothing and furniture vouchers; meals for the hungry and homeless; support for the disabled, elderly and ill; drug and alcohol rehabilitation; disaster relief; transitional housing for single mothers with children; and character building opportunities for youth.

John Wall Named Eastern Conference Player of the Week

The NBA announced today that Wizards guard John Wall has been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, Nov. 18, through Sunday, Nov. 24.

Wall averaged 24.3 points, 8.5 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game while shooting .500 from the field, .880 from the free-throw line and .500 from three-point range in leading the Wizards to a 3-1 record during the week.

The fourth-year guard tallied 30+ points in consecutive games for the first time in his career after scoring a season-high 37 at Toronto on 11/22 (including 30 in the second half) and then 31 vs. New York in a 98-89 win on 11/23.  Wall had two double-doubles on the week and scored 14 points while dishing out a career-high tying 16 assists, with only one turnover, in a 104-100 win vs. Minnesota on 11/19.  He is the only player in the NBA this season to have a game with at least 16 assists and only one turnover.  The last player to accomplish this feat was Wall in March of 2013.  In a 98-91 win at Cleveland on 11/20, Wall poured in 15 points, 10 assists and four steals.

On the season, Wall is averaging 18.6 points, 8.9 assists and 4.5 rebounds.

Internet Baseball Writers Association of DC announces Washington Nationals 2013 Player Achievement Awards

The Washington, DC chapter of the Internet Baseball Writers Association is an organization composed of Internet writers, on-line media outlets, and bloggers.

In accordance with its stated goal of promoting the members of the association and increasing awareness and respect as active members of the media that cover the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball club, the DC-IBWA is pleased to announce its member-voted winners of the 2013 Player Achievement Awards.

Since District Sports Page is one of the four credentialed independent sites that cover the team, we’re allowed up to three votes. This year Dave Nichols, Editor-in-Chief and Alyssa Wolice, Staff Writer, submitted votes.

Please feel free to leave your opinion on the votes in our comments section!

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2013 WASHINGTON NATIONALS PLAYER ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

Goose Goslin Most Valuable Player (Player most valuable to the success of the Washington Nationals):

1st: Jayson Werth (61 points, 7 first place votes)
2nd: Ian Desmond (39 points, 3 first place votes)
3rd: Jordan Zimmermann (23 points, 3 first place votes)

Others receiving votes: Ryan Zimmerman (8), Bryce Harper (4), Denard Span (3), Tyler Clippard (2).

Dave’s Vote: Werth-Zimmerman-Desmond. What Jayson Werth did this year was nothing short of phenominal.

Alyssa’s vote: Zimmermann-Werth-Clippard.

Walter Johnson Starting Pitcher of the Year (Excellent performance as a starting pitcher):

1st: Jordan Zimmermann (76 points, 12 first place votes)
2nd: Stephen Strasburg (42 points, 2 first place votes)
3rd: Gio Gonzalez (18 points)

Others receiving votes: Tanner Roark (8).

Dave’s Vote: Zimmermann-Strasburg-Gonzalez. The stoic righty from Wisconsin opened some people’s eyes this season, both in-market and nationally. He’s every bit as accomplished a pitcher as the other two and does nothing but pound the strike zone. something the other two could pick up on.

Alyssa’s vote: Zimmermann-Strasburg-Roark.

Frederick “Firpo” Marberry Relief Pitcher of the Year (Excellent performance as a relief pitcher):

 1st: Tyler Clippard (78 points, 13 first place votes)
2nd: Craig Stammen (30 points, 1 first place votes)
3rd: Rafael Soriano (28 points)

Others receiving votes: Tanner Roark (3), Drew Storen (2), Fernando Abad (1).

Dave’s Vote: Clippard-Soriano-Stammen. Clippard was unhittable almost all year. Unless, of course, when facing the Braves. Will have to get over that mental hurdle.

Alyssa’s vote: Clippard-Soriano-Stammen.

Sam Rice Hitter of the Year  (Excellence in all-around hitting, situational hitting and baserunning):

1st: Jayson Werth (68 points, 12 first place votes)
2nd:  Ian Desmond (37 points, 3 first place votes)
3rd: Ryan Zimmerman (17 points)

Others receiving votes: Bryce Harper (14), Denard Span (8).

Dave’s Vote: Desmond-Werth-Harper. Would you like to see Desmond work a few more walks? Sure. Would you like to see him not force the running game in certain situations? Yes. But his transformation from free-swinging hacker to party guy at the plate has been remarkable. If nothing else, this team can thank Davey Johnson for turning Desmond into the hitter everyone in the organization thought he was going to be. This, after Jim Riggleman almost ruined him.

Alyssa’s vote: Werth-Desmond-Zimmerman.

Frank Howard Slugger of the Year (Excellence in power hitting):

1st: Jayson Werth (76 points, 13 first place votes)
2nd: Bryce Harper (32 points, 1 first place vote)
3rd: Ryan Zimmerman (23 points, 1 first place vote)

Others receiving votes: Wilson Ramos (6), Ian Desmond (2), Adam LaRoche (1).

Dave’s Vote: Zimmerman-Werth-Ramos. The last two months of the season makes you wish Zimmerman had been at full strength from the get-go. He’s a complete power hitter in the prime of his career and hopefully an off-season of rest and normal strength training will have him primed again next season.

Alyssa’s vote: Werth-Zimmerman-Harper.

Joe Judge Defensive Player of the Year (Excellence in fielding):

1st: Denard Span (61 points, 12 first place votes)
2nd: Ian Desmond (34 points, 1 first place votes)
3rd: Wilson Ramos (18 points, 1 first place vote)

Others receiving votes: Bryce Harper (7), Adam LaRoche (4),  Ryan Zimmerman (3), Danny Espinosa (2), Jayson Werth (1), Kurt Suzuki (1).

Dave’s Vote: Span-Desmond-Ramos. Denard Span is a musician in center field. He never looks like he’s giving full effort because he knows how to play out there and make it look easy. But when he does makes a difficult catch, it’s that much more spectacular knowing how easy he makes the tough look routine.

Alyssa’s vote: Desmond-Span-Ramos.

Mickey Vernon Comeback Player of the Year (Player who overcame biggest obstacle in the preceding season to contribute on the field):

1st: Wilson Ramos (52 points, 8 first place votes)
2nd: Jayson Werth (12 points, 2 first place votes)
3rd: Ross Ohlendorf (11 points)

Others receiving votes: Stephen Strasburg (9, 1 first place vote), Drew Storen (6), Ryan Zimmerman (5, 1 first place vote), Taylor Jordan (5, 1 first place vote), Fernando Abad (1).

Dave’s Vote: Ram0s-Ohlendorf-Werth. Can we get a full healthy season from Wilson Ramos next season? Pretty please?

Alyssa’s vote: Werth-Ramos-Ohlendorf.

Josh Gibson Humanitarian Player of the Year (Player who meritoriously gave of himself to the community):

1st: Ryan Zimmerman (55 points, 10 first place votes)
2nd: Ian Desmond (28 points, 31 first place vote)
3rd: Gio Gonzalez (16 points, 1 first place vote)

Others receiving votes: Bryce Harper (9), Adam LaRoche (3), Denard Span (2).

DSP Vote: Zimmerman-Harper-Desmond. Zimmerman quietly goes about his philanthropic business just like he does on the field and the clubhouse.

Alyssa’s vote: Zimmerman-Span-Harper.

Minor League Player of the Year (Minor league player most destined for big league success):

1st: Lucas Giolito (20 points, 4 first place votes)
2nd: Anthony Rendon (15 points, 3 first place vote)
3rd: A.J. Cole (19 points, 1 first place vote); Brian Goodwin (19, 1 first place vote)

Others receiving votes: Taylor Jordan (17), Zach Walters (16, 3 first place votes), Billy Burns (13, 2 first place votes), Tanner Roark (6), Robby Ray (2), Nathan Karns (2), Danny Espinosa (1).

Dave’s Vote: Giolito-Cole-Goodwin. Giolito didn’t disappoint this season in his 11 starts between the Gulf League and Auburn. The 19-year old has a big fastball and two other pitches projected to be plus in the bigs.

Alyssa’s vote: Goodwin-Giolito-Cole.

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SURVEY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

1. Which players on the 40-man roster at the end of the season are least likely to return in 2010? Dan Haren (12), Chad Tracy (9), Xavier Cedeno (4), Ross Ohlendorf (4), Danny Espinosa (4), Ryan Mattheus (4), Scott Hairston (3), Fernando Abad (3), Tyler Robertson (3), Chris Marrero (2), Mauro Gomez (2), Drew Storen (2), Steve Lombardozzi (2), Rafael Soriano (2), Jeff Kobernus (1), Tyler Moore (1), Corey Brown (1), Adam LaRoche (1).

Dave’s Vote: Abad, Cedeno, Haren, Mattheus, Ohlendorf, Robertson, Marrero, Tracy, Hairston, Brown. Obviously, some of these are veterans whose time have run out. Some are failed prospects. Some are journeymen. None will be particularly missed.

Alyssa’s vote: I realize that many in Nats country will disagree with me, but I would still argue that if the Washington Nationals can move his contract elsewhere, Adam LaRoche’s days in the District may be over. Bear in mind, however, that could be quite the “if.” After all, LaRoche signed a two-year deal last winter for a guaranteed $12 million in 2014 and, at the very least, a $2 million buyout in 2015. LaRoche has contributed very little to the batting order – in fact, his peak batting average all season fell shy of .270. While everyone and their mother seemed to shake off LaRoche’s sluggish start to the season with an excuse along the lines of “That’s LaRoche being LaRoche,” his numbers never rebounded – he finished the season with a slash line of .237/.332/.403.

2. Will the Nats sign Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann to a long-term contracts extension before they reach free agency? Yes-both (9), No-both (0), Desmond only (3), Zimmermann only (2).

Dave’s Vote: Going out on a limb here, but I say they re-sign Zimmermann before he hits free agency, but Desmond waits and gets offers. If he has another big year in 2014, he’ll be poised to be one of the biggest free agents available at a very high-demand position.

Alyssa’s vote: Considering that Ian Desmond has two years left of arbitration, the Nationals are likely to do what it takes to come to terms on a contract extension before their shortstop hits free agency. Mike Rizzo has described Desmond as one of the team’s leaders and he has emphasized the importance of keeping home-grown talent in D.C. Desmond just missed the All-Star roster and finished up the season with 20 home runs, 80 RBIs and a .280/.331/.453 slash line. Keep in mind, there are few solid shortstops available on the market today and Desmond’s two 20-20 season seasons put him in elite company in the MLB history books.

Jordan Zimmermann could be a different story. While it is in the Nats’ best interest to secure a deal with this year’s 19-game-winner, Zimmermann’s strategy to hold off on a long-term deal last year could likely work again if he can boast similar numbers in 2014. With that said, the Nats can’t afford to let this year’s ace slip out of their grasp. Zimmermann finished off the season with a 3.25 ERA – a number that could have been significantly lower had it not been for a sloppy July. And, in many ways, he is getting better with time – he tossed the first two complete-game shutouts of his career – a one-hitter and a two-hitter – and his fastball consistently topped 95 in late September, while his slider reached 90.

3. What player was the biggest surprise for the Nats this season? Tanner Roark (7), Jayson Werth (6), Taylor Jordan (3), Ian Krol (1).

Dave’s Vote: Jayson Werth. I mean, seriously, who saw that coming. He put up the best season of his career and missed a month to boot. I had serious doubts the power would come back after yet another wrist injury last season. If he’s 80 percent of this next year the Nats will be in good shape.

Alyssa’s vote: This one is a bit of a no-brainer – the Nats’ biggest surprise this year has been 26-year-old right-hander, Tanner Roark. Roark finished the season with a 7-1 record and a 1.51 ERA over 53 ⅔ innings. In his short stint, he struck out 40 batters and kept the Nats close enough in the wild card hunt to keep things interesting through the late summer. Roark is certainly a candidate for a starter role next season, but it will be interesting to see if he can enjoy such success after facing opponents for a second and third time. After all, something doesn’t quite add up – this year, he recorded a 9-3 record with a 3.15 ERA at Triple A before his Aug. 9 promotion; however, in 2012, he was 6-17 with a 4.39 ERA. While that, of course, offers signs of development and improvement, it will be interesting to see whether his mid-80s slider continues to dazzle or players will figure out his pitching arsenal.

4. What player was the biggest disappointment for the Nats this season? Dan Haren (9), Danny Espinosa (6), Denard Span (2), Adam LaRoche (1).

Dave’s Vote: Espinosa. This is the second year in a row I’ve voted for Espinosa. It’s a damn shame he’s going to let pride ruin his baseball career. If he’d had the shoulder surgery last August the Nats would have gotten him back healthy at the All-Star break and he wouldn’t have broken his wrist. Now, he’s going to lose three seasons to what should have been a very fixable injury.

Alyssa’s vote: I think Denard Span takes home the title this year. Yes, his 29-game hitting streak brought fans back into the game at a time when the Nats weren’t playing meaningful baseball. And, yes, he had that fantastic catch against the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 14. But, those are essentially the only noteworthy contributions Span made this year – a year in which he was expected to be an explosive add for the Nats’ batting order. It’s true, players often struggle when adjusting to a new league, but Span’s hitting woes – particularly against left-handers – has been a bit mind-boggling. That’s not to say his dismal season is enough to warrant a trade – after all, his fielding has helped make up for what his bat has been lacking – but his .327 OBP is hardly what the Nats expected when they slated Span to be their leadoff hitter. Span’s speed on the base paths saved him a bit – he recorded 11 triples and stole 20 bags. But now, it’s up to Span to prove 2013 an outlier as he enters his second full season in the National League next year.

5. Who is your favorite professional Nationals writer? Adam Kilgore (7), Amanda Comak (4), Mark Zuckerman (3), James Wagner (1).

Dave’s Vote: Zuckerman. I’ll just re-post what I said last year — Mark’s perspective having been with the team since Day One is invaluable. It’s obvious from the community he’s built at Nats Insider that D.C. baseball fans appreciate his style and openness in covering the team. Because of his unique situation, he can blend analysis, commentary and opinion in his game stories much easier than the other beat writers, and his work is better for it — and better for the fans.

Alyssa’s vote: Adam Kilgore, for sure. That’s not to say there aren’t other quality writers on the Nats beat – there certainly are – but no other writer brings out the Nats’ personalities quite like Kilgore.

6. Who is your favorite non-professional Nationals writer? Harper Gordek-Nationals Baseball (2), Patrick Reddington-Federal Baseball (2), Citizens of NatsTown (2), Dave Nichols-District Sports Page (1), Luke Erickson-Nationals Prospects (1), Joe Drugan-The Nats Blog (1), Luigi deGuzman-Natstradamus (1), Nationals Archive (1), Nationals 101 (1), Sharkadina (1), Nationals Arm Race (1).

Dave’s Vote: Patrick Reddington-Federal Baseball. Patrick chronicles the daily, hourly and really, up-to-the-minute dealings of the Nats in such excruciating detail that it’s hard to fathom how he does it. His daily links post alone must take two hours to produce, let alone transcribing EVERY SINGLE radio, tv or podcast spot that has anything to do with the Nats. Then he conducts a live Game Thread and still manages to get a recap out minutes after the game ends. He’s a true workhorse for the advancement of dialog about the Nationals.

Alyssa’s vote: It’s honestly terribly difficult to pick a favorite Nats blogger, but I’d have to say I really admire the work that everyone at The Nats Blog has done this season. Both Joe Drugan and Erin Flynn provide very well-crafted game recaps that do more than simply rehash big plays – their writing styles make it clear that they still have fun reporting on this team, even when the Nationals offered plenty of reasons to be frustrated beyond recovery.

I’ve also burnt many an hour on the Nationals Archive website – and all of their Twitter feeds – so they certainly deserve a mention.

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Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Nats, Caps, and Wizards and covers college football and basketball for the Associated Press. Dave’s first sports hero was Bobby Dandridge. Follow Dave’s Nationals coverage on Twitter @NationalsDSP or @DaveNicholsDSP.

Alyssa Wolice is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page, covering the Nationals and Wizards. As a former production assistant, she covered the Nationals, Redskins, Capitals, Wizards, D.C. United and local collegiate teams. You can follow her on Twitter @awolice.

Alex Ovechkin named NHL’s First Star of the Week

Alex Ovechkin during warmups at Verizon Center, May 2 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Alex Ovechkin during warmups at Verizon Center, May 2 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Capitals Press Release:

ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has been named the NHL’s “First Star” for the week ending Oct. 6, the NHL announced today.

Ovechkin led the NHL in goals (4), points (6), power-play goals (3), power-play points (5) and shots on goal (24) just days after returning from Greece, where he became the first Russian to carry the Olympic torch for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. He opened the season by recording two points (one goal, one assist) in a 6-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 1. Ovechkin then scored twice, assisted on the game-tying goal and potted the clinching score in the shootout to help the Capitals rally from a three-goal deficit in a 5-4 victory over the Calgary Flames on Oct. 3. He closed the week by tallying Washington’s lone goal, the 375th of his career, in a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Oct. 5.

The 28-year-old Moscow native and reigning Hart Memorial Trophy winner has played in 604 career NHL games, all with the Capitals, totaling 741 points (375 goals, 366 assists).

 

NATS/P-NATS: Taylor Hill Named 2013 Minor League Gold Glove Winner

Potomac Press Release Banner logo

P-NATS RHP TAYLOR HILL NAMED A 2013 MINOR LEAGUE
RAWLINGS GOLD GLOVE AWARD® WINNER
Potomac Nationals RHP Taylor Hill Named
One of Nine Recipients of MiLB’s Highest Defensive Honor

Woodbridge, VA—Minor League BaseballTM and Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc., today jointly announced that 2013 Potomac Nationals RHP Taylor Hill has been selected as a recipient of a Minor League Baseball 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Award® for stellar defense at his position this season.

Hill, 24, joins a roster of nine MiLB players set to receive a 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Award after honorees were selected among qualifying players from the 10 domestic, full-season Minor Leagues.

These defensive wizards will receive their trophies modeled after the iconic awards given to Major League Baseball’s top defensive players during the 2014 season.

Hill becomes the second-ever Washington Nationals farmhand to secure a Rawlings Gold Glove Award after 2B Steve Lombardozzi was bestowed the honor following the 2011 campaign.

Hill owned a 1.000 fielding percentage across Class-A Advanced Potomac, Double-A Harrisburg, and Triple-A Syracuse in 2013 over the course of 28 appearances and 164.2 innings. Hill did not commit a single error in 46 total chances while recording 31 assists and making 15 putouts.

The control maven logged a combined overall record of (9-9) to complement a 2.95 earned run average while walking just 29 batters all season as a member of the Nationals, Senators, and Chiefs.

“Since 1957, Rawlings has celebrated defensive excellence at the highest levels of professional baseball,” said Mike Thompson, senior vice president of marketing for St. Louis-based Rawlings.

“Every organization should be proud to have a Minor League Baseball Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner in their system.”

“I know what an honor it is for a player to receive a Rawlings Gold Glove Award, having been involved in presenting them to the winners the last two years,” said Pat O’Conner, President & CEO of Minor League Baseball.

“The players really appreciate and understand how prestigious the accolade is and I want to thank Rawlings Sporting Goods for their continued support of Minor League Baseball.”

The 2013 Minor League Baseball recipients of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award are as follows:

Position Name Club(s)/Major League Baseball Organization

P Taylor Hill Potomac, Harrisburg, Syracuse/Washington
C Blake Forsythe Binghamton/New York Mets
1B Jordan Lennerton Toledo/Detroit
2B Carlos Alonso Clearwater/Philadelphia
SS Nick Ahmed Mobile/Arizona
3B Wade Gaynor Erie/Detroit
LF Jason Krizan Lakeland/Detroit
CF Dalton Pompey Lansing/Toronto
RF Randal Grichuk Arkansas/Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The return of Rawlings recognizing Minor League Baseball players for their defensive prowess began in 2011. The St. Louis-based company named a Minor League all-star fielding team for several years in the 1960s. The honor was known then as the Rawlings Silver Glove Award.

Five players who were honored in 2012, RHP Adam Warren (New York Yankees), C Josh Phegley (Chicago White Sox), LF Derrick Robinson (Cincinnati Reds), CF Engel Beltre (Texas Rangers), and RF Marcell Ozuna (Miami Marlins) have graduated to the Major Leagues. A foursome of Big Leaguers, 1B Efren Navarro (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), 3B Brandon Laird (Houston Astros), CF Jordan Danks (Chicago White Sox) and RF Cole Gillespie (Chicago Cubs) were among those honored in 2011.

MYSTICS: Ivory Latta Named Eastern Conference Player of the Week

Washington Mystics Press Release Logo 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Washington Mystics guard Ivory Latta received Eastern Conference player of the week honors for the third time this season for her performance against the Indiana Fever, Connecticut Sun and New York Liberty.

In the Mystics’ 69-67 win over the Fever, Latta scored 15 points and dished out four assists. The victory helped Washington secure a playoff berth. She followed with a 19-point, five-assist outing against the Sun and closed out the regular season against the Liberty by scoring 12 points and recording two assists.

The Mystics (17-17) will open the 2013 postseason against the Atlanta Dream (17-17) on Thursday, Sept. 19, in Atlanta at 8:00 p.m. in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN2.

The Mystics will host the Dream on Saturday, Sept. 21, at Verizon Center. Tipoff is at 7:00 pm. Tickets for the Washington Mystics First Round playoff games start at $12 and are currently on sale on www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-877-DC-HOOP-1.

NATS/P-NATS: Josh Olerud Named 2013 Carolina League Executive of the Year

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NATIONALS VICE PRESIDENT/GENERAL MANAGER, JOSH OLERUD HONORED BY CAROLINA LEAGUE AS 2013 CALVIN FALWELL EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNER
Olerud, in Third Season with Potomac Nationals Franchise, Led Club to
an All-Time, Single-Season Attendance Record in 2013

Woodbridge, VA—The Potomac Nationals are proud to announce Vice President/General Manager, Josh Olerud has been named the recipient of the 2013 Calvin Falwell Executive of the Year Award. Voting was conducted by league general managers, club owners, field managers, and the Carolina League president.

“This is a tremendous honor,” said Olerud. “With all the great people we have in the Carolina League, it is very humbling to be recognized. This is a team effort and it is truly the dedication of our ownership group, great front office staff, and first-class game-day team that makes this recognition possible.”

Olerud finished his 10th season in professional baseball in 2013 after eight years as General Manager of the Rockford RiverHawks of the Frontier League and following completion of his third season leading the Potomac Nationals. Originally hailing from Bloomington, MN, he graduated with a degree in Sports Management with an emphasis in Marketing at Minnesota State University at Mankato. Olerud was the most recent recipient of the Pitch and Hit Club of Chicago’s Minor League Executive of the Year in 2012.

Olerud oversaw a 2013 Potomac Nationals campaign that shattered the single-season franchise record for overall attendance at Pfitzner Stadium (236,772). This was the highest attendance mark in a single Nationals’ season since 220,145 fans flocked to The Pfitz in 1998. (Prince William Cannons-St. Louis Cardinals). Olerud presided over eight sellouts at The Pfitz during the 2013 campaign and average per game attendance was 3,534 fans. In addition, the P-Nats’ patriarch led a 2013 front office team that unveiled a record number of fireworks shows, premium giveaways, and celebrity appearances which made up a truly landmark 36th season in franchise history which culminated with a Mills Cup Championship Series berth.

On Olerud’s commendation, Potomac Nationals Chairman and CEO, Art Silber said, “We are delighted that the Carolina League has chosen our Vice President and General Manger, Josh Olerud as the Carolina League Executive of the Year to recognize the extraordinary job he has done for the Potomac Nationals. This past season was a record setting year for our ball club, with high marks set in attendance, game revenue, and sponsorship revenue. Josh’s interaction with fans, sponsors, players, and staff has afforded the club the opportunity to reach new heights. I congratulate him and know that this is only the beginning of what is to come for the Potomac Nationals franchise.”

Amidst a blockbuster 2013 season which featured a record tally of sponsorship revenue, Olerud also remained focused on the mission of keeping the Potomac Nationals connected with their local community in Northern Virginia. The Potomac Nationals raised over $100,000 in 2013 across all of their fundraising branches using the following conduits: the P-Nats’ annual hot stove banquet and sports memorabilia auction to benefit S.P.A.R.K. (Supporting Partnerships and Resources for Kids) of Prince William County, Uncle Slam’s Reading Program, a trio of community nights, featured non-profit organization nights, a slew of commemorative jersey auctions with proceeds dedicated to Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic, Autism Speaks, and nearby Osbourn Park High School. Also featured as part of this community initiative was the annual Nationals golf tournament in conjunction with SYA Baseball, a pair of Military Appreciation Nights in partnership with Homes for Heroes, Hope For The Warriors, and the USO; the Guns vs. Hoses annual charity softball classic, and a milestone “Hire-A-Vet” program to usher in the hiring of military veterans interested in a career within the Minor League Baseball landscape.

Under the direction of Olerud, the Potomac Nationals also ran a silent sports auction at The Pfitz to directly to victims of the tornadoes that hit the state of Oklahoma back in May thanks to a partnership with the OK Strong Disaster Relief Fund.

“Josh is great choice for this award,” said Carolina League President, John Hopkins. “During his time at Potomac, the operation has been growing and improving in every respect. It’s a well deserved honor.”

During the 2013 season, which featured a franchise record 84 wins and the best winning percentage in club history (.604), Olerud laid out the P-Nats’ red carpet for a slew of Major League rehabilitation stars from the Washington Nationals including, LHP Ross Detwiler, RHP Christian Garcia, LF Bryce Harper, RHP Ross Ohlendorf, C Wilson Ramos, RF Jayson Werth, and 3B Ryan Zimmerman to Pfitzner Stadium. Notably, Harper’s first contest as a Potomac National on June 25th garnered a capacity crowd of 8,495 fans.

As a compliment to the promotional efforts of Olerud and his team to energize the P-Nats’ fan base and proliferate the mission of hosting the most fan-friendly atmosphere possible, the Potomac club used this potent home field advantage on the field to turn in the best 2013 home record in the Carolina League at (47-23).

The Carolina League’s Calvin Falwell Executive of the Year Award was named in 2006 for the man who had been president of the Lynchburg club since that city joined the league in 1966. Falwell served the league as an officer, director, and representative to Minor League Baseball’s Board of Trustees. Falwell passed away at age 90 on August 20th, 2011.

NATS/P-NATS: Billy Burns and Taylor Jordan Named Nationals Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year

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BURNS AND JORDAN NAMED 2013 WASHINGTON NATIONALS
MINOR LEAGUE PLAYER & PITCHER OF THE YEAR
P-Nats OF Billy Burns and RHP Taylor Jordan Rewarded for Stellar Play in 2013 with
Annual Organizational Awards from the Washington Nationals

Woodbridge, VA—The Washington Nationals have announced 2013 Potomac Nationals OF Billy Burns and RHP Taylor Jordan as the recipients of the 2013 Washington Nationals Minor League Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year Awards.

Burns, 24, a native of Marietta, GA and a product of Mercer University (GA) selected by Washington in the 32nd round of the 2011 MLB Draft, finished his 2013 campaign with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators after being promoted from Potomac on 8/2. Burns hit .325 in 30 games for the Senators in which he scored 26 runs, walked 20 times, and stole 20 bases.

The switch-hitting speedster finished as the Carolina League’s leader in stolen bases for the course of the season after stashing 54 swipes to complement the second-best batting average (.312) in the league over the course of 91 games played. Burns also led the circuit in triples (9) and on-base percentage (.422). Burns departed the Nationals with the longest hitting streak in the Carolina League this past season at 25 games and also earned the third-longest on-base streak in the league with 27 straight games reaching base safely to his credit.

Burns combined to earn a .315 batting clip over both Class-A affiliates while collecting 96 runs, 12 doubles, nine triples, 37 RBIs, 170 total bases, 72 walks, and 74 stolen bases in 121 total games. Burns’ batting average registered as the best in the Washington Nationals farm system in 2013 (among hitters with a minimum of 100 games played) while he swung to the ninth best on-base percentage in MiLB (.425) and stole the third most bases in the Minor League landscape.

Burns was tabbed by Baseball America as the 26th best prospect in the Washington Nationals system prior to the 2013 season.

Burns was also honored as both a mid-season and year-end Carolina League All-Star during the 2013 season.
Jordan, 24, out of Merritt Island, FL and Brevard Community College (FL) was taken by the Nationals in the 9th round of the 2009 MLB Draft.

The crafty right-hander completed his first full season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery in September of 2011 and rehabbing that injury in 2012.

Jordan is tabbed as the top 2013 pitching performer in Washington’s Minor League organization after a career season that featured a combined (9-1) record in 15 appearances and 14 starts on the Nationals’ farm this year across two levels. For the P-Nats in the Carolina League, Jordan dealt to the tune of a (2-1) win/loss ledger and a 1.24 earned run average in six starts.

Following a promotion to Double-A Harrisburg on 5/9, the sinkerballer was lights out in the Eastern League logging a (7-0) record and an anemic 0.83 ERA in nine appearances and eight starts. Jordan fanned 43 batters and walked just nine men over a duration of 54.0 innings with the Senators pitching staff before making his Major League debut on 6/29 on the road against the New York Mets at Citi Field in Flushing, NY.

In his first start in the “The Show” against the Mets, Jordan tossed 4.1 innings and surrendered three runs, but only one earned run. Jordan struck out one, walked a pair, and gave up just five hits in a tough luck loss.

Jordan pitched to a (1-3) record for the Washington Nationals while donning a 3.66 ERA in his rookie Big League campaign.

According to the Washington Nationals, out of the 271 outs recorded this season in MiLB by Jordan, 210 outs, or 77.5% came via the ground ball (138) or the strikeout (72).

Jordan ranked thirteenth 13th best prospect in the Nationals system by Baseball America entering 2013.

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