Minor League Affiliates mirroring early Major League success
There’s a lot to be happy about with the Nationals’ 6-1 start to the season, especially if you look to the minors and see that the four affiliates who have started their seasons have a combined 16-7 record.
The Syracuse Chiefs (AAA) started hot, winning 4 of their first 5 games in which they have only allowed 9 runs. SS Trea Turner (#2 prospect in the system) is looking good already, going 7 for 15 with 5 runs, 3 steals, and a sexy 5 BB/2 K ratio. OF Brian Goodwin (#25) needs to make a strong push this season to stay relevant, and is off to a solid start, going 5 for 15 with 4 walks in 19 PA. Pitching-wise, right-handed starters A.J. Cole (#7) and Austin Voth (#9) have combined to allow 1 unearned run and 4 hits in 11 innings.
The Harrisburg Senators (AA) are a respectable 3-2 in their first week. The squad still has no HR, but they do have a few solid offensive performances, led by OF Rafael Bautista (#12), who is 5 for 15 with an awesome 9 BB/2 K ratio (not a typo), 7 runs, and 5 steals. IF prospect Wilmer Difo (#6) is 4 for 20 with 5 BB/2 K, and his double play partner Chris Bostick (#11) is 6 for 19 with 5 runs and 2 extra base hits. Backstop Spencer Kieboom (#30) has a hot start as well, going 7 for 16 with 5 RBI. Pitching performances have been a mixed bag, with consensus #1 prospect Lucas Giolito throwing 4 one-hit shutout innings in his first appearance, Reynaldo Lopez (#5) allowing 4 runs (3 earned) with 3 BB and only 2 K in his 5 inning debut, and Austen Williams (#23) putting up a solid 6 innings of 2 run ball in his first start.
The Potomac Nationals (A+) are doing their best to match their big league neighbors 30 miles north of them, with a 5-1 start to the season. They don’t have a ton of big-name prospects, but have seen solid starts to the season by 3B Drew Ward (#22; 10 for 23 with 2 HR), 1B Jose Marmolejos-Diaz (#40; 7 for 19 with 8 R, 4 extra base hits, and an 8/4 BB/K ratio), and C Raudy Read (#32; 5 for 21 with a dinger). On the mound, RHP Erick Fedde (#4) was knocked around in his first start (8 hits, 3 runs, 7 K/1 BB in 4 and 1/3 innings). RHP Phillips Valdez (#45) has an impressive 13 K to 2 BB in his first two starts of the season, and RHP Koda Glover (#17) has 7 K’s, 2 BB, and no hits or runs allowed in 4 innings.
The Hagerstown Suns (A) are the “worst” of the bunch, going 4-3 so far this season, but have provided some exciting performances so far. 19 year old OF Victor Robles (#3) picked up right where he left off last year, hitting .318/.429/.591 in his first 29 PA. 2B Max Schrock (#29) has 6 runs and .375/.483/.458 triple slash in the early going, and OF Telmito Agustin (#14) has an impressive 7 for 22 line with 1 HR, especially when you remember he’s also just 19 years old. RHP Mariano Rivera, Jr. (#34) and LHP Taylor Hearn (#27) have been lights out in relief, tossing a combined 10 and 2/3 shutout innings with 8 K’s, 3 BB and only 6 hits allowed. RHP Andrew Lee (#28) has an impressive 10 innings of 1-run ball over two starts, allowing 8 hits and 4 walks while striking out 10 batters. On the downside, C Jakson Reetz (#20) is just 1 for 11 to start the season, and RHP Jefry Rodriguez (#18) allowed 5 runs with 3 walks and 3 wild pitches in his first start of the season.