With several teams in the Nationals chain doing well all season on the field, including Syracuse playing down to the final week before being eliminated, the spotlight has turned to Potomac and Harrisburg as they battle to stay alive in the postseason.
Harrisburg leads their series 1-0 over Altoona while Potomac looks to bounce back following a tough loss in Game 1 at Frederick.
It's a good reflection on the talent level a team has in its organization if you have affiliates who make the playoffs. Further, it makes a postseason invite even more impressive when those teams in the minors can maintain success after they lose their best players to the next level.
Guys like Stephen Lombardozzi, Michael Burgess, Adrian Alaniz, Dan Leatherman, Brad Peacock, Zach Dials and others played a significant portion of their season in Potomac. It helps Harrisburg improve, certainly, but then it also shows the amazing the depth the Nationals are building from the lower levels up to Potomac that the P-Nats were able to play so well in the second half and earn a postseason berth themselves.
Current Harrisburg and former Potomac manager Randy Knorr has seen pretty much every level of the Nats the past few seasons and has noticed a talent level increase, as well as a change in attitude that has been emphasized by the coaching staff.
"I was talking to field coordinator Bobby Henley about that today. I think our talent level is getting better. The one thing we push at the minor league level is you play hard," Knorr said.
"In this organization you play hard every day. We expect you to do it from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. every night, and if you don't we aren't going to play you. We don't care who you are. All the guys are starting to follow suit.
"When we started the season I had a lot of scouts tell me, 'You don't have much on your team.' As the year went on, I had the same players. Then I had scouts come up to me and say, 'Wow, you guys got a good team. I love the way you guys play. I see a lot of prospects out there.'
"So when you have the ingredient of going out there and playing hard every day, going after it from the first out to the last out, it enhances their value."