September calling: Lombardozzi almost perfect in the field

Nationals manager Davey Johnson has mentioned a few of the organization’s top prospects the last few weeks as possibilities for September call-ups when rosters expand.

Pitchers like Brad Peacock and Tom Milone, field players Chris Marrero, Corey Brown and Steve Lombardozzi and veterans such as Craig Stammen, Yunesky Maya and Roger Bernandina have all been talked about as those players at Triple-A Syracuse that could be donning Washington Nationals uniforms as early as next week.

This week, we will take a look at the season capsules for a few of these top prospects, and will begin with second baseman Stephen Lombardozzi.

The Fulton, Md., native is the son of Steve Lombardozzi, who played parts of six seasons with the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros from 1985-1990. He hit .370 in 28 games in 1985, won a World Series with the Twins in 1987 and hit .233 for his career.

Nationals bench coach Pat Corrales, who alongside Johnson followed the organization’s top prospects all summer prior to Jim Riggleman’s resignation, told me he believes the younger Lombardozzi can be a better major league player than his dad. The statistics the younger Lombardozzi has put on the board in the minors would seem to substantiate that claim.

Lombardozzi is batting .319 with 12 doubles, two triples, four homers and 27 RBI in 61 games at Syracuse after putting up equally impressive numbers for Double-A Harrisburg before being promoted two months into the season.

It is no secret that the 22-year-old (23 on September 20) Lombardozzi can hit, but the more eye-opening statistic this season might be his fielding numbers. Lombardozzi has committed just two errors all season.

Nationals director of player development Doug Harris said Lombardozzi has proven he is an all-around player because of his defensive skills.

“He has been tremendously consistent all season offensively,” Harris said. “What has really stood out to us is that he has done so well defensively, even with Syracuse moving him all over the infield, at every position. He hasn’t missed a beat.”

It will be exciting to see how Lombardozzi meshes with the Nationals’ infield in Danny Espinosa and Ian Desmond. It will also be interesting to see if Lombardozzi will play second base exclusively or also get some work at shortstop.

The bottom line is the 19th-round selection from the 2008 first-year draft is ready to play in the big leagues and September 2 we could see that happen at Nationals Park.

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