The Gulf Coast Nationals have already clinched a postseason berth with their incredible record and domination of their division and league this season.
The camaraderie displayed has been a key component of their success, to go with a very talented corps of prospects that will help fortify the Nationals organization for years to come.
The Nationals’ top pitching prospect, right-hander Lucas Giolito, said the squad has bonded from the first day of workouts and has never looked back.
“We have really jelled together,” Giolito said. “We are all friends with each other, off the field, on the field. I never knew that a professional team could get this close personally and be such great friends.
“Go golfing together, go to dinner, lunch, whatever and then on the field play so well together. It is really astounding, but it is such an awesome thing to be a part of.”
Giolito said the GCL Nats have focused on the task at hand by acting like professionals on and off the field, and sticking to a motto that keeps them on task.
“We have the Nats shirt with the logo on the front and on the back it says ‘No panic,.’ ” Giolito said. “That has kind of been our logo for everything. As far as in any game situation no matter what whether it is two outs and nobody on, big bunt situation or bases loaded, bottom of the ninth inning.
“Take the game one pitch at a time, and one moment at a time, and not panic in any situation, just play the game the right way. Obviously we have been doing that.”
The GCL Nationals are 42-8 (.840) in first place in the East Division. They have a 21-game lead over the GCL Cardinals and GCL Marlins.
Update: According to MiLB.com transactions, Giolito was promoted to short-season Auburn today.
* Left-hander Brett Mooneyham went seven innings and allowed three hits for the win in low Single-A Hagerstown’s 4-0 shutout of the Asheville Tourists on Saturday. Hagerstown has won seven in a row. Sunday’s game was rained out.
Mooneyham struck out a season-high nine hitters and walked none. He has won six games in a row. The former Stanford Cardinal has a 1.94 ERA in 93 innings over 17 starts. He has 79 strikeouts to 41 walks and has not lost since July 17.
Nats have a good amount of starting pitching in the system, it has always been a major strength of the franchise. But Mooneyham is tracking toward high Single-A Potomac soon and could receive an invitation to the Arizona Fall League.
* Triple-A Syracuse outfielder Jeff Kobernus has been named the International League Batter of the week.
According to the Chiefs release, “Over the past seven days, Kobernus hit .375 and led the International League with 12 hits and six stolen bases. Kobernus hit safely in his first seven games this week, including a 4-4 effort Thursday night in which he delivered the game-winning RBI to beat Lehigh Valley 2-1. He also had his eighth multi-steal game of 2013 on Monday. Kobernus is now 2nd in the IL with a .323 batting average this season and is tied for 2nd in the League with 39 stolen bases. He’s also hit in 14 consecutive games - three shy of a season high for any Chiefs player, behind Rahl’s 17-game hit streak.”