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This is 40: Aaron Barrett

Right-hander Aaron Barrett made a huge jump this season. Going from low Single-A to Double-A doesn’t happen every day. But Barrett showed he belonged with an amazing start to finish, displaying closer stuff, beginning all the way back in the 2012 Arizona Fall League. It all came together this month when the 25-year-old Barrett got one of those phone calls he had dreamed about. His

Dominican academy update on Suero, Franco and Robles

Nationals vice president of player development Doug Harris recently returned from a trip to the team’s baseball academy in the Dominican Republic. He again had positive things to say about the progress of the academy. Nationals fans will begin to see a steady influx of players from the Dominican in the next few seasons. Every one of them started at this academy. The academy is

This is 40: Sammy Solis

Left-hander Sammy Solis was back. He had recovered from Tommy John surgery. He was pitching again in the game he loved. But something still wasn’t quite right. And he was starting to get nervous. “It was one day at a time,” Solis said on his May return to high Single-A Potomac. “Every day was different with my arm. One day, it would feel great, the

Eating Right: Bonci advocates “color on the plate” that’s not Fruit Loops

Second in a three-part series on how the Nationals are focusing on improving nutrition in the minor leagues. Read the first part here. Sports dietician Leslie Bonci, who is employed by the Nationals, has seen the change the last few years in baseball players. They want to get better, and not just by playing the sport, but by improving their strength and conditioning. Bonci said

Eating Right: Nationals have made nutrition a top priority

The Nationals recently completed their first strength and conditioning camp for prospects at their training facility in Viera, Fla. As I reported earlier, this camp was administered by the Nationals’ strength coaches and personnel and was focused on preparing prospects for their individualized offseason conditioning regimen. A major factor in this camp was the importance of nutrition for each prospect, re-emphasizing the standards the organization

Solis delivers Mesa into AFL championship game

Left-hander Sammy Solis demonstrated his ability to come through in a clutch situation again. After all, he started two championship round contests for high Single-A Potomac in September. So, this was old hat. Solis went five strong innings, scattering six hits, allowing one run on no walks with four strikeouts as Mesa downed Glendale 9-3 to advance to the AFL championship game on Saturday. Brian

Nationals Youth Baseball Academy nearing completion in D.C.

The Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy is well under construction, with three baseball fields and an 18,000 square foot training facility nearing completion at Ward 7’s Fort Dupont Park in Washington, D.C. Marla Lerner Tanenbaum, principal owner and chairperson of the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, made the announcement from the construction site on Thursday. “Major League Baseball and the city decided that there was a

Pitching prospect Mirowski building confidence in three pitches in Arizona

One of the biggest reasons why right-hander Richie Mirowski is pitching in Arizona Fall League now is a spring training introduction. Nationals pitching coordinator Spin Williams liked what he was seeing from the 24-year-old Mirowski and knew he was close to making a big step. Williams introduced Mirowski to Double-A pitching coach Paul Menhart to help with some fine-tuning on his most important pitch. “In

Host of Nationals prospects contribute in latest Mesa win

Mesa beat Surprise9-4 behind Matt Purke, Richie Mirowski, Steven Souza Jr. and Brian Goodwin on Saturday in the Arizona Fall League. Purke went four innings, scattered five hits, allowed two runs, two walks and struck out three. He is now 3-1 with a 3.91 ERA. Souza went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a stolen base. It is his 10th stolen base of the season.

Giolito and Johansen worked on repeating deliveries at instructional league last month

Right-handers Lucas Giolito and Jake Johansen made positive progress last month at the fall instructional league conducted by the Nationals in Viera, Fla. This week they completed a strength and conditioning camp at the same location. Nationals pitching coordinator Spin Williams said both looked very good in their workouts and pitching performances during the October instructional league. “Well, I think they are really on the

Souza collects two hits but Mesa falls 6-4

Mesa relinquished a 4-0 lead and fell to Glendale, 6-4 on Wednesday in Arizona Fall League play. After Nationals prospect Robert Benincasa got through the seventh unscathed, the Solar Sox bullpen fell apart, surrendering six runs in the final two frames. Benincasa threw a scoreless inning, allowing just one hit and a walk. Benincasa’s ERA is 4.00 in nine Arizona outings. Here is more on

Benincasa gaining strength and learning during “unbelievable” AFL experience

Right-hander Robert Benincasa had a very successful season in the Nationals organization. He has done so well, his season continues now in the Arizona Fall League. Benincasa was promoted from low Single-A Hagerstown to high Single-A Potomac. Along the way, he totaled an impressive 27 saves and a 3.00 ERA. He walked only 14 batters and punched out 64 over 51 innings in 45 games.

Goodwin major part of Mesa 5-4 comeback win

Nationals center field prospect Brian Goodwin crushed a two-run shot in Mesa’s 5-4 rain-shortened win over Salt River in Arizona Fall League play on Monday. Goodwin hit the two-run homer in the second to begin the scoring for Mesa, cutting the Rafters’ lead to 3-2. His homer came off of Salt River starter Grayson Garvin. Goodwin also stole his third base of the fall season.

Nationals’ 16-year-old Dominican prospect Franco shows well in fall instructional league

The Nationals’ biggest investment this offseason in Dominican talent, Anderson Franco, played very well in his debut at fall instructional league last month in Viera, Fla. Ben Badler of Baseball America reported that Franco signed with the Nationals for $900,000 last August. Franco is 6-foot-2, 190 lb., power-hitting third baseman from the Dominican Republic. The 16-year-old was rated the No. 29 international prospect by Baseball

A possibility on who will manage Double-A Harrisburg next season and AFL Fall Stars recap

With Matt LeCroy moving on to become the Nationals bullpen coach, there will be some alterations in the minor league coaching lineup. I have been told there will be some changes, but not a lot of new faces. The Nationals have made a habit of promoting from within and I expect that to be the case this upcoming season. LeCroy told me he has been

Werth, Desmond, Roark excited about new manager Matt Williams

New field manager Matt Williams made a point during his opening introductory news conference to say how thankful he was that current Nationals players Ian Desmond, Tanner Roark and Jayson Werth were in attendance. Williams said he was struck by a conversation he had with Desmond before the introduction to the media. Desmond told Williams he wanted to work a little bit harder. Williams said

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