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Accelerated development program reaches capacity this weekend

The Nationals’ accelerated development program will have all participants in camp this weekend as they continue to work toward March 4 and their first game against the Astros. There were 30 to 40 players in camp this week. The rest of the players will complete the roster by Saturday. What is it like for these advanced prospects each day while the major league players work

Harrisburg introduces new mayfly batting practice cap for 2014

The Double-A Harrisburg Senators announced Thursday they will have a new on-field batting practice cap worn by players, coaches and staff for the upcoming 2014 season. The New Era fitted cap is blue with a blue bill and a red button on top, with a mayfly depicted on the front panel. “We really wanted to capture something that is unique to us with this new

Steven Souza on quest for big leagues: “I want to be ready”

Outfielder Steven Souza is continuing his upper trend after a solid campaign last season with Double-A Harrisburg and an even better showing in the Arizona Fall League. Alongside Matt Skole, Souza is considered one of the top power hitting prospects in the Nationals’ system. I caught up with Souza this week and he talked about the start spring training in Viera, Fla., with the Nationals.

Nationals’ minor league games are scheduled close to local fans

I was putting together a schedule for Nationals minor league games that will be located within driving distance of Nationals Park for the 2014 season. Here are the list of reachable games and the names of each stadium. I also put in the distances for Syracuse, Harrisburg and Auburn home games if you are considering a summer road trip to see some of the future

Phillies’ actions with college players likely won’t benefit other teams

The Phillies’ decision to turn in an unsigned college draft pick to the NCAA for engaging the services of an agent acting as an advisor appeared this week to at least temporarily hurt their standing in the eyes of some agents who take care of those college baseball players. It also might, in turn, have an adverse effect on their opportunities to sign some players

Wave of Dominican prospects starts work in accelerated development program

Today is the first day of the accelerated development program for the Nationals prospects in Viera, Fla. Earlier this week, we got an exclusive look at the roster, so now let’s break down some of those roster highlights. Focusing on the pitchers, right-handers Lucas Giolito, Jake Johansen, Dakota Bacus and Austin Voth, and left-hander Brett Mooneyham are on this roster. It will be intriguing to

Exclusive: Nationals’ accelerated development roster revealed

MASNsports.com has obtained an advance copy of the accelerated development program roster for the Nationals. It is a collection of top prospects in the system all in one place for intense, hands-on instruction during spring training. If you don’t see a big name below, they are most likely in the major league camp. Players report to Viera, Fla., and begin camp on Friday, Feb. 21.

Signal crossing: Williams and Henley working on signs at third base

One of the coaches making a big move this season besides new manager Matt Williams is Bobby Henley. Henley moves from minor league field coordinator to Nationals third base coach this season. It helps that Williams has a lot of experience as a first and third base coach himself with the Diamondbacks from 2010-13. In the first week of camp, Williams is working on the

New Triple-A Syracuse manager remembers Lobaton excelling in Tampa system

Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs manager Billy Gardner was in the Tampa Bay Rays organization for several years and had a chance to skipper newly acquired backup catcher Jose Lobaton while with the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits. “I always liked the way he handed the pitching staff,” Gardner said. “That was the one thing that stood out. He was a good communicator. He took a lot of pride

Nationals Youth Baseball Academy on target for March 3 opening

The Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, designed for elementary and middle school students in D.C., continues to put the finishing touches on the facility as it prepares for a March 3 opening at Fort Dupont Park. There has been amazing progress at the facility and grounds since the last time we visited the site in November. Compare them to the pictures here to see the big

A look in on prospects Solis, Purke and Goodwin

A pair of the top pitching prospects in the Nationals organization are hoping to make a nice jump this season. Left-handers Sammy Solis and Matt Purke have had a similar track recently as they return from injury to pitch well. Solis returned to pitch early in the season for High Single-A Potomac. He pitched in some crucial elimination games for the P-Nats and for the

Under new manager, expect Triple-A Syracuse to contend for IL crown

Triple-A Syracuse will feature the only manager joining the system after spending last season in another organization. Billy Gardner Jr. comes over from the Tampa Bay Rays after managing the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits. Director of player development Mark Scialabba said the Nationals are lucky to have a manager such as Gardner joining the organization. “Billy is going to bring a lot of experience to the

An early look at how Double-A Harrisburg’s lineup shakes out

Harrisburg should once again have a talented crew as one would expect, considering Double-A is normally the stopping point for an organization’s best prospects. It will be interesting to see what the Nationals decide for the Senators in the outfield. Center fielder Michael Taylor, the Single-A Potomac Nationals’ 2013 Player of the Year, and outfielder Caleb Ramsey are good choices. Center fielder Brian Goodwin could

Nationals’ philosophy regarding Tommy John surgery recovery appears to be successful strategy

Stephen Strasburg. Jordan Zimmermann. Sammy Solis. Lucas Giolito. Taylor Jordan. The list goes on and on of Nationals pitchers that have undergone Tommy John surgery and returned. Even a position player, Matt Skole had to undergo the procedure after a freak injury to his elbow at first base early last season. It is a surgery that is much more commonplace in today’s baseball world. No

Nats No. 1 prospect: Lucas Giolito

Drum roll please, it’s time to announce Baseball America’s No. 1 Nats prospect. It is, of course, 19-year-old right-hander Lucas Giolito, which comes as no surprise. Giolito rebounded from Tommy John surgery to post solid numbers in his first true pro season within the Nationals organization. In eight games with Rookie-level Gulf Coast Nationals and three starts at short-season Single-A Auburn, Giolito went 2-1 with

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