Difo and Yezzo having big weeks in Hagerstown

Nationals prospect Wilmer Difo is riding a six-game hitting streak and continues to impress at low Single-A Hagerstown.

He is batting .407 (11-for-27) in those six games. He had three hits at West Virginia and four hits against Kannapolis just in the last week. Difo hit a two-run shot to break a 4-4 tie in that Kannapolis game, and the Suns ended up winning 9-4.

Hagerstown director of broadcasting/media relations Eli Pearlstein said Saturday’s performance by Difo was the best he has seen this year.

“The home run he hit, which was crushed over the left field foul pole, came off his bat at 107 mph (it was a 94 mph pitch),” Pearlstein said. “His double in his final at-bat was hit into the gap in right-center and rolled to the wall so it looked like it had the chance to be a triple and finish of the cycle, but for whatever reason Difo played it safe and didn’t try for three.”

In a 5-3 win Sunday, Difo stole home for the Suns’ first run. He has 42 stolen bases in 117 games, and has been caught only nine times, an 82 percent success rate.

His OPS is 1.059 the last 10 games and he is batting .341 during that span. He only struck out seven times in those 41 at-bats.

Difo, similar to Denard Span’s streak, has reached base in 35 consecutive games.

The 22-year-old Dominican is pound-for-pound the strongest of his weight class in the Nationals system, having proven that in last year’s offseason strength and conditioning program. He is a 6-foot, 175 lb., switch-hitting infielder.

Hagerstown first baseman Jimmy Yezzo is also raking. In the last 10 games, Yezzo is batting .463 (19-for-41) with four doubles and nine RBIs. Pearlstein says Yezzo is on a 10-game hitting streak (including six multi-hit games over that span) and has a hit in 15 of his last 16 games.

The 22-year-old lefty bat out of the University of Delaware is batting .270 with 10 homers and 47 RBIs in 106 games this season for the Suns.

* If you are good enough, and there is a need, you will be called up. Nationals president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo has made it crystal clear that he’s not afraid to give players the promotion to the big leagues. Outfielder Michael Taylor played for Hagerstown less than three years ago. He played only four games at the Triple-A level before being called to the Nationals.

One would think top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito would be the first to make it to the big leagues, but guys like Difo are examples of players that can be fast movers. Rizzo is not afraid to send off top prospects either in trades, if it means they can get a shot at a pitcher like Gio Gonzalez or a starting second baseman this year in Asdrubal Cabrera.

Sometimes these players must feel like they are more than 70 miles from D.C., but just ask Steven Souza or Blake Treinen or even Tanner Roark, the call to the big leagues can happen pretty quickly when you show you can play and there is a team need.

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