It is winter league time of year, even as the World Series heads toward Game 3. Winter league ball has always been a very important part of a baseball player’s continued evolution and a valued experience that can sometimes be that step a player needs to complete his game. Several Nationals prospects are hoping this experience now will help secure spots for 2018.
Michael A. Taylor talked about how important his winter league play was to helping him see, time and hit breaking pitches as he worked his way up the ranks to where he finally established himself with the Nats.
More players will be arriving to their winter league team by mid-November, and we will update that list at that time. Not every Nationals prospect is playing or has reported to their respective winter league ballclub, but here is a list of those that are underway:
LF Jose Marmolejos, Licey (DR) - Marmolejos, 24, is a two-time Nats organization Player of the Year and played 107 games for Double-A Harrisburg in 2017, hitting .288 with 18 doubles, four triples, 14 homers and 66 RBIs. He is hitting .281 through nine games with Licey.
SS Osvaldo Abreu, Licey (DR) - Abreu, 23, hit .246 in 125 games for Harrisburg, with 16 homers, four triples, five homers and 42 RBIs. Abreu is hitting .267 in six games with Licey.
C Jhonatan Solano, Licey (DR) - Solano, 32, played 42 games with Triple-A Syracuse, hitting .241. He has played in 43 major league games with the Nats in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Solano has played in two games with Licey.
RHP Wander Suero, Licey (DR) - Suero, 26, wants desperately for a shot at playing in the major leagues and is out to prove he belongs. These games this winter with Licey will again give him the opportunity to show how consistent he can be against top-flight opponents. Suero was honored as the Nats organization Pitcher of the Year. He has not allowed a run in 3 1/3 innings in four games with Licey.
RHP Phillips Valdez, Estrellas (DR) - Valdez, 25, pitched in 35 games with Harrisburg and Syracuse. The Nats have always been high Valdez’s potential and he would love to get better this winter with Estrellas. Valdez has two appearances for Estrellas and no runs allowed.
3B Michael Almanzar, Escogido (DR) - A potential free agent, Almanzar, 26, played in 105 games at the Triple-A level, with 44 of the games at Syracuse. He was picked up July 13 after the Toledo Mud Hens released him that week. Winter ball brings another showcase opportunity for Almanzar, who is looking for a spring training invite. Almanzar is hitting .273 so far through six games with Escogido.
1B Aldrem Corredor, Caracas (VZ) - Corredor, 21, played 120 games for low Single-A Hagerstown, hitting .275 in his last 10 games for the Suns. He had a career-high 30 doubles, five homers and 55 RBIs for manager Patrick Anderson’s club. He is hitting .125 in nine games so far for Leones.
2B Irving Falu, Obregon (MEX) - Falu, 34, hit .280 in 119 games for Syracuse, with 19 doubles, nine homers and 44 RBIs. Falu is hitting .176 in 10 games for Obregon.