Minor league updates: Bourque, Rodriguez, Crowe, Ward, Gutierrez and Agustin

Right-hander James Bourque is looking good so far at high Single-A Potomac. The 24-year-old former Michigan Wolverine is 2-1 with a 1.69 ERA in 11 games with two saves. He was a 14th rounder in 2014. "James Bourque is having an outstanding start in Potomac, somebody that is now two years removed from Tommy John," said Nationals director of player development Mark Scialabba. "Plus fastball, ... read more

Juan Soto promoted to Double-A Harrisburg

Well, that didn't take too long. Outfielder Juan Soto has been promoted to Double-A Harrisburg, according to a top Nationals source, just 17 days after moving up to high Single-A Potomac. Soto was with Potomac from April 23 to May 9. He began the season at low Single-A Hagerstown. Just 40 days into the season, he has moved to Harrisburg. In those 40 days, he ... read more

Juan Soto crushing Carolina League pitching, playing some center field

Juan Soto continued to pummel minor league pitching last week with a .522 average and five homers, earning the 19-year-old the Carolina League Player of the Week honors. Nationals director of player development Mark Scialabba said having a healthy Soto means everyone gets to see what the system's hottest prospect is capable of producing. Soto has recorded at least a base hit in 12 of ... read more

Close proximity of affiliates helps Nationals function more efficiently

One element of the minor league system that has been an advantage for the Nationals is the close proximity of each affiliate to each other and to Washington, D.C., and most importantly, Nationals Park. Countless times, the Nats have utilized their high Single-A location in Woodbridge, Va., the Potomac Nationals, to rehab their major league players. Even low single-A Hagerstown is just over an hour ... read more

Top prospect Robles leaves Triple-A game with apparent arm injury

Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs center fielder Victor Robles dove for a fly ball in shallow left-center field Monday night in a game at Rochester and rolled over awkwardly on his left elbow. According to a video replay from WROC-TV, Robles left the game under his own power, but his left arm hung down and it was not moving as he headed to the clubhouse. See the ... read more

Triple-A Syracuse 2018 roster released

The Nationals have announced the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs roster for the 2018 season. It will be the Nats' final season in Syracuse, though it is not known where their Triple-A affiliate will be located next season. Syracuse opens its season tonight at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Randy Knorr is the manager. The pitching coach is Brad Holman and the hitting coach is Brian Daubach. Top prospect Victor Robles ... read more

Living close to spring training facility, Crowe had a jump start

Right-hander Wil Crowe was able to pitch in nine games in 2017 for the first time at the pro level. The former South Carolina standout had Tommy John surgery in 2015, so after getting his feet wet with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals and short-season Single-A Auburn Doubledays last season, Crowe is ready to take the next step in the rehab process. Crowe joined ... read more

A pair of Jacksons doing well in Nats minor league camp

Instead of The Jackson 5, how about a pair of Jacksons as we continue our minor league pitching previews? We continue with an update on right-hander Jackson Tetreault, who pitched for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nats and short-season Single-A Auburn. The 21-year-old went 2-2 with a 2.68 ERA in 12 games (six starts) in 2017, with 38 strikeouts and 17 walks over 40 1/3 ... read more

Nats believe Tomas Alastre showing ability "well beyond his years"

Nationals prospect Tomas Alastre, a 19-year-old right-hander has been bestowed accolades courtesy of MiLB.com, making its top under-21 prospect list. "He's an interesting kid," said Nationals pitching coordinator Paul Menhart. "Well beyond his years. He's got the feel for three pitches. Tall, lanky, leverage-type pitcher. He throws the fastball, curveball and changeup." The Nationals have been impressed with how quickly Alastre has picked up English ... read more

Insider's view on progress of Bryan Harper and Drew Ward

Nationals minor league roving coordinator and former Triple-A Syracuse manager Billy Gardner Jr., was a third baseman in the majors himself, so he has a unique perspective when working with third base prospect Drew Ward. Gardner believes Ward has a chance to make it to the next level. Ward had a very good start to the 2016 campaign at high Single-A Potomac, hitting .278 with ... read more

Minors to implement runner on second base in extra innings

Major League Baseball has gone back and forth this offseason on directives that could help to speed up the pace of play. Unable to come an agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association, Minor League Baseball instead will implement a good amount of these regulations starting this season. The biggest change will be an attempt to shorten games that are tied after nine innings. ... read more

Gardner with high praise for right-hander Suero

I continued my visit with Nationals minor league roving coordinator and former Triple-A Syracuse manager Billy Gardner Jr. and asked him about the breadth of Dominican talent that the organization continues to stockpile. In their 2018 Nationals prospect watch, MLB.com has Victor Robles and Juan Soto listed No. 1 and No. 2. Shortstop/third baseman shortstop Luis Garcia is at No. 6 and infielder Yasel Antuna ... read more

Gardner on his transition to minor league roving coordinator

Following four seasons as the manager of the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs, Billy Gardner Jr. takes on a new challenge within the Nationals organization as the minor league roving coordinator. Gardner said it was a new position that assistant general manager and vice president of player personnel Doug Harris brought to Gardner in the offseason. Randy Knorr would then move to Triple-A manager. Gardner is excited ... read more

Suero and Sierra off to good starts in spring training

Early spring training games are a good chance for younger players to get a shot to play in major league games. One right-handed pitcher for the Nationals, Wander Suero, has gotten off to a very good start. He has not allowed a run in four appearances. Suero pitched in games on Feb. 23 and 27, and March 2 and 4. He has recorded seven strikeouts ... read more

De Aza returns to Nationals on minor league deal

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla - Alejandro De Aza has returned to the Nationals, though not to the big league roster. The Nats have signed De Aza to a minor league contract, the club announced. The veteran outfielder did not receive an invitation to major league camp, but he will be in uniform and available to play off the bench for today's game against the Mets. ... read more

What will it take for Nashville to become Nats' Triple-A home?

The Nationals are looking for a new Triple-A home for the 2019 season following the Mets' announcement they will take over in Syracuse after the upcoming campaign. The Mets will be leaving Las Vegas after the 2018 season, and the 51s have a new stadium for their new team come 2019 in the nearby Summerlin neighborhood, which is in the northwestern part of the city. ... read more

Nats re-sign with Harrisburg through 2020 season

The Washington Nationals officially announced today that they have signed a two-year player development contract extension to remain with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators through the 2020 season. The Nats and Senators had previously been signed up through the upcoming 2018 campaign, and this continues a 14-year relationship includes a total of 28 seasons that began with the Expos. "Dating back nearly 30 years - the ... read more

Former GM O'Dowd on Soto and Kieboom

Former major league general manager and current MLB Network analyst Dan O'Dowd said outfielder Juan Soto, ranked at No. 29 on MLB.com's top 100 prospects list, is another nice outfield prospect that brings a lot to the table, but a little bit different than what you would see from top Nationals prospect Victor Robles, who sits at No. 6. "I've watched video on Soto and ... read more

Former GM compares Victor Robles to "an Andrew McCutchen" type player

MLB.com's top 100 prospects had three Nationals players on their list, including center fielder Victor Robles at No. 6. Also making the list was outfielder Juan Soto at No. 29 and shortstop Carter Kieboom at No. 90. I checked in with MLB Network analyst and former Colorado Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd to break down each of these players. O'Dowd got the chance to see ... read more

MLB.com singles out Robles, Soto and Kieboom in top 100

MLB.com released its annual top 100 prospects list and the Nationals had three players ranked. Center fielder Victor Robles was listed at No. 6, while outfielder Juan Soto is No. 29 and shortstop Carter Kieboom checks in at No. 90. This list was in contrast to the Baseball America 2018 preliminary release, which had only Robles and Soto in the top 100. MLB.com said the ... read more

P-Nats confirm Pfitzner lease until 2020, continue new stadium search

The Single-A Potomac Nationals confirmed at their Hot Stove Banquet on Sunday that the club has extended its lease to play at Pfitzner Stadium until the 2020 season. They also have the option to end the lease early if they are able to find the opportunity to move into a new stadium elsewhere. Owner Art Silber, who continues to spearhead the new stadium campaign, could ... read more

Robles No. 5, Soto No. 56 on Baseball America top 100 (plus note on Garcia)

Here are some final insights from Double-A Harrisburg pitching coach Michael Tejera about three top Nationals prospects he has coached or seen play over the last few seasons. Center fielder Victor Robles is such an elite prospect he earned a spot on the Nationals' postseason roster. He also was named the MVP at the Fall Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League. Robles is mentioned ... read more

Nats prospects spotlight: Gutierrez and Johnson

Continuing insight from Arizona Fall League play and the impact that experience will have on some of the top prospects in the Nationals organization, we turn to a couple of the position players, third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez and center fielder Daniel Johnson. Mesa Solar Sox pitching coach Michael Tejera said Gutierrez bounced back from getting his hand spiked early on in AFL play to finish ... read more

Nats prospects spotlight: Bacus, Williams and Gushue

We have more insight from Mesa Solar Sox pitching coach Michael Tejera on the battery of Nationals pitchers and catchers employed in the Arizona Fall League this season. Right-hander Dakota Bacus appeared in eight games and 10 1/3 innings for the Solar Sox. Although he logged a 5.23 ERA in Arizona, he had an amazing year through two levels for the Nationals. Bacus combined to ... read more

Nats pitching prospect spotlight: Kyle McGowin and Jimmy Cordero

The spotlight is shining now on a pair of Nationals prospects that pitched for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. Right-hander Kyle McGowin notched three wins in six starts for the Mesa. He recorded 27 strikeouts with no walks. His pitching coach in the AFL, Michael Tejera, said McGowin did well for himself as he prepares for 2018. The 26-year-old McGowin throws ... read more

Nats pitching prospect spotlight: Ben Braymer

Left-hander Ben Braymer made the move from short-season Single-A Auburn to low Single-A Hagerstown in 2017 and got to work a simulated game against Nationals hitters prior to the National League Division Series versus the Cubs at Nationals Park The Auburn product went 5-2 with 3.99 ERA in 65 1/3 innings over 13 games. Braymer, 23, struck out 76 batters and walked only 21 on ... read more

No. 1 Nats prospect: Victor Robles

The top prospect in the Nationals system, according to Baseball America, comes as no surprise to anyone, and that is center fielder Victor Robles. He was so good that he made the Nats' postseason roster even though he had only a handful of major league games under his belt before the Nats faced the Cubs in the National League Division Series. One part of his ... read more

Nats take Wilson, Fleck in Triple-A phase of Rule 5 draft

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Nationals neither made a selection nor lost any players the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft today at the Winter Meetings. But they improved their organizational depth with a pair of picks in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5. In the first round of the minor league phase, the Nationals selected second baseman Jacob Wilson off ... read more

Previewing the Rule 5 draft

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Thursday morning's Rule 5 draft is the last order of business at the Winter Meetings, and while the Nationals probably won't add anyone to their 40-man roster, it's possible they could lose one or more prospects. Teams with openings on their 40-man rosters are allowed to select players who were first signed at 18 and not added to a club's ... read more

No. 2 Nats prospect: Juan Soto

Two outstanding outfielders round out the list of top 10 Nationals prospects for 2018, according to Baseball America: Juan Soto and Victor Robles. This entry is devoted to Soto and his immense potential for this upcoming season. Baseball America national writer Carlos Collazo said injuries slowed Soto's maturation process in 2017, but that only means that 2018 could be crazy good for the outfielder - ... read more

No. 3 Nats prospect: Erick Fedde

The next hurler on the list of top 10 Nationals prospects from Baseball America got a chance to pitch in the big leagues last season, and although it probably didn't go as well as he had hoped, the experience will be invaluable for him down the road. No. 3 RHP Erick Fedde "I think that's a great point," said Baseball America national writer Carlos Collazo. ... read more

No. 4 Nats prospect: Carter Kieboom

The Nationals drafted catcher Spencer Kieboom in 2012. He played for Triple-A Syracuse for 47 games last season and hit .275. He made it to the big leagues in 2016. Four years later, they drafted his brother, shortstop Carter Kieboom, in the first round. Carter Kieboom, 20, has been elevated to the top 10 Nationals prospects list, according to Baseball America. He was able to ... read more

No. 5 Nats prospect: Seth Romero

Seth Romero's tenure as a pitcher at the University of Houston did not end the way he would have liked, but he has the confidence of the Nationals and is looking to prove he was worthy of a high draft pick. Baseball America agrees that Romero is a talent and he already ranks No. 5 on their top 10 Nats prospect list. But national writer ... read more

No. 6 Nats prospect: Luis Garcia

One player that maybe a lot of Nationals fans may not be familiar with is a teenage second baseman from New York City named Luis Garcia. He can also play shortstop, and moves up from No. 7 on last year's Baseball America list of top Nationals prospects. No. 6 2B/SS Luis Garcia This is a young prospect. Look at his date of birth and it's ... read more

No. 7 Nats prospect: Wil Crowe

It is good that this list finally has a top 10 Nationals prospect who is a starting pitcher. With the likes of Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo López and Dane Dunning traded away, some new arms needed to take those pitchers' places in the system. The Nats are always keen on Southeastern Conference pitching and a team with College World Series experience like South Carolina is always ... read more

No. 8 Nats prospect: Daniel Johnson

The Nationals have done a very good job in recent years building depth in the outfield. Everyone talks about Victor Robles and Juan Soto, but there is another outfielder who is turning heads in their minor leagues and that is Daniel Johnson. Baseball America has Johnson as the No. 8 overall prospect in the Nats system. No. 8 OF Daniel Johnson Johnson played center field ... read more

No. 9 Nats prospect: Raudy Read

Next on the list is a player who reached the major league level with the Nationals in 2017 and played in eight games in September. Catcher Raudy Read recorded 11 at-bats and notched three singles for a .273 average in his limited time up with the big boys. With the uncertainty at backup catcher in 2018, Read could get a long look at that spot ... read more

No. 10 Nats prospect: Yasel Antuna

It is time to begin our countdown of the top 10 Nationals prospects according to Baseball America. We bring in national writer Carlos Collazo to break down each prospect, beginning with No. 10. No. 10: SS Yasel Antuna Collazo likes what Antuna brings to the table. At 6-foot, 170 lbs., Antuna has the body to be able to generate power on offense. For the rookie-level ... read more

Gutierrez and McGowin leading Mesa toward AFL title game

Despite playing only 10 games, third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez is leading his Arizona Fall League team in batting with a .414 average. His club, the Mesa Solar Sox, are 15-10-1 and have a 2 1/2-game lead atop the East Division with only a handful of games remaining. Gutierrez has 12 hits, a triple, a homer, six runs and eight RBIs. All 12 of those hits ... read more

Nats pitching prospect spotlight: RHP Gabe Klobosits

On a scheduled off-day during the Nationals' National League Division Series matchup against the Cubs in early October, a few of the Nats' young pitching prospects got to pitch batting practice at the club's top hitters. One of those prospects was right-hander Gabe Klobosits out of Auburn University. A 2017 36th-round selection, Klobosits, 22, is a big dude, standing 6-foot-7 and weighing 270 lbs. In ... read more

Baseball America: Nationals system strong at catcher and shortstop

It's that time of year. Getting ready for Thanksgiving and then the holidays before New Year's Day as the weather turns colder and the days shorter. At least Daylight Savings Time has kicked in so the kids don't have to walk to the school bus stop in the dark. It's also time to get ready for our annual Nats Top 10 countdown via the expertise ... read more

Victor Robles MVP of Fall Stars Game (plus AFL update)

Outfielder Victor Robles continues to impress in different settings, demonstrating his advanced skill set during the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Saturday night Robles won MVP honors in lifting the East past the West All-Stars 4-2 at Salt River Fields. He went 1-for-3 with a walk, stolen base, two runs scored and an RBI. Robles opened the game in the ... read more

Robles No. 1 in Baseball America's top 10 Nats prospects list

Baseball America has released its top 10 Nationals prospects for 2018 and, to no surprise, the No. 1 prospect is center fielder Victor Robles. Robles is also No. 8 overall in the publication's Major League Baseball top 100 prospects list. This is the first time that Robles has been listed as the top Nationals prospect after right-hander Lucas Giolito held the top spot for three ... read more

Nats prospects head for winter league play

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. ... read more

Single-A Hagerstown recaps: Perkins, Sharp, Noll, Kieboom, Soto

Center fielder Blake Perkins made nice strides in 2017. The 21-year-old hit .297 down the stretch for low Single-A Hagerstown. His slash line was .255/.354/.378. His 31 steals were sixth overall in the South Atlantic League. In 129 games, Perkins collected 27 doubles, four triples, eight homers and 48 RBIs. "Blake Perkins is a guy that sets up well for me," said Hagerstown manager Patrick ... read more

Nats AFL prospect: 3B Kelvin Gutierrez

The Nationals have been pleased with the progress of third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez. Despite an injury in 2017, they thought so much of him they placed him on their Arizona Fall League entrant, the Mesa Solar Sox. 3B Kelvin Gutierrez Age: 23 6-3, 185 lbs. Bats: Right Throws: Right Pimentel, Dominican Republic Round 5 (2016) 2017 season: POT, GCL Gutierrez played well for the Rookie-level ... read more

Nats AFL prospect: CF Daniel Johnson

The Nationals have another excellent crop of players playing for their Arizona Fall League affiliate for the 2017 season. I will be checking in with their progress and give you some background on a few of them throughout the offseason. CF Daniel JohnsonAge: 22 5-10, 185 lbs. Bats: Left Throws: Left New Mexico State Round 5 (2016) 2017 season: HAG, POT Johnson slashed .298/.356/.505 for ... read more

Mets agree to purchase Triple-A Syracuse, Nats will need new affiliate in 2019

The Nationals will need a new Triple-A affiliate in 2019 because the Mets have reportedly reached an agreement to purchase the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs, according to Syracuse.com. The Nats have played their Triple-A games in Syracuse since 2009. The Chiefs have operated at a loss every season since 2006, except in 2010. This means the Nationals will have one more season in Syracuse, through the ... read more

2017 Nationals fall instructional league roster and schedule

Here is an exclusive look at the Nationals' fall instructional league roster for 2017. The report date in Sunday in West Palm Beach, Fla., and their first workout is Monday, Sept. 18. The last day is Oct. 7. Schedule: Sept. 25 - at Astros Sept. 26 - Camp day Sept. 27 - Camp day Sept. 28 - Astros Sept. 29 - Camp day Sept. 30 ... read more

P-Nats offense spotlight: Sagdal, Wiseman, Gushue, Davidson, Johnson

I sat down with high Single-A Potomac Nationals manager Tripp Keister as the club embarked on a road trip this weekend into Winston-Salem. Keister likes what he has seen in the work ethic of his ballclub and went over a few of the offensive players on the P-Nats and their season's work to date: First baseman Ian Sagdal: .251/.303/.397, .324 in last 10 games "He's ... read more