Checking in on Nats farmhands in AFL play

That warmth emanating from the hot stove delayed the semi-regular check of Nationals’ prospects’ exploits in the Arizona Fall League, so let’s spend a few minutes seeing how the Scottsdale Scorpions are faring against the rest of the AFL.

Last night, the Scorpions topped the Phoenix Devil Dogs, 5-1. Nats farmhand Steve Lombardozzi led off, played second base and went 1-for-4 with an RBI single in the seventh inning, while Michael Burgess, fresh off the Rising Stars game, played right field and went 1-for-4 with a two-run, second-inning triple.

Cole Kimball pitched a scoreless ninth inning, allowing a hit, a walk and striking out a batter. It was his sixth straight outing without yielding a run, and the right-hander’s ERA was lowered to 0.82.

Catcher Derek Norris continues to pace Washington representatives playing for Scottsdale in the AFL. He’s hitting .277 (13-for-47) with five doubles, a triple and a team-high four homers, and is tied for the teal lead with19 RBIs. Norris has drawn 11 walks for a .417 on-base percentage.

Lombardozzi is batting .273 (18-for-66) with six doubles, two triples, four RBIs. Burgess has his average up to .246 (14-for-57) with a homer, three doubles, a triple and 11 RBIs.

Despite playing only twice a week on the Scorpions’ taxi squad, last year’s No. 1 draft pick, Bryce Harper, continues to impress. He is hitting .357 (10-for-28) with, two doubles, two triples, a home run and six RBIs. Six bases on balls have contributed to a .419 on-base percentage.

On the mound, Kimball has struck out 14 in 11 innings, while walking two. Burly right-hander Adam Carr is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in eight relief appearances. He has issued three walks and fanned six in 11 innings.

Righty Brad Peacock has been struggling, working to a 4.91 ERA in eight bullpen outings. He’s given up nine hits and walked three, but his 16 strikeouts in 11 innings are impressive. Sammy Solis is 1-0 with a 4.35 ERA in five starts. The southpaw has yielded 21 hits and seven walks in a team-leading 20 2/3 innings, while striking out 10. His most recent start on Wednesday was his best: Solis allowed a run on two hits and a walk in five innings to pick up his first victory of the fall.

The Scorpions, managed by Double-A Harrisburg skipper Randy Knorr, entertain the Peoria Saguaros tonight at 6:35 p.m., desert time. Scottsdale is 17-9 and holds a four-game lead over second-place Mesa in the AFL East.