Nats prospect watch: Braymer fine-tunes changeup in big league camp

Nationals pitching coordinator Brad Holman said left-hander Ben Braymer had been focusing on his mechanics with his changeup at spring training before the shutdown. The 25-year-old out of Auburn started 26 games and tossed 139 innings last season. The MLB Pipeline No. 22 Nats prospect, Braymer made one start in spring training and worked in three games. No. 22 Ben Braymer "He's doing good. Obviously, ... read more

Nats prospect watch: Romero ready to pitch in 2020

Here is an update on left-hander Seth Romero (Twitter: @sethromero21), who missed all of 2019 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. The 23-year-old was a 2017 first-round selection out of the University of Houston. MLB Pipeline ranks Romero as the No. 9 Nationals prospect in their top 30. No. 9 Seth Romero "He was another one who came to the instructional league and minicamp ... read more

Nats prospect watch: Cate working on fastball command

Good update here on left-hander Tim Cate and his progression prior to the shutdown. Nationals minor league pitching coordinator Brad Holman said Cate was making nice strides at camp and focusing on a few mechanical adjustments prior to the season beginning. Holman said they got started early this year with Cate in West Palm Beach. Cate, 6-foot and 185 lbs., is listed at No. 8 ... read more

Nats prospect watch: Denaburg building strength back in shoulder

A promising future awaits right-hander Mason Denaburg, who is looking to get back to full health and get back to baseball once the season (hopefully) gets back on track. The 20-year-old Denaburg was a first-round 2018 selection for the Nationals, but has been recovering from shoulder issues this offseason and had most recently started throwing again in spring training. MLB Pipeline has Denaburg at No. ... read more

Nats prospect watch: Crowe gaining valuable experience at every level

My continuing conversation with Nationals minor league pitching coordinator Brad Holman got to the point where I asked him if the coaching staff had used the World Series success by Nats starters when working with their future prospects. Holman said they did. Back in January he brought the pitchers together and showed them strategies and pitch selections that Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Max Scherzer and ... read more

Baseball America Nats No. 1 prospect: 3B Carter Kieboom

No. 1 Carter Kieboom With All-Star Anthony Rendon moving on to the Angels this offseason, top Nationals prospect Carter Kieboom has an opportunity to take over at third base in 2020. Baseball America Nats correspondent Lacy Lusk said prior to spring training that Kieboom has demonstrated he is worth the risk at that important spot. "I think he's certainly worth giving a chance," Lusk said. ... read more

Baseball America Nats No. 2 prospect: SS Luis Garcia

No. 2 Luis Garcia Baseball America Nats correspondent Lacy Lusk says shortstop Luis Garcia didn't get off to the best start last season, but then was able to hit better as the year progressed. Garcia hit .241 with no homers and 12 RBIs in the first half of 2019. In the second half, he hit .272 with four homers and 18 RBIs. He was able ... read more

Baseball America Nats No. 3 prospect: RHP Jackson Rutledge

The Nationals' core prospect structure is based around starting pitching, and that is exemplified in the selection of right-hander Jackson Rutledge with their first-round draft pick from 2019. Rutledge arrived after a solid season at San Jacinto Junior College in Texas, and fires to the plate from a 6-foot-8, 250-lb. frame. Baseball America has the big right-hander locked in as the Nats' No. 3 prospect ... read more

Baseball America Nats No. 4 prospect: RHP Wil Crowe

The Nationals started Wil Crowe, one of their top prospects, in Monday's Grapefruit League matchup against the Mets. The right-hander (0-1) allowed a second-inning solo homer to Wilson Ramos, but pitched two innings with that one hit, one strikeout and no walks allowed in the 2-1 loss. Crowe displayed outstanding endurance in 2019 with 26 starts, between Double-A and Triple-A, going 7-10 with a 4.70 ... read more

Baseball America Nats No. 5 prospect: LHP Tim Cate

The Nationals have a talented left-handed pitcher in Tim Cate, who continues to get notice in the Baseball America Nats top 10 in 2020. The southpaw showed well last season for high Single-A Potomac and comes in at No. 5 this season. No. 5 Tim Cate Baseball America Nats correspondent Lacy Lusk said the University of Connecticut product demonstrated he belonged in the Carolina League ... read more

Baseball America Nats No. 6 prospect: 3B/1B Drew Mendoza

First base is a coveted spot in the Nationals organization, especially with Ryan Zimmerman not an everyday player anymore and the club using the likes of veterans Howie Kendrick and Eric Thames at that spot. Former Florida State standout Drew Mendoza has a shot to turn some heads in the near future and become that top candidate for a corner infield spot, similar to the ... read more

Baseball America Nats No. 7 prospect: RHP Andry Lara

This should be the year Nationals fans can track the progress on the field of the No. 7 prospect in the system, according to Baseball America, right-hander Andry Lara. Lara just turned 17 on Jan. 6)and is a hard-throwing starter who is not afraid to go after hitters. The Coro, Venezuela, native is expected to get some work in the Nats' Rookie-level system. Baseball America's ... read more

Baseball America Nats No. 8 prospect: RHP Mason Denaburg

The Nationals would like to see 2018 first-round selection Mason Denaburg build innings this upcoming season after battling through nagging injuries in 2019. The 20-year-old starter dealt with a shoulder issue that prevented him from enjoying most of his 2019 campaign. Baseball America Nats correspondent Lacy Lusk agrees this is an important year coming up for Denaburg. The right-hander is locked in as Baseball America's ... read more

Baseball America Nats No. 9 prospect: SS Yasel Antuna

At No. 9 on the Baseball America top 10 Nationals prospects list is 20-year-old shortstop Yasel Antuna. Antuna is from Peravia, D.R., and is a switch-hitter who battled injuries in 2019, which held him to only three games for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals. In 2018, Antuna played in 87 games for Single-A Hagerstown. The infielder slashed .220/.293/.331 with 14 doubles, two triples, six ... read more

Baseball America Nats No. 10 prospect: LHP Seth Romero

Counting down the Nationals' top 10 prospects in 2020, according to the latest Baseball America list, we begin at No. 10 with southpaw Seth Romero, the club's first-round selection in 2017. Romero worked his way back from Tommy John surgery last season and is expected to make his first appearance in minor league play since 2018. I caught up with him in last year's spring ... read more

FredNats on schedule for new stadium opening April 23

A top official for the Fredericksburg Nationals said the construction of the team's new home is on schedule, and that he is confident the venue will be ready for the 2020 season. The parent Nationals' high Single-A affiliate - formerly the Potomac Nationals or P-Nats - is moving to Fredericksburg, Va., from its previous home in Woodbridge, Va. The club began playing in Woodbridge in ... read more

Freeman's consistency and versatility keys to his success

Infielder/outfielder Cole Freeman has put together two of the most consistent seasons in his first two campaigns in the Nationals organization. Along the way, Freeman has proven his ability to excel as the level of competition intensified. In his first season out of LSU in 2018, Freeman played in 122 games with low Single-A Hagerstown, slashing .266/.354/.371 with 32 doubles, three triples, three homers, 26 ... read more

Nationals make few changes to minor league staffs

The Nationals are retaining the vast majority of their minor league coaches from this season, but several will be in new roles in 2020. Among the changes announced by the club today: Longtime Double-A Harrisburg manager Matt LeCroy is shifting to a roving position as quality control coordinator, Triple-A Fresno pitching coach Brad Holman is taking over as minor league pitching coordinator and Billy Gardner ... read more

Minor League Baseball refutes Major League Baseball's claims industry is "heavily subsidized"

In the ongoing discussion regarding Major League Baseball's intention to eliminate 42 minor league teams in 2020, the two sides met during the Winter Meetings in San Diego. Following the meetings, Minor League Baseball contends MLB misrepresented several of facts "repeatedly and inaccurately" pertaining to the conditions and financial burden undertaken by each team based on the current Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA). A detailed four-page ... read more

Reetz works on fundamentals as he moves up Nats chain

Nationals catcher Jakson Reetz finished off his 2019 campaign with work in the Arizona Fall League, batting .333 with a .519 slugging percentage. "It was awesome," Reetz said. "I was really happy that I got the chance to go and play. Nationals guys, I got to play with them. I got to meet a lot of other new guys. Our team was awesome. We had ... read more

Task force created to support minor league teams

Officials from two Nationals affiliates, the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies and the low Single-A Hagerstown Suns, yesterday praised the creation of a task force organized by members of Congress to prevent Major League Baseball from eliminating 42 minor league franchises. U.S. Reps. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), David McKinley (R-W.Va.), Max Rose (D-N.Y.), and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) this week announced the formation of the Save Minor League Baseball ... read more

Double-A Harrisburg owner Mark Butler passes away at 61

The Double-A Harrisburg Senators this morning announced the sudden passing of principal owner and managing partner Mark Butler. Butler, the co-founder and CEO of Ollie's Bargain Outlet, died Sunday with his family, according to a company release. He was 61. "We are just numb. This is a tragic loss for our community. Mark was such an important part of the culture of our organization," said ... read more

Raquet on his slider and experience in the AFL

We continue our conversation with Nationals pitching prospect Nick Raquet and get more information on his slider. A left-hander with his best pitch being the slider sounds familiar. How does it compare with Patrick Corbin's slider? "It's definitely my go-to," Raquet said. "I feel like if I'm in a pinch in any situation, I'm throwing my slider. It's probably my best pitch. I kind of ... read more

Technology and a keen eye helped Raquet turn his curveball around

Left-hander Nick Raquet made some nice adjustments early in his 2019 campaign for high Single-A Potomac that allowed him to concentrate on the finer points of his breaking pitch, helping him to end up with a very positive season. In part one of our discussion, we will break down the adjustments he made to turn his year around. Raquet (Twitter: @NickRaquet) made 25 starts at ... read more

Braymer's bond with Crowe and Barrera helped him in 2019

Finishing up our conversation with Nationals pitching prospect Ben Braymer, the left-hander talked more about how he changed his grip on his changeup from two-seam to a four-seam so that coming out of his hand it looks even more like a fastball to the hitter. "I had accomplished that in Double-A, having my changeup mirror my fastball as far as arm slot goes and the ... read more

Braymer excited to join 40-man, details adjustments during 2019 season

Left-hander Ben Braymer got a thrilling phone call on Wednesday from the Nationals telling him he had been placed on the organization's 40-man roster. "I was super excited," Braymer said. "I thought I might have an opportunity for that to happen but when I got the call (Wednesday) morning, I was very, very excited. A lot of positive emotions. It was cool." In part one ... read more

Lefty Braymer is Nats' lone addition to 40-man roster

The Nationals have added Ben Braymer to their 40-man roster, protecting the minor league left-hander from being swooped up by another club in next month's Rule 5 draft. Facing an 8 p.m. Eastern time deadline to add prospects to their 40-man roster, the Nats so far have only announced the selection of Braymer, who went 4-10 with a 4.53 ERA in 26 starts between Double-A ... read more

Condra-Bogan adjusted to heavier workload in 2019

In part two of our discussion, Nationals right-handed reliever Jacob Condra-Bogan said he is working on pitches besides his fastball, including the slider and the changeup. "My changeup is probably my best secondary pitch," he said. "It's good, late tumble, low-spin-rate type pitch that moves a lot. I just don't throw it a lot, but when I do throw I think it's a very good ... read more

MLB proposal would eliminate 42 minor league teams, including two Nats affiliates

Major League Baseball has a proposal on the table that would eliminate 42 minor league teams - including the Nationals' short-season Single-A affiliate in Auburn, N.Y., and their low Single-A farm team in Hagerstown - in a reorganization plan first reported by Baseball America and the New York Times. In the statement to the New York Times, MLB said: "We are in discussions with the ... read more

During AFL, Sharp worked on slowing spin rate on sinker

To see how Sterling Sharp is a little bit different athletically than maybe your average baseball player, check out his dunking skills on his Twitter home page: Incase @MiLB or @MLB ever decides to have a dunk contest 🙋🏾‍♂️🤷🏽‍♂️ -- Sterling Sharp (@DatDude_Ster42) November 19, 2017 In part two, we continue our conversation with the 24-year-old right-hander in the Nationals system, who demonstrated his ... read more

Sharp focused on slider and sinker during AFL work

We continue our offseason capsules getting to know some of the top prospects in the Nationals system who played in the Arizona Fall League. Today the spotlight falls on right-hander Sterling Sharp. The 24-year-old from Southfield, Mich., was a 22nd-round selection in 2016. In part one of our sit-down with Sharp (Twitter: @DatDude_Ster42), we will focus on his return from an oblique injury and his ... read more

Banks worked on his approach in Arizona, now preps for 2020

In part one of our visit with Nick Banks, an outfielder in the Nationals system, we spoke about his experience in the Arizona Fall League. A valuable part of that experience is meshing with and learning from new coaches. In part two, we look into what Ken Joyce, a hitting coach from the New York Yankees organization, was able to do to help Banks with ... read more

Nick Banks making a name for himself with big jump in 2019 season

These next few weeks, we will take a look back at the Nationals prospects who played in the Arizona Fall League and get their take on the experience. The Surprise Saguaros, the pretty much unheralded group that included Nats minor leaguers, won their division and went all the way to the championship game, which they lost to Salt River 5-1. One of the stars of ... read more

Wrapping up Nats in AFL, including Garcia, Banks and Sharp in title game recently ranked the top 25 prospects who played in the Arizona Fall League. Surprise Saguaros shortstop Luis Garcia was ranked No. 15. He is the Nationals' No. 2 prospect behind Carter Kieboom and ranked No. 91 overall. "Garcia scuffled in Double-A this season as a 19-year-old but looked better in the Fall League," wrote "Though he has yet to tap into his solid ... read more

AFL Nats roll to 4-1 record, winning three straight

The Surprise Saguaros had a very good first week in the Arizona Fall League, going 4-1. They have the best record in the West Division and the league overall, and enjoy a three-game win streak. Here is a rundown of last week: Surprise 4, at Glendale 2. Scottsdale 8, at Surprise 6. At Surprise 4, Salt River 1. At Surprise 12, Salt River 0. Surprise ... read more

Nats instructional league underway (AFL update)

The Nationals instructional league began with the first workout Saturday in West Palm Beach, Fla. The roster includes first-round selections in right-handers Mason Denaburg, Jackson Rutledge and left-hander Seth Romero. The who's who of the Nationals coaching staff includes coordinators James Goodwin (minor league video), Jeff Garber (co-field/infield), Tommy Shields (co-field), Troy Gingrich (hitting), Michael Barrett (catching), Gary Thurman (outfield/baserunning), Mark Grater (rehab/pitching), Tony Rogowski ... read more

Nats prospects start play tonight in Arizona Fall League

The Arizona Fall League opens play tonight as the Surprise Saguaros take on the Glendale Desert Dogs. The schedule runs from Sept. 18 to the Oct. 26 championship game. The Saguaros include players from the Nationals, Orioles, Rangers, Royals and Yankees organizations. The AFL schedule was moved up from its usual October start to this mid-September opening so that prospects can maintain their development moving ... read more

Luis Garcia highlights Nats prospects on Arizona Fall League's Surprise roster

The Arizona Fall league today unveiled its 2019 rosters, which included the Surprise Saguaros, highlighted by Nationals shortstop prospect Luis Garcia. At 19, Garcia will be the third-youngest player in the Arizona Fall League. He is No. 77 on the top 100 prospects. The Nats will be well represented on the pitching staff with right-handers Jacob Condra-Bogan, Andrew Lee and Sterling Sharp, and left-hander ... read more

Denaburg has shoulder strain, Nats source confirms

Right-hander Mason Denaburg has a shoulder strain, according to a Nationals source, and is not throwing at this time. His last game for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast Nationals was Aug. 3. The 2018 first-round Nats selection will continue his rehab for the time being and the organization says it will continue to assess his recovery. The GCL Nats only have four more games remaining on ... read more

Minor league pitcher Fuentes suspended 50 games (Nats up 4-0)

SAN FRANCISCO - Double-A Harrisburg pitcher Steven Fuentes has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for a stimulant in violation of the minor league drug prevention and treatment program. Fuentes, rated the organization's 21st best prospect by MLB Pipeline, tested positive for the stimulant Heptaminol, Major League Baseball announced this afternoon. The 22-year-old right-hander was signed by the Nationals out of Panama in 2013 ... read more

Hagerstown updates: Mendoza, Cronin and Cluff

Here are some updates on a few of the 2019 draft selections getting some playing time for low Single-A Hagerstown these past few weeks: left-hander Matt Cronin, shortstop Jackson Cluff and third baseman Drew Mendoza. Hagerstown manager Patrick Anderson said Cronin has picked up where he left off from his college relief work, demonstrating an ability to produce copious swings and misses. LHP Matt Cronin ... read more

Update on three southpaws at Potomac: Cate, Raquet and Teel

Here are some updates on a few pitchers working for the high Single-A Potomac Nationals. One of those previewed - Kyle Johnston, the Nats' No. 21-rated prospect - was sent to the Toronto Blue Jays for right-handed reliever Daniel Hudson last week. P-Nats manager Tripp Keister gave updates on three other pitchers, all southpaws: Tim Cate, Nick Raquet and Carson Teel. Cate is the left-handed ... read more

Freeman knew about Banks before they became teammates

FREDERICK, Md. - When you are good enough to play elite Division I collegiate baseball in the Southeastern Conference, there is always a chance your paths will cross in the professional ranks. That is the case for a pair of minor league players on the Nationals' farm, Cole Freeman and Nick Banks. The duo got the opportunity to play against each other as opponents in ... read more

Banks' three-run shot rallies North to 8-7 comeback win in Carolina League All-Star Classic

FREDERICK, Md. - Potomac Nationals right fielder Nick Banks arrived at the high Single-A All-Star break on a hot streak. Nothing has changed after the Carolina League All-Star Classic. Banks hit a three-run opposite-field home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Northern Division All-Stars to a dramatic, come-from-behind 8-7 win over the Southern All-Stars at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove ... read more

P-Nats thrilled for tonight's Carolina League All-Star Classic

FREDERICK, Md. - The Single-A Potomac Nationals have four players on the active roster for the Northern Division All-Stars in tonight's Carolina League All-Star Classic. P-Nats second baseman Cole Freeman, a fourth-round selection from 2017 out of LSU, is thrilled to be selected for tonight's contest. He is starting at second base and batting seventh in the lineup. "It's a massive honor," Freeman said. "When ... read more

Denaburg doing well, but starting point for summer yet to be announced

With the season two months old, the Nationals No. 1 selection from last season, Mason Denaburg, is continuing to make good progress in West Palm Beach, Fla. The right-hander told me in March that he is 100 percent healthy. Nationals director of player development Mark Scialabba said that all systems are go for Denaburg. "He's in Florida pitching in our extended spring training camp and ... read more

Wiseman continues hot streak as Double-A Harrisburg keeps rolling

Right fielder Rhett Wiseman is continuing his amazing run for Double-A Harrisburg. If Juan Soto is out more than 10 days with back spasms, the Nationals might consider finding a way to elevate the former Vanderbilt star. The 24-year-old Wiseman has hit in seven straight games. He is slashing .333/.383/.729 with eight doubles, 10 homers and 24 RBIs. The 10 homers leads the Eastern League ... read more

Harrisburg wins again to improve to 21-4

Double-A Harrisburg added to their record-setting start to the season with a 3-1 victory over Reading, thanks to seven strong innings from right-hander Sterling Sharp. Sharp allowed one run on four hits and recorded one walk and six strikeouts. He threw 94 pitches, 64 for strikes, and at one point he retired 11 straight batters. Rhett Wiseman homered for the first time since April 15. ... read more

Harrisburg wins again, off to best start in franchise history

The amazing start to the 2019 season continued last night for Double-A Harrisburg in a 10-7 extra-inning win over Hartford. The Senators scored four runs in the eighth and four runs in the 11th to seal the victory. Harrisburg is a franchise-best 17-3 after 20 games, dating back to 1987. Chuck Taylor went 2-for-2 and drove in four runs after arriving as a pinch-hitter in ... read more

Fedde, Mills and Barrett toss no-hit gem for Harrisburg

A rare moment to remember for Double-A Harrisburg as the Senators shut out Bowie 2-0 with a no-hitter. Erick Fedde, Jordan Mills and Aaron Barrett combined for the gem, the fifth such no-hitter since 1987 for Harrisburg. Fedde went six innings, striking out six and walking one. He threw 79 pitches, 50 for strikes, and the lone walk came on a full-count pitch. Fedde and ... read more