Potomac Title Is Something To Build On

By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 14, 2008

MIAMI, Sept. 13 -- When the Potomac Nationals recorded the final out Friday night, clinching the Carolina League championship, players rushed the field. They sprayed each other with champagne -- though many were too young to drink. They celebrated, Washington player development director Bobby Williams said, "like it was the World Series."

Those players -- members of Washington's Class A affiliate -- celebrated a moment: The first ever full-season championship for any Nationals affiliate. But they also represented something wider: By defeating Atlanta affiliate Myrtle Beach, 8-2, and winning the best-of-five series three games to one, Potomac concluded a season in which 66 players cycled through the roster. Three times, General Manager Jim Bowden said on Saturday, the team's roster was fully revamped. The starting lineup on Opening Day included just one person in the title-clinching game.

"We continued to move our players north as they all progressed so well," Bowden said.

For Washington's front office, the Potomac season affirmed the legitimacy of talent at the organization's lower levels. The club won both half titles this year. And those who contributed to the second half will now be given the chance to rise. Ross Detwiler, Washington's 2007 first-round pick, likely will begin next season with Class AA Harrisburg, Williams said.

"I think for the first time next year since we've been in Washington we will have prospects at every level all the way throughout the system," Bowden said.

Class AA Player Charged

Garrett Guzman, an outfielder with Class AA Harrisburg Senators, faces a misdemeanor charge for corrupting a minor. Police allege in court documents that Guzman had sex with a 15-year-old girl in late July. According to an Associated Press report, Guzman, 25, has not yet been arraigned. Bowden did not return an e-mail seeking comment. This year with the Senators, Guzman batted .274 with nine home runs and 54 RBI.

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