If the injury problems the Washington Nationals have had this season continue, it is possible they would have to dig into their minor league grab bag once again and pick out a player they think can compete at the highest level.

Brandon Watson, the owner of a .367 batting average in Class AAA New Orleans, might be the guy they choose.

A ninth-round pick by the Montreal Expos in 1999, Watson played in AAA last season but said he began the season with Class AA Harrisburg to avoid splitting time with the since-traded Endy Chavez in center field.

Watson has been with New Orleans since mid-May and has felt right at home at the plate, with 112 hits and 133 total bases in 71 games. The stat that jumps out at Nationals farm director Adam Wogan, however, is Watson's stolen bases. He has 25 with the Zephyrs in 2005, compared with 22 in all of 2004. "He's been a little more aggressive," Wogan said. "I'm happy to see him improving on the bases."

Watson was told to work on his base running and fielding this season -- in particular what bases to throw to in each situation in the outfield. His offense, on the other hand, Wogan has not been worried about.

"Brandon's just having a phenomenal year," Wogan said. "He's always been a guy who's been tremendous offensively."

-- Daniel Lyght