Here it is, our weekly update on the up-and-comers in the Nationals’ minor league system. Some affiliates embark on the second half of their seasons this week. Others are just beginning. Updates from all of them below.
CLASS AAA SYRACUSE
After a slow stretch in mid-June, shortstop Trea Turner is 10 for his last 20. He has scored a run in 28 of Syracuse’s 36 wins. He went 3 for 4 with three runs scored Sunday, and is hitting .304, tied for fifth in the International League. Outfielder Brian Goodwin went 3 for 3 in that Chiefs win, and is their second-leading hitter at .288. Infielder Steve Lombardozzi has two hits in three straight games, and is hitting .225 in 19 games since returning to the organization.
Right-hander Koda Glover has yet to allow a run in his brief Syracuse tenure. He has thrown four innings and allowed one hit. Left-hander Bryan Harper has also started his Chiefs career without a scratch: eight appearances, seven innings no earned runs.
CLASS AA HARRISBURG
Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez was promoted to Syracuse Monday after he struck out 100 batters in 14 starts — 20 more batters than the nearest Eastern League starter. His 3.18 ERA ranked ninth in the league, just behind teammate Lucas Giolito (3.17). Giolito, who has been inconsistent this season, allowed five earned runs in 4 2/3 innings in his last outing. Right-hander Tyler Mapes has thrown the second-most innings of any Eastern League starter, and is pitching to a 3.44 ERA.
Outfielder Rafael Bautista leads the league with 33 stolen bases, while Wilmer Difo is fourth at 24. Despite not ranking in average or on-base percentage, both have been among the league leaders in those categories all season. The Senators are getting some reinforcements from Class A Potomac, as slugging third baseman Drew Ward and speedy outfielder Andrew Stevenson were promoted to Harrisburg Monday. Infielder Chris Bostick and outfielder Zack Collier were also promoted to Syracuse.
CLASS A POTOMAC
Stevenson (.304) and Ward (.278) were two of Potomac’s top four hitters by average, but will move up to Harrisburg. Despite a recent slump, Ward was tied for second in the Carolina League with 11 home runs in the first half. The P-Nats will be getting some reinforcements, too, as teenage outfielding sensation Victor Robles and hot-hitting shortstop Max Schrock were promoted to Potomac Monday.
Right-hander Boone Whiting was leading the P-Nats in ERA after the first half, but he’s headed up to Harrisburg, too. Trey Lambert, who pitched for Hagerstown, was promoted to the P-Nats.
CLASS A HAGERSTOWN
Schrock (.326) and Robles (.307) led the Suns in hitting through the first half, though third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez is not far behind at .303. Right-fielder Matthew Page leads the Suns with six homers this season, but the Suns were more of a contact-centric group in the first half, and were second in the league in batting average.
After a strong start to the season, South Atlantic League All-Star Mariano Rivera III has struggled lately, allowing 10 earned runs in his last four outings.
In five games, speedy 2016 fifth-round choice Daniel Johnson is hitting .444 with two doubles and a triple. Third-round pick Sheldon Neuse is off to a slower start, at .190. Though it’s early, hurlers Tyler Watson and Robbie Dickey both rank in the top five in strikeouts in the New York Penn League.