Welcome back to Minor League Monday, our weekly post about the goings on in the Nationals organization beyond South Capitol Street. Sometimes, we’ll look at one player on the rise. Other weeks, we’ll give you a roundup of the need-to-know details from the Nationals’ affiliates. We have the latter for you this week.
CLASS AAA SYRACUSE CHIEFS (17-34, 17.5 GB)
Notable: 1B Clint Robinson
Pushed off the Nationals’ roster when Adam Lind signed, Robinson went to Syracuse and struggled in his first extensive stint in the minor leagues since 2014. The first baseman was batting .169 with a .507 OPS and 28 strikeouts in 24 games through May 8 — a grim start for a 32-year-old with minimal defensive value attempting to prove he is still a major-league-caliber hitter. But Robinson has since rebounded with a .360 batting average, 1.065 OPS, and seven home runs in 21 games since May 9. The batting average is fourth best in the International League during that stretch and the slugging percentage is the league’s highest. Overall, Robinson is slashing .274/.301/.457 with nine home runs.
In other news …
● Outfielder Andrew Stevenson earned himself a promotion to Syracuse by batting .350 in 20 games with Class AA Harrisburg and is scuffling at the new level. Stevenson, who turned 23 last week, is batting .177 with a .384 OPS in 28 games for the Chiefs. A strong defender, Stevenson has made 16 starts in center field and 11 in left field.
● Austin Adams was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder injury May 15, but was activated and allowed a run on three hits in 2/3 innings on June 1. The performance hiked his ERA from 1.42 to 1.83, an indication of how well the right-hander started the campaign. Acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in the December trade for Danny Espinosa, Adams didn’t allow a run until April 26 after tossing 10 scoreless frames to begin the year.
● Infielder Emmanuel Burriss is expected to rejoin Syracuse at some point, now that his 50-game suspension for violating MLB’s drug policy has been served, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The 32-year-old Washington native received the suspension April 4 after spending most of spring training in the Nationals’ big league camp. Syracuse will play its 52nd game of the season Monday.
CLASS AA HARRISBURG SENATORS (23-32, 7.5 GB)
Notable: RHP Erick Fedde
Fedde is seven outings and 10 innings into his bullpen transformation. He’s allowed four runs, good for a 3.60 ERA, on eight hits with 16 strikeouts to two walks so far. Three of his seven relief appearances have been two-inning performances, including Sunday’s, when he yielded a solo home run in an otherwise perfect outing with three strikeouts. It was the first home run he’s surrendered out of the bullpen. Fedde, who is on an innings limit, has logged 52 2/3 this season after tallying 121 in 2016.
In other news …
● Infielder Neftali Soto is batting .311 with a .923 OPS and nine home runs for the Senators this season. The 28-year-old Puerto Rican — he’s 3.8 years older than the average Eastern League position player, according to Baseball Reference — has made 21 starts at first base, nine starts at second base, and played six innings in left field.
● As we wrote last week, Jose Marmolejos has jumped out to a great start with Harrisburg, but he wasn’t officially was activated from the disabled list until last Thursday. He had been on a rehabilitation assignment before then. The 24-year-old Marmolejos is slashing .358/.424/.605 in 22 games for the Senators while playing first base and left field.
CLASS A POTOMAC NATIONALS (26-30, 7.5 GB)
Notable: C Taylor Gushue
The Nationals acquired Gushue from the Pirates late September in exchange for infielder Chris Bostick, and the catcher has shined in his first action in Washington’s organization. A 2014 fourth-round draft pick out of Florida, Gushue has already broken his previous career high of eight home runs with 13 in 41 games this season. He’s slashing .280/.361./.566 after posting a .226/.282/.357 slash line for the Pirates’ High-A affiliate last season. He’s tied for second in home runs and fourth in the Carolina League with a .927 OPS, while making all 40 of his starts behind the plate.
In other news …
● Center fielder Victor Robles, the Nationals’ top-ranked prospect, is batting .291 with a .905 OPS in 42 games this season. One of the youngest players in the league – Robles, who turned 20 on May 19, and is 2.5 years younger than the average Carolina League position player — has six home runs, nine doubles, three triples and 10 stolen bases in 14 attempts.
CLASS A HAGERSTOWN SUNS (33-23, — GB)
Notable: CF Daniel Johnson
Chelsea Janes caught up with Johnson earlier this season as he got off to a great start. But it’s worth noting Johnson is still pounding baseballs. The 2016 fifth-round pick is slashing .306/.363/.563 in 48 games. His 11 home runs are tied for first in the South Atlantic League and his slugging percentage is third.
In other news …
● Right fielder Juan Soto and infielder Carter Kieboom, two of the organization’s top four prospects, remain on the disabled list. The 18-year-old Soto hasn’t played since injuring his right ankle on a play at the plate on May 2. He was batting .360 with a .950 OPS in 96 plate appearances before the injury. The 19-year-old Kieboom, injured his hamstring on May 12. He was slashing .333/.398/.586 at the time.
● Tim Tebow was in Hagerstown over the weekend. A lot of people went, including our Barry Svrluga. He wrote about it.