The annual “Futures Game” took place this afternoon at the Great America Ballpark in Cincinnati. It is an all-star game for the best young talent in today’s minor leagues, many of whom are expected to be playing in the major leagues very soon.
I listened to the game on XM-radio as I was coming home from playing in a game myself. When I got home I turned on the TV and watched the Nationals Trea Turner hit a double and triple. His speed running the bases is spectacular. He was one of the stars of the game.
Last Spring Turner was playing for N.C. State University. This year he has rocketted up to AAA Syracuse already. Some are expecting him to be the Nats Shortstop by next year. I listened to a commentator today on XM predict that the trade that brought Turner and Joe Ross to the Nats may end up being the best trade Mike Rizzo has EVER pulled off.
Before 2012, when the Nats first got to the post-season, i had been watching more hockey than baseball. Tonight, after the Nats fourth error, I switched to the Capitals game seven showdown with the Islanders. Just after that the caps scored the winning goal, so they are going to the next round of playoffs.
The Nationals are now playing their worst baseball since 2011. And something is not right with Doug Fister, and apparently this goes all the way back to the start of Spring Training. His normal fastball used to be at 88-91 mph. Now it is around 85 mph. The offense, defense and bull-pen are mediocre this year.
Shucks. Ross Ohlendorf has turned down the Nats offer of playing in AAA Syracuse in favor of testing the free-agent market.
Ross pitched well in 2013 and it was entertaining to watch his funky, old-school wind-up. He spent all of 2014 on the disabled list with back problems.
So now our only elite-school graduate is Drew Storen, who went to Stanford! mike Rizzo ought to keep in touch with Condoleeza Rice:)
The Nats look (to me) poised to get into October in pretty good shape. But I would not bet the farm on them getting to the World Series:)
Manager Matt did a great job of managing last night (Sept. 1). The best move of all was bringing Thornton in to rescue Storen. He has been showing a tendency to switch pitchers quicker recently; GOOD!
The guys are looking (as a team) ready for the necessary Sept/Oct. “push.” Span, Gio, Strass, Werth, Harper, Rendon, Cabrera, Lobaton and Ramos have been stepping up their production recently. The good teams do that.
The team brought up 6 players for the “Sept. Call-up.” The best of those moves was getting Barrett and Cedeno for the bullpen. They had been trying to rest Barrett in Syracuse and they accomplished that. Hopefully he is ready for what is ahead; he could very well be the additional “stopper” the Nats need. Cedeno is another lefty weapon in their pen. No team has enough of those. I used to be one myself:)
Us fans need to hang onto being positive, no matter how hard that is!
This latest news is a huge blow to the Nats chances for fighting their way to the playoffs. Both Zim and Bryce got seriously hurt sliding headfirst.
Doug Fister and Wilson Ramos are on the road back however. It seems possible that Fister could start a game by about May 7th. Ramos is practicing “lightly.” It will likely take him several more weeks to regain the strength needed to bat with power in game conditions. But he hopes to appear in minor-league games this week.
This is the time for the bench players to step up and show us why they made the roster coming out of Spring Training! I have to admit, after hoping the Nats would trade Danny Espinosa before Spring Training, that he has made me VERY GLAD he is still here! I did not think it would be possible to make Danny a major league hitter, but I was wrong:) I’m impressed with the improved hitting thus far. And we all know he is a gold glove calibre fielder. In fact many of the usual suspects posting on the team website are calling for Danny to REPLACE Ian Desmond at SS!
Late breaking news: Zack Walters has been sent down to Syracuse as well as Taylor Jordan. Ryan Mattheus is back up here. The last time Mattheus pitched well was in 2012; I hope they don’t have to use him in a critical situation. Maybe they want to have him in case they need a “mop-up” pitcher in a game that has got out of hand:) I also hope they bring Souza back.
The newest AAA Baseball Team – the El Paso Chihuahuas.
I heard a rumor the other day that caught my attention. Not sure as to the veracity, but here’s the gist. The El Paso Chihuahuas are the San Diego Padres AAA team. One of their backup infielders is Guglielmo H. Espinosa (I’m checking his heritage to see if there is a familial connection to The Danny). Anyhow, he’s batting .172 currently in ST camp in the Cactus League. Last week he belted 3 HRs in one game, so Mike Rizzo calls his scout who is out in AZ now and asks him to go check the guy out. A couple days of silence follow. Then four days later the scout walks into Rizzo’s office in DC, and there’s a little Chihuahua peeking out of his coat pocket! Mike says “what’s the ____ is this?” The scout’s response supposedly went something like this: “Well this Espinosa guy didn’t show me much. He’s leading the team in Ks at the plate, always swings at the first pitch, etc, etc (sound familiar?). But I got a brilliant PR idea about the Nats adding a little chihuahua to the Presidents Race and training him to nip at Teddy’s heels so Teddy has a shot at winning once in a while! Whaddya think boss?”
p.s. Single game tickets for the Chihuahuas’ first season went on sale yesterday. To learn more about the story behind their mascot, click here.