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Catching up with Nats Farm Authority


Catching up with Nats Farm Authority

By Doug McKinneyCSNwashington.com

Brian Oliver runs the popular blog Nationals Farm Authority which tracks the next wave of talent in the Washington farm system. Check his stuff out here.
CSN: The Nationals selected Lucas Giolito with the 16th pick overall in the 2012 MLB Draft. While the HS power pitcher was injured for most of this past season, the medical reports coming back on Giolito are that nothing is structurally wrong with him and actually, he has been throwing from at least 60 feet. Talent-wise, some experts say the Nats got the best arm in the draft. What are your thoughts on the selection and what kind of ceiling could he have?

NFA: It was a great & gutsy move by Rizzo. Picking at 16, the Nationals were likely to potentially get a solid though not spectacular player. All things being equal (and healthy) Giolito was a top 3 guy. The Nats went with the one guy who was discussed as a potential 1 SP.

CSN: With that said, do the Nationals and Giolito agree to a deal before the deadline?

NFA: Yes. Once the Nats sign 3rd round pick Brett Mooneyham and 7th round pick Robert Benincasa, they'll have their max bonus (likely 3.2M). At that point, the ball's in Giolito's court. I think at the end of the day, he takes a top 5 bonus and gets his pro career started.

CSN: Are there any other selections that you think could be sleepers? What names should Nats fans be keeping a close eye on?
NFA: Of the guys that signed so far, there aren't any high ceiling guys. The players I am going to watch are Tony Renda (2nd round 2B) and Stephen Perez (8th round SS). Middle infielders are always in demand.
CSN: We haven't had a chance to talk much about them, but have what Steve Lombardozzi and (to a lesser extent) Tyler Moore done at the Major League level impressed you? Could the two find their way into Davey Johnson's line-up permanently?

NFA: Definitely Lombardozzi. He seemed destined for a utility spot but has, to date, shown a bit more than that. I'm not sure it's sustainable over the long term but he has earned a chance to play more than just utility time. Moore is another guy who has some upside but more than likely as a bench bat. His RH power is something valuable for Johnson to use. I'd imagine their performances will encourage him to use both guys more often.

CSN: If Nats fans wanted a breather from Major League action, which minor league affiliate would you recommend as must see this summer?

NFA: Right now Hagerstown with Matt Skole, Brian Goodwin, Alex Meyer & Matt Purke (injured), they have the best collection of higher ceiling guys.

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Max Scherzer's bid for third no-hitter ends in heartbreak

Max Scherzer's bid for third no-hitter ends in heartbreak

Max Scherzer's bid for the third no-hitter of his big league career ended with one out in the eighth inning, and he then gave up two unearned runs as the Miami Marlins rallied to beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 Wednesday.

After backup catcher A.J. Ellis reached on an infield single for Miami's first hit, an error by first baseman Adam Lind and a hit batter loaded the bases with two outs. Scherzer threw a wild pitch that scored the tying run, and Giancarlo Stanton lined an RBI single -- the Marlins' only other hit -- to put them ahead.

Scherzer (8-5) threw no-hitters against the Pirates and Mets in 2015, and he seemed on his way to another when he began the eighth inning with a 1-0 lead.

He retired 18 in a row before Ellis hit a chopper that bounced in front of the plate and glanced off the tip of Scherzer's glove as he reached overhead for it. The ball rolled to shortstop Trea Turner, who failed in his attempt to make a barehanded pickup and rush a throw.

MORE NATS: 12-3 win over Marlins Tuesday

Official scorer Ron Jernick immediately ruled the play a hit, and Scherzer knew it. He picked up the ball and angrily flung it to the dugout -- not as a souvenir.

Washington totaled five hits against Dan Straily and three relievers. Kyle Barraclough (3-1) pitched the eighth, and A.J. Ramos worked around a two-out single in the ninth for his 10th save.

Scherzer threw a season-high 121 pitches and had 11 strikeouts, reaching double figures for the sixth game in a row, the team's longest such streak such the franchise moved to Washington for the 2005 season.

He lowered his ERA to 2.08, best in the NL. He also leads the league with 145 strikeouts.

The other no-hitter in the majors this year was achieved on the same mound by Miami's Edinson Volquez against Arizona on June 3.

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The crowd of 22,659 for the 12:10 p.m. start included thousands of youngsters on camp day, and they gave the game a scream-filled soundtrack.

The score was 0-0 until Washington's Ryan Raburn hit his first homer of the year in the fifth. Raburn was a late replacement for outfielder Michael A. Taylor, who was scratched because he wasn't feeling well.

That was the only run allowed by Straily, who went six innings.

Scherzer walked Christian Yelich with two out in the first and hit Derek Dietrich with a pitch with one out in the second. That was Miami's last baserunner until the eighth.

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The Nats got hot Tuesday in Miami with 12-3 win over Marlins

The Nats got hot Tuesday in Miami with 12-3 win over Marlins

Gio Gonzalez had some worrisome moments on the mound Tuesday night, including when a friend sitting in the first row behind the Washington Nationals' dugout was hit in the head by a flying bat.

"Next time in the front row everyone will be wearing a helmet," Gonzalez said.

The friend later said he was fine, and Gonzalez felt good too after pitching seven innings to beat the Miami Marlins 12-3.

Gonzalez (7-1) allowed three runs, including two on Marcell Ozuna's 19th homer , but struck out eight and won his fourth consecutive decision.

"Exactly what we needed," manager Dusty Baker said. "Gio's throwing the ball great."

He had plenty of support even before a five-run ninth. Bryce Harper started the scoring with a two-run single that extended his hitting streak to 13 games, and Daniel Murphy had two RBIs and hit his 12th homer . Stephen Drew had three hits and three RBIs, while Ryan Zimmerman drove in three runs with a double and a single.

Gonzalez, who grew up in nearby Hialeah, improved to 7-3 in 13 starts against his hometown team with an ERA of 2.19. He had a cluster of friends and relatives in attendance, and that's where Justin Bour's bat went when it slipped from his hands on a swing in the fifth inning.

"It's good to have friends here, but put them somewhere safe," Gonzalez said.

He said his pal who was hit received a souvenir later as compensation for being clubbed.

"Bour gave him a bat, which is pretty cool on his part, because we want the fans to come back," Gonzalez said.

The left-hander said it was too early to talk about the possibility of pitching in the All-Star game, which will be played in his hometown next month. His teammates are rooting for it.

"Gio has been great," Harper said. "I'm hoping he pitches like this the rest of the first half and gets the start here. It would be incredible to see."

The NL East leaders went 7 for 14 with runners in scoring position, but it was still 0-0 when Edinson Volquez (3-8) walked Michael A. Taylor and Trea Turner in the third inning, and they advanced on a double steal.

With two outs, Harper tried to bunt on the first pitch -- a curious move by the slugger -- and pushed it foul. He golfed the next pitch into center for the Nationals' first hit to put them up 2-0.

"I don't hit Volquez very well," Harper said. "If I can lay a bunt down with a guy at third and get a knock and score a run ... but it worked out."

Pitching to Harper backfired for Miami, so the next time he came to bat, when the Nationals again had a runner in scoring position, Marlins manager Don Mattingly opted for an intentional walk. Zimmerman foiled the strategy with a two-run double.

"They've got a good lineup," Mattingly said. "They put you in a box in a number of ways."

Volquez allowed a season-high six runs in 4 2/3 innings.