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Catching up with Nats Farm Authority

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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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Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

The Washington Nationals have signed former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, according to multiple reports. 

Wieters spent the first eight years in the Majors with the Baltimore Orioles, being named to the AL All-Star team four times and winning two gold glove awards. Last season the switch-hitting catcher posted a .243 average with 17 homers and 66 RBI.  

The Nationals have been in the market for catchers all offseason after Wilson Ramos left for Tampa Bay in free agency. The team traded for former Padres catcher Derek Norris, whose role is now in question. The Nationals still have Jose Lobaton on the roster as a strong defensive backup catcher who has a proven rapport with many of the pitchers in the Nationals rotation. Wieters had been linked to the Nationals all offseason because of the team's need a the position and because of the Nationals close relationship with Wieters' agent Scott Boras. 

The only significant time that Wieters has missed due to injury in his career came in 2014-15 when he had Tommy John surgury. Prior to that surgury, however, Wieters had played in at least 130 games for four straight seasons and became a large part of the Orioles' identity. 

The 30-year-old backstop will give the Nationals lineup more depth and power. Wieters had three consecutive 20-homer seasons from 2011-13 and since 2009 when his career began, he ranks fifth among catchers in all of baseball in home runs with 117. 

Related: Nationals 2017 promotional schedule includes snow globes and fedoras

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Nationals 2017 promotional giveaways include snow globes and fedoras

Nationals 2017 promotional giveaways include snow globes and fedoras

The Washington Nationals recently released the dates of their promotional days and giveaways this season, and there are some real gems in this schedule.

Among the standard bobblehead giveaways — Daniel Murphy on April 14, Trea Turner on May 12 and Tanner Roark on June 9 — and the highly recommended Pups in the Park days — April 29, May 13, June 10, June 25, September 7 and September 30 — pick the right game and you could get a snow globe, an American flag shirt or even a fedora. Seriously.

On May 24’s game against the Mariners, the first 25,000 fans will get a Max Scherzer snow globe, which has the potential to be the coolest knickknack in your house. Or on June 14 against the Braves — oddly not closer to the Fourth of July — Budweiser is behind the first 15,000 21-and-up fans getting an American flag tank top.

But truly the most unique item on this list is the Nationals-themed fedora, which will go to the first 25,000 fans at the Brewers’ July 26 matchup. How the Nats landed on this promotional item remains a mystery, but if you like hats beyond a traditional baseball cap, this is the game to attend.

Other cool or oddball promotions include the Nats Magic 8-Ball game April 3, the Chewbacca Koozie day May 27, Bryce Harper action figure day August 29 and Oktoberfest beer stein day Sept. 29.

Here's the complete list of the team's promotional days and giveaways

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