Washington Nationals Minor Leagues: Players Of The Week (4/8-4/19)

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 Syracuse Chiefs (4-7)

 Hitter Of The Week: SS Jason Martinson (.308, 0 HR’s, 3 RBI’s)

The Chiefs have been one of the better offensive teams in the International League up to this point. They are fourth in runs scored and fourth in RBI’s. One of the things they can do better as a team is get on-base as their .314 team OBP is toward the bottom of the IL.

However, shortstop Jason Martinson continues to find a way on base. He has recorded a hit in eight of his first nine starts. The 26-year-old has three multi-hit games and three walks on the year. He has a .357 on-base percentage, which is fifth on the team.

Martinson was taken by the Nationals in the fifth round of the 2010 MLB Draft. He was a MILB organizational All-Star in 2012, but he has never hit higher than .272 in any given season. The Nats have good infield depth at Syracuse, which includes Emmanuel Burriss. Martinson hasn’t shown the power yet, but this is a guy who has hit 10+ homers in the minors each of the last three seasons.

 Honorable Mention: 1B Kila Ka’aihue (.167, 2 HR’s, 8 RBI’s)

One of the Nationals’ non-roster invitees from Spring Training has hit two home runs in his last four games and leads the Chiefs in RBI’s with eight. That total is fourth in the IL behind the likes of players like Blake Swihart and Chris Parmelee. Ka’aihue had a great Spring Training for the Nationals. In 18 spring games, he hit .250 with three home runs and eight RBI’s.

While you would like to see Ka’aihue’s average improve, one of the things to watch about this first baseman is the power and the extra base hits that can he rack up when you consider three of his seven hits this season have gone for extra bases.

 Pitcher Of The Week: Taylor Hill (1-0, 1.42 ERA)

In a rotation that began the season with A.J. Cole and Taylor Jordan, Taylor Hill has had a very good first couple of starts. In two games, Hill (#25 Nats Prospect according to MLB Pipeline) has gone at least six innings in each one, giving up a combined two earned runs. While Hill only has three strikeouts in those two games, he has been able to pitch to contact effectively.

Last season, Hill went 11-7 with a 2.81 ERA in 25 games for the Chiefs. With Hill being an effective number three starter for Syracuse, it is a very good trio that the Chiefs have at the top of the rotation, especially when the sixth round pick in the 2011 MLB draft is locating his pitches for strikes.

 Honorable Mention: Rich Hill (0-0, 2.25 ERA)

While Hill lost out on the final left-handed reliever spot out of the bullpen in spring training, he has been able to rack up the strikeouts at triple-A. He has nine strikeouts in four games, which includes no fewer than two strikeouts per outing. While the four walks are a little high, Hill is showing he can overpower some of the hitters at this level when he is faced with a difficult jam.

Next: Double-A: Harrisburg Senators