Washington Nationals Minor Leagues: Players Of The Week (4/20-4/26)

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Harrisburg Senators (8-9)

 Hitter Of The Week: C Pedro Severino (.244, 0 HR, 9 RBI’s)

While the 21-year-old catcher has yet to show the power that he had with high-A Potomac last season (nine home runs), Severino has done a great job at driving in runs. He has 2+ RBI’s in three of his last five games. One performance I would like to highlight in particular was his performance on Monday against the Altoona Curve.

In that game, which was finished on Tuesday due to rain, Severino went 1-for-4, but came up with a clutch two-run double in the top of the seventh inning to give Harrisburg the lead and ultimately the game. Last season, Severino had a .399 slugging percentage for the Potomac Nationals. With his run-scoring capabilities, keep an eye on this catcher along with Spencer Kieboom, who we will talk more about later.

 Honorable Mention: 3B Mario Lisson (.318, 1 HR, 3 RBI’s)

The 30-year-old from Venezuela who was signed by the Nationals as a minor league free agent had a very good week at the plate. In that win over Altoona on Monday, he went 3-for-4 with a home run in the top of the second inning, his first of the season. He would continue his solid play on Saturday night against Reading. After Severino’s two-run single gave Harrisburg the lead, Lisson came in as a pinch hitter and drove in two key insurance runs with a RBI single of his own.

Lisson has only played in eight games with Harrisburg this season and has been in the minor leagues since 2002. Last season, he played for the double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels in the Eastern League. He hit .266 with 18 home runs, drove in 76 runs, and had a .467 slugging percentage. Lisson and Adrian Sanchez have played about the same number of games at the position (nine for Sanchez). With Anthony Rendon spending the next few days in Harrisburg, you won’t hear much from Lisson next week, but you have to give Lisson credit for coming up with some clutch hits for the Senators this week.

 Pitcher Of The Week: SP Joe Ross (0-1, 3.60)

 The Nationals acquired right-handed pitcher Joe Ross in the offseason in the Steven Souza Jr. trade that got them Trea Turner. Ross had given up eight earned runs in his first three starts, but his start on Friday against Reading showed why the Nationals are excited to have this pitcher as one of the best in their organization

The Padres first round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft went seven innings in Saturday’s win, giving up no runs on two hits, walking two and striking out eight on 96 pitches (62 strikes). While Ross has walked two batters in three of his four starts, the eight strikeouts stand out as Ross had three starts last year for high-A Lake Elsinore in which he had eight strikeouts. Ross and Austin Voth create a very dominant 1-2 combo for double-A hitters to face.

 Honorable Mention: SP Tim Alderson (1-0, 2.55)

Last season, Alderson was with the Norfolk Tides, the triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles and pitched to a 6.12 ERA. However, the 26-year old right hander who was the first round pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2007. On Thursday, Alderson showed some of that potential against Reading in in a 3-0 victory in which he was able to outduel one of the Phillies top pitching prospects, Aaron Nola.

In seven innings, Alderson gave up four hits, walked two batters and struck out three. He threw 89 pitches, with 59 of them going for strikes. In two of his three starts, Alderson has given up one run or fewer. Keep in mind that Alderson only had three starts last season with the Stockton Ports (high-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics). Harrisburg has a 3.46 team ERA, but Alderson is showing the depth that the rotation has with Ross, Voth, and Paolo Espino.

Next: High-A