Washington Nationals Minor Leagues: Players Of The Week (4/27-5/3)
By Ricky Keeler
Hitter Of The Week: OF Isaac Ballou (.293, 2 HR, 11 RBI’s)
With Wilmer Difo now up at double-A Harrisburg, more eyes will be on Potomac’s 25-year old left fielder. Ballou, who is tied with Difo for the most hits at Potomac, is only three hits shy of the league lead. This week, he had 10 hits, including three straight games of two or more hits to begin the week. He had four RBI’s this week, to put his total at 11, which is fourth on the team.
When you rack up the hits like Ballou does, you are going to have a good on-base percentage. His .378 on-base percentage is second on the team, only behind Spencer Kieboom in terms of players still on the roster. Plus, his defense has stood out in terms of the ability not to make many mistakes. He is one of two players (James Yezzo being the other) that have played in 15 or more games, but have yet to make an error.
Honorable Mention: 1B John Wooten (.225, 1 HR, 6 RBI’s)
While the first baseman’s average is lower than what you would like to be, Wooten had one of the best games of the week of any Potomac player. Last Thursday, against the Winston-Salem Dash, he went 4-for-5 with a double in the team’s 5-4 win. Wooten has 16 hits on the season, which is fourth on the team behind Ballou, Ward, and second baseman Christopher Bostick.
Wooten, who was selected by the Athletics in the 37th round of the 2012 MLB Draft, played the majority of his games (72) at Hagerstown last season, where he hit .309 with eight home runs and had 54 RBI’s. After the game on Thursday, the 24-year-old raised his batting average from .208 to .259.
Pitcher Of The Week: RP Dakota Bacus (0-0, 3.21)
The 24-year old reliever has mainly been the closer for Potomac this season as he has recorded two saves in as many chances. However, on Thursday, Bacus got the start against Winston-Salem and kept the opponent off the scoreboard. In four innings, he gave up no runs on five hits, struck out five, and did not walk a batter.
Bacus has made three starts and saved the other appearances he was in. However, when you look at his numbers so far, opponents are hitting .200 against him as a reliever compared to .262 as a starter. Plus, four of his five walks came as a starter. Bacus did not get the win Thursday, but give credit to him and the six strikeouts by Jake Johansen in relief (who did get the win).
Honorable Mention: RP David Napoli (1-0, 4.50)
This week, we are giving a lot of mention to the relievers in the Potomac bullpen. The 24-year old lefty was the 8th round pick of the Nats in the 2013 MLB Draft. This week, he made two appearances out of the bullpen. In 4.1 innings, he gave no runs on two hits, walked one, and struck out three. After giving up four runs in his first game of the season, he has not given up a run in his last four outings.
Last season, Napoli went 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA in 18 appearances with the Hagerstown Suns. He struck out 31 batters in 32 innings of work and held opponents to a .171 batting average. By the way, in three years in the Nationals system, Napoli has yet to lose a game.