Washington Nationals Minor Leagues: Players Of The Week (5/4-5/10)

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Syracuse Chiefs (12-18)

 Hitter Of The Week: SS Emmanuel Burriss (.275, 1 HR, 6 RBI’s)

 While everyone in the Nationals organization is focusing on Wilson Ramos’ 13-game hit streak at the big league level, keep an eye on the minor league level at another hit streak. 30-year old shortstop Emmanuel Burriss is currently on a ten game hit streak. This week, he only had one multi-hit game (yesterday vs. Durham), but he has also been on-base in 12 straight games.

One of the Nationals non-roster invitees this spring, Burriss is now second on the team in hits (25) behind only Jason Martinson, who has five home runs on the season. Burriss has a .347 on-base percentage, which is second on the team amongst players who have played 15 or more games. He does have four steals on the season. So, while Syracuse does have two players with five or more homers, keep an eye on the speedy Burriss who continues to get himself on base most nights.

 Honorable Mention: 3B Ian Stewart (.234, 6 HR, 19 RBI’s)

 Ian Stewart continues to be a mainstay on this list for his ability to hit the long ball. This weekend, against the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays), he brought the power to the ballpark. While Stewart isn’t as hot as Bryce Harper is at the big league level, he had a great series as he went 5-for-13 with three home runs and six RBI’s. This included the lone run in Syracuse’s 5-1 loss on Sunday.

With the home run on Sunday, Stewart is now tied for the International League lead in homers behind J.P Arencibia and Matt Davidson. He is second in the IL in RBI’s and sixth in slugging percentage. By the way, this is for a team that has the third lowest slugging percentage in the IL (.345). He doesn’t have the hit streak that Burriss does, but Stewart’s power has been consistent thru the first 28 games of his triple-A season.

 Pitcher Of The Week: SP A.J. Cole (0-1, 2.67 ERA)

While Cole did pick up the loss yesterday, he had two good starts for the Chiefs this week. On Monday, he gave up seven hits against Norfolk (Baltimore Orioles), but only gave up one run over six innings and struck out one batter. However, Cole fell victim to the long ball on Sunday. He gave up two solo homers in the first two innings of the game, but settled down as the game went on. In six innings, he gave up three runs on three hits, struck out five, and walked one.

Cole is still one of the Nationals top pitching prospects, one of the things that is still a concern for the 23-year old is that he has given up over a hit per inning this season. He has great control as he only has two walks in five starts, but as we saw in his major league debut, he has to get his secondary pitches to be successful in order to get out the top hitters in the game. That being said, Cole has been able to get out of most jams as he has given up eight runs in 27 innings.

 Honorable Mention: RP Mitch Lively (0-0, 2.50)

So far, Mitch Lively has been one of Syracuse’s best relievers this season. The 29-year-old right-hander has the best WHIP of any pitcher on the team at 0.89. This week, Lively made three appearances and gave up one earned run over 4.1 innings.

He is not a guy who will rack up the strikeouts (13 K’s over 18 innings), but this is a reliever that is going to keep the team in the game. After walking four batters last week, he did not walk a single batter this week. Right now, opponents are having a hard time hitting him, as his opponents batting average against this season is at .159.

Next: Double-A