Washington Nationals Minor Leagues: Players Of The Week (5/4-5/10)
By Ricky Keeler
Harrisburg Senators (11-18)
Hitter Of The Week: SS Wilmer Difo (.344, 0 HR, 3 RBI’s)
After having a great start to the season in Potomac, Wilmer Difo is continuing his great play at the next level in double-A. He is hitting .344 with no home runs and three RBI’s in 17 games. This week, the 23 year old shortstop had hits in five out of the six games that he took part in. In his second game at Harrisburg against New Britain, he went 3-for-4 with a RBI.
It is a small sample size, but one of the unique things about Difo’s stat line is that seven of his 11 hits have been doubles. Plus, he has stolen three bases in the last two games. Right now, he hits toward the bottom of the Harrisburg order, but Difo and Tony Renda are a very good double play combination, at least until Trea Turner gets here. Then, we will see which direction the Nats will go.
Honorable Mention: 3B Matt Skole (.200, 5 HR, 17 RBI’s)
While the Harrisburg third baseman didn’t have the best start to his week as he didn’t have a hit the first three games, Matt Skole had a very good series over the weekend against the Altoona Curve (Pittsburgh Pirates). He had homers on Friday and Saturday and drove in four runs. Plus, he even stole a base this week, something he has only done 17 times in his minor league career.
By far, Skole is the team’s best home run hitter as he had three more home runs than any hitter on the team. Even with that total, his .400 slugging percentage is only fourth on the team. That being said, Skole does have half the team’s home runs up to this point.
Pitcher Of The Week: SP Joe Ross (1-1, 2.81 ERA)
The more Joe Ross takes the mound, the more he shows why the Washington Nationals traded for him this winter. This past week, Ross took on the New Britain Rock Cats, who have the best record in the Eastern League at 22-7. In that start on May 6, Ross went six innings, gave up one run on three hits, struck out seven and walked three.
In his last 19 innings, Ross has only given up two runs. While he has walked two or more batters in four of his six starts, he has been able to hold the opponent to two runs or fewer in all but one start this year. He also has racked up 36 strikeouts (six per start), which is the third most of any pitcher in the EL.
Honorable Mention: RP Paul Demny (2-2, 3.09)
Paul Demny is one of those names that doesn’t get talked about much, but he has done a great job in the Harrisburg bullpen. He is not the closer, but he gets it done in middle relief. This week, Demny did not give up a hit in three innings of work and he has only given up three hits in his last six appearances combined. However, let’s focus on the performance he had on Saturday against Altoona.
In that game, which Harrisburg won 7-4, Demny picked up the win when he struck out four batters over two innings as the Senators rallied from a 4-3 deficit. As of right now, opponents are hitting .171 against him. Demny is a 25-year old right hander who was taken by the Nats in the sixth round of the 2008 MLB Draft. Last season, he went 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA in 22 games with the Senators.