Washington Nationals Minor Leagues: Players Of The Week (5/11-5/17)
By Ricky Keeler
Potomac Nationals (15-22)
Hitter Of The Week: RF Brandon Miller (.215, 4 HR, 11 RBI’s)
The Nationals fourth round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft got his week started on the right note. On May 12, against the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Kansas City Royals), Miller hit two home runs and had three RBI’s. This week, Miller had six hits and drove in four runs. After hitting .191 in April, Miller is hitting .250 in 11 games this month.
Last season, he hit .178 with Potomac, but he did have 13 home runs. He is fourth on the team in RBI’s and leads the team in slugging percentage (.418). Miller is one of three right fielders that have played 20+ games for Tripp Keister’s squad in the Carlina League, but Miller’s advantage over Estarlin Martinez and Narciso Mesa is his ability to hit the long ball. Neither Martinez nor Mesa has hit a home run while Miller leads the team in that category.
Honorable Mention: SS Stephen Perez (.222, 1 HR, 7 RBI’s)
The 24-year old shortstop started the season with double-A Harrisburg, but was sent down to high-A because of a .130 average in 19 games and to make room for Wilmer Difo. It was a rough week for Potomac offensively as they scored only 17 runs in seven games. Miller had four RBI’s while Perez drove in three of those runs. In addition to the three RBI’s this week, Perez had five hits and had one hit in each game this weekend against the Frederick Keys (Baltimore Orioles).
Last season, Perez, who was the eighth round pick of the Nationals in the 2012 MLB Draft, hit .258 with two home runs and 50 RBI’s. He does have speed as well when you consider he was 27-for-33 in stolen bases last season. So far, in 16 games for Potomac, he is 5-for-5 on stolen base attempts.
Pitcher Of The Week: SP Lucas Giolito (0-2, 5.23)
It was a tough luck loss for the Nationals top prospect this week, but the 22-year-old right-hander showed that he could make the adjustments from a rough Potomac debut. On May 14 against the Rock Claws, Giolito went six innings, gave up one run on five hits, struck out 11 batters, and walked one.
One of the things Giolito did well in that start against Wilmington was he pounded the strike zone, throwing 63 of his 84 pitches for strikes. So far, Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez have been everything as advertised for the Potomac rotation. The 20-year-old Lopez has a 0.53 ERA in three starts and gave up one run over 12 innings in two starts this week to go with his ten strikeouts.
Honorable Mention: SP Dakota Bacus (2-0, 2.33)
We talk a lot about Giolito and Lopez when mentioning the Potomac rotation, but a name that has gone under the radar is Dakota Bacus. The 24-year old made two starts this week for Potomac and struck out seven batters in both outings. In two wins against Frederick, he went 11 combined innings and gave up one earned run on six hits. These performances earned him Pitcher Of The Week in the Carolina League.
When you talk about Bacus, you have to speak about his versatility. In addition to having a 2.14 ERA as a starter in five starts, he is 3-for-3 in save opportunities this year. He has made three appearances this month and only given up two earned runs in 13 innings. That being said, he has five walks in three games this month. He had five walks in five games during the month of April.