Washington Nationals Minor Leagues: Players Of The Week (5/11-5/17)
By Ricky Keeler
Hagerstown Suns (17-19)
Hitter Of The Week: Jeff Gardner (.213, 1 HR, 14 RBI’s)
The eighth round pick of the Nationals in last year’s draft had a great week for the Hagerstown Suns when they went up against the West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates). In the final three games of that series, Gardner went 6-for-12 and drove in five runs. He had two hits in three straight games.
Gardner has 23 hits, but nine of them have gone for extra bases. This includes seven doubles, which is tied with Grant DeBruin and Osvaldo Abreu for second on the team in that category. Last season, Gardner hit .206 at short-season Auburn with four home runs and 11 RBI’s. The problem for the left fielder is that he is third on the team in strikeouts with 29.
Honorable Mention: CF Dale Carey (.264, 2 HR, 12 RBI’S)
Against the Power this week, Carey had six hits, but three of them occurred in one ball game for Hagerstown. That game came on May 16, when he went 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI’s. That home run came in the bottom of the eighth inning and tied the game at three. Hagerstown would eventually lose the game 7-6 in 12 innings.
The 23-year-old center fielder has recorded a hit in four of his last five games and his .717 OPS is third on the team behind Grant DeBruin and Jose Marmolejos-Diaz. Carey is tied for third on the team in walks with ten, which is one behind DeBruin and David Masters for the team lead.
Pitcher Of The Week: SP Connor Bach (1-0, 3.72)
In Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Power on May 14, the 22-year old left-hander nearly went the distance in a seven-inning game. He went 5.1 innings, gave up no runs on three hits, striking out six batters and walking two. That start was the first one Bach made since May 4 against Greenville. He pitched out of the bullpen for the Suns on May 10.
While Bach is second on the team in strikeouts (31), behind only Austen Williams, he did walk two more batters on Thursday, bringing his team high total to 16. That being said, walking two is an improvement when you consider he had walked three batters in the three outings prior to Thursday. If Bach can command his arsenal of pitches, he does have the stuff to rack up the strikeout totals.
Honorable Mention: RP Robert Orlan (1-0, 5.21)
A.J. Cole wasn’t the only young Nationals player to record a three inning save in the organization this week. The other pitcher who accomplished that feat was Robert Orlan, who is the only reliever to make the slideshow this week. Orlan has given up 11 earned runs in 19 innings this season, but he kept the other team off the scoreboard this week in two appearances.
During those outings, the 24-year-old left-hander threw four scoreless innings, gave up four hits, struck out six, and walked two. Orlan has struck out three batters or more in seven of his nine appearances this season. He has the team lead in saves with four and he has yet to blow a save for the team this year. Last season, Orlan played the bulk of the year at Auburn, where he went 1-0 with a 4.19 ERA in 17 games.