Washington Nationals Minor Leagues: Players Of The Week (5/18-5/24)
By Ricky Keeler
Syracuse Chiefs (17-26)
Hitter Of The Week: C Dan Butler (.203, 0 HR, 9 RBI’s)
Last week, we told you about one of the catchers down at Syracuse in Steven LeRud. This week, it was Butler who had one of his best games of the season. Yesterday, against the Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates), he went 3-for-4 with a triple and a RBI in the Chiefs 5-3 win. Butler only played in four games this week, but he did record five hits and drove in two runs.
The Nationals acquired Butler in a trade with the Boston Red Sox back in January in exchange for Daniel Rosenbaum. After hitting .205 in the month of April, he is hitting .250 this month. Last season, he was a .241 hitter at triple-A Pawtucket with four home runs and 30 RBI’s.
Honorable Mention: CF Matt den Dekker (.224, 1 HR, 12 RBI’s)
For the second straight week, den Dekker is an honorable mention for hitter of the week. The Chiefs offense did struggle this week, but den Dekker had a good series against Indianapolis. In three games this past weekend, he had two hits and three RBI’s.
However, he also makes this list because he was one of the few players who had a decent series against the Iron Pigs when the team scored six runs in the three game series. Against the Phillies triple-A affiliate, he had three hits in 12 at-bats, including a 2-for-4 game on May 19. Den Dekker has eight RBI’s in 21 games this month and is hitting .247 after a month of April in which the 27-year old hit only .200.
Pitcher Of The Week: SP Taylor Jordan (1-2, 2.14)
As we told you earlier, the Nationals did promote Taylor Jordan on Sunday morning, so he was not able to make his second start this week Sunday night. That being said, his start on Monday against the IronPigs was good enough for two. On May 18, he went nine innings, gave up one run on six hits, struck out two, and did not walk a batter. In his last two starts with the Chiefs, Jordan gave up two runs over the course of 17 innings.
Last season, with the Washington Nationals, he was 0-3 with a 5.61 ERA in five starts. In seven starts with the Chiefs this season, he has given up more than two runs in a game only once. Plus, opponents are hitting .209 against him. One of the things he did well in that start vs. Lehigh Valley was that he pounded the strike zone, throwing 68 of his 92 pitches for strikes.
Honorable Mention: SP Paolo Espino (1-0, 0.00)
Due to Jordan being promoted to the Nationals, Espino received the promotion from double-A Harrisburg to make the start Sunday against the Indians. He had an excellent start, throwing seven innings of shutout ball. He gave up four hits, struck out three, and walked no one on 95 pitches to pick up the win. However, that wasn’t the best part of his day.
The 28-year old right-hander hit a three run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning to give the Chiefs a 4-0 lead. Espino also had a good start in Binghamton this week when he gave up three runs on six hits over six innings, struck out five hitters, and did not walk one batter. With the Senators, he was 0-3 with a 4.26 ERA in seven starts.
Next: Double-A Harrisburg