Washington Nationals Minor Leagues: Players Of The Week (6/1-6/7)

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Syracuse Chiefs (18-39)

Hitter Of The Week: RF Darin Mastroianni (.252, 0 HR, 8 RBI’s)

Mastroianni was one of the more recent acquisitions by the Washington Nationals. Last month, the Nats acquired the 29-year-old outfielder in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies. This past week, Mastroianni was able to find his way on base as the Chiefs leadoff hitter. He went 9-for-28 with four runs batted in.

On Saturday against Pawtucket, when the Chiefs finally snapped their 12-game losing streak, he went 3-for-4 at the plate with a double, three runs scored, and a RBI. Mastroianni is also the team’s best baserunner in terms of stolen bases. He has ten stolen bases in 12 attempts this season, which is the most on the team (one ahead of Emmanuel Burris).

Honorable Mention: CF Tony Gwynn Jr. (.249, 1 HR, 18 RBI’s)

Right now, the Chiefs’ 32-year-old center fielder seems to be locked in at the plate. He recorded at least one hit in six of the seven games Syracuse played this week. Gwynn Jr. went 10-for-27 at the plate this week with four RBI’s.

His best game of the week came on June 5 against Scranton Wilkes-Barre (New York Yankees). In that game, he went 3-for-4 with a triple. In seven games this month, Gwynn Jr. is hitting .423 with no home runs and five RBI’s. While his average stands at below .250, Gwynn Jr. could be a player that gets on a hot streak for an extended period of time.

Pitcher Of The Week: SP P.J. Walters (1-0, 5.14 ERA)

Whenever you are the pitcher that is on the mound when a team stops a 12-game losing streak, you deserve to be the pitcher of the week. That is the case for 30-year-old right-hander P.J. Walters. Walters, who was acquired by the Nationals from the Dodgers last Monday, made his Syracuse debut Saturday against Pawtucket (Boston Red Sox). In that start, he went seven innings, gave up three runs on four hits, struck out ten, and walked one in the win.

While Walters has given up four runs or more in three of his last four starts, the Chiefs need him in the rotation for depth because most of their key pitchers are with the Nationals. The problem Walters had on last Saturday was he gave up three home runs and he has given up six home runs in his last four starts. Last season, the right-hander went 7-9 with a 4.82 ERA in 27 combined minor league starts.

Honorable Mention: SP Paolo Espino (1-0, 1.74)

Since coming from double-A to triple-A, Paolo Espino has been one of the more solid pitchers in the rotation. In his last start against Scranton Wilkes-Barre on Friday, Espino went seven innings, gave up two runs on six hits, struck out five, and did not walk anyone.

While the right-hander got the no-decision in a Syracuse loss in extra innings, Espino has given length to the rotation and not giving up many runs. He has gone six innings or more in a start in three of his last four outings. Plus, he has not given up more than three runs in any start. Finally, his control of his pitches has been very good. He has not walked one batter in three of his last four starts.

Next: Double-A