Washington Nationals Minor Leagues: Players Of The Week (6/29-7/5)

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(Photo Credit: MILB.com)

 Syracuse Chiefs (30-54)

 Hitter Of The Week: RF Kevin Keyes (.325, 3 HR, 17 RBI’s)

Keyes has only been with the Syracuse Chiefs for three weeks, but this is the second time that he has been named hitter of the week. His best performance this week came on July 1 against the Louisville Bats (Cincinnati Reds). He went 4-for-5 with two home runs, five RBI’s, and scored three runs.

This past week, the 26-year-old right fielder was 9-for-26 at the plate with three home runs and nine RBI’s. In 20 games with the triple-A club, he has a slugging percentage of .525 and ten of his 26 hits have been for extra bases, which includes seven doubles. Right now, Keyes has adjusted to International League pitching and is locked in at the plate.

Honorable Mention: SS/3B Jason Martinson (.242, 12 HR, 36 RBI’s)

With Emmanuel Burriss now with the big league club, Martinson has had to move over to third base as Trea Turner now plays shortstop for the Chiefs. However, that hasn’t stopped the IL All-Star from contributing with the bat. On July 4 against Pawtucket (Boston Red Sox), Martinson went 3-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI’s.

This past week, the 26-year-old shortstop went 9-for-31 with two home runs and eight RBI’s. He did hit .239 in June, but had the most home runs (four) that he had in any other month this season. His 12 home runs lead the team and he is tied for fourth in the entire league in that category.

Pitcher Of The Week: SP Bruce Billings (4-3, 3.82 ERA)

This past week, Billings was able to win both games he appeared in against Louisville and Pawtucket respectively. Against Louisville on June 29, Billings came in for A.J. Cole and threw four shutout innings, giving up three hits, and striking out three batters. Then, on July 4, Billings did give up four runs on eight hits over five innings, but he struck out seven and got great run support to get the win.

In six games (two starts) during the month of June, the 26-year-old right-hander went 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA. He has given up one earned run or fewer in four of his last six outings. Even though Billings is mainly in the bullpen now, one of the Nats non-roster invitees this spring is doing a good job in his new role.

Honorable Mention: SP Joe Ross (1-1, 3.60)

Ross was able to get his first win with the Chiefs on July 1 against Louisville. He went five innings, gave up one run on four hits, struck out one, and walked one in Syracuse’s 10-1 win. While Ross hasn’t been dominant at the triple-A level, he has still only given up two runs in ten innings of work over his two starts.

Plus, he is still showing good control as he has only walked one batter in each start. The 22-year-old right-hander made a good impression on the Nats when he was with the big league club, going 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA in three starts. He struck out 23 batters and walked two over that time period.

Next: Double-A