Washington Nationals Minor Leagues Players Of The Week: (7/6-7/12)

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(Photo Credit: MILB.com)

Potomac Nationals (44-43)

Hitter Of The Week: 3B Khayyan Norfork (.257, 1 HR, 15 RBI’s)

While the 26-year-old only had one extra-base hit this past week, he enters this week’s action on a five game hitting streak. In his last seven games, he is 8-for-22 with three RBI’s. He has three multi-hit games in his last five, including a 5-for-12 series against the Winston-Salem Dash (Chicago White Sox) this past weekend.

In Game one of a doubleheader on July 9 against the Lynchburg Hillcats (Cleveland Indians), Norfork had a walk-off single in Potomac’s 3-2 win. This month, he is hitting .323 in nine games.

Honorable Mention: 3B Drew Ward (.246, 3 HR, 36 RBI’s)

The 20-year-old third baseman has a hit in nine of his last ten games. While the home runs haven’t been there this season in high-A, he did have four RBI’s this week to increase his team-leading RBI total to 36 (three ahead of Stephen Perez).

Yesterday, against Winston-Salem, Ward went 3-for-5 with a double and a RBI. He has had five games this season of three or more hits, which includes a four hit game against Lynchburg back on April 22. With Brandon Miller retiring from baseball this week, Ward is a huge key to this Potomac offense. He is hitting .310 in 11 games this month with seven RBI’s.

Pitcher Of The Week: SP Lucas Giolito (3-4, 2.76 ERA)

While Giolito stood out at yesterday’s Futures Game, he stole the show in last Monday’s game against Wilmington (Kansas City Royals). For the second straight outing, he came in the game in relief of Aaron Barrett, who is now back with the Nats. In that outing, he went six innings, gave up no runs on three hits, struck out ten, and walked one.

The ten strikeouts are the second highest Giolito had in an outing this season (11 K’s back on May 14 against Wilmington). He did have an error, wild pitch, and a balk in that game, but that doesn’t take way from the swing-and-miss ability Giolito has. The 20-year-old right-hander has 76 strikeouts this season, which is third in the Carolina League and he’s had six fewer starts than the pitcher with the league lead (Mitch Horacek with 93). You have to wonder if a promotion to Harrisburg with Pivetta is in the near future.

Honorable Mention: SP John Simms (5-5, 2.89 ERA)

All season long, we have talked about Potomac’s rotation and the likes of Pivetta, Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Phillips Valdez. That being said, John Simms has flown under the radar and continues to put up quality starts on a consistent basis. In his last start on July 9 against Lynchburg, Simms threw a complete game in Game two of a doubleheader, striking out one, and walking one.

While the 23-year-old right-hander doesn’t strike many batters out (36 K’s in 74.2 innings), he has just 20 walks and five of them came in one outing. The Nats’ 11th round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft has pitched into the sixth inning or later in nine of his last ten starts. In his last three outings, he is 2-0 with a 0.45 ERA and has given up one earned run in his last 20 innings.

Next: Low-A