Washington Nationals Minor League Players Of The Week: (7/13-7/19)

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(Photo Credit: MILB.com)

Syracuse Chiefs (38-58)

Hitter Of The Week: 3B Chris Nelson (.284, 2 HR, 12 RBI’s)

For the first time this season, Chris Nelson works his way into the top hitters of the week. He is a 29-year-old that has bounced around numerous teams, but he had a good series this past weekend against the Gwinnett Braves. He went 6-for-11 at the plate with a home run and four RBI’s.

Nelson’s home run was a two-run shot in the bottom of the fifth inning yesterday that gave the Chiefs a 4-3 lead. Syracuse would win that game 5-3 thanks to three RBI’s from Nelson. He is hitting .327 in 16 games this month with two home runs and ten RBI’s.

Honorable Mention: SS Josh Johnson (.231, 1 HR, 14 RBI’s)

Johnson has had a rough season numbers wise for Syracuse, but he did go 3-for-7 at the plate with three RBI’s against Gwinnett. Johnson’s big moment this past week occurred on Saturday. The Chiefs were down 5-0 in that game after the first inning, but Johnson capped the comeback with a pinch-hit single in the bottom of the ninth to win the game, 7-6.

The 29-year-old infielder has been with the Nationals’ organization since 2010. In 11 games this month, Johnson is hitting .290 with no home runs and five RBI’s.

Pitcher Of The Week: SP Joe Ross (3-1, 2.19 ERA)

Since coming to triple-A after a short stint with the Nationals, Ross has struck out just 15 batters in five starts, but he has kept the same command he showed with the big league club. In his last start on Thursday against Gwinnett, Ross went five innings, gave up no runs on two hits, struck out three, and did not walk a batter.

While the 22-year-old has only thrown a maximum of five innings in each of his starts, he has given up a total of six runs. Ross could receive a callup back to the Nats real soon. The team has announced their starter for tomorrow against the Mets and Tanner Roark pitched Friday and part of Saturday because of the faulty lights at Nats Park.

Honorable Mention: SP Paolo Espino (3-3, 2.71)

Espino made his first start since July 7 yesterday after making a brief one-inning relief appearance against Rochester on July 12. Against Gwinnett, Espino went six innings, gave up three runs on five hits, struck out two, and did not walk a batter. With that outing, he recorded his first win since June 22 against Charlotte (five appearances).

The 28-year-old right-hander had an impressive June when he had a 2.16 ERA in five starts. However, July has not been as kind to him. In four appearances, he is 1-2 with a 4.66 ERA and has given up three runs or more in his last three starts.

Next: Double-A