Washington Nationals: Gulf Coast League team clinches postseason berth
By Ricky Keeler
While the Washington Nationals appear to be heading to the postseason, their Gulf Coast League team will be in the playoffs as well
There won’t be many postseason bids for the Washington Nationals minor league affiliates this year. However, the team in the Gulf Coast League did clinch a postseason bid Thursday with their 7-5 win over the Mets to improve their record to 34-20 at the time (now 34-21).
This is the first time that the GCL Nats have made their respective postseason since 2013 when Patrick Anderson guided the Nats to a 49-9 record and eventually won the league championship. Anderson is now the manager of the Hagerstown Suns. Bob Henley also guided the GCL Nats to a title in 2009.
When you look at the offense on this team, the two players that lead the hits both are in the middle infield. Second baseman Luis Garcia is hitting .303 with a home run, 20 RBI’s, and 59 hits while shortstop Yasel Antuna is hitting .302 with three triples, a home run, and 17 RBI’s.
Garcia and Antuna are both part of the top ten prospects in the Washington Nationals farm system according to MLB Pipeline. Both of these hitters are only 17 years old and appear to have a bright future in the organization.
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On the mound, Josh Johnson’s squad has thrown the ball well. Their team ERA of 3.08 is the third lowest of any team in the league. There are five pitchers that lead the team in wins with three, but one pitcher to keep an eye on that list is Tomas Alastre.
Alastre started the season at Short-Season Auburn, but has thrown the ball well since being sent down to the Gulf Coast. Over his last four starts, the 19-year-old has given up a t total of five runs and has struck out 23 batters in 19 innings.
It has been an eventful season for the Washington Nationals Rookie affiliate. Back on July 23, the team threw consecutive seven inning no-hitters in a doubleheader against the Miami Marlins. Yesterday, Johnson was named Manager of the Year in the GCL and he is 68-44 as a manager in the last two years.
Earlier this week, it was announced that the Washington Nationals will have some of their prospects play in the Arizona Fall League. Also, one of the GCL coaches, pitching coach Michael Tejera, will be the pitching coach for the Mesa Solar Sox.
Once the playoffs start Sunday, the Nats will play one game for the right to go to a best-of-three championship series. While it’s a short postseason, it allows the young players to get some playoff experience and continue their development.
Next: September storylines to follow
We wish them nothing but the best in the postseason and keep it right here at District On Deck for all of your minor league playoff updates during our DoDcast postgame shows.