Washington Nationals announce 2017 minor league awards

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WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals pitches to Kelby Tomlinson #37 of the San Francisco Giants in the third inning during Game 2 of a doubleheader at Nationals Park on August 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals pitches to Kelby Tomlinson #37 of the San Francisco Giants in the third inning during Game 2 of a doubleheader at Nationals Park on August 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /
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Yesterday, the Washington Nationals announced the winners of their annual minor league awards

Before the Washington Nationals began their series against the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday, the team announced the winners of their three main minor league awards. Outfielder Daniel Johnson won the Player of the Year award, Wander Suero won the Pitcher of the Year, and Raudy Read won the Bob Boone Award.

While Victor Robles made a good case to win the Player of the Year award, Johnson is definitely a worthy recipient. Across Low-A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac, the 22-year-old had a slash line of .298/.356/.505 with 22 home runs and 72 RBI’s in 130 games.

Johnson got the call-up to Potomac on July 24 and picked up right where he left off from his power surge with the Suns. He hit .294 with five home runs and stole ten bases in 12 attempts. The Nats’ fifth round pick out of New Mexico State has shown defensive versatility as well with his ability to play all three outfield positions.

As for Suero, he was arguably the team’s biggest surprise this year out of the bullpen and he made a compelling case to get a major league opportunity this month. While that didn’t happen, that shouldn’t take away from his excellent season.

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Between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse, Suero had a 1.79 ERA, 20 saves in 22 chances and had 65 strikeouts over 65.1 innings over the span of 54 games. The 26-year-old right-hander only gave up four earned runs over the entire second half.

When you consider the fact Suero has been in major league camp as a non-roster invitee each of the last two seasons, he should get a chance to compete for a bullpen spot next year at West Palm Beach.

Finally, Read got the Bob Boone Award, which goes to the player that best demonstrates the professionalism, leadership, loyalty, passion, selflessness, durability, determination and work ethic required to play the game the ‘Washington Nationals Way.” (h/t Byron Kerr, MASN)

Read opened eyes in the minor leagues this year with his power and it led him to getting a major league callup in September. The 25-year-old has yet to homer in the big leagues, but he hit 17 home runs at Harrisburg and had a .455 slugging percentage. He has clearly made his case to be the catcher of the future once Matt Wieters’ contract is up either this year or next year.

Next: Storylines to finish regular season

In all, each of these Washington Nationals deserves the recognition that they have received. While the system isn’t as strong as it once was, these three players could be a significant part of this team’s future going forward.

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