Washington Nationals: Minor League Primer

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WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12: A Washington Nationals hat and glove sit in the dugout during the Nationals and Cincinnati Reds opening day game at Nationals Park on April 12, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12: A Washington Nationals hat and glove sit in the dugout during the Nationals and Cincinnati Reds opening day game at Nationals Park on April 12, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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Double A – Harrisburg Senators

After a so-so season in 2017, there’s plenty of reason for optimism in Harrisburg. They have a very promising roster, littered with well-regarded prospects in the Nationals organisation.

With the way the system is set, they may well end up with even more highly-touted players coming up from the levels below. But we’ll get to those names shortly.

Unlike Syracuse, the Chiefs have a much more successful recent history, making the playoffs three times this decade. And they’ll look to make it a fourth in 2018.

Main Attraction: Daniel Johnson

There are plenty of candidates for the main attraction in Harrisburg. Kelvin Gutierrez and Jefry Rodriguez are both on the Nationals 40-man roster, and could make their major league debuts this September.

But reigning Minor League Player of the Year, Daniel Johnson will be a must-see player. He hit .298, with 22 home runs last between Hagerstown and Potomac. And is looking to continue his success as he gets into the upper-reaches of the minor leagues.

He will likely stay with the Senators all season, giving them a promising anchor in the middle of their lineup. And should he keep impressing, he may well be able to work himself into the Nationals long-term outfield plans.

Keep an eye on: Bryan Harper

Although he’s not the most well-renowned Harper within the Nats organization, the elder Harper is making a name for himself. He was on the verge of a major league call-up in 2016 before Tommy John surgery curtailed those plans.

The left-handed reliever made it into major league spring training this pre-season, although he didn’t turn too many heads with a 5.40 ERA.

His stop in Harrisburg could end up being brief if he dominates like he did last time he was with the Senators. And as the Nationals know all too well, bullpens can be volatile environments. So a promotion to the big leagues isn’t out of the question if pitchers get injured or underachieve.

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