Stan Kasten On The Washington Nationals, DC GM Mike Rizzo On The Manager Search. PLUS: Top 10 Prospect Reports.

• After SI.com's Jon Heyman started the week with more speculation about the future of the Nationals' Interim Manager Jim Riggleman by writing, in an article entitled, "'Not So Amazins' lead all bust list", that, "While the Nationals have played better under interim manager Jim Riggleman, it's expected that they'll choose someone else as manager for next year," DC GM Mike Rizzo ended the first week of September with a quote in an article by CBS Sports.com's Scott Miller entitled, "Different situations but 'interim' tag won't leave Riggleman", in which Mr. Rizzo gives what Mr. Miller calls a "thumbnail sketch (of) what he's looking for in a manager," describing a skipper who is an, "Experienced teacher...":

"...I want a guy who instills some discipline and fundamentals. The guy has to be respected in this clubhouse and around baseball. Someone who knows the Xs and Os of the game."

While that may sound to some like a description of Jim Riggleman, Mr. Rizzo reminds everyone, later in CBS Sports' Scott Miller's article, as the Nationals have at every opportunity since Manny Acta's dismissal, that the team will go through an exhaustive search before settling on the best possible candidate for the team's manager job. Mr. Miller asks if the Nationals are planning on pursuing a marquee name for the position? Mr. Rizzo's response:

"'If it's marquee, fine. And if it's a hidden gem that only we know about, that's fine, too. Nobody knew Don Wakamatsu before Seattle hired him this year, and look at the job he's done. We're going to get the best fit we can for the organization to take us into the future."

Ewww, had to mention Wakamatsu? Sorry, Mr. Riggleman. 

BACKPAGE:

Stan Kasten - The Reuters Article.

Top 10 Prospects: 2009 Returns.

Continued After The JUMP...

• Stan Kasten - The Reuters Article.

Washington Nationals' team President Stan Kasten tells Reuters' writer Steve Ginsburg, in an article entitled, "Fans grow tired of seeing Washington lose", that he understands why the nation's capital's fans have not turned out en masse to support the Nationals:

"The product on the field is not where we want it. Fans get that. Even if they appreciate your long-term vision, a lot of fans say: 'Okay, when it gets here, we'll come back'."

The Nationals' Face of the Franchise, Ryan Zimmerman is quoted in the article as well, explaining that he understands the relative apathy that has followed the initial excitement of baseball's return to DC and the opening of the new stadium, and it's really quite simple, "'If I was a fan, I'd want to watch a team that wins.'" Mr. Kasten is sure that things will turn around when the product on the field improves, showing faith in the DC fans, who have themselves shown a willingness to support successful teams in the area, "This will be an enormous marquee franchise once we do our job on the field." 

Top 10 Prospects: 2009 Returns.

On January 6, 2009, Baseball America writer Aaron Fitt published the '09 version of his list of the Washington Nationals' Top 10 Prospects, which included 6 players who were not in the previous year's Top 10, 3 of whom came from the Nationals' 2008 Draft Class. Before the season was over, one of the top ten prospects would be recovering from Tommy John surgery, one would be recovering from an idenitity scandal and the other eight would be spread all over the East Coast playing their way through Washington's system. With Minor League seasons coming to an end at all levels, I thought we'd take a quick look at what each of the prospects included on Mr. Fitt's list had accomplished in 2009...(ed. note - "All stats as of 9/2/09.")

10) Esmailyn Gonzalez (aka Carlos Alvarez):

'09 Stats - DSL Nationals - 63 G, 232 AB's, 36 R, 65 H, 15 2B, 5 3B, 3 HR, 25 RBI's, 49 BB, 30 K's, 5 SB, 6 CS, .423 OBP, .427 SLG, .850 OPS. 

I found these stats on Baseball America's Dominican Summer League stats page. Esmailyn "Smiley" Gonzalez was of course revealed this winter to be Carlos Alvarez Daniel Lugo, a 23-year-old impersonating a 19-year-old prospect, who had fooled not only the Washington Nationals, (who signed the prospect then known as "Smiley", with much fanfare, to a $1.4M signing bonus in 2006), but also Major League Baseball, who vetted the amateur prospect before the Nats awarded the shortstop the biggest bonus the team had ever given to an international prospect. No word on what if any future the young infielder has with the franchise.

9) J.P. Ramirez: OF

'09 Stats - Vermont Lake Monsters (Rk) - 69 G, 281 AB's, 33 R, 75 H, 17 2B, 6 3B, 4 HR, 36 RBI's, 13 BB, 42 K's, 6 SB, 9 CS, .308 OBP, .413 SLG, .721 OPS. 

After playing 5 games with the Gulf Coast Nationals in 2008, J.P. Ramirez, 19, the Nationals' 15th round pick in 2008, started the 2009 season with the Vermont Lake Monsters in the NY/Penn League, hitting .304 with 3 doubles and 7 RBI's in June and then collecting 13 doubles, 4 triples, 4 HR's and 28 RBI's in 55 games in July/August. So far in September, Ramirez is 7 for 12 in 3 games. Throughout his first full professional season, Ramirez has kept up a blog in some newspapers around him hometown in New Braufels, Texas. Here are a few entries:

• J.P. Ramirez's Minor League Diary: May 17, 2009 - mysanantonio.com

"I can’t think much about getting the call, and it’s hard to gauge. Our general manager, Jim Bowden, resigned in March and he’s pretty much the one who makes all those decisions. He was the one who signed me. "(Acting general manager Mike Rizzo) is here now, so my fate’s up to him."

• J.P. Ramirez's minor league diary: July 12, 2009 - mysanantonio.com

"In my first game for Vermont, more than 5,000 people were there. At first, I was really nervous. Once I got on the field and looked around, my heart rate was really high. Once the game started, I didn't even notice the fans."

• J.P. Ramirez's Minor League Diary: Aug. 16, 2009 -www.sacultura.com

"You get used to the buses. We have TVs on, and I have my own row, so I end up getting some sleep. The games we play the day after trips like this are pretty rough, but that’s part of life in the minors. Everybody has to deal with it, and the minor leagues are all about testing yourself mentally."

Up Next:

8) Adrian Nieto - C...

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