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11/19/07 Washington Nationals Prospects In the Arizona Fall League...

          "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no
          baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and
          wait for spring."

                                             - Rogers Hornsby

     The Washington Nationals prospects aren't sitting by a window waiting for April. In fact, they just completed the short 32 game season in the Arizona Fall League(AFL). The six-team league, with players drawn from each MLB organization, consists of players who meet the following requirements: (according to minorleaguebaseball.com):

          "-All Triple-A and Double-A players are eligible, provided
         the players are on at least a Double-A level roster no later
         than Aug. 1.

         -One player below the Double-A level is allowed per Major  
         League team.

         -One foreign player is allowed, as long as the player does
         not reside in a country that participates in winter ball, as
         part of the Caribbean Confederation or the Australian
         winter league.

         -No players with more than one year of credited Major
         League service as of August 31 are eligible, except a team
         may select one player picked in the most recently
         concluded Major League Rule 5 Draft. To be eligible,
         players on Minor League disabled lists must be activated at
         least 45 days before the conclusion of their respective
         seasons."

The players from the Nationals who took part in the AFL:

Peoria Javelinas

Justin Maxwell (OF)
Garrett Mock (P)
Adam Carr (P)
Alex Morales (P)
Zech Zinicola (P)
Kory Casto (O/IF)
Devin Ivany (C)

     Kory Casto, the positionless prospect, was back at third (and 1st) in Arizona, after hitting just .130 with 2 doubles and 3 RBI in 16 games as an outfielder with the Nationals to start the '07 season.

     Casto was listed as under the heading, "Slipped a Rung" in Kevin T. Czerwinski's organizational overview, (which was discussed in the last post) titled, "Prospects emerge for Nationals" in which Czerwinski writes that Casto:

          "...saw his production decline for the third consecutive
          season. He hit .246 with 11 homers and 55 RBIs at
          Columbus."

     In Arizona, Kory Casto hit .281 with 18 hits in 64 at bats, with 6 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, and 9 RBI's in 18 games, a huge improvement over his stint in the Majors, but he's going to find it harder and harder to find a spot on the Nationals' Major League roster.

     The only other fielder on the Peoria roster with Casto, Justin Maxwell, continued his impressive '07, following his stint in the Minors this season, where Maxwell hit 25 doubles and 27 HR's with 83 RBI's and 25 stolen bases in 114 games for the Nationals Class-A affiliates at Hagerstown and Potomac before Maxwell hit .269 with 2 HR's and 5 RBI's in 26 at bats after his September call-up to DC.

     For the Javelinas this fall, Maxwell hit .207 in 111 at bats over 30 games with 7 doubles, 2 HR's and 15 RBI's and earned mention in MLB.com's Lisa Winston's article, "Arizona Fall League Notebook" where she writes:

          "OF Justin Maxwell (Nationals) was second to Gardner
          (Brett, NYY) with 15 steals and scored 19 runs to rank fifth
          in the league."

     The other Nationals prospect Lisa Winston's article points to is right-handed pitcher Garrett Mock, who she writes, "...finished fifth (in the AFL) with 21 strikeouts." Mock, the twenty-four year old right-hander acquired along with Matt Chico in exchange for Livan Hernandez from Arizona, struck out those twenty-one over 26.1 innings this fall, during which he allowed 26 hits, 14 ER's and 11 walks, finishing (1-2)  with a 4.78 ERA in 7 starts.

      The other Nationals in the AFL, catcher Devin Ivany, and pitchers, all right-handers, Adam Carr, Alex Morales, and Zech Zinicola...

     Carr, 23, the Nationals 18th Round pick in '06 appeared in 7 games, starting 1, and recorded no decisions over 11.1 innings with a 3.18 ERA, 8 hits, allowed, 4 ER's and 4 walks with 10 K's.

     Morales, 24, the Expos 46th Round pick from 2003, who has worked his way through every level of the Nationals organization, struggled in the AFL, giving up 8 hits, 10 runs, 1 HR, and 14 walks, while striking out 6 and recording an 11.74 ERA in 7 appearances and 7.2 IP.

     Zinicola, 22, the Nationals 6th Round pick out of Arizona State, struggled during his second season in the Minors, but the young reliever gave up just 4 runs on 10 hits in 10.1 innings, walking 6, K'ing 5 and recording a (1-1) record in 10 games with a 3.48 ERA for the fall.

     Ivany, 25, a 6th Round pick by the Expos in '04, was a replacement on the roster for catcher Jesus Flores, who opted to play in his home country of Venezuela, and Ivany hit .233 in 43 at bats over 11 games, collecting 2 doubles, 3 HR's and 8 RBI's this fall, after finishing the 2007 season with Double-AA Harrisburg in his fourth season in the organization.

    The Peoria Javelinas squad the Nationals prospects all played for finished the Arizona Fall League second in their division, the AFL West, at (17-15)...

*Links and Links and...*

Arizona Fall League eligibility rules at minorleaguebaseball.com:

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/about/page.jsp?ymd=20050921&content_id=28212&vkey=about_l 119&fext=.jsp&sid=l119

Kevin T. Czerwinski's article, "Prospects emerge for Nationals" at MiLB.com:

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071012&content_id=310509&vkey=news _milb&fext=.jsp

mlb.com writer Lisa Winston's article, "Arizona Fall League Notebook" at MiLB.com:

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071118&content_id=323934&vkey=news _milb&fext=.jsp

AFL stats pages:

Overall batting:

http://www.mlb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=l119&lid=119&t=l_bat

Overall pitching:

http://www.mlb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=l119&lid=119&t=l_pit

Peoria Javelina's stats page:

http://www.mlb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=l119&t=t_ros&cid=490