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Washington Nationals: Minor Leagues - The Week That Was Down on the Farm

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Before we jump into the week that was for the Nats' farm system, I just wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the loyal readers of Federal Baseball. Perhaps you've seen my name pop up here in the Wire Taps as I cover the Harrisburg Senators for a website (The Sports 'Burger) I also run which covers the minor league sports of Central Pennsylvania. Patrick was kind enough to ask if I would consider doing a weekly round-up post and I jumped at the chance.

Hopefully you'll like it and if not please let me know what I can do to make it better. So if there's something you want to see or something you want me to throw in the garbage disposal, please comment here or drop me a line.

The Last Week by the Numbers

Here we'll look at each affiliate and see who's hot and who's not over the last seven days.

Syracuse Chiefs (2-5, 9-16 overall)

Hot: 1B Chris Marrero .346 (9-26), 5 R, 2 RBI, 1 HR
Not: OF Jeff Frazier .083 (2-24)

Harrisburg Senators (4-3, 13-11 overall)

Hot: P Brad Peacock 2-0, 0.64 ERA, 14 IP, 15 K
Hot: 2B Steve Lombardozzi .407 (11-27), 4 R, 5 RBI
Not: C Derek Norris .059 (1-17), 1HR

Potomac Nationals (4-4, 10-14 overall)

Hot: 3B Stephen King .409 (9-22)
Not: P Mitchell Clegg 0-2, 8.68 ERA, 9.1 IP, 16 R, 20 H
Not: P Adam Olbrychowski 3.1 IP, 18.92 ERA, 7 R, 6 H, 6 BB

Hagerstown Suns (6-1, 17-9 overall)

Hot: OF Bryce Harper .520 (13-25), 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 doubles

Under the Radar

Can we just collectively put the closers of every affiliate in here? As a group, they have combined for 17 saves while only allowing 2 earned runs for an ERA of 0.43. These guys have been dominant and most nights untouchable. It's been a pleasant surprise because other than Cole Kimball at Triple-A Syracuse, none of them were clear cut favorites for the role entering this season.

At the top, we have Kimball who has built upon the success he had in the Arizona Fall League and was very close to winning a Nationals' bullpen job out of spring training. As disappointed as he was to not make the squad, he hasn't let that affect him and he's doing everything to get that promotion to The Show.

In Double-A Harrisburg, Ryan Mattheus emerged from the pack to become manager Tony Beasley's go-to-guy at the back end of the bullpen. Although three years ago he saved 17 games at this same level in Tulsa, Mattheus came into the season as a question mark since he was only a year and a half removed from elbow ligament-replacement surgery.

Patrick Lehman has managed to rack up 6 saves so far in the early season so far at Potomac. Not bad for a guy who hadn't closed out a win in his entire two-year minor league career prior to this season.

Hagerstown has had four different pitchers save games and I'll be honest I don't know if manager Brian Daubach is working his way to giving only one guy the job. But for purposes of this post, I've annointed Christopher Manno as the closer because of his recent work in save situations and his unbelievably high strikeout rate (19 Ks through only 11.1 innings).

"On that first night..."

There were a number of debuts in the past week as a chain reaction of promotions rippled thoughout the organization after Syracuse's Michael Aubrey was placed on the DL. Adam Fox was elevated to Syracuse, Stephen King to Harrisburg, and Justin Bloxom worked himself through extended spring training to Potomac. Unfortunately, all three were held hitless in the respective debuts with their new clubs.

Stinkbomb of the Week

In the April 30th game against Salem, Potomac's Ryan Demmin replaced Rob Wort to begin the 7th inning on the losing end of a 2-0 pitchers' duel that had the P-Nats struggling offensively but still within reach. After Demmin's one inning of work, the P-Nats' needed a small miracle to even threaten the Red Sox.

Ryan Demmin: 1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 HR

Performance of the Week

Yunesky Maya spent the winter destined for opening this season in Syracuse's starting rotation. The early part of the season wasn't kind either as he struggled winless with an ERA above 5. But this past Saturday saw Maya throw the kind of game Nats' fans have been desperately waiting for from him. He went 8 scoreless giving up just three hits as only one Rochester Red Wing got past first base for the entire game. Maya was effective in commanding his pitches (71 of 104 pitches were strikes) and keeping the ball down (11 groundball outs).

Yunesky Maya: 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 6 K