CATCHING UP WITH THE HARRISBURG SENATORS
Five to watch (in no particular order)
1. RHP Paul Demny -- Coming off Tuesday's start in Bowie in which he allowed one single and zero runs in seven innings, Paul Demny is now 5-4 with a 3.33 ERA for the Senators. This is a guy who the Nationals' bosses promised for a long time was seriously legit. (He was rated the No. 28 prospect by Baseball America coming into this year.) And now we're seeing it on a regular basis. Dating back to his eight no-hit innings in Binghamton on May 9, Demny is 4-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his last seven Double-A starts. (He lost one game in a spot start in Syracuse during that time.) The 23-year-old has 77 strikeouts and 27 walks in 73 innings for Harrisburg. He's a sixth-round pick in 2008 out of Blinn (Texas) JC, and he's now living up to those expectations.
2. CF Brian Goodwin -- A look at his overall numbers doesn't tell Goodwin's story, as he's hitting .243/.347/.378 this season. But he's one of the Senators' move valuable players because he can win games numerous ways. Terrific range in center. Always dangerous on the bases (with a tendency to get picked off that he's working on). Potential power. The club is tinkering with his approach at the plate to cut back on his strikeouts (team-high 76), but he also leads the club in runs (45), triples (7), stolen bases (13), hit-by-pitches (7) and walks (34). He's still a mega prospect, rated No. 3 by BA. The 22-year-old was a first-round pick (34th overall) in 2011.
3. 1B/LF Jimmy VanOstrand -- Certainly he's beyond prospect status, though he was at one time an Astros prospect, the 28-year-old Canadian was signed out of the independent Atlantic League early last season, and he's been a steady offensive force in the upper levels since. A World Baseball Classic veteran, VanOstrand is hitting .298/.360/.465 for the Senators with 10 doubles, three homers, 16 runs and 16 RBIs and is currently riding a four-game hit streak. Look, his chances of reaching the bigs aren't great, but this is one of those quality guys with a quality bat who does whatever is asked. You root for guys like Jimmy. And when he continues to put up numbers like this, with the big league club struggling offensively, you never know.
4. RHP Neil Holland -- Unique mind with a unique side-armed delivery, the 24-year-old is on a bit of a roll right now out of the Senators' bullpen. Holland hasn't given up a run over his last six appearances, covering seven innings. In that stretch he's walked three and struck out nine. Overall, the Louisville product (11th round, 2010) is 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 20 games. He's struck out 34 in 25.2 innings.
5. LHP Matt Grace -- Since promotion from High-A Potomac, Grace has been nothing short of outstanding out of the Senators' bullpen. The 24-year-old has yet to allow a run in Double-A. Or a walk. In five games and 7.1 innings, the UCLA product has yielded three hits with six strikeouts. Right-handed hitters are 1-for-14 against him. Lefties 2-for-10. Yes, eventually the eighth-round pick in 2010 will encounter some troubles, but it's impressive anytime a young buck dominates in his first taste of Double-A. Promising.
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