For their first two seasons in Washington, D.C., after the move from Montreal, the Nationals stuck with the Expos’ South Atlantic League affiliate, the Savannah Sand Gnats, who were located in Savannah, Georgia.
In 2007, however, the Nationals and Hagerstown Suns began their relationship, which has continued to this day.
This morning, the Nats announced a two-year extension of their Player Development Contract with Suns, who, as a press release on the extension noted, have overseen the early stages of development of current Nationals like, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Reynaldo Lopez, Sammy Solis, Pedro Severino, Wilmer Difo, Brian Goodwin and more.
“We are pleased to extend our Player Development Contract with the Hagerstown Suns, a relationship we have had now for nine-plus years,” Nationals’ GM and President of Baseball Ops Mike Rizzo said in the press release.
“The Suns play an integral role in developing the next wave of talent to advance through our system.
“Some of our best players have spent time learning how to play the game the ‘Nationals Way’ while in Hagerstown.
“We’re glad to continue our working relationship with them.”
“Hagerstown has been a tremendous partner of ours,” Assistant GM and VP of Player Personnel Doug Harris added.
“From being Bryce Harper’s first professional home, to helping players like Wilmer Difo flourish, to raising the current wave of young talent impacting our organization at the big-league level, our relationship with the Suns has played a large role in our overall success.”
Hagerstown went 43-27 in the first half of the 2016 campaign, with the Suns claiming the Sally League’s Northern Division title, and overall on the year, their 71-49 record is the South Atlantic League’s best.
The extension, which begins in 2017, extends through the 2018 campaign.
The Nationals have signed a two-year Player Development Contract extension with the Hagerstown Suns of the Single-A South Atlantic League.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 16, 2016
The Washington Nationals and Hagerstown Suns Extend Player Development Contract https://t.co/xFAr9BgXon via @MiLB— Hagerstown Suns (@HagerstownSuns) August 16, 2016