WASHINGTON - The overall records are hard to ignore.
While player development is the key in the minor leagues, veteran baseball folks say it is also possible to win games down on the farm. “Winning culture” can start in the minors, though that was tough this year for the Nationals. Washington had one of the worst-rated farm systems going into the season, according to Baseball America, but the trades in late July for prospects jumped the Nationals up several spots in the rankings but still out of the top 20.
This past weekend, the season came to an end for Double-A Harrisburg, high Single-A Wilmington, low Single-A Fredericksburg, and the Florida Complex League team.
They finished a combined 82 games under .500.
The season will end on October 3 for Triple-A Rochester, the top farm team of Washington. Here is a quick look at the four teams whose season is over:
Manager: Tripp Keister
Last game: The Senators lost 6-4 at New Hampshire on Sunday despite a double, homer, and three RBIs by third baseman Ian Sagdal, a 16th-round pick in 2015 out of Washington State.
Ian Sagdal's big three-run blast is today's PSECU Play of the Game! pic.twitter.com/VOYOV8HaNx— Harrisburg Senators (@HbgSenators) September 19, 2021
Did you know? One of the top prospects to end the year with Harrisburg was catcher Brady Lindsly, a fourth-round pick of the Nationals in 2020. “He has been able to move through the system due to his maturity, the way he handles pitchers,” Mark Scialabba, assistant general manager, player development, told Federal Baseball last week about the University of Oklahoma product ... Outfielder Rhett Wiseman, drafted in the third round by Washington in 2015, hit .217 for the Senators this season ... Catcher Jakson Reetz started on Sunday, was 0-for-3, and ended the year hitting .190 with the Senators in 64 games. He made his big-league debut earlier this year with the Nationals; he also played 11 games at Rochester ... Lefty Tim Cate, taken in the second round out of Connecticut in 2018, was just 2-10 with an ERA of 5.31 in 21 starts this year for Harrisburg.
Manager: Tommy Shields
Last game: The Blue Rocks lost 10-2 at Bowling Green on Saturday. The Sunday game was rained out and won’t be played.
Did you know? It was a tough year at the plate for two players the Nationals have been high on. Israel Pineda, a catcher, hit just .208 but did connect for his 14th homer on Saturday ... Infielder Drew Mendoza, drafted out of Florida State in 2019 in the third round, hit .206 with nine homers split between Harrisburg and the Blue Rocks. He ended the year with Wilmington ... Outfielder Ricardo Mendez hit .284 in 25 games with the Blue Rocks after he was promoted from Fredericksburg.
Manager: Mario Lisson
Last game: The Nationals won 6-2 at home Sunday over Lynchburg in the finale.
That's a wrap on the 2021 Fredericksburg Nationals season!— Fredericksburg Nationals (@FXBGNats) September 19, 2021
A four-game winning streak, and four home series wins in a row.
37 sellouts in 57 home dates.
Big things to come...
Did you know? Brandon Boissiere hit the first homer of his pro career on Sunday. He was drafted in the third round out of Arizona earlier this year by Washington. He hit .200 in 25 games with Fredericksburg ... Infielder Jake Boone, signed out of Princeton last season, hit ninth Sunday, drove in two runs and ended the year hitting .229 for Fredericksburg. The previous three generations of his family made the majors ... Darren Baker, the son of Dusty, started at second base on Sunday, was 1-for-3 and hit .318 for Fredericksburg after he was promoted from the Florida Complex League ... The team in Virginia began the year 0-15. The team sold out in 37 of 57 home dates in its first year in a stadium after playing in Woodbridge in 2019.
Florida Complex League
Manager: Jake Lowery
Last game: The Nationals lost 4-1 to the Astros on Saturday.
Did you know? Lowery is a native of Richmond and was the top catcher in the country at James Madison University in 2011. He ended his playing career at Harrisburg in 2019 ...
Shortstop Brady House was 0-for-3 on Saturday but hit .322 in Florida. He was drafted in the first round by Washington this summer. “He has good feet and his range is very good,” Jeff Garber, who has worked with infielders for more than 10 years with the Nationals, told Federal Baseball about House. “He is very athletic out there with a strong, accurate arm.”