Washington Nationals: 2016 Arizona Fall League In Review
Seven Washington Nationals wrapped up their Arizona Fall League this past season and some had impressive numbers
The Arizona Fall League ended this past week as the Washington Nationals prospects played their final four games with the Glendale Desert Dogs. While Glendale missed out on the championship game by a half game, they did go 3-1 this past week to bring the overall record to 17-15. As we look back at the Fall League, some of the Washington Nationals prospects had standout performances.
First, let’s talk about Andrew Stevenson. Stevenson, who was the Nats second round pick back in 2015, had a slash line of .353/.417/.518 with two home runs and 12 RBI’s in 21 games. His .353 batting average was second in the entire league behind Yankees prospect and AFL MVP Gleyber Torres (.403). Plus, he led every AFL hitter in hits (30).
Stevenson had hits in each of his final six games, including going 3-for-4 in a 13-5 loss to the Mesa Solar Sox on November 14. His best performance during the AFL was on November 7 against the Peoria Javelinas, when he went 5-for-6 with three runs, a home run, and two RBI’s. The 22-year-old has been known for his defense, but the ability to get on base stood out in AFL play.
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Throughout AFL play, it seemed to be a constant that Drew Ward was finding a way to get on base. The third baseman had a slash line of .309/.391/.383 with eight RBI’s in 21 games. His 25 hits were second on the roster behind Stevenson and he had ten walks along with Stevenson.
For Ward, his second stint in the AFL was a great success compared to the first one in 2015 with the Salt River Rafters (.097 batting average in 12 games). He was one of two Nats prospects to make the Rising Stars Game along with reliever Ryan Brinley). The 21-year-old third baseman (turns 22 on Friday) definitely had some good numbers in Arizona.
Wrapping up the position players, Osvaldo Abreu was the shortstop that played the most games for Glendale (16). He hit .267 with eight RBI’s and the 22-year-old had four multi-hit games in the final ten games that he played in. He also stole five bases, which was tied for second on the team and four behind the leader (Stevenson had nine).
Looking at the pitchers, Brinley, as I mentioned before, did pitch in the Rising Stars game earlier this month. In nine games, he went 1-1 with a 2.53 ERA, had nine strikeouts to one walk, and held opponents to a .167 batting average. Brinley had nine walks in 40 appearances with high-A Potomac and double-A Harrisburg this past season and has proven to have good command of his pitches.
As for the other two relievers, Jake Johansen had a 2.13 ERA in nine games, but he did allow 13 hits in 12.2 innings (tied for the most among Glendale relievers). Left-hander Nick Lee had a 1.54 ERA in ten games and only allowed an earned run in one of those outings (October 27 against Mesa). However, Lee did have ten walks (tied for the most on Glendale).
While starter Austin Voth didn’t have a great beginning to his AFL campaign, he had a strong ending. The 24-year-old had three straight shutouts (15 innings) and got his overall ERA down to 5.16 in seven starts. His 23 strikeouts were second on the team behind the Cardinals’ Austin Gomber (led the league with 33).
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During his time in the AFL, Voth earned a Pitcher of the Week award. It was announced Friday that he was now on the 40-man roster for the Washington Nationals. As he showed at triple-A Syracuse, he can give a team innings. His 29.2 innings were the second highest in the entire league (Gomber led with 33.2 innings).
The Arizona Fall League is a great showcase for some of the top prospects in the game. Some of the Washington Nationals prospects made strong impressions and hopefully can take some of that success into the 2017 season.