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Reports on games, draft picks and minor leaguers

Yesterday provided two games, one simulated game, six new draft picks, and enough drama to make all of them interesting. (Well, except the simulated game.) I took a different approach with the game story, using it not for the narrative description of the doubleheader, but instead for the narrative description of the day itself.

Frankly, all the draft stuff ended just in time for me to come back up to the press box and see Elijah Dukes' home run, which might be the farthest hit by any Nat this season. That snapped a four-game losing streak; Dukes heroics are covered in the notebook this morning.

Later today, I'll give a further update on the team's other draft selections. For now, though, you can read about the draft selections of years past by way of the Gluvna report, your weekly repository for hope and hilarious puns. (MONTZ-TER MASH!)



This Week's Top Headlines

YO, ADRIAN!: RHP Adrian Alaniz is 16-2 with a 2.40 ERA in 24 games (19 starts) as a professional since being drafted in the 8th round of the 2007 First Year Player 2008, he is 8-0 with a 2.43 ERA and a .208 BAA in 11 starts...his 8 wins are tied for tops in the Single-A Carolina League and are tied for 3rd most in minor league baseball...Alaniz, who was a New York-Penn League midseason All-Star in 2007 with Single-A Vermont, has earned the win in each of his last 6 starts, striking out 32 in 33.1 innings...the University of Texas product ranks among Carolina League leaders in ERA (4th) and strikeouts (t-5th, 54)...he is scheduled to make his next start Saturday at Frederick (Orioles).

I'M SEEING STARS...ALL-STARS! : OF Michael Burgess , INF Bill Rhinehart and C Sean Rooney were selected to play in the Single-A South Atlantic League All-Star Game being played June 17 at NewBridge Bank Park, home of the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins)... Burgess will start in right field, Rhinehart will get the start at first base, while Rooney will serve as a reserve...the 19-year-old Burgess , who entered the season as the No. 4 prospect in the Washington chain according to Baseball America , leads both the SAL and Washington farmhands with 12 home runs... Rhinehart , selected in the 11th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, ranks among SAL leaders in RBI (2nd, 49), doubles (t-2nd, 19), total bases (7th, 109), hits, (t-8th, 67) and batting (9th, .312)... Rooney, 21, is hitting .330 in 27 games this season.

Triple-A Columbus Clippers
International League West Division
33-28, 3rd Place , 4.0 Games Back

TYLER MADE: RHP Tyler Clippard is 4-1 with a 1.53 ERA (7 ER/41.0 IP) in his last 8 starts...his 59 strikeouts are tops among Washington minor leaguers and rank 9th in International League play...overall, he owns a 3.41 ERA in 12 starts (60.2 innings)... Clippard, 23, was acquired in the off-season from the Yankees in exchange for RHP Jonathan Albaladejo.

SURF'S UP: RHP Collin Balester has won 5 of his last 6 decisions in 7 starts beginning May 2...the 21-year-old is 2-0 with a 3.30 ERA (6 ER/16.1 IP) in his last 3 starting assignments...Balester, selected in the 4th round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, is 6-3 with a 4.23 ERA in 12 starts...per Baseball America , he entered the season as the No. 3 prospect in the Washington chain.

Organizational Player and Pitcher of the Month - May

INF Yurendell de Caster - posted a .354 OBP with hitting 4 HR and 17 RBI in 29 games.
RHP Tyler Clippard - went 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA (7 ER/33.0 IP) in 6 starts.

Double-A Harrisburg Senators
Eastern League Southern Division
34-22, First Place , 1.0 Game Ahead

MONTZ-TER MASH: C Luke Montz , 24, paces the Eastern League in slugging (.643) and ranks among EL leaders in home runs (t-2nd, 11), hitting (4th, .343) and on-base percentage (8th, .423)...Montz, a 17th-round selection from the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, is 19-for-47 (.404) with 3 home runs and 11 RBI in his last 13 contests.

THE GUY WITH TWO FIRST NAMES: OF Mike Daniel , whom Washington selected in the 7th round of the 2005 draft, is hitting .353 (12-for-34) with 6 extra-base hits (4 doubles and 2 home runs) and 6 RBI over the last 10 his first season at the Double-A level, the University of North Carolina product is batting .316 with 5 home runs, 22 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 52 games.

Organizational Player and Pitcher of the Month - May

OF Roger Bernadina - batted .351 (34-for-97) with 7 doubles, 6 triples, and 21 RBI in 28 games.
RHP Marco Estrada - went 4-0 with a 0.94 ERA (3 ER/ 28.2 IP) and 30 strikeouts in 5 starts.

Single-A Potomac Nationals
Carolina League Northern Division
34-24, First Place , 4.5 Games Ahead

WILKIE OR WON'T HE?: RHP Josh Wilkie has allowed only one earned run over his last 17.1 innings (0.53 ERA) ...he has struck out 17 and walked 3 (5.6 K/BB ratio) in those 13 appearances...overall, the 23-year-old George Washington University product owns a 1.38 ERA in 20 games.

Organizational Player and Pitcher of the Month - May

INF Chris Marrero :place - blasted 6 home runs and drove in 17 runs in 28 games.
RHP Adrian Alaniz - went 5-0 with a 2.73 ERA (10 ER/33.0 IP) and a .183 BAA (21-for-115) in 6 games.

Single-A Hagerstown Suns
South Atlantic League Northern Division
28-29, 5th Place , 5.5 Games Back

A KING'S RANSOM: INF Stephen King has hit safely in 25 of 28 games overall, batting .351 with 20 runs scored, 2 home runs and 17 RBI...King, a 3rd round selection from the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, is 15-for-35 (.429) with 16 RBI with RISP...after striking out in 40% (43 K/107 AB) of his at-bats through the first 28 games last season, King has improved his strikeout rate, fanning just 19% (22 K/114 AB) of the time in 28 games this season.

ONE FISH TWO FISH RED FISH BLUE FISH: OF Aaron Seuss is hitting at a .400 (30-for-75) clip with 9 doubles, 5 home runs and 18 RBI in 17 games beginning May 16...additionally, he has reached base safely in each of those 17 contests, posting a .430 on-base percentage during that stretch... the 23-year-old, whom the Nationals selected in the 27th round last June, is hitting .300 with 17 doubles, 8 home runs and 37 RBI in 52 games overall. ...Seuss was a 2007 New York-Penn League midseason All-Star.

Organizational Player and Pitcher of the Month - May

INF Bill Rhinehart - hit .322 (37-for-115) with 5 HR and 30 RBI in 28 games.
RHP Atahualpa Severino - 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA (6 ER/19.0 IP) in 8 appearances.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 6, 2008; 8:32 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: 5:25 p.m.
Next: Draft, rounds 2-6


MORNING, GLUVNA: PR Guy entertains Nats fans on dreary Friday morning 5 out of 5 times with his wickedly lame puns used to convey awfully good news.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 6, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Awful, awful efort by the Post in covering what, as Chico describes it, was an incredibly event-filled day for the Nats. I guess it's too much to expect that even on a day like yesterday, there might be space for 2 articles, one for the games and another for the draft. Because, you know, the Post has just *got* to run today that 100th story about how Jason Campbell is ready to turn things around "this season." Give me a break. Kory Casto has a huge day as he returns to DC? Sorry, not interesting enough for the Post.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | June 6, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I'd bet Clippard will be pitching here on Sunday.

Dukes having a good day is great news - but one wonders how he'll fare if teams start pitching around him. The Nats' lineup is so easy to pitch to - pitch around the individuals who can hurt you and let the hacks do what they do best. The sign of a good ML hitter is to get hits even when yoou aren't getting pitches to hit.

Posted by: Section 408 | June 6, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I think Dukes already proved that if they pitch around him he has the ability to take walks, a la Nick Johnson. If he stays disciplined and takes those walks, he's an absolute menace on the basepaths.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 6, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I don't receive the .35 edition, of course - but I think Coverage is Lacking is dead on the ball. Yesterday was described by the FO as "the most important day of the year." It would seem the draft should get its own story as should the two games played. You might be interested to know CIL, that the Orangeburg Times and Democrat ran a full-story on the MLB draft this morning (focusing on the SC players picked) - and their sports page has only four pages! Plus I got the AP write-ups for both games of the double-header (but not the box scores) Am I getting better print coverage here?

Posted by: lowcountry | June 6, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I humbly submit that I agree with Coverage is Lacking on this one. I was excited to wake up and read all about the day and very disappointed with the coverage.

I can't decide where to fall on the chicken-egg issue of the Post not providing enough coverage because its not yet wanted by enough customers or customers not wanting because the Post hasn't shown how it should be...

Posted by: GoNats | June 6, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

408, I think we know what happens when teams don't really pitch to Dukes. He doesn't really get hits, but he doesn't chase junk either. Going into yesterday, he was mired in the bottom of a dead lineup with a sub-Mendoza average but a fantastic OBP given his dreadful dearth of hits.

Posted by: jp | June 6, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Another great job by Gluvna with the Minor League Report. I can't wait to see some of these guy drafted over these 2 days start appearing in his report. Hopefully, they won't be in the report long, though, as I'd like them in the big leagues soon.

Posted by: NatsFan10 | June 6, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I'm also going to second (...fifth?) the coverage complaint.

But since the complaints have been covered pretty thoroughly already, I'll add a shoutout to Chico, who managed to mention all the most important pieces of a LOT of action in one article.

It's a little pathetic he couldn't have a second article for the draft, but I think he did well considering.

Posted by: TpA | June 6, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

In fairness to the Post, I should admit that I read nothing about Jason Campbell in the T & D this morning.

Posted by: lowcountry | June 6, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

OK, after reading that report, I'm officially drinking the cool-aid. Go minor leagues!

Seems like we needed more big bats in the draft and it's a bit unsettling that the media is already talking about how the Rangers getting Smoak was a coup...though I'm sure that's more of a reflection of Houston taking Castro at #10.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

OK, after reading that report, I'm officially drinking the cool-aid. Go minor leagues!

Seems like we needed more big bats in the draft and it's a bit unsettling that the media is already talking about how the Rangers getting Smoak was a coup...though I'm sure that's more of a reflection of Houston taking Castro at #10.

Posted by: Souff East | June 6, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

One win and we can briefly forget how cheap the Lerners are. Another day - another 100K. Though one thing the Lerners can do in the short term to help me love them is to fire Clint. What an abomination? His little performance in the 10th nearly ruined the game.

His continued employment must be supported by his ownership of compromising photos.

Posted by: Count Demoney | June 6, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Agreed--nice job Chico, but this was clearly a morning for more coverage.

Posted by: Section 109 | June 6, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

It should be noted that those lunatics over at the times did a much better job of covering yesterday. Recommend you pick up a copy of their sports section today to read as you're walking to a garbage can to throw out the rest.

Here's the online version:

I haven't mentioned anything in the coverage debate lately, but Post editors should note I stop by the Times website every day now, something I would have never done a year ago. And I'm the one who usually stands up for the Post.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 6, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

If there was ever a day when the Post should have assigned two of its writers to cover the Nationals, that day was yesterday. But what did they do? They ran one writer named Chico Harlan ragged - probably in payment for the good karma he built up by serendipitously having his scheduled days off turn out to be a two-plus hour rain delay and a postponement. Where was Sheinin yesterday? Apparently he was in the ballpark, because Chico relayed his comments on the sparse attendance to us in this blog. Couldn't Sheinin have written something for today's paper? Where was Boswell, who's been MIA all week? No column from him in ages. Couldn't Kilgore have shown up and written something? Hell, I'd have taken a report from the Cards locker room from Eli Saslow. Really, the Post dropped the ball on coverage yesterday, big time.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | June 6, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

It's all well and good to complain here, but we're obviously preaching to the choir. Can you guys tell me where I should go to actually tell the WaPo how disappointed we are? I think we should all shoot the paper a quick email today just so maybe they'll notice. Really, this was pathetic. (And it was unfair to Chico!)

Posted by: ambul | June 6, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"I think we should all shoot the paper a quick email today just so maybe they'll notice. Really, this was pathetic. (And it was unfair to Chico!)"

Anyone got Emilio Garcia-Ruiz's e-mail or phone number? We all know he's the guilty party. If there was a Steven of Capitol Hill on the Post coverage case, his mantra would surely be "Fire Emilio!"

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 6, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

"Anyone got Emilio Garcia-Ruiz's e-mail or phone number?"

Posted by: (sorry for the long link) | June 6, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Section 506,

Please, when we are disposing of the rest of the Washington Times make sure we please recycle the rest.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | June 6, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

natsinthevalley, I can't take the chance that the Times might turn up again!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 6, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I just followed that link from 506 and read the Times baseball coverage for the day. It was good. I enjoyed it. It blew the Post's coverage out of the water (which isn't saying much).

I'm afraid to look outside, given the likelihood at this point that fire and brimstone are falling from the sky.

Posted by: LLLJ | June 6, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse


I know you don't do the headlines, and I'm not the grammar lady, but

"Presently, Nats are looking to Future" offends many of your readers (including virtually all who would grouse about a split infinitve). Perhaps it's not incontrovertibly wrong, as the use of "presently" to mean "now" has crept into accepted usage, but I would hope the Post style book reflects that the better usage of "presently" is convey that which is about to happen, e.g., "even more imminent than soon." So, "Presently, Nats will look to the future" or "Currently, Nats are looking to the future" or the cleanest "Now, Nats Eye Future." would all have worked.

Posted by: Litany of Disappointments | June 6, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Here's on for the "Lerner's are Cheap" crowd.

The word is that Destin Hood wants to be paid as a first rounder, or he might accept his scholarship to Bama in Fall.

So, if the Lerner's pay the man more than his "slot" says he is worth,

Does that make cheap or not cheap?

Posted by: BofG | June 6, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I'm afraid to look outside, given the likelihood at this point that fire and brimstone are falling from the sky.

Posted by: LLLJ | June 6, 2008 11:10 AM


Come to think of it, my office mate did ask me if I had heard a trumpet and suddenly was whisked out of his seat up into the sky. It was pretty dramatic, since we have two stories above our office.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 6, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

From the AL Press-Register, via NFA:

A gathering of family and friends spent four hours with Destin Hood in front of a large-screen television in the lobby of the Wingate Hotel on Thursday, ready to roar when his name was listed as a selection in Major League Baseball's first-year player draft.

But when the moment the St. Paul's standout will remember for the rest of his life finally came, it was a relatively quiet one. The first round and supplemental picks had come and gone, the ESPN2 broadcast of the event had ended and Hood stood with his father in front of a computer in a back office of the hotel.

"Do it. Do it. Pull the trigger," Hood said quietly as the Washington Nationals went on the clock with the 55th overall pick.

And then, as though obeying the command, the screen showed that the moment had come -- the Nationals chose him with their second-round selection.

"Yes! Yes! Yes!" Hood exclaimed upon seeing the pick, giving his father, Dewayne, a high-five before heading back into the lobby to share the good news.

"I've been on pins and needles for three days," Hood said later. "We were never promised the first round or supplemental round. We just knew we weren't going to fall into the teen rounds. The Nationals are a good team. They say when you're ready, they pull you up."

Hood was one of two Alabama high school stars to be selected in the second round -- 2008 Mr. Baseball Tyler Stovall, a pitcher for 3A state champion Hokes Bluff, went to the Atlanta Braves with the 64th pick. Another former local standout, Mississippi State and former Fairhope pitcher Aaron Weatherford, went in the third round to the Colorado Rockies with the 103rd pick.

Hood hit .485 with eight home runs, 32 RBIs and 17 stolen bases as a shortstop at St. Paul's this season, although he will almost assuredly be moved to the outfield in the pros. He had worked out in Washington just last weekend, knocking nine balls out of Nationals Park.

"He was the best bat up there and they knew it; they spoke of it," Dewayne Hood said of his son's workout with the Nationals. "A lot of teams talk good, but in the end it's what comes across the screen."

Hood, a University of Alabama football signee, said he feels confident he will sign with the Nationals as his advisor, Larry Reynolds of Reynolds Sports Management, has told him the team's offer should be "in the ballpark" of the first-round money he wants.

"This is just the beginning; I've got work to do," Hood said. "It's going to be a big step in my life and I'm ready to take it on."

Posted by: bob l. head | June 6, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

BofG, draftee signing bonuses don't determine whether the Lerners are not cheap. Kudos to them for going after a guy like McGeary last year, and let's hope they sign Hood since they picked him, but really, the amount of money we're talking about here is nominal and marginal in the grand scheme of things, such as free agent contracts and overall big-league payroll.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | June 6, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

The 'Learners are Cheap' crowd refuses to acknowledge spending on draft picks or the minor league system as evidence that they are wrong. They will only be happy when the Nats sign middling free agents like Kyle Lohse or over-priced burdens like Andruw Jones or Aaron Rowand.

Posted by: NoVA Nat | June 6, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

The problem with using Hood as a test case is that we all know that the Bama boosters could pay him more than even the most generous MLB owners could afford :)
The word is that Destin Hood wants to be paid as a first rounder, or he might accept his scholarship to Bama in Fall.
So, if the Lerner's pay the man more than his "slot" says he is worth,
Does that make cheap or not cheap?
Posted by: BofG | June 6, 2008 11:32 AM

Posted by: lowcountry | June 6, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

No I will only be happy once I hear that the Lerners have stopped "nickling and diming" DC. You get a free stadium in a rush effort, but then you ask that DC pay for uniforms and other miscellaneous expenses. You then seek 100K in daily penalties, etc, etc... while fielding a bad team with no pop. Just shameless, really shameless.

However, I am pleased that the Lerners are building a farm system after MLB gutted it. My concern is that the Lerners will never take it to the next level. Leonsis went thru a rebuild too, but you always knew that Leonsis would take it to the next level when the time was right.

Bottomline is that I want to be wrong here. We will see next offseason as Boswell says.

Posted by: Count Demoney | June 6, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Posting the Nats Press Release about the minor league report is not reporting.

Posted by: Dave | June 6, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

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