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The Zimm Reaper

My apologies for being quick with this. It's a crazy morning, three additional hours thrown in free of charge on account of the west coast travel. I woke up this morning at 3:30 in Pittsburgh to catch the first of two flights to Seattle. But I have a few moments here at O'Hare to buy some coffee, include a link to yesterday's gamer and notes, and attach below some 900-odd words of comprehensive minor reportage. And puns.
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NATIONALS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

This Week's Top Headlines

WINNING WAYS IN WOODBRIDGE : With a 5-3 win vs. Winston Salem (White Sox) on Monday, the Potomac Nationals claimed the first-half title in the Carolina League's Northern division, thus, clinching the first playoff berth for a full-season Washington Nationals affiliate since baseball returned to the District in 2005.

HEY NOW, YOU'RE AN ALL-STAR! : RHP Adrian Alaniz , OF Edgardo Baez, INF Matt Rogelstad and RHP Craig Stammen were selected to represent the Potomac Nationals and the Carolina League in the Single-A California/Carolina League All-Star Game being played June 24 at BB&T Coastal Field, home of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Braves)... Alaniz , an 8th-round pick from the 2007 Draft, went a perfect 9-0 with a 2.62 ERA in 12 starts during the season's first half to garner the selection...his 9 wins are tops in the CL and are tied for second most in minor league baseball...the All-Star selection is his second in as many seasons as a pro... Baez , who will serve as a reserve, is the reigning MILB.com Carolina League Player of the Week...overall, he is hitting .290 with 20 doubles, 9 homers and 44 RBI in 60 games... Rogelstad will start the game at second base, after hitting .281 with 7 home runs and 37 RBI in 58 games with the P-Nats... Stammen , 24, leads the CL with a 2.02 ERA...he has 58 strikeouts and 16 walks (3.6 K/BB ratio) in 14 games (8 starts).

Triple-A Columbus Clippers
International League West Division
37-30, 3rd Place , 2.0 Games Back

COLLIN'S BALLIN': RHP Collin Balester is 3-0 with a 3.37 ERA (8 ER/21.1 IP) in his last 4 outings...he has won 6 of his last 7 decisions in 8 starts beginning May 2...Balester, who entered the season as the No. 3 prospect in the Washington chain, is 7-3 with a 4.19 ERA in 13 starts...the 22-year-old was selected in the 4th round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.

I SPEI(GNER) SOMETHING RED: In a combined 11 appearances with Columbus and Harrisburg, RHP Levale Speigner has allowed just one earned run in 17.1 innings (0.52 ERA)...he tossed 2.2 scoreless innings and was credited with the win in his first game with Columbus, after being promoted June 7...Speigner made 19 appearances (6 starts) at the big league level with Washington in 2007.

MIKE CHECK: LHP Mike O'Connor is 2-1 with a 2.36 ERA (10 ER/38.0 IP) in 6 starts since rejoining Columbus...O'Connor, the 2005 Nationals Minor League Pitcher of the Year, went 1-1 with 13.00 ERA in 5 games (one start) with the Nationals before being optioned May 11...in 10 starts overall, he is 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA and a .225 batting average against.

Double-A Harrisburg Senators
Eastern League Southern Division
36-27, 3rd Place , 1.5 Games Ahead

THE ZIMM REAPER: RHP Jordan Zimmermann allowed one run in 6.0 innings of work in a no-decision on Sunday at Bowie (Orioles)...in a combined 11 games (10 starts) with Harrisburg and Potomac, the 22-year-old is 4-2 with a 2.76 ERA, fanning 57 in 58.2 innings...Zimmermann, who entered the season rated as the No .7 prospect in the Washington system according to Baseball America , is scheduled to make his next start tomorrow at Bowie.

WANNA BE LIKE MIKE: OF Mike Daniel , 23, is batting .379 (22-for-58) over his last 16 games...Daniel, a 7th-round selection from the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, is 13-for-31 (.419) with 2 doubles, a triple, a homer and 6 RBI in 9 June contests...in his first season at the Double-A level, the University of North Carolina product is batting .327 with 5 home runs, 25 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 58 games.

Single-A Potomac Nationals
Carolina League Northern Division
41-25, First Place , 8.0 Games Ahead

HITTING 'EM LIKE SUGAR RAY: Despite spending the first 14 games of the season on the Disabled List, INF Leonard Davis paces the CL in slugging (.601) and ranks among league leaders in batting (3rd, .315) and home runs (t-3rd, 11)...the 24-year-old California native has hit safely in 16 of his last 18 games, going 25-for-62 (.403) with 22 runs, 4 home runs and 17 RBI in that span.

Single-A Hagerstown Suns
South Atlantic League Northern Division
32-33, 5th Place , 6.5 Games Back
TAKE A CHILL PILL, BILL: After being mired in 0-for-18 skid, INF Bill Rhinehart has 2 doubles, 2 homers and 7 RBI in his last 8 games...Rhinehart, a 2008 SAL All-Star selection, leads the league and is tied for 6th in minor league baseball with 56 RBI...the 23-year-old ranks among the Sally League leaders in doubles (t-2nd, 21), total bases (5th, 125) and hits (8th, 75)...overall, he is hitting .302 with 9 homers in 62 games...Rhinehart was selected by Washington in the 11th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Arizona State University.
THE LYON KING: INF Daniel Lyons is hitting .342 (25-for-73) with 20 runs, 9 RBI and a .478 on-base percentage in his last 21 contests...Lyons was a 14th-round selection in the 2007 draft...the 23-year-old leads the SAL with 36 walks...his team-leading .413 OBP ranks 2nd in the league, while his 44 runs are tied for 3rd...in 60 games overall, he is hitting .306 with 12 doubles, 5 home runs, 35 RBI and 15 stolen bases.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 13, 2008; 8:04 AM ET
 
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