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Posted at 10:10 AM ET, 11/21/2010

Nationals finish Arizona Fall League with a win of their own

By Adam Kilgore

The Scottsdale Scorpions were a collection of prospects from five different major league teams, but looking over the highlights of their 3-2 victory Saturday in the Arizona Fall League championship game, it would have been had to tell. Nationals players dominated the game and the box score.

Bryce Harper drove in the first run with an RBI single, Derek Norris scored the second after a single and Stephen Lombardozzi drove in the game-winning run in the fourth inning with a double. Sammy Solis started and allowed two runs (one earned) over four innings for the win. Cole Kimball retired all three batters he faced in the ninth for the save.

And so, the Nationals' contingent lifted their team - managed by Class AA Harrisburg Manager Randy Knorr - to the AFL title. It would have been difficult to script a better final day for the Nationals; Lombardozzi even won the league's Sportsmanship Award.

In 10 games, Harper finished 13 for 39 (.333) with four walks, three doubles, two triples, one home run and 13 strikeouts. Playing twice a week, as the second-youngest player in the league's history, Harper surpassed expectations.

For all the success Harper had and the star power he brought, Kimball may have been the most impressive National in Arizona. Including his inning Saturday, Kimball allowed one earned run in 13 innings while striking out 16, walking two, hitting two batters and yielded eight hits. Kimball, then, had four more strikeouts than base runners allowed.

Solis enjoyed a particularly strong finish, allowing two earned runs in his last 12 innings. On Saturday, he struck out three, walked one and allowed three hits.

By Adam Kilgore  | November 21, 2010; 10:10 AM ET
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It was fun to watch. There was a young Nat involved at every critical point of the game. Once AFL success translates to MLB success things should be hopping at the end of Half Street.

Posted by: dand187 | November 21, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting the wrapup here. Having stumbled across the MLB Network yesterday for the last inning only, I looked forward eagerly this morning for a recap in the print edition, where it really matters to old fogeys who like ink smudges on their fingers. I should not have been surprised again that so much space is devoted to the NFL's Washington Hasbeens but no mention of some hopeful Nats. (Fortunately for me, The New York Times devotes more than a full page to baseball this morning.)

Posted by: JamesWebster | November 21, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

re: Bryce Harper

The announcers gushed like school girls at a Justin Bieber concert! They must have focused on him at least 8-10 different times during the game. And every time Harper came to bat, fans brought out their cameras (especially the ladies).
It ain't only Nats fans who already think he's a star.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | November 21, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

A good win for Scottsdale yesterday - hope no-one got hurt in the celebration 'dogpile'. Just have some thoughts on the Nationals prospects in AZ this fall...
Burgess: Has a good arm in RF, but has holes in his swing - He might top out at SYR.

Harper: Looks to have adapted to RF nicely; Could learn a little patience at the plate - He'll absolutely be in DC within the next 18 months, if not sooner.

Lombardozzi: Steady defensively, makes the plays without flash; Gap hitter, smart at-bats, runs well - He should get a long look as a non-roster invitee in Viera.

Norris: Possesses a strong, accurate arm, but still needs a little work behind the plate; As a hitter, he's patient & has power to all fields - He'll likely start the year in SYR.

Carr: Throws reasonably hard, but succeptible to the occaisonal big inning - Possible setup arm for DC, or closer in SYR.
Kimball: Starter's repetoire (2 FB, curve, change) in a RP role - In the mix for a BP job in DC come spring.
Peacock: Used in relief in AZ due to League rules, had a really good K-W ratio (5.67:1) - Should start 2011 in the rotation at HAR.
Solis: Still needs a little work on his breaking stuff, but has middle-of-staff potential - Could start 2011 in either POT or HAR.

With the possible exception of Burgess, the Nationals made the most of their opportunities in Scottsdale this year. Nice job, well done to all.

Posted by: BinM | November 21, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Off topic, but simply some notes on who the Nationals have been 'linked' to so far in the off-season, via either trade or FA...

Starting Pitchers - Cliff Lee [TEX-FA], Jorge de la Rosa [COL], Carl Pavano [MIN-FA], Javier Vasquez [NYY-FA], Brandon Webb [AZ-FA], Zach Grienke [KC], Matt Garza [TB], James Shields [TB],

Relief Pitchers - none.

Catchers - none.

Corner Infielders - Carlos Pena [TB-FA], Derrek Lee [ATL-FA], Adam LaRoche [AZ-FA].

Middle Infielders - Willie Blomquist [CIN-FA], Aaron Miles [StL-FA], Miguel Cairo [CIN-FA], Jason Bartlett [TB].

Outfielders - Carl Crawford [TB-FA], Jayson Werth [PHI-FA], Justin Upton [AZ].

Lots of players are being associated to the Nationals by the numerous pundits out there - Let's see how many really have a clue beyond the top-three (Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth) that they've already associated with almost every team in MLB.

Posted by: BinM | November 21, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

It begins and ends with starting pitching, where the Nats are woefully thin. In this offseason, everything else pales in comparison. Right, Rizzo?

Posted by: howjensen | November 22, 2010 3:59 AM | Report abuse

Repost from previous thread:

I heard a guy on the radio come up with a plan for the regular season if they expand the playoffs, and it goes something like this.

you have 183 days between april 1 and septmeber 30. that's 26.15 weeks. with 1 off day for each team each week, and factoring in a 4 day break for the All Star game, that leaves you with 153 days to play 162 games.
Each team plays 6 games a week from 4-1 thru 9-30 except during All-star week. You can get 5 more games in if you start the season on 3/25, in domes or warm weathe spots mostly to account for weather. That makes 158 games played.

They can play a double header on Memorial Day Weekend, July Fourth and Labor Day Weekend. That takes care of 3 games. Throw in a double header in June for Inter league play and you have 162 played by September 25th.

Now, to account for rainouts and reschedules, you play a more balanced schedule to help with make up games when those teams play again later in the season. Also, you can give them a few days at the end of the year to make up games before the Playoffs start. If teams are not in the playoff race, they won't play those make ups. It works itself out from there. Playoffs start September 29th or 30th.
4 days for Wildcard series, best of 3.
7 days for division series, best of 5.
9 days for Chamionship series, best of 7
World Series starts on or around October 22th and is over by November 1st.

I know TV scheduling will make this more of a challenge, but there is lee way and room to manuever based on the calendar.

Posted by: jmurray019 | November 19, 2010 5:22 PM

What jmurray leaves out is that the rate of days off during the baseball season is more like 1 day in 10 than 1 day in 7. Using that in his calculations yields 8 more days between April 1 and September 30. So you wouldn't have to start the season in March.

Posted by: bertbkatz | November 22, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Nice to see the youngsters do well. Good job, guys.

Posted by: NatsFly | November 22, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

So who is gonna be the NL MVP today? Votto?

Posted by: dfh21 | November 22, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Good work, young Nats!

Posted by: Kev29 | November 22, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

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