LAST TIME OUT… The P-Nats were shut out in the opener of a four-game set against Wilmington on Monday night. Potomac did not have an answer for RHP Scott Blewett who pitched seven scoreless innings. He allowed only three hits and two walks while striking out six in his best outing of the year. In three previous starts against Potomac he had surrendered 14 earned runs in just over 15 innings. RHP Franco Terrero closed it out with two scoreless innings of his own. The P-Nats tried to rally in the ninth and C Taylor Gushue reached base with a single to right field to begin the inning. However, 1B Ian Sagdal rapped into a 4-6-3 DP to end the rally before it started. All things considered, RHP Joan Baez pitched one of his best starts of the year in his longest outing as a Potomac National. Baez surrendered just two earned runs in 5.2 innings pitched. He gave up 5 hits and walked four. He was dominant through the first three, striking out four hitters, however lost a little bit of control over his last 2.2 innings of work. All of his walks came in the fourth inning on. However, the offense could not put anything together against Wilmington. Potomac went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position last night and left six men on base in the 2-0 loss.
INTERNATIONAL FLARE… The P-Nats are proud to boast 10 international players to begin the season, including an all Dominican-born pitching rotation. RHP Luis Reyes (Sabana Grande de Palenque, DR), RHP Joan Baez (San Cristobal, DR), LHP Hector Silvestre (San Pedro De Macoris, DR) and RHP Jefry Rodriguez (Haina, DR) begin the season as the starting rotation for Potomac. Other foreign-born players include RHP Wirkin Estevez (Santo Domingo, DR), 3B Kelvin Gutierrez (Pimentel, DR), 2B Bryan Mejia (Bani, DR), INF Edwin Lora (Santo Domingo, DR), OF Telmito Agustin (Carlotte Amalie, Virgin Islands), and OF Victor Robles (Santo Domingo Este, DR). All international players have signed since 2010 when Washington revamped their international scouting and signings. Estevez’s signing in 2010 makes him a pioneer for the Nationals Dominican Academy that has now created an influx of Major League talent from the Dominican Republic. The 2013 international free agent class is the most highly touted on this roster. Robles (#1), Gutierrez (#16), and Agustin (#28) were all signed in 2013 and make up 3/5 of the Baseball America top prospects for the Nationals that begin the season in Woodbridge.
TOP PROSPECTS… Potomac’s Opening Day Roster contains five of Baseball America’s top prospects in the Nationals organization. OF Victor Robles is the most coveted prospect in the Nationals organization at the moment, and he begins the season with the P-Nats. According to Baseball America, Robles is the top prospect in the Washington system and is ranked in the top 20 overall by every writer in the Prospect Handbook. Robles is a 19-year old prospect who is considered a five-tool player with average-near elite rankings in every skill set. 3B Kelvin Gutierrez is considered the 16th best prospect for the Nationals in 2017. He also is considered to have the best arm in the infield in the entire farm system. INF Edwin Lora (#23), OF Telmito Agustin (#28), and RHP Joan Baez (#29) round out the list for Baseball America top prospects. MLB.com Pipeline also places OF Rhett Wiseman 22nd on their list of top prospects.
GUSHUE IN… Taylor Gushue drove in three more runs in the previous series against Salem to up his total to nine over his past four games. Gushue finished the previous series with a three-run home runs and three RBIs. Gushue has been the best Potomac hitter so far. He has 33 RBIs in 2017 which leads the P-Nats and is second in the Carolina League. The switch hitting catcher is the team leader in power with 11 home runs and a SLG % of .728 and an OPS of 1.111. He leads the CL in each of those categories
APRIL POWER BRINGS MAY FLOWERS… With 8 home runs over the last five April games and 11 homers in May, Potomac leads the league with 33 team home runs this season. The P-Nats are also third in SLG. Taylor Gushue leads the team with eleven homers, followed by Sagdal with four. Four other players hit two home runs already this season, as there has not been an absence of power from the P-Nats in 2017
MAY SHOWERS… The P-Nats are just 6-9 in the month of May and are hitting a combined .211 as a team through 15 games. However, Potomac has not seen a power outage as the team has clubbed 11 home runs in the month already. That ups their total to 33 on the season, the most in the Carolina League
FEELIN THE BLUES… After a loss in the opener and a series split in the last series in Wilmington, the P-Nats are 5-7 against the Blue Rocks through the first 12 games this season. Potomac is 4-3 at Frawley Stadium, but dropped three of four against the Rocks on their first visit to The Pfitz. They are now 1-4 at home against WIL. These teams will play seven more times this month. The Red, White & Blue will also play a four-game series in Wilmington from 5/26-5/29.
LIGHTS OUT… The Potomac pitching staff has been very good in the month of May after a tough start at the beginning of the season. They have a team ERA of 3.13 through the first 15 games and have surrendered just 108 hits and 44 ER in 126.2 May innings. Potomac pitchers have combined for 112 strikeouts. Their team ERA is now fourth best in the league at a season-best 3.74