The Nationals Best Minor Leaguers of the First Half

Most Valuable Player, Best Prospect, and Best Hitter for Power- Derek Norris A Hagerstown

c998f7a7Derek Norris has been spectacular the first half of this season. In 81 games he has batted .317/.417/.596 with 20 homers and 84 RBI. That translates into a 162 game season of a .317 average with 40 homers and 168 RBI. The right handed hitting catcher may very well be the future of this club. At 20-years-old, Norris shows tremendous plate patience and power. On top of his 20 homers he has smacked 20 doubles and has walked 47 times.

The scary thing is Norris is getting better as the season goes along. In a four game stretch last week he hit six homers and walked four times.

Expect Norris to soon get a promotion to Harrisburg, skipping Potomac, and you may see him in the Majors as soon as 2010.

Best Pitcher: Tie- J.D Martin AAA Syracuse and Bradley Meyers AA Harrisburg

J.D Martin has been stellar in his first 14 starts of the year. He has an 8-2 record with a 2.14 ERA through 84 innings. The Californian native has held opponents to only hit .227 against him, and only four batters have been able to go yard. He has a 61 to 9 strikeout to walk ratio so far this year, and is more than ready for his call up to the pros.

Bradley Meyers is a 23 year old who just earned his promotion to Harrisburg after dominating in Potomac. The six foot six starter pitched 88.1 innings in 14 starts for the P-Nationals, allowing only one home run, and posting a 1.43 ERA. Most impressive about the pitchers performance is that he has walked only 21 batters, which is a good sign for his Major League potential.

Best Hitter for Avreage: Jorge Padilla-AAA Syracuse

Jorge Rafael Padilla, an outfielder from Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, is tearing up the International League. Through 73 games this season he is now batting .363 with 15 extra base hits, 10 stolen bases, and an OBP of .429. Unfortunately for the Nationals, at the age of 29 the career minor leaguer has no real Major League potential.

Most Disappointing: Michael Burgess A Potomac

p1_burgessBurgess was a huge prospect coming out of high school. The hitter had top-five-pick talent, the background, and the pedigree to be a superstar. He simply oozed raw power from his pores. His senior year no team who wished to compete would pitch to the muscle-bound Floridian and his draft stock slipped as his numbers dipped. Burgess proved that falling to the supplemental round was a mistake as in 2008 he hit 24 homers and was named one of the best power prospects in baseball.

Burgess needed to come into 2009 and prove that he had improved his plate patience and ability to hit for contact. So far in 2009 however he has struck out 86 times in 283 at bats, that’s 30%. He is only batting .230 and has only hit 13 home runs, compared to 18 at the same time last year. In high A Potomac Burgess simply looks overmatched, a bad sign for the sluggers future.