Federal Reserve: 2014’s Top Performing Minor Leaguers
Next week the Federal Reserve will hand out its final awards of the season, the Pitcher and Player of the Year. Before doing that, however, it seems appropriate to honor the best players at each position in the Nationals’ Farm System.
The criteria is simple. With the roster construction based off of Baseball America’s Postseason All-Stars, minus the use of a DH, there are eight position players, five starting pitchers, and a closer. Ineligible from this list are players who appeared exclusively with short season teams, as the roster is composed of players from the Auburn Doubledays, Hagerstown Suns, Potomac Nationals, Harrisburg Senators, and Syracuse Chiefs.
|Catcher: Spencer Kieboom, Suns|
First Base: John Wooten, Suns, Doubledays*, and Nationals
Second Base: Tony Renda, Nationals
Third Base: Drew Ward, Suns
Shortstop: Wilmer Difo, Suns
Destin Hood, Senators, Doubledays*, and Chiefs
Michael Taylor, Senators and Chiefs
Steven Souza Jr., Chiefs, Suns*, and Doubledays*
That group includes two MVP winners in Difo and Steven Souza, who claimed the South Atlantic (SAL) and International League honors respectively. Souza is also one of two players to debut in the majors this year, with the other being Michael Taylor.
|A.J. Cole, Senators and Chiefs|
Taylor Hill, Chiefs
Lucas Giolito, Suns
Reynaldo Lopez, Doubledays and Suns
Austin Voth, Suns, Nationals, and Senators
Jake Walsh, Suns and Nationals
*Denotes time spent with team on rehab assignment.
Cole and Giolito lived up to their billing as two of the Nationals’ top pitching prospects, with Giolito winning the SAL’s Most Outstanding Pitcher and Prospect awards. Voth, Hill, and Lopez all had breakout sasons, as Lopez’s was highlighted by a 38 and 1/3 consecutive scoreless-innings streak between Auburn and Hagerstown.
In the bullpen is Walsh, a 34th-round selection in 2013 who broke out with a solid season. After earning an All-Star selection with a 1.45 ERA and a 7.8 K/9 in 31 innings at Hagerstown, the lefthander was equally impressive in Potomac, where he posted a 1.71 ERA and an 11.6 K/9 in 21 frames.
- The Nationals announced today that Steven Souza Jr was named Minor League Player of the Year, while Lucas Giolito was named the Pitcher of the Year. In addition, the organization honored Wilmer Difo with the second-annual Bob Boone Award.
- Ben Badler of Baseball America named Jakson Reetz the 14th-best prospect of the Gulf Coast League (BA subscribers can access scouting reports here). Reetz’s successful stint in the short-season circuit was profiled in last week’s Federal Reserve.