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Federal Reserve: Difo Highlights Dominican Influences In Nats Farm System

In the wake of Wilmer Difo’s promotion to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday, The Washington Post’s James Wagner shared an important fact via Twitter. As Wagner correctly noted, Difo is the first homegrown prospect signed out of the Dominican Republic to make the Nationals’ 25-man roster since the Esmailyn “Smiley” Gonzalez scandal.

The incident Wagner refers to is one that drastically reshaped the Nationals. Gonzalez was a shortstop prospect signed by the Nationals out of the Dominican Republic in 2006 for a $1.4 million bonus. In February 2009, Sports Illustrated reported that Gonzalez’s true identity was in fact Carlos David Alvarez Lugo and that he was three years older than initially believed. As a result, general manager Jim Bowden resigned, Jose Rijo—the head of the organization’s Dominican operations—was fired, and the Nationals had to completely rebuild their Dominican Republic operations.

They became far more cautious in their international spending efforts. In fact, the Nationals did not come close to approaching the bonus they gave to Alvarez—who remained in the organization through 2013—until they signed third base prospect Anderson Franco for $900,000 just two years ago.

It is clear that the Nationals are now more measured and cautious in their international free agent decisions, but that level of restraint has not hurt the organization. In fact, Difo is preceding a wave of intriguing Dominican prospects to the majors. Continue reading…

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Federal Reserve: Hitter And Pitcher Of The Month Awards

The beginning of May means that it is time for the Federal Reserve to hand out the hardware to the best Washington Nationals prospects in April. As with last year, the first Federal Reserve post of each month this season will look back at the previous month’s best performances.

Races in both fields were competitive, as April was highlighted by several strong performances among the four-full season minor league affiliates. In the end, Hitter of the Month went to a prospect who has carried over his momentum from last season, while Pitcher of the Month was given to a hurler who has been quietly showing promise. Continue reading…

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Federal Reserve: Profiling Most Recent Nats Call-Up Sammy Solis

The Washington Nationals’ early-season trend of dipping into the minors for bullpen help continued on Wednesday, when left-hander Sammy Solis was recalled from Double-A Harrisburg. Much like the other pitchers that have debuted this season, Solis has shown vast potential at various points in his career but has also dealt with his fair share of ups and downs. Continue reading…

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Federal Reserve: Grace Replaces Rivero

On Wednesday, the Washington Nationals once again tapped into their farm system for bullpen help, calling up Matt Grace from Triple-A Syracuse. Grace—who was called upon to take the place of the injured Felipe Rivero—made his debut Wednesday night, throwing a scoreless inning in the Nationals’ loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Continue reading…

MLB: All Star Futures Game

Federal Reserve: MiLB Opening Day Previews

After a long offseason, Minor League Baseball today celebrates Opening Day in the four full-season levels. To preview the upcoming season, the Federal Reserve is providing a rundown of all four of the Washington Nationals’ full-season affiliates. Among the items previewed include the notable players who made Opening Day rosters, as well as two big names who did not. Continue reading…

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Federal Reserve: Potential Minor-League Breakouts

With the minor league season opening in one week, several Washington Nationals prospects look primed for a breakout seasons. To forecast those players the Federal Reserve lists five breakout candidates to watch. The list includes two catchers that could take big steps forward, a pair of hurlers with interesting potential, and a centerfielder who should refine his all-around game.

1) Pedro Severino, catcher

DOB: 7/20/1993 B/T: R/R Projected 2015 team: Double-A Harrisburg Senators

Already an excellent defensive catcher, Severino rallied offensively at High-A Potomac last year by batting .308/.379/.477 after the All-Star Break. During his career, he has not been a patient hitter, which he should improve upon this year. Continue reading…

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Federal Reserve: The Implications Of Releasing Kobernus

As spring training approaches its stretch run, the Washington Nationals are making some crucial decisions with their roster, including the release of a former top prospect. Infielder/outfielder Jeff Kobernus—who has logged major league time in each of the last two seasons—was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on March 14, only to be released just three days later. Continue reading…

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Federal Reserve: Wilmer Difo Shows His Value

During the Washington Nationals’ blowout win over the Detroit Tigers yesterday afternoon, one infield prospect continued his solid spring. Wilmer Difo was one of game’s offensive stars for the Nationals, going 2-for-3 with a double and a triple against one-time Cy Young Award winner David Price. That performance makes the switch-hitter 6-for-12 (.500) at the plate with three RBI. Continue reading…