WASHINGTON — While the Washington Nationals continue a very hot start to the 2016 season, the farm system is also showing signs providing bona fide talent in the future.
Longtime MLB writer Jonathan Mayo put two Nats farmhands on his MLB Pipeline Prospects of the Week Team this week, headlining the team with top overall prospect Lucas Giolito.
Giolito was outstanding in one start for the Harrisburg Senators this week, allowing zero earned runs over seven innings, with just four hits, one walk, and 12 strikeouts. Per Mayo:
Giolito was nothing short of dominant on Friday in his best start of the season for Double-A Harrisburg as fanned exactly half of the hitters he faced behind 19 swinging strikes, matching his season high. He allowed just four hits (all singles) over seven innings while throwing 65 of his 100 pitches for strikes in the contest.
The other familiar name on this list was corner infield prospect Kelvin Gutierrez of the Hagerstown Suns. In five games last week, he batted 381/.391/.714, scoring six runs, batting in four more and hitting four extra base hits.
This is the first that the Nats have seen of Gutierrez at a full-year affiliate, and he paces the team with a .303/.342/.419 batting line. He currently ranks as the 26th Nats prospect. Here was Mayo’s take on his week:
Gutierrez turned in three multihit efforts in his five games last week for Class A Hagerstown, one of which saw him finish a single short of hitting for the cycle. The 21-year-old first baseman is having an impressive full-season debut for the Suns, with a .303/.342/.419 batting line through 59 games.
Gutierrez isn’t performing in a vacuum either, as his team recently clinched the South Atlantic League’s divisional first place crown for the first half of the season, guaranteeing them a trip to the postseason: