Nationals in Winter Ball

Below are the results of some of the Nationals more significant players and their progress through winter ball.

Wilson Ramos - Despite his kidnapping he came back to play for Aragua in Venezuela.  Most of his games will be played as the DH.  Yesterday he hit his first homerun and with four hits in his last two games he has upped his average to .294.  He has nine strikeouts in nine games, but six of those came in the first three games while he was trying to get the rust out of his swing.

Jesus Flores - Jesus is expected to be the back up catcher, but his .360 average with seven homeruns for Magallanes in Venezuela could draw some interest for a team needing a catcher.  The Nationals are not without alternatives to use as backups.  The one big issue is the strength of his arm.  It didn’t fire crisp bullets to second last year so he needs to improve on that this winter.

Chris Marrero - He was hitting .288 for the Licey Tigers in the Dominican Republic, but again without any power.  His only extra base hits were two doubles.  That may be a moot point, as he tore his hamstring real bad while playing for Licey and will miss significant time.  Some reports say Chris will miss all of spring training and a good part into the early season, while other reports state his 2012 season is done.  That is one of the risks of playing winter ball.

Eury Perez - The potential Nationals future center fielder (but with healthy drafts the last couple years they now have many options), Eury is struggling with just a .253 average.  He has 10 stolen bases in 14 attempts, but Roger Bernadina could provide the same production with more power.  Eury’s .295 slugging is a reflection of his power potential.  He needs to hit for a greater average if he wants to see center field for the Nationals.

Yuniesky Maya - He was in Puerto Rico to get some innings to try to win at least a long reliever job for the Nationals next year.  Yuniesky was the opening day starter for Caguas, but got shelled, not getting past the second inning.  It turns out he has fluid build up in his elbow so his winter days may be done.  Hopefully, he wasn’t trying to pitch through the pain.

Rafael Martin - After having some success in the Arizona Fall League (1.50 ERA) Rafael has moved to his home country to pitch for Mazatalan in Mexico.  In three appearances there he has yet to give up a run, has only given up one hit and has struck out four.  Rafael could provide help for the Nationals in the bullpen next year.

Henry Rodriguez - Henry has taken his 101 mile per hour fastball to Caracas down in Venezuela.  His lack of command (12 walks in just 14 innings) has given him an ugly 5.14 ERA in 13 appearances.  He needs to tighten that up if he wants to continue to make a contribution in the Nationals bullpen.  They will give him a long leash because of the success he had last year and the 101 reading on his fastball.

Atahualpa Severino - In 16 appearances for Licey he has yet to give up a run, but those 16 appearances have only given him just 11 plus innings.  The lefthander has pitched most of his innings against lefty bats and has not allowed a hit to the 22 he has faced.  Righthanders are hitting only .176 off him.  Total, the opposition is only hitting him at a .083 average.  Severino got some September time with the Nationals and could be a bullpen option, especially against lefthanders if Sean Burnett continues to struggle.

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