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Nationals Prospect roundup: At least the bats showed up?

Nationals Prospect roundup: At least the bats showed up?

by Cam Ellis

It's an interesting time to be a minor leaguer.

A month and a half into the year, there's finally starting to be more player movement throughout the minors. Players who have proven themselves at their current levels are in line for a promotion, and vice-versa for those who have underwhelmed.

What's in store for the Nats top young guys? To the prospects!

Triple A - Syracuse

Trea Turner - SS: Speaking of being called up. After a quick "slump" for Turner, the shortstop is back to destroying the baseball, hitting safely in his last eight games. He's hitting .322 with an .860 OPS, so it's safe to say he's figured out Triple-A, if that was ever really an issue for him. See you soon, DC

A.J. Cole - RHP: It was a mixed bag for Cole this week, which at this point is better than most of his season prior. He allowed three runs on eight hits over five innings, but struck out seven and only walked one. He's allowed 38 hits in 31 innings and has a ERA over 5, so all that talk of promotions probably doesn't apply to Cole.

Austin Voth - RHP: Voth got slapped around in his last start, allowing three runs on nine hits while striking out five and walking one. He's still been the best starter in Syracuse by a sizeable margine. Considering his strong season versus Giolito's poor start, is it crazy to think Voth gets the call first should a spot open?

Double A - Harrisburg

Lucas Giolito - RHP: Well, it wasn't terrible! The good news: no runs on only three hits over five innings. The bad news: five walks over five innings. Not sure anyone expected Giolito to struggle at Double-A as much as he has. 

Reynaldo Lopez - RHP: Lopez turned in his best start of the year yesterday, going six innings while allowing one run on four hits and striking out nine. Lopez has fallen into a pattern of coming out strong one start and underwhelming the next, so it'll be interesting to see if he can establish some consistency.

Wilmer Difo - SS/2B: He's alive! Difo has hit .325 over the last 10, including four multi-hit games. The hot streak has his average raised to .244, which still isn't great but hey it's a lot better than hitting .202, where he was hovering for the first month of the season. 

High A - Potomac

Eric Fedde - RHP: Five innings, seven runs, five hits. Fedde has allowed at least two runs in every start this season and owns a 6.62 ERA. He's allowed 40 hits in 34 innings and given up five home runs. As it's been said here before, it's all about innings for Fedde... but yikes.

Andrew Stevenson - OF: For all the disappointment that the notable pitching prospects have supplied so far, the Nationals' hitting prospects have done the exact opposite. There have been some pleasant surprises this season, none moreso than Andrew Stevenson. He's hitting .333 over his last 10 games and has seven doubles and five triples on the year. He only has two walks on the season, which needs to change.

Low A - Hagerstown

Victor Robles - OF: Although he's slumping a bit over the last 10 games (.250 avg) he's still the best hitter in Hagerstown by a longshot. The K% is still high, but then again so is the .930 OPS. Keep an eye on his promotion as well. 

RELATED: OFFENSE BREAKS OUT AS NATS BLOW PAST METS

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Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

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Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

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USA Today Sports Images

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm