By Cam Ellis
It's been a little under a week, which feels like the perfect time to whip out one of baseball's most honored traditions: taking an all-too-small sample size and creating grand assumptions and future predictions from it. All of the Nationals' minor league teams have begun their regular season, so let's take a look at what's been happening down on the farm:
AAA - Syracuse Chiefs
Trea Turner - SS
What a first week for Turner. Though Syracuse has only played five games, Turner has crushed the ball in near every one of them. Through the first week of the season, he's hitting .467/.600/.533 with a 1.13 OPS. The batting average isn't sustainable, but the 5/2 BB/K ratio is a great start and something to keep an eye on going forward. Also, for what it's worth, He has one RBI, one double and three stolen bases. Not a bad week.
A.J. Cole - RHP
Cole's only pitched once this season, throwing five innings in a 5-1 win over Lehigh Valley on April 8th. He allowed one unearned run on one hit while striking out two and walking two. Nothing crazy, but a solid five-inning debut for Cole.
Austin Voth - RHP
Voth's 2016 debut was a bit stronger than Cole's. The righty went six strong innings against Buffalo on April 13th, not allowing a run on only three hits. Voth boasted a borderline-unbelievable K/BB ratio last season and he seemingly is picking up right where he left off, striking out six without walking a batter. It was a strong week across the board for pitchers in Syracuse, but perhaps none more than Voth.
AA - Harrisburg Senators
Lucas Giolito - RHP
A ho-hum debut for Giolito. Four innings, one hit, three walks and four strikeouts. He only threw 59 pitches, presumably because it was too cold to really stretch it out and probably just too cold for baseball anyway. He also had 3-1 fly outs to ground outs, if you're into knowing that sort of thing.
Reynaldo Lopez - RHP
Early in the season, especially when it's still cold, it's easy to take a look at a pitcher's final line and take the good and bad with a grain of salt. That's not the case with Lopez - he got shelled. In his season premier against Altoona, Lopez got tagged with a loss by allowing four runs on five hits over five innings. He also walked three and struck out two. Everyone has bad starts, and Lopez is still very good. Sometimes you just don't have it.
Wilmer Difo - SS/2B
Harrisburg seems to be the spot if you're a highly regarded prospect who wants to spend the first week of the season underperforming expectations. Difo had a rough week, hitting .200/.360/.200 with a .560 OPS. It's convenient to continually use the cold weather as an excuse for players' poor starts, but statistically speaking hitting numbers always dip when it's cold, so it works.
High A- Potomac Nationals
Erick Fedde - RHP
Fedde's first start of the season was about as mixed a bag as you can get. Starting against Wilmington on April 10th, there was plenty of good - striking out seven while only walking one - but there was also plenty of bad. He threw 86 pitches and only lasted 4.1 innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on eight hits. How you feel about Fedde's start goes a long way towards deciding if you're a glass-half-full/half-empty sort of person.
Andrew Stevenson - OF
Stevenson's week fits right in with his projections. His first 18 at-bats have him hitting .278/.316/.444, which is a bit lower than his averages from 2015 but not by much. He's played error-free in the outfield so far but has yet to tally an assist or two. How he progresses might be one of the more interesting stories in the minors this year.
Low A - Hagerstown
Victor Robles - OF
Just a casual .318/.429/.591 through the first week of action for Robles. That'd be pretty good for any player, let alone one who is 18 years old. He has more than one hit in two of his seven games and has walked slightly more times than he's struck out (4/3). Continuing to hit like this is going to put him in Potomac sooner rather than later.