Low Class A Hagerstown has benefitted from the Nationals’ draft largesse. Last year, Bryce Harper got his pro career starter there. This year, the Suns have two of the Nats’ top draft picks from last season in righthander Alex Meyer, their second first-round pick, and outfielder Brian Goodwin, a supplemental first-rounder. Picks from rounds four, six and seven—lefthander Kylin Turnbull and righthanders Taylor Hill and Brian Dupra—join Meyer in the rotation, while fifth-rounder Matt Skole figures to anchor the middle of the lineup.
Leap Of Faith
Third baseman Anthony Rendon and lefthander Matt Purke both signed major league deals out of last year’s draft, so it figures they will be moved a bit quicker than other 2011 draftees. Rendon had a strong spring in big league camp and could spend time at other spots in the infield other than third for the P-Nats. Purke, who like Rendon had injury issues during his 2011 college season, played in the Arizona Fall League but will make his official pro debut with the P-Nats after initially remaining back in extended spring training.
Where Is That Guy?
Lefthander Robbie Ray joins Purke in extended and likely will join him in Potomac when he’s right physically. Farm director Doug Harris told MASN.com that Ray and Purke were “a little behind” but not injured.
Time Is Running Out
Outfielder J.P. Ramirez got a $1 million bonus as a 15th-round pick in 2008 thanks to his sound, balanced swing. The Nationals realized his other tools were somewhat limited and that his bat would have to carry him, but Ramirez hit just .223/.275/.342 last season at high Class A Potomac. He’s starting 2012 back at Hagerstown, where he hit .296/.341/.470 in 2010.
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