Leon Becoming Offensive For Nationals

WASHINGTON—Low Class A Hagerstown catcher Sandy Leon already has shown strong defensive skills, so his .272/.369/.330 offensive numbers in 206 at-bats look all the better.

"Sandy Leon is a legitimate prospect," farm director Doug Harris said. "He's our best defensive catcher at the lower levels—Carlos Maldonado (at Triple-A Syracuse) is at the upper levels. Sandy can run a game as well as anyone, and he throws extremely well.

"But it's not only that. His offense is coming. He's controlling the strike zone and has a better plate plan right now. At this point, he has more of a contact, line-drive bat."

Having any bat at all is a positive development for Leon, who entered this year hitting .221/.317/.279 in 412 at-bats in three minor league seasons. The 21-year-old switch-hitter from Venezuela is still waiting on his first home run of the year, but even with a slugging average that continues to trail his on-base percentage, Leon has made himself a more dangerous hitter.

"I don't know that he's ever going to be a home run guy, but he has the build to hit for some power," Harris said. "I think he's at least going to be a good doubles guy."
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Leon, who played in the Sally League all-star game in June, had four doubles and four triples for the Suns. He had drawn 34 walks and struck out 46 times. Against lefthanders, he was hitting .367/.441/.490 in 49 at-bats.

Leon gives the organization another long-term possibility behind high Class A Potomac catcher Derek Norris, who is known more for his bat. With Norris' return from a variety of injuries, P-Nats teammate Brian Peacock even played his first pro game in left field.

At Hagerstown, Leon was sharing time behind the plate with 2008 fifth-round pick Adrian Nieto, who was hitting .190/.270/.230 in 100 at-bats.


• Host Harrisburg was well-represented at the Double-A Eastern League all-star game. Harrisburg manager Randy Knorr and his staff had six familiar faces in catcher Jhonatan Solano, first baseman Chris Marrero, second baseman Michael Martinez, shortstop Danny Espinosa, lefthander Tom Milone and righthanded reliever Rafael Martin.

• Espinosa went 0-for-2 in the Futures Game for the United States in a 9-1 win. Hagerstown outfielder Eury Perez, meanwhile, went 2-for-2 for the World team.