Though righthander Wander Suero went 20-for-22 in save opportunities in the upper minors this year, the Nationals didn’t make him a September callup. He still earned a late-season trip to Nationals Park to be recognized as the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year.
“I was given the opportunity to produce all season long,” the 26-year-old Suero told reporters through an translator. “I can’t control what happens with the decisions the organization makes about who goes up. I was working very hard all season long, as I usually do.”
In his second season as a full-time reliever, Suero relied heavily on his cutter and an improved changeup as he went 10-for-11 in save chances at Double-A Harrisburg and then did the same at Triple-A Syracuse. The native of the Dominican Republic went 3-2, 1.79 in 54 appearances with 65 strikeouts and 19 walks in 65.1 innings.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Suero signed in 2010. Farm director Mark Scialabba calls him “a fearless competitor.” This year, Suero didn’t allow an earned run in 47 of his 54 appearances. He surrendered just three home runs, with only one coming in Triple-A.
“Wander really had a great year and established himself as someone who could pitch in high-leverage situations to finish a ballgame,” Scialabba said. “His fastball command improved tremendously, and he made some minor adjustments that led to a sharper breaking ball with greater depth.”
With that arsenal, Suero expects to show he’s major league-ready when the time comes.
“I personally think I was very capable of pitching up here in the big leagues,” he said. “But that’s out of my control, out of my hands. But that just makes me work harder in the offseason and prove to them that I am able and ready to pitch up here.”
• Outfielder Daniel Johnson, who put up .298/.356/.505 numbers in 497 at-bats between low Class A Hagerstown and high Class A Potomac, was named the organization’s minor league hitter of the year.
— Catcher Raudy Read, who had his first three major league hits in 11 late-season at-bats after hitting .265/.312/.455 in 411 at-bats at Harrisburg, won the system’s Bob Boone award for his leadership and approach to the game.