Early look at minor leagues

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Happy Friday afternoon from Nationals Park, where the red-hot Marlins are in town to face the not-quite-as-red-hot Nats. Florida leads the majors with an 8-1 record. Washington ranks at the bottom at 1-7. But hey, the Nats are on a one-game winning streak!

We’ll have lineups and pregame news later, but first here’s an early season look at some of the Nats’ minor leaguers…

CLASS AAA SYRACUSE (Record: 2-5)

The pitching staff hasn’t exactly lived up to its billing so far. Collin Balester is 0-2 with a 10.24 ERA, having allowed 11 runs and 14 hits in 9 2/3 innings. Jordan Zimmermann’s debut, as we all know, wasn’t spectacular (three runs in 5 1/3 innings) and relievers Garrett Mock (21.00), Gary Glover (10.38) and Josh Towers (21.60) all have been rocked early. On the bright side, Jason Bergmann hasn’t surrendered a run in three relief appearances, Kip Wells ia 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts and Craig Stammen had a nice debut (two runs in five innings).

Offensively, there hasn’t been much to talk about. Justin Maxwell has two homers but is just 6-for-28 overall. Kory Casto is hitting .435 with three doubles and four RBI. Alex Cintron is 9-for-18. But Ryan Langerhans is hitting .083 and Luke Montz is batting .182.

CLASS AA HARRISBURG (Record: 2-4)

The Senators are doing better on the pitching front, with Mike O’Connor having allowed three runs in nine innings over two starts, and Ross Detwiler and Justin Jones each having tossed five scoreless innings in their season debuts.

At the plate, four regulars are hitting .360 or better: Ian Desmond (.364, one homer, four RBI), Edgardo Baez (.400, one homer, two RBI), Seth Bynum (.400, one homer, two RBI) and Marvin Lowrance (.500, one homer, three RBI). Leonard Davis, the reigning organizational player of the year, is just 4-for-22 so far and earlier this week was outrighted off the 40-man roster.

CLASS A POTOMAC (Record: 4-4)

I honestly had never heard of Tom Milone until just now, but the left-hander has allowed one run in 11 1/3 innings in two starts while striking out 11 and walking two, so maybe he’s a guy to start watching. Fellow lefty William Atwood has been at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, allowing 15 runs and 17 hits in only six innings.

Outfielder Michael Burgess, one of the organization’s top prospects, is struggling with three hits in 31 at-bats, but Chris Marrero has two homers and seven RBI to go with a .303 average through eight games.

LOW CLASS A HAGERSTOWN (Record 4-3)

The Suns own a staff ERA of 2.94, with Brad Peacock (1.64 ERA in two starts) leading the way. Jack McGeary, playing his first full season in the system, has allowed five runs and seven hits in 8 2/3 innings, with 10 strikeouts and seven walks. Catcher Derek Norris is off to a good start, with a .300 average, two homers and five RBI in seven games.

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Mark Zuckerman

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