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Hagerstown Suns' roster features youth with experience

April 01, 2008

A number of young, promising prospects including seven returning players from last season headline the 2008 Hagerstown Suns roster.

The 2008 squad includes two of the Washington Nationals top prospects - OF Michael Burgess and RHP Colton Willems.

Burgess, the 49th overall pick in the 2007 draft enters the '08 campaign rated as the No. 4 prospect in the Nationals farm system. In 2007, he led the rookie-level Gulf Coast League in on-base percentage (.442) and slugging percentage (.617).

Willems, a first round selection in the 2006 draft, is rated as the No. 10 prospect in the Washington system by Baseball America in 2008. He spent last season with the Nationals short season team in Vermont, posting a 3-2 record to go along with a 1.84 ERA. Willems was rated by Baseball America's Annual Best Tools Survey as having the Best Fastball in the Nationals chain.

Expected to join Willems in the Suns rotation will be returning starter Erik Arnesen. The right-handed pitcher was named the Hagerstown Pitcher of The Month in May 2007, going 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA in five games.

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Also returning from last year's team is right-handed hurler Edulin Abreu. Although Abreu spent most of 2007 in Vermont, making 19 appearances in Winooski, he did log just over 20 innings on the mound with the Suns. Jeff Mandel also split time last year between Vermont and Hagerstown. Mandel made 14 appearances for the Suns, including 13 starts.

The Suns will add a promising arm to the bullpen in the form of Kyle Gunderson. A 48th round selection in the '07 draft, Gunderson was selected as the GCL Nationals Player of the month for August/September, hurling 4 saves in 13 1/3 scoreless innings of work.

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