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Suns notes: Taylor sewing up high praise

August 13, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI

Hagerstown Suns fans have seen Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg all play at Municipal Stadium this season.

It would be easy to argue the trio will be making up Washington’s version of baseball’s Mount Rushmore very soon as all three will be playing for the Nationals at the same time in the not-so-distant future.

While those three stars have made short appearances in Hagerstown — Harper for a half-season while the other two have been here for rehabilitation stints — it might be easy to forget that the Suns have had a pretty potent mix of top prospects playing here this season. And judging by some of the attendance numbers, it is a fact which has eluded many.

Three of the top 10 players in the Nationals organization have spent time with Hagerstown this season — No. 1 Harper, No. 3 A.J. Cole, No. 4 Sammy Solis (now in Potomac).

In addition, 18 of the top 26 players selected in Washington’s 2010 draft have played for the Suns this season and another six from the 2009 draft, including Michael Taylor.

While Harper, Strasburg and Zimmerman have already received star status, Taylor — the Nats’ sixth-round selection in 2009 as a shortstop — has flown under the radar. But he has turned a few heads, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com in a couple of his recent Nationals.com Notebook entries.

On Aug. 2, Ladson reported Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said the Nationals already have a player he considered as the team’s center fielder of the future, but he didn’t name names. According to Ladson, Rizzo was referring to Taylor.

Evidence backing Taylor was his hot July where he hit .297 with four homers and 13 RBIs in a season of steady improvement. Taylor, who moved to the outfield from shortstop, had early battles with his confidence but has battled through sessions with Suns manager Brian Daubach and hitting coach Marlon Anderson to get on track.

Pat Corrales, who spent a lot of time in Hagerstown before becoming the Nationals bench coach, said Taylor has great range in the field. “He is playing more at ease,” Corrales said. “It is starting to show it with the bat. He is a plus player. He is 20 years old. A couple of more years, he is going to be on the verge of pushing somebody.”

Last Monday, Ladson reported Taylor reminds and unnamed opposing scout of Baltimore’s Adam Jones.

Suns spots

* Blake Kelso ranks third (123) and Adrian Sanchez is fifth (119) in hits among players in the Nationals farm system. Former Sun Steve Lombardozzi, now in Triple-A Syracuse, leads the pack with 151 hits.

* David Freitas is fourth in the farm system with 63 RBIs, trailing Harrisburg’s Tyler Moore by 13. Freitas is also second in on-base percentage at .415, but is the top full-season player.

* Pitcher Taylor Jordan, who is on the disabled list, leads the Nationals farm system with a 2.48 ERA and is tied for third with nine wins.

Harp-o-meter

First 33 games in Hagerstown — 46-for-118 (.390) with 23 runs, 11 doubles, eight home runs, 32 RBIs, 17 walks, 28 strikeouts, 6-for-9 stolen bases.

First 33 games in Harrisburg — 29-for-116 (.250) with 14 runs, seven doubles, one triple, two home run, 12 RBIs, 11 walks, 23 strikeouts, 5-of-7 stolen bases.

Overall (105 games through Friday) — 111-for-374 (.297), 63 runs, 24 doubles, two triples, 17 home runs, 58 RBIs, 55 walks, 84 strikeouts, 24-for-31 stolen bases.

Another show of emotion has put Harper under the media microscope again. The top prospect was ejected in the seventh inning of Thursday’s game with Richmond after slamming his helmet and arguing with an umpire after a called third strike. He got even on Friday, though, by hitting a walk-off two-run homer to give Harrisburg a 3-2 victory over Trenton.

Bob Parasiliti covers the Hagerstown Suns for the Herald-Mail.

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