It Was A Glorious 2015 Baseball Season!

Glorious 2015 Baseball Season!

By Rodger M. Wood
I hated to see the 2015 baseball season, my 32nd as a professional sports photographer, come to an end.

Getting an earlier start on my photography and being able to see 61 ball games, 37 different teams and shoot and edit over 45,000 photos in 12 different venues, ranging from down south in Kodak, Tennessee and Zebulon N.C. , northeast to Erie Pa, Syracuse, NY, and Burlington VT, and nearby in Frederick, Bowie, Aberdeen and Hagerstown, MD, Potomac, VA, Harrisburg, PA, and Washington, DC, in mostly nice bright day light, made it a glorious season.

I also felt extremely responsible, more animated with energy, and good about my photography shooting all those photos for Baseball America, Boston Baseball, Sporting News, Orioles Kids Magazine, Vine Line, Reds Report, and Leaf Baseball Cards.

At a Nationals game in May, I enjoyed meeting up with some old friends (but younger than me) Matt LeCroy, Randy Knorr, Steve McCatty, Michael Taylor and several other National players whom I saw grow up in the minors, including 2015 MVP Bryce Harper who feasted on Miami Marlins’ pitchers that day with three homers.

At the NY/PA League All Star Game at Aberdeen, MD in August, probably because I was the oldest photographer there and representing “Baseball America,” I loved being treated with the upmost respect and consideration by the many other press corp members and team representatives there. I enjoyed running the four young Lowell Spinner Boston Red Sox all stars, Josh Ockimey, Chad DeLaGuerra, Luis Alexander Basabe, and Victor Acosta, New York Yankees outfielder Jhalen Jackson, and Orioles shortstop Ricardo Andujar through my photography antics well before the game and later taking low light shots of other players during the game just like the good old days when I did that a lot.

Lowell 2015 NY PA League All Stars (l-r) Nick Faciana, Iggy Suarez, Josh Ockimey, Chad De La Guerra, Luke Murton, Lance Carter, Joe Oliver, Luis Alexander Basabe, Victor Acosta.

I enjoyed taking action photos of the AAA – Pawtucket Red Sox for “Boston Baseball” at Syracuse NY, action and posed of the Rookie A Lowell Spinners at Burlington, VT, and Aberdeen MD, Low A Greenville Drive at Hagerstown MD, and Fast A Salem Red Sox at Zebulon, NC, Frederick MD, and Potomac VA . I go way back to 1992, with the BB Managing Editor and Publisher, Michael Rutstein and always get hyped up when working for him and that Sports Illustrated quality magazine, which seems to get better and better every season.

I also enjoyed taking action shots of the young Cubs prospects at AA Tennessee Smokies at Kodak TN, and Fast A- Myrtle Beach Pelicans for the Chicago Cubs archives, Steve Green, Cubs team photographer, and Vine Line, the Cubs team magazine.

I enjoyed taking photos of young Orioles prospects, Trey Mancini, Parker Bridwell, and Mike Yastrzemski at Fast A- Frederick, Low A-Delmarva, AA Bowie, and Rookie A Aberdeen for editor Joe Cooney and the “Orioles Kids” Magazine.”

I enjoyed shooting my Bradley Zimmer prospect photos at Harrisburg PA and Lynchburg VA for my friends, Scott Smith, managing editor and Scott Greig, my photography editor at Sporting News Baseball Annal.,

I enjoyed seeing and taking photos of the young Washington Nationals prospects at AAA Syracuse NY, AA Harrisburg PA, Fast A Potomac, Low A Hagerstown MD, and Rookie A Aberdeen for possible use by the Washington Nationals in their “Minor League Report” which was shown on the big tele screen every home game at Nationals Stadium.

I enjoyed spending time with lots of old friends including Billy Gardner, AAA Syracuse manager, Mark Harris, AA Harrisburg hitting coach, Franklin Bravo, pitching coach at Fast A – Potomac, Keenie Steenstra pitching coach at Frederick Keys, Blaine Beatty, pitching coach at Low A – Delmarva, Alan Mills at AA Bowie Bay Sox, Ryan Minor manager at Low A Delmarva, Charles Poe, hitting coach and JR Perdue pitching coach at Fast A Winston Salem, Steve Luebber pitching coach at Fast A –Wilmington. Paco Figueroa, Fast A Frederick hitting coach, Carlos Febles manager, Jon Nunnally hitting coach Paul Abbot pitching coach, and Mickey Jiang, coach with the Salem Red Sox, and lots of other good friends it would take pages to list.

And most of all, I enjoyed talking with, teasing, and watching the young ball players, some of whom are designated below as “Rodger’s Picks,” develop their skills, die a million deaths with each bounce of the ball, and grow up playing the sometimes very cruel business and game of professional baseball at an early stage in their young lives. Not many of these young men will make the majors and it is sad to see most of them drop off the prospect radar but at least they can say they tried and enjoyed the opportunity of playing professional baseball at a level far in excess of most other folks playing the game, and stuck it out to the end.

I am going to list my top twelve (12) 2015 Season Rodger’s Picks below, who were my selections based on some valid and invalid criteria: talent, performance, likeability, hustle, hard play, and sportsmanship.

2015 Top Twelve (12) Rodger’s Picks

1. Trey Michalczewski, 3B, Fast A, Winston Salem Dash, Chicago White Sox

Trey first got my attention one day in July at Frederick MD when I saw the 20 year old dive to the ground to field a shot hit to his right, just inside the 3B bag, get up in a flash and throw the runner out at first. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a fantastic play, the best defensive play I had seen all season. He also hit for average (259 BA) and showed signs of power (35 2B 4 3B 7 HR) last season in 127 games played at Winston Salem against older, more savvy Fast A Carolina League pitchers. I think this youngster will be heir apparent to the Chicago White Sox hot corner in a couple seasons, even though they just traded for Reds 3B and home run and rbi leader Todd Frazier.


2. 2. Keon Bynum, 1B, Fast A Winston Salem Dash, Chicago White Sox

Twenty-two year, White Sox 1B and DH prospect Keon Bynum was the only hitter I photographed last season who was smiling when he ripped a double down the first base line for extra bases. Tested by tough Fast A Carolina League pitchers, he hit 24 2B, 9 HR, and drove 67 RBI in 105 games played at Winston Salem in 2015. In a season or two, after he shortens his swing and cuts down on strike outs, he will win a job with the parent White Sox. He has the power to be both a home run hitting first baseman or designated hitter.


3. Bradley Zimmer, CF, Fast A- Lynchburg Hill Cats, and AA Akron Aeroes, Cleveland Indians

You will to hear the name, “Bradley Zimmer” a zillion times in the near future. This twenty -three year old, 2014 Indians #1 draft pick has 5-tool talent. He runs like a gazelle, he throws accurately for distance, is a ball hawk in CF, and hits for average and power.
In only his first full professional season, he sped through Fast A Lynchburg and AA Akron and will probably start the 2016 season at AAA Columbus before getting a call up to the Cleveland Indians. He could be a franchise player.

4. Trey Mancini, 1B, Fast A Frederick Keys and AA- Bowie Bay Sox, Baltimore Orioles

T Eastern League MVP, 1B Trey Mancini helped his Bowie teammates win their first ever AA Eastern League championship in 2015. He is a proverbial 1B, clutch hitting for power and fielding all grounders hit his way. The 23 year old, Notre Dame alumna hit 359 BA, 13 HR, and drove in 57 RBI in 84 games played his first exposure to AA ball. In 52 games played at Fast A Frederick, he hit 314 BA, 8 HR, and 32 RBI. He’ll start the 2016 season at AAA Norfolk and make Orioles’ fans forget Chris Davis by mid season.

5. Raudy Read, Catcher, Low A Hagerstown Suns, Fast A Potomac Nationals, Washington Nationals

Raudy Read is a Washington Nationals’ “diamond in the rough.” After making his debut at Low A Hagerstown in mid May, hitting 244 BA, 5 HR, and 36 RBI in 82 games played, he kept adding glimmer to his play, until the 22-year catcher was making making throws to nail runners at 1B, 2B, 3B, handling pitchers like a vet, and hitting the ball with extra base authority. He finished the 2015 season at Fast A Potomac dazzling the fans there too with his increasing brilliance.

6. Wendell Rios, 2B, Fast A Salem Red Sox, Boston Red Sox

This 20-year old 2B bubbles with enthusiasm every time he steps onto a baseball field. At Fast A Salem in 2015, he 27 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, and drove in 47 RBI and was hitting #3 in the lineup by the end of the season. You can’t help liking the way he plays the game day in and day out. He hustles, is quick to get balls hit wide to his left, executes the double play well, and hits a heavy ball hard to all parts of the field. He is fast enough to be a base stealing threat as well as strong enough to punch balls over the fence.. Almost ready to blossom on the Boston Red Sox’ horizon, Wendell could become a fan favorite of Fenway Park partisans someday soon.

7. Dale Carey, Low A-Hagerstown Suns, Washington Nationals


D You can’t help but hope this young Washington Nationals outfielder succeeds at the game. He hit 18 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, and drove in 52 RBI at Low A Hagerstown and he hustled on every play, learned from every mistake, and got better at the plate and in the outfield every game he played last season. The parent club will let Dale develop in the minors at his own pace but he has all of the tools to be a good center or right fielder. When he gets better plate discipline and lays off the hard to hit pitches he could develop into an ideal lead off hitter and accelerate through Fast A Potomac, AA Harrisburg, and AAA Syracuse to fill the needs of the parent club..

8. Mitch Horacek, Fast A Frederick Keys, Baltimore Orioles

B A south paw myself, I’m bias about Orioles left hander Mitch Horacek Plus, he likes my pictures. But dismissing those invalid reasons for judgment of his baseball skills, I have to say Mitch pitches with a lot of heart and soul. He has the potential to be a major league starter with the parent club once he is fine tunes his pitch command and location. He threw 154 innings last year at Fast A- Frederick, striking out almost an average of one hitter per inning (146 K) while walking only 52 batters. Under the capable tutelage of Orioles minor league pitching coaches, Blaine Beattie, Kennie Steenstra and Alan Mills, Mitch will learn the pitching trade and succeed at AA Bowie, AAA Norfolk, to find himself pitching off the mound at Camden Yards.

9. Drew Ward, 3B, Fast A Potomac Nationals , Washington Nationals

A Drew is a big raw boned 21 -year old Oklahoman 3B with an unlimited potential to be an outstanding major league ball player. In 111 games last season at Fast A – Potomac, he showed a good glove and strong arm at the hot corner and hitting 6 HR and driving in 47 RBI, flashes of power at the plate. Like most young ball players, he has to learn how to out think opposing pitchers, who in the Carolina League were typically more mature and savvy than the pitchers he faced at lower levels.

10. Drew Dosch, 3B Frederick Keys and Bowie Bay Sox, Baltimore Orioles

Twenty three old Drew Dosch is another hard nosed young 3B who can make it big in the majors guarding the hot corner at Camden Yards..He is quick enough to field hot shots to his right or left, on his feet, or on the ground. No slouch in power at the plate, he drove in 34 RBI in 55 games at Fast A Frederick and 1 HR and 21 RBIs in 68 games after advancing to AA Bowie. After more seasoning at Bowie and AAA Norfolk next season, he may be ready to assume Orioles Hall of Fame 3B Brooks Robinson’s hot corner legacy at Camden Yards.

11. Tony Renda, 2B, AA Harrisburg Senators and AA Trenton Thunder, New York Yankees

Tony Renda is a pleasure to watch on a baseball field. He hustles, plays hard, puts out 100 percent effort, and shows respect for the game of baseball every play he makes on the field. He started off last season with Nationals AA Harrisburg, by mid season was traded to the Yankees where he played at AA Trention, and in December, was one of five prospects the Yankees traded to Cincinnati for reliever Arodis Chapman. His BA hovered around 270 in 127 games played in 2015, Mark my words, down the road, this twenty -four year old 2B may prove to be a steal for the Reds and be the best of all the 2015 Rodger’s Picks listed, as he has the sheer will power to work hard, be the best and get ahead

12. Cole Tucker, SS Low A West Virginia Power, Pittsburgh Pirates

Less than a year out of Phoenix AZ Mountain Pointe HS, 19-year old SS Cole Tucker has demonstrated that he is a bonafide
candidate for major league shortstop. Mature beyond his years, the Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 #1 hit 283 BA in his first full professional season with Low A West Virginia Power. He has quick hands and is fast enough to play the shortstop position as well as steal some bases. He will be an ideal candidate for lead off or #2 hitter in the batting order, will be comfortable on the big league stage and will soon become a fan favorite in Pittsburgh or wherever else he may play.

Sent from my iPad

2015 Season Off To A Good Start

By Rodger M. Wood

The Latin teacher whom I was subbing for nearly the past two school years did me and my baseball photography a hugh favor when she returned to her classroom April 7th with a clean bill of health.

Unlike the past two seasons when I couldn’t get started shooting my photos, except on weekends until mid-June, I immediately drove off on a Zebulon, NC junket to see the young Salem Avalanche and Carolina Mud Cats play a weekend series of day baseball.

Blessed with the likes of Boston Red Sox 21-year 5-tool outfielder Manny Margot, hard hitting 1B Sam Travis, 2013 1st Round pick LHP Trey Ball, RHP Teddy Stankiewicz, and 2B Wendell Rijo, Salem is loaded with top prospects, who are making baseball fun again in the Shenadoah Valley.

(Manny Margot Swinging a Bat at Carolina)

Carolina, a Fast A- Atlanta Braves affiliation, had 2012 #1 Round draft pick, RHP Lucas Sims, BA #8 Braves prospect Johan Camargo, and BA #14 Braves RHP prospect Maurico Cabrera on their roster. I also singled out Carolina quick outfielder Sean Godfrey for some attention from my camera. And even better yet, Derrick Lewis is their pitching coach, and Carlos Mendez., their hitting coach, both of whom were subjects themselves of my camera during their playing days at AAA Richmond in 2002 and Fast A Wilmington. In 1990.

(Johan Camargo, BA Braves #8 Prospect)

I followed up Zebulon with trips to Frederick MD for a Carolina League doubleheader between Cleveland Fast A Lynchburg Hill Cats and Orioles’ Frederick Keys, and to AA-Bowie, MD where I saw the the San Francisco Giants Flying Squirrels play the Baltimore Orioles AA- affiliate Bowie Bay Sox.

Frederick is blessed with the talent galore, namely BA #2 Orioles prospect, Hunter Harvey, BA #4 prospect catcher Chance Sisco, RHP Jon Keller, Brooks Robinson 3B look alike, 22-year Drew Dosch, RHP David Hess, SS Adrian Marin, CF Josh Hart, and 1B Trey Mancini. I always shoot many of my best shots in the comfort of Keys Stadium, and kept my camera busily focused on these future Camden Yards stars all afternoon.

(Drew Dosch Goes After a Bunt)

Lynchburg is blessed considerably with a pair of fast, hard-hitting, impressive young outfielders, Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier.

At Bowie, while I didn’t see Orioles’ BA #1 Dylan Bundy, I did see his older brother, Bobby Bundy pitch a shutdown 9th inning. Bobby has been out a couple seasons while he recuperated from injuries.

(Bobby Bundy Mows Down The Side in the 9th)

I also saw San Fran BA #12 Chris Stratton pitch 7 innings for Richmond. SF BA#3 Kyle Crick didn’t pitch.

The following day, April 22nd I traveled to Hagerstown, MD for the first tiime this season to see the young, Low-A SALLY League,Washington Nationals Hagerstown Suns play their Orioles’ counterpart Delmarva Shore Birds.

Hagerstown has some young pitchers to look at but Delmarva has a something else 3b Jomar Reyes, to whom I paid lots of attention .

(Jomar Reyes Guards the Corner)

The Sunday following, April 26th I saw Lynchburg again, this time at Potomac, VA where I started shooting photos back in 1985 when young outfielder Barry Bonds starred there, I once saw him make two errors in one game out there in rightfield, where the lights were dim. At the same time I saw him hit lots of rocket shots out of the ball park too.

Wilmer Difo was the hottest Washington Nationals prospect playing there at that time, and as a shortstop may give them insurance for free agent Ian Desmond moving on next season.

Wlmer Difo has since moved on to AA-Harrisburg, where I saw him play Sunday May 10th against the Pittsburgh Pirates AA-Altoona Curve.

(Wilmer Difo Steals 3B)

At Harrisburg that day, it was nostalgic time for me there as I saw two of my old favorites there, Altoona manager Tom Prince and hitting coach, Miquel Perez. Tommy taught me a new vocabulary in the 1980s when he played for Prince William (Potomac), Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh.

I first saw Miquel catch in the Pioneer League for the Cincinnati Reds – rookie league affiliate Billings Mustangs –at Ogden Utah in 2003 on an August day so scorching hot that you couldn’t sit comfortably or rest your camera equipment on a cast iron picnic table.

I was particularly happy to be able to see a 3-game Red Sox Low A – Greenville Drive/Hagerstown Suns series in early May to culminate the first month of the season, I’ve been a photographer since 1993 for not only Baseball America but also a super Red Sox fan must magazine, which is sold outside of Fenway Park, “Boston Baseball.” Unlike the past two seasons when I could only travel to the ball parks on the weekends until mid-June, this season I could travel up to Hagerstown MD Friday, May 1st, Sunday, May 3rd, and Monday, May 4th for two beautiful day and one early evening ball games.

The Greenville Drive has the likes of 3B Rafael Devers on their team, who clobbered two homeruns in one game, balls which are still probably in flight over Hagerstown now as they were blasts and a half.

(Rafael Devers Hits the 1st of Two HR at Hagerstown)

I was in my glory getting great posed and action shots of Rafael, as well as the other Red Sox prospects 3B/SS Michael Chavis, SS Javier Guerra, RHP Michael Kopech, SS Maurico Dubon, 1B/OF Nick Longhi, and a young outfielder, Carlos Mesa, whose numbers and demeanor also impressed me a great deal..

Wednesday, May 6th, I topped everything off by getting the opportunity from Baseball America to shoot the major league Miami Marlins/Washington Nationals game at Nats Park, in Washington, DC I thought for a moment when I saw the ball hit high towards right field again, that I was going to shoot a record setting four homeruns by Bryce Harper that day but unfortunately the ball dried midway and he was stopped at three.

(Bryce Harper Hits 3rd HR of the game)

It was great seeing my old friends from the minors, my old body guard, Nats bullpen coach, Matt Lecroy, who protected me once when the going got tough one time in Ft. Myers, FL, Nats bullpen coach, bench coach Randy Knorr, young outfielder, Michael Taylor, pitcher Jordan Zimmerman, 2B Danny Espinosa, 1B Ryan Zimmerman, RF Jayson Werth and other players I got to know in the minors.

Yes! The Latin teacher truly did me a favor – I have seen eighteen ball games already as of May 14th , sixteen day and only two early evening ball games, fifteen different teams, including two major league teams, at least half of the games ones, which I wouldn’t have been able to see if I was teaching Monday – Friday. While I miss the high school students, who kept me younger with their high energy levels, I enjoy getting to the ballgames earlier, to mingle, and feed off of the dreams of the young minor league ball players.

My photography is already at mid season form, I have improved my hitting and action shots by following a more self disciplined “see the shot first, then shoot” approach, and believe my pictures are more worthy of a major magazine cover or two because of their improved quality.

The sun has been shining bright for me – I am getting my second wind when most aging folks are putting down their cudgels, and all of a sudden, my dear wife is saying my photography is again the driving force in my life.

Howerter Knocks In Winning Runs for Walk Off Win for JV Raiders

With ducks on the pond in he bottom of the 8th inning, Loudoun County/Heritage JV game tied 7-7, RF Kooper Howerter stepped up to the plate, worked himself to a full 3-2 count, and rifled a walk off game winning double up the left/center field gap to win the last game of the season for his Loudoun County Raider teammates, 8-7.

If you want to view action shots of this game winning effort, check in on this link

1974 Lower Loudoun Champions Coming Home!

by Rodger M. Wood

The Sterling boys who thrilled Sterling, Loudoun County and the Washington Metropolitan Area with their winning exploits the Summer of 1974 are coming home to roost in their laurels.

Friends, fans, supporters, coaches, and players are all invited to remininse with them at a 40th year reunion, 8 -12 PM, Friday, April 25th at O’Malley’s Pub, Sterling Holiday Inn, 45425 Holiday Drive, Sterling VA 20166.

The next day, the team will be honored at a special opening day ceremony at the Little League Field at the Sterling Golf and Tennis Course, 8:30 AM, Saturday, April 26th and all are invited to attend that gala affair too.

Starting in early July, 1974 and lasting to late August, these fifteen, then 14 and 15 year old Sterling VA Lower Loudoun Little League Senior Division baseball players, won 6 straight ball games against long odds and established senior division little league teams from the Shenadoah Valley, Norfolk, Richmond, and North Springfield to win district and State of Virginia championships.

Not ending their winning streak there, they traveled on by airplane to Louisville, KY to beat the odds again by defeating strong State of West Virginia and Kentucky State Champions in a 3-game series to win a Division title.

With no time to lose because of rainouts, they flew out of Louisville after the last game to Atlanta GA, then rode an old rickoty school bus to a little hamlet 20 miles northwest of Athens GA, called Elberton GA where they beat a mighty state of Texas champion but lost twice to a strong Florida team out of Tampa that went on to the National World Series in Gary IND.

Newspaper headlines and articles in the Loudoun Times Mirror, Washington Post, and Evening Star touted the feats of these boys.

Crowds heralded them at “ticker tape” parades and ceremonies twice at Bill Allen Field upon their return from the state and regional tournaments.

The Loudoun Board of Supervisors recognized their outstanding sportsmanship in a proclamation they presented to them at a special session in Leesburg.

These boys who were special in many ways on and off the diamond are coming back home after forty years to enjoy their fields of dreams. The Sterling Community would do well to celebrate their return and special goodness all over again.

1974 Lower Loudoun Little League, Senior Division Roster

Manager: Ben Anch
Bench Coach: Rodger M. Wood
Coach: Hubert Goode
Pitching Coach: Dan Fritz
Coach: Tommy Thompson

Brent Byer
Billy Dellinger
Chris Donaldson
Danny Fritz (dec.)
Jim Hamrick
John Keesling
Mike Kegley
Tom Meredith
Kevin Miller
Kevin O’Malley
Tom Schray
Curt Sieber (dec.)
Mark Smith
Matt Smith
Skip Young

2013 Season in Review, Part 12. Josh Bell, West Virginia Power

I spotted him hitting in the batting cage hours before a playoff game at

Hagerstown September 6th, and noted instantly from the way he conducted
himself around the cage and stroked the ball inside, I’d need some posed
shots of him that day.

This young Texan turned out to be special in other ways too. He went to a
Jesuit High School (Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, TX) so you
know he got an outstanding education and learned a few values that would

sustain him in a very secular baseball environment.

Signing with the Pirates for 5 million dollars in August, 2011, he turned
down the dream of every young Texas youth, a full ride scholarship to play
baseball at the University of Texas (Austin).

And after a serious partial meniscus tear the first month of the 2012

season at West Virginia Power, he came back successfully the following
season to hit 279 BA in 459 AB, 75 RS, 37 2B, 2 3B, 13 HR, and drive in 76
RBI to lead his team, the Pittsburgh Pirates Low Class A West Virginia

Power affiliate to SALLY League championship playoffs.

Seeing Josh swinging a bat in the batting cage that hot summer day, working
with him on the photo shoot before the game, and focusing on his all out
hustle, and timely bat in the first playoff game at Hagerstown that

September day was another highlight for me during the 2013

Season 2013 In Review, Part 11. Dave Machemer, Richmond Flying Squirrels

I can’t let a season go by without seeing my favorite manager of all time,

Dave Machemer, who in 2013 was at the helm of the San Francisco Giants, AA-
Eastern League, Richmond Flying Squirrels.

It took me until July 11th this season, but finally I caught up to my old
buddy at Bowie, MD. I first met Mr. Machemer back in 1986 at the old
Stockton CA stadium, where he was managing the Milwaukee Brewers Fast A –
Stockton Ports to a California State League Championship.

In the past 28 seasons since, I have seen Dave at least once a season, and
many seasons more times, helping him to weather the phenomenal 1,604 wins
of his minor league managerial career.

At Bowie this season, I had fun showing his young ball players an old postcard
HOF photographer JD McCarthy took of him in 1978 at old Tiger Stadium when
he played for the Detroit Tigers. The players couldn’t believe that Dave had
so much curley hair sticking out from beneath his cap in his younger days.

I also gave him a reprint Bowman baseball card of old Satchel Paige, whom
he has admired since he met the old HOF RHP back in Kansas City many years

With over thirty years as a manager and a player in the minors and the
win-lost record he has under his belt, let’s hope the Giants or some other
major league team gives this man a chance to coach or manage in the majors.

I’d sure love to terrorize him next time I see him at at the Nationals
Stadium or somewhere else in the Show, which is exactly where he deserves
to be.


2013 Season in Review, Part 10. Jake Johansen, Hagerstown Sun

I always like taking the 178 mile round trip down Route 15, past a
“Saturday night,” motel where I count the cars, the little house for sale
in the mountains that like Walter Mitty, I dream about living in, across
the upper Potomac into Maryland, down alternative Route 40 through the
mountain hamlets of Middletown and Boonsboro to Hagerstown, MD, the home at
least for another year, to the Washington Nationals Low A – SALLY
Hagerstown Suns.

Seeing the home club Suns make the playoffs, and beat West Virginia three
straight games in the semi-finals could have been the highlights of my
season in themselves, but my supreme pleasure was seeing an unknown 22-year
old right hander, Jake Johansen, come out of nowhere to pitch 5 innings of
shut out ball to beat the Savannah Sand Gnats in the first game of the
South Atlantic League Championship Series.

The Nationals drafted 6-6 Jake out of Dallas Baptist University in the 2013
draft and assigned him initially to Rookie A- Auburn where he was 1-1, with
a 1.06 ERA, in 10 GS, walking 18 and striking out 44 batters in 42.1 IP.

They then sent him up to Hagerstown where the first week in September, he
got two starts, pitching 9.1 IP with an undistinguished 5.79 ERA.

After he had opened my eyes with his distinguished performance against
Savannah, I made a note of asking Jake to pose for a photo shoot before
the next playoff game. He turned out to be a personable, clean cut, young
man, who personified the type of person you want to see succeed.

And if there’s any justice in this hard world of professional baseball,
you’ll see him succeed, and me get the house I want high up in the moun