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Burns, Jordan given minor league honors

Sep 13, 2013, 3:23 PM EDT

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With most of their minor league seasons wrapped up, the Washington Nationals handed out awards for the 2013 campaign on Friday. Outfielder Billy Burns took minor league player of the year honors while right-hander Taylor Jordan was named the organization’s pitcher of the year.

Burns finished with Double-A Harrisburg after spending the better part of the season at Single-A Potomac. In 121 games across both affiliates he batted .315 with 74 stolen bases and 72 walks. The 24-year-old was a Carolina League All-Star and led the Nationals’ system in batting average.

Burns was taken by the Nats in the 32nd round of the 2011 MLB Draft. The Mercer University is 5-foot-9 and bats switch.

Jordan, 24, went 9-1 with a 1.00 ERA in 15 minor league games this year. He stood out at Harrisburg in particular, going 7-0 with a 0.83 ERA. That stint helped him earn a call-up to the major leagues, as he made his MLB debut against the New York Mets on June 28.

Jordan was shut down due to a club-imposed innings limit in mid-August because this was his first full season since coming back from Tommy John surgery he had in 2011. Before leaving the Nats, he went 1-3 with a 3.66 ERA in nine starts.

The Nats drafted Jordan in the ninth round of the 2009 draft out of Brevard (FL) Community College. He is expected to compete for a rotation spot in spring training.

The Nationals also gave second baseman Tony Renda the Bob Boone Award, an inaugural honor for professionalism and leadership.

Here is a look at the team awards going back to 2005:

2013 – OF Billy Burns, RHP Taylor Jordan, 2B Tony Renda (Boone)
2012 – INF Matt Skole, RHP Nathan Karns
2011 – INF Steve Lombardozzi, RHP Brad Peacock
2010 – OF Tyler Moore, LHP Tom Milone
2009 – C Derek Norris, RHP Brad Meyers
2008 – OF Leonard Davis, RHP Jordan Zimmermann
2007 – OF Justin Maxwell, LHP John Lannan
2006 – INF Kory Casto, RHP Zech Zinicola
2005 – INF Kory Casto, LHP Michael O’Connor

  1. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    From 2007, at least one of these guys have graduated to big leagues. that’s pretty good, isn’t it?

    • NatsLady - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      Yes, that is pretty good. There are teams where no one from the entire draft class has graduated to the majors within five years. Also pretty good in my view are the later round draft picks that develop. Also pretty good is an attitude that winning games in the minors is important. I remember Clip talking about that attitude in the Yanks system. It’s hard, because you have development to consider, plus your teammates don’t stay constant.

      I wonder what will happen to guys like Chris Marrero and Eury Perez, guys that just don’t seem quite good enough to make it or are blocked in our system. What is the story with Brian Goodwin? It’s going to be an interesting winter.

      As I see it, Detwiler’s health is key. If Detwiler isn’t healthy, then we have to fill 4 and 5 in the rotation, and I could see offering something (not at QO, but maybe $8MM or thereabouts) to Haren. If Det projects to be healthy and we only have to fill one spot, then you have a bunch of young guys who can compete in spring training. I don’t have a lot of faith in Det being healthy and I wonder if his stuff would play as a closer even though he’s a lefty.

  2. laddieblahblah - Sep 13, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    “What is the story with Brian Goodwin?”

    Billy Burns. The day Burns moved up to Harrisburg, Goodwin was moved out of the leadoff slot. I expect Burns to be promoted to Syracuse before Goodwin, just as he was promoted from A to AA before Michael Taylor. As he has moved up the minor league chain, he has performed better at each higher level than he had performed at the previous lower level.

    Look at the offensive stat lines for Burns and Goodwin. Goodwin has more power, but Burns has more of everything else. Anyone who reads my comments knows that I thought Burns was the story in the minors this year among position players. He is almost perfect as a leadoff guy. He had more stolen bases, for example, than the total managed by the entire Nats ML roster, and in fewer games. He is a contact machine, rarely striking out. His OBP was consistently above .400 all year long, and was higher in AA than it had been in A, as was his BA. The kid is special.

    Marrero and Perez are not good enough. The Nats have much better options at 1b (TyMo and/or Skole, or maybe Zim). Marrero is not athletic enough to play anywhere else. Worst of all, he has no power for a position which practically demands it.

    Perez has speed, but he is simply not in the same class as Billy Burns as a baserunner. Burns hit for a higher average, collected far more walks, had a much higher OBP, is an excellent contact hitter, and is an excellent defender, besides running rampant on the base paths. And Michael Taylor is younger than Perez and may be the best CFer in the system – certainly better than Perez. Corner OF is not open to Perez, either, with Steven Souza, a true 5-tool player, ready to play in the AFL this fall.

    My only problem with Souza is his suspension for PED use, which has also been a problem with co-AFL selectee, Nieto, in the recent past (2011).

  3. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 14, 2013 at 6:44 AM

    Nice posts NL and Laddie.

    I think it was GoSM who pointed out that Nationals seem to be a bit behind in developing major league hitters as compared to major league pitchers and it definitely seems true when you look at the winners of this yearly award as well. JZ, Lannan, Peacock, Millone, Karns, and Taylor have made more contributions to big league clubs than any of those hitters (and I doubt those hitters will outperform these pitchers in long term either).

    It is great to know we have some OFs coming up. What order they should be rated in? Burns > Taylor > Souza? Would be great if one of these can develop into a true major leaguer for us.

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