30 in 30: A Chiefs Countdown to Opening Day – Day 14
We’re counting down until Opening Day with a new post on our Inside the Chiefs blog every day until Syracuse’s opener on April 3rd. Here’s what’s on tap today…
More Nationals’ moves! That’s what’s on tap today, as Washington cut its major-league camp to 44 players. Here’s a look at the moves and how they’ll impact Syracuse…
OF Eury Perez – Well, Perez was officially optioned to Syracuse, so there’s your easy answer there. And it’s no surprise – Perez had a fine season for the Chiefs last year, hitting .300 with a career-high seven homers and 30 extra-base hits, to go along with 23 steals (in 31 attempts). There’s no room in the Nationals’ outfield right now for Perez, who’s only 23 years old, though it seems like he’s been around for a while. Expect him to be a Chiefs mainstay in 2014.
OF Steven Souza, Jr. – A Washington Post piece from Adam Kilgore yesterday speculated that Souza could be a stealth candidate to make the Nationals’ roster at some point this year. Well, it won’t be to start the season – he, like Perez, was officially optioned to Syracuse. Souza, who was added to the Nationals’ 40-man roster in the offseason, will be playing in his first game above Double-A when he debuts with Syracuse. The promotion’s a well-deserved one – Souza sported a whopping .300/.396/.557 slash line in 77 games with Harrisburg last season. (That’s a .957 OPS, a number higher than any major-league player had last year – just for a comparison of how well Souza hit in his particular league.)
LHP Sammy Solis – Solis was optioned to Harrisburg, where the left-hander will start the season – but a move to Syracuse shouldn’t be too far off. At 25 years old, Solis was named as a possibility to make the Nationals’ bullpen, thanks in part to a strong spring. He’ll likely be on an accelerated track toward the majors should he start well for the Senators.
INF Mike Fontenot – Fontenot spent the entirety of 2013 in the International League. It wouldn’t be surprising to see that again with Syracuse this season. The veteran of seven major-league seasons played in 120 games with Durham last year, hitting .264 with 32 doubles. Fontenot can play just about any position in a pinch. He could be a tremendous asset to the Chiefs in that respect.
C Koyie Hill – Hill, a Chief for 31 games in 2012, is back with the Nationals’ organization after a season split between Triple-A New Orleans (60 games) and Miami (18 games). His defensive skills and staff-handling are valued by the Nationals – but as we previously noted with a few other catchers, it’s all about a numbers game in Washington’s system. If Chris Snyder stays with the team (he opted out last year), Hill might be squeezed out of a spot with the Chiefs. If not, he could very well be Jhonatan Solano’s backup in Syracuse.
OF Brian Goodwin – A first-round pick in 2011, Goodwin stands as one of the crown jewels of the Nationals’ system. At just 23 years old, he may be Washington’s highest-regarded position player, and the Nats’ center fielder of the future. With Harrisburg last year, Goodwin posted a .252/.355/.407 slash line, walking 66 times and putting up double-digit numbers in doubles (19), triples (11) and home runs (10). Is he ready for Syracuse? Could the Chiefs have a ludicrous-speed outfield of Goodwin, Perez and Souza? I’m not sure there’s room, but I think Goodwin will be in Syracuse sooner rather than later. Call it a hunch.
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