Woodbridge, VA---A large contingent of both past and present Potomac Nationals will represent the Washington Nationals in the Arizona Fall League come October. In total, eight players plus current hitting coach Luis Ordaz are set to play for the Salt River Rafters in the AFL. Current P-Nats on the Salt River roster include C Tres Barrera , LHP Taylor Guilbeau , and LHP Ben Braymer . Former P-Nats heading to the AFL, all of whom played for Potomac in either 2017 or 2018, include LHP Jordan Mills , RHP Luis Reyes , SS Carter Kieboom , 3B Jake Noll , and CF Daniel Johnson . Current Potomac hitting coach Luis Ordaz will also be a part of the staff for the Rafters this season. 2018 will mark the Arizona Fall League debut for all former P-Nats players aside from Johnson, who appeared in 17 games for the Mesa Solar Sox in 2017.
Barrera, named a 2018 Carolina League Mid-Season All-Star, is in the midst of his first season with Potomac. Currently the 17th ranked prospect in the Washington Nationals' system according to MLB.com, Barrera has been one of the top defensive catchers in the Carolina League in 2018. Through his first 66 games with the P-Nats, Barrera has thrown out 25 of 49 attempted base runners, good for the second best caught stealing rate in the league. In 556.0 innings behind the plate, the former Texas Longhorns catcher has just two passed balls. Entering the final series of the 2018 regular season, Barrera is hitting .258 with five home runs and 14 doubles.
One of two left-handed pitchers on the current Potomac roster that will pitch for Salt River, Guilbeau has been excellent out of the bullpen for the P-Nats in 2018, his first year as a full-time reliever. After 39 starts and 25 relief outings over his first two seasons out of the University of Alabama, Guilbeau has a 2.60 ERA in 27 relief appearances this season. With 34 strikeouts and just 15 walks over 34.2 innings so far, Guilbeau has been a significant part of arguably the best bullpen in the Carolina League, as the Potomac bullpen has a 2.77 ERA over the first 131 games of the season.
Joining Guilbeau as a current left-handed pitcher heading to the AFL is Braymer, who has split time between the rotation and the bullpen in 2018 for the P-Nats. Braymer is 6-3 with a 2.48 ERA over 20 outings for The Red, White, & Blue. With 11 starts, Braymer is currently tied for the third most starts among pitchers on the active roster. The lefty has notched a quality start seven times, second most on the team behind only LHP Matthew Crownover , who has made 20 starts this season. With a strikeout to walk ratio of more than 3:1 (89/27), Braymer also has a strikeout rate of 9.20/9 IP (89/87.0).
One of three 2018 Carolina League Mid-Season All-Stars who is currently with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators and headed for the AFL, Mills is in the middle of his best season as a professional. After an up and down stint of 18 games with Potomac in the latter half of 2017, the left-handed reliever dominated over 25 outings out of the Potomac bullpen this season, before he earned his first professional promotion to Double-A. With the P-Nats, Mills posted a 2.60 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 34.2 innings. Promoted to the Senators on July 17th, the 26-year-old has been nearly unhittable in the Eastern League. In 13 appearances, which has spanned 17.1 innings, Mills has surrendered just one run, good for a 0.52 ERA. Opponents have hit just .136 against Mills in Double-A, and he has struck out more than a batter per inning (19/17.2) in his first 13 appearances.
Potomac's 2017 Opening Day starter, Reyes has dealt with injury throughout much of his 2018 campaign. In 12 starts with Harrisburg, the righty has 36 strikeouts and a 5.46 ERA over 64.1 innings. Reyes has also made two rehab starts with the Gulf Coast League Nationals and a rehab start with the Short-Season Auburn Doubledays this season. Currently the 24th ranked prospect in the Nationals' system according to MLB.com, Reyes went 8-13 with a 4.33 ERA and 133 strikeouts for the P-Nats in 2017.
Kieboom, the highest ranked prospect for Washington ticketed for the AFL, began his 2018 season with Potomac and is currently playing for Harrisburg. Kieboom was the starting shortstop for the Northern Division squad in the 2018 Carolina League All-Star Game, where he hit a home run. In 61 games with Potomac in 2018, Kieboom hit .298 with 11 home runs and 46 RBIs. Promoted to Double-A on 6/21, the current second ranked prospect in Washington's system and #34 overall prospect in all of Minor League Baseball according to MLB.com has 26 extra base hits and 20 RBIs in 58 games with Harrisburg. Kieboom's brother, current Washington catcher Spencer Kieboom, also played for Salt River back in 2015.
The 24-year-old Noll is amidst his finest professional offensive season. Prior to a call-up to Harrisburg alongside Kieboom on 6/21, Noll hit .302 with 23 extra base hits and 46 RBIs in 66 games for Potomac. Washington's seventh round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, Noll has continued his success with the Senators, with three home runs, 24 RBIs, and a .287 batting average in 62 games. Noll walked and picked up an RBI on a sacrifice fly in two plate appearances as the starting third baseman for the North in the 2018 Carolina League All-Star Game.
Johnson, an outfielder for Potomac in 2017, is currently the eighth ranked prospect in the Nationals' system according to MLB.com. The 23-year-old has quickly progressed through the Minors after the Nationals selected him out of New Mexico State University in 2016. Starting 2017 with the Class-A Hagerstown Suns, Johnson earned a late season to Potomac, where he hit .294 with five home runs, 13 doubles, and drove in 20 runs over 42 games. In a full season in Double-A in 2018, Johnson has 30 extra-base hits and 20 stolen bases in 84 games with the Senators. The former 5th round pick is the highest ranked outfield prospect for Washington aside from CF Victor Robles , who is currently on the Nationals' 40-man roster.
The 43-year-old Ordaz is amidst his third season as the hitting coach with Potomac, and his eighth season in the Nationals' system. Ordaz, who appeared with St. Louis, Kansas City, and Tampa Bay at the Major League level, has coached every Washington hitter that is set to appear in the Arizona Fall League in 2018. This season, Ordaz's Potomac offense ranks second in team batting average, first in team on-base percentage, second in home runs, and second in runs scored per game.
The 2018 Arizona Fall League is set to get underway on Tuesday, October 9th and will run through the championship game, which is scheduled for Saturday, November 17th.
The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League play at Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia, and are the Carolina League affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The Potomac Nationals have claimed five Carolina League Championship titles (1982, 1989, 2008, 2010, and 2014) and nine CL Northern Division Championships. Sponsorship opportunities for the P-Nats' 2018 season and beyond are available, as well as all-inclusive corporate picnic outings to watch the future stars of the Washington Nationals at The Pfitz. 2018 Potomac Nationals season tickets and mini plans are now on sale. For more information on Potomac Nationals 2018 season tickets, mini plans, group outings, picnic packages, fundraisers, and all things Red, White, and Blue, visit the P-Nats online at www.potomacnationals.com, follow the P-Nats on Facebook (@PotomacNationals), Twitter (@PNats42), and Instagram (@pnats42), or call the Potomac Nationals' Extreme Custom Collision Ticket Office at 703-590-2311.
-- Potomac Nationals --
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.