Garcia shines in Fall League finale

October 25th, 2019

Eight Nationals prospects are playing for the Surprise Saguaros in the 2019 Arizona Fall League: Infielder Luis Garcia (No. 2, MLB No. 91), right-hander Sterling Sharp (No. 13), outfielder Cole Freeman (No. 26), left-hander Nick Raquet (No. 29), outfielder Nick Banks, and right-handers Andrew Lee and Pearson McMahan. Catcher Jakson Reetz began the fall season with Surprise and departed the roster on Oct. 7, when first baseman KJ Harrison was added. On Oct. 9, right-hander Jacob Condra-Bogan was removed from the Surprise roster after tossing seven scoreless frames of relief across six appearances. He was replaced by Pearson McMahan.

Here’s a day-by-day look at how Washington's AFL contingent is faring:

Oct. 26: Salt River 5, Surprise 1
Luis Garcia put Surprise on the board when he drove in Bubba Thompson from third base with a one-out infield single in the third inning. He collected half of the Saguaros’ hits and was their only player to finish with multiple hits, going 2-for-4. The 19-year-old also had a dazzling play at shortstop in the eighth inning, when he made a blind, spinning throw to third from behind second base to nail Victor Victor Mesa, who was trying to advance after an overthrow on his stolen base. Nick Banks also swung the bat well in the Saguaros’ loss, as he hit a 104.7-mph single in the fourth inning and a 103.4-mph lineout in the seventh. He finished 1-for-3 at the plate. 

Sterling Sharp’s stint in the Fall League title game went by the wayside after yielding a grand slam in the fourth. Serving as the first man out of relief for Surprise, Sharp recorded just two outs and allowed five runs on three hits and two walks. After working to the tune of a 1.50 ERA in six regular season starts, Sharp was tagged with the defeat.

Oct. 25: Glendale 5, Surprise 3
KJ Harrison put Surprise on the board with his first homer of the AFL, a line-drive out to left field in the second inning. Harrison was retired in his final two at-bats of the afternoon. Luis Garcia’s batting average dipped to .276 as he concluded the AFL with a 0-for-4 showing. Nick Banks boosted his final AFL average up to .250 with a 1-for-2 showing in the season finale. Cole Freeman entered the game as a pinch-runner and singled in his lone at-bat. Nick Raquet struggled throughout his time in Arizona and those struggles continued Friday as he struggled with command in 1 1/3 innings of relief. Raquet, who threw 10 of his 21 pitches for strikes, walked two and gave up three runs on two hits. Pearson McMahan made just two appearances in the AFL and held the opposition scoreless in each of them. McMahan walked one and gave up two hits Friday, but still managed to put up a zero in 1 1/3 innings.

Oct. 24: Surprise 10, Scottsdale 2
Cole Freeman and Nick Banks combined to drive in five runs in Surprise’s win against Scottsdale. Banks put the Saguaros on the board in the fourth inning when he laced a two-run double (109.6 mph exit velocity) to right field, and Freeman made it a four-run frame with a two-out, two-RBI single. Freeman later pushed across a run via a bases-loaded walk before finishing 1-for-4, while Banks turned in a 1-for-2 performance, walking twice and scoring a pair of runs. Andrew Lee retired the side in order on 16 pitches in a perfect relief appearance. He owns a 1.38 ERA in the Fall League and has been scored upon once in nine outings.

Oct. 23: Mesa 2, Surprise 0
Luis Garcia delivered the most exciting play of the evening for the Saguaros on Wednesday, slicing a leadoff triple down the right-field line to kick off the seventh inning. He would be thrown out at home trying to score on a sacrifice fly later in the frame, but he delivered one of the club’s three hits. The 19-year-old is hitting .292 during the fall, with his triple Wednesday marking his first extra-base hit in over two weeks. KJ Harrison served as Surprise’s designated hitter and finished 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts. He has notched one hit in his first 13 Fall League at-bats.

Oct. 22: Scheduled off day for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 21: Mesa 4, Surprise 0
Pearson McMahan, 23, struck out the side in a perfect Fall League debut for Surprise on Monday. He accomplished the feat on just 15 pitches, including 10 strikes. Selected by the Nationals in the fourth round of the 2017 Draft, McMahan made 19 appearances between Class A Short Season Auburn and Class A Hagerstown during the regular season, posting a 2.79 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 24/2 K/BB across 29 frames. Luis Garcia, who started at shortstop and batted second for the Saguaros on Monday, went 0-for-3 against Mesa, and outfielder Nick Banks finished 0-for-2. They each reached via a walk in the contest.

Oct. 20: Salt River 2, Surprise 1
On the heels of having been named Pitcher of the Week, Sterling Sharp picked up Sunday right where he left off. Washington’s No. 13 prospect allowed just one hit against Salt River, an RBI single that led to his only run allowed. But outside of that, he had his pitch mix working en route to compiling seven strikeouts, the most of any of his starts in the AFL. Through six starts for Surprise, Sharp owns a 1.50 ERA and has yielded three hits or fewer in five of those outings. Andrew Lee took over on the mound following Sharp and posted a 1-2-3 frame against the top of the Rafters’ batting order. Lee also owns a 1.50 ERA during the fall, having held the opposition scoreless in seven of his eight appearances.

Cole Freeman stole his first base of the fall as Surprise’s leadoff hitter, drawing a walk in four trips to the plate to finish 0-for-3. Nick Banks finished 2-for-4 with the only Saguaros RBI of the game, a single in the first inning to open the scoring. It was his sixth RBI of the fall in 13 games. KJ Harrison got the start behind the plate and finished 1-for-3 with a walk. It was only his third appearance of the fall season. Nick Raquet was stuck with the loss in the 10th inning when Salt River drove in the runner placed on second to win the game. Raquet allowed that runner to move to third on an out, then gave up a game-winning single to the next batter.

Oct. 19: No Nationals prospects played on Saturday.

Oct. 18: Surprise 3, Glendale 1
Luis Garcia ripped a single to center in his first at-bat, hustling into second after forcing the center fielder into a fielding error. He also drew a walk in the eighth before coming around to score the go-ahead run on a wild pitch that deflected out of play. The Nationals’ No. 2 prospect also impressed defensively, making a diving stab to his right that ended the top of the second inning. Cole Freeman extended his hitting streak to three, notching an infield single in the fifth. He was promptly thrown out trying to swipe second and finished 1-for-3.

Oct. 17: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 16: Glendale 8, Surprise 4
Cole Freeman was a catalyst from the bottom of Surprise’s lineup as he turned in perhaps his best offensive performance of the fall, going 2-for-4 with runs scored and an RBI double, his first in the Fall League. The Nationals’ No. 26 prospect has recorded two hits in back-to-back games. Nick Banks recorded an assist from right field but was held hitless, finishing 0-for-4. Andrew Lee logged two scoreless innings out of Saguaros’ bullpen as he lowered his Fall League ERA to 1.64. It was the sixth scoreless outing in seven appearances for the 25-year-old right-hander, who tallied one strikeout while allowing two hits and a walk. Left-hander Nick Raquet followed Lee and gave up three runs on three hits in a walk. He’s allowed multiple runs in four of his past five outings.

Oct. 15: Surprise 3, Peoria 0
Luis Garcia was held hitless on Tuesday, going 0-for-4, but the Nationals’ No. 2 prospect still owns a .328 average as the Fall League’s third-youngest player. Nick Banks went 1-for-4 and scored a run from the sixth spot in Surprise’s lineup.

Oct. 14: Surprise 1, Peoria 0
Sterling Sharp posted his best start of the fall during Monday’s contest against Peoria, opening his evening with four no-hit innings. He ultimately finished with one hit (a single) allowed over five frames, adding five strikeouts to his line. Despite the succinctness of his out getting, only 43 of his 73 pitches went for strikes. He relied heavily on his changeup early, but finished with three walks. Through five AFL starts, Sharp owns a 1.42 ERA and has not allowed a run in four of his five appearances.

Nick Banks pinch-hit to lead off the bottom of the seventh and promptly socked a solo shot down the right-field line that clanked off the foul pole to give Surprise the lead for good. Luis Garcia raised his Fall League average to .352 with a 1-for-2 performance, which also included a hit by pitch. In addition to increasing his on-base percentage to .413, the Nationals’ No. 2 prospect also looked rock solid defensively. KJ Harrison played in his second game of the Fall League and went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts while hitting cleanup.

Oct. 13: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 12: East 4, West 2
Here's how every player performed in the Fall Stars Game. More »

Oct. 11: Surprise 2, Scottsdale 0
Luis Garcia’s average dipped to .346 with an 0-for-3 game. The 19-year-old infielder had collected at least one hit in three straight games before going hitless on Friday. Cole Freeman, on the other hand, tallied half of the Saguaros’ hits as he turned in a 2-for-2 performance from the bottom of the lineup.

Oct. 10: Surprise 3, Scottsdale 1
Luis Garcia went 1-for-4 with a strikeout against the Scorpions, dropping his fall average to .367. Nick Banks hit a double down the right field line that had an exit velocity of 107.8 mph as part of a 1-for-4 day of his own. It was the right fielder’s second double of the fall. KJ Harrison went 0-for-3 in the matchup, walking once and scoring a run.

Oct. 9: Surprise 12, Mesa 10
Andrew Lee was the first man out of the bullpen for Surprise on Wednesday, and the 25-year-old right-hander allowed two runs on four hits and recorded two outs for the Saguaros. Left-hander Nick Raquet finished two frames against Mesa, allowing two runs on two hits with three walks to one strikeout. Jacob Condra-Bogan threw a scoreless eighth inning, working around two walks. Cole Freeman entered the matchup in the 10th as a pinch-runner, and he scored a run.

Oct. 8: Surprise 6, Mesa 1
Luis Garcia, Washington’s No. 2 prospect and No. 91 on the Top 100, might be just 19 years old but he led Surprise’s offense in Tuesday’s win. The young shortstop went 3-for-5 with three singles and drove in three runs for the Saguaros. Nick Banks added a 1-for-4 day to Surprise’s tally, also driving in a run. Cole Freeman, No. 26 on the Nationals’ top prospect list, went 0-for-2 with a run scored and a run driven in.

Sterling Sharp, Washington’s No. 13 prospect, got the start for the Saguaros on Tuesday, and the right-hander threw five scoreless frames, allowing just two hits and two walks, striking out three, lowering his ERA to 1.93. He also picked off a runner at second base.

Oct. 7: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 6: Salt River 6, Surprise 4
Luis Garcia is only 19 years old but has had no trouble handling older and more experienced pitchers in the AFL. The Nationals’ No. 2 prospect drew a walk and went 1-for-3 with a double, which brought his average to .350. Nick Banks saw his average dip to .214 after a rough afternoon at the plate. Not only did Banks finish 0-for-4, but he also struck out three times.

Oct. 5: Glendale 2, Surprise 0
Andrew Lee induced a flyout and two groundouts in a perfect fifth frame for Surprise. In 8 1/3 innings over five appearances this fall, the 25-year-old right-hander has yet to allow a run. Jacob Condra-Bogan notched a strikeout and induced a pair of groundouts in a perfect inning of relief. Cole Freeman’s AFL struggles continued Saturday as the 25-year-old went 0-for-4 and is now hitting .125. Jakson Reetz hit his second double of the fall for his lone hit on Saturday. The DH went 1-for-2 and is hitting .333 through eight games.

Oct. 4: Glendale 7, Surprise 6
Shortstop Luis Garcia finally showed signs of slowing during Surprise’s defeat, finishing 0-for-4 at the dish with a pair of strikeouts in his first appearance since Sunday. The 19-year-old remains off to a strong start, batting .351 with an .891 OPS over his first nine games. Nick Raquet was saddled with the defeat for Surprise, yielding two runs (one earned) coming in to pitch in extra innings. He allowed two hits -- including the go-ahead RBI double -- finishing with one strikeout, giving him 10 punchouts through his first seven frames in the AFL. Cole Freeman pinch-ran in the 11th, before coming around to score. It marked his second run scored in six contests.

Oct. 3: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams

Oct. 2: Surprise 8, Mesa 7
Nick Banks slugged his second home run of the Fall League season, a solo blast to kick off a four-run rally in the third inning. The 2016 fourth-round Draft pick also knocked in a run on a first-inning sac fly. Jacob Condra-Bogan stranded the tying run at third in the ninth by striking out No. 5 overall prospect Jo Adell (Angels) for his third AFL save. The Georgia Southern product allowed a hit and a walk while also notching two strikeouts.

Oct. 1: Peoria 3, Surprise 1
Sterling Sharp, the Nationals’ No. 13 prospect, gave up four runs on three hits in his third Fall League start for Surprise. He issued two walks, struck out three and recorded five groundouts on 60 pitches (33 strikes). It marked the first time this fall that the 24-year-old right-hander has been scored upon after he allowed just three hits over five scoreless innings across his first two turns for the Saguaros. Andrew Lee tossed a scoreless inning in relief of Sharp.

At the plate, Nick Banks hit his first AFL homer, an eighth-inning solo shot, and was the lone Surprise player to record multiple hits as he finished 2-for-4. Jakson Reetz struck out in his two at-bats, and Cole Freeman went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts from the two-spot in the lineup.

Sept. 30: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Sept. 29: Surprise 11, Peoria 4
Shortstop Luis Garcia (No. 2, MLB No. 92) hit second and went 0-for-1 with a pair of walks for Surprise. Catcher Jakson Reetz hit third and went 1-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored. Left-hander Nick Raquet (No. 29) pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief with two strikeouts. And right-hander Jacob Condra-Bogan tossed a scoreless ninth and allowed one hit.

Sept. 28: Scottsdale 2, Surprise 0
Cole Freeman led off the game for Surprise with an infield single before finishing 1-for-4. The second baseman-turned-center fielder is batting .188 in the Fall League.

Sept. 27: Surprise 4, Scottsdale 3
Luis Garcia, the third-youngest player in this year’s Fall League, went 3-for-4 to improve his Fall League average to .406. He tallied two singles and a double, his third this fall, and also swiped his second bag. He started at second base and batted second in the lineup on Friday.

Sept. 26: Thursday's game between Surprise and Mesa was rained out and will not be made up.

Sept. 25: Surprise 6, Peoria 2
Catcher Jakson Reetz got the start at DH for Surprise on Wednesday and launched his first home run of the AFL season, a solo shot in the second inning. Over 96 games for Class A Advanced Potomac this season, the third-round pick from the 2014 Draft hit .253 with 13 home runs and an .812 OPS. Shortstop Luis Garcia finished the night 0-for-5.

Command issues hurt Nick Raquet, who issued three walks in his 1 2/3 innings of work for Surprise. He finished with two runs on his line, along with two hits and a strikeout. Andrew Lee followed Raquet out of the bullpen and was very sharp over his 2 1/3 innings of work, allowing two hits and striking out five with 30 of his 38 pitches going for strikes.

Sept. 24: Surprise 6, Peoria 4
Sterling Sharp worked around three hits and one walk in his two-inning start for Surprise to extend his AFL scoreless streak to five innings. Jacob Condra-Bogan picked up his second save of the fall as he walked one and struck out one in the ninth.

Luis Garcia continued his hot start and is hitting .435 after a 2-for-5 night at the plate. The Nationals’ No. 2 prospect also picked up his first Fall League RBI. Jakson Reetz went 1-for-4 at the plate and is batting .400 through four games. Cole Freeman and Nick Banks went 0-for-4.

Sept. 23: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Sept. 22: Surprise 2, Peoria 1
No. 2 prospect (No. 92 in MLB) Luis Garcia is one of the youngest players in the AFL, but he sure hasn’t looked like it. His 1-for-4 with a double performance on Sunday actually brought down his average to .444 (8-for-18). He’s hit in all four games he’s played. Catcher Jakson Reetz has also hit well, with his 1-for-3 performance extending his hitting streak to three games. He’s gone 5-for-11.

Sept. 21: Surprise 12, Salt River 0
Andrew Lee spun two scoreless innings in relief for Surprise. The 25-year-old right-hander struck out two and gave up one hit. Nick Raquet was also solid out of the ‘pen. Raquet did yield a single, but also struck out the side in his lone inning of work.

Nick Banks scored a pair of runs as he reached base three times -- once on a double and twice via error -- as part of a 1-for-5 night. Cole Freeman, hitting atop the Surprise lineup, reached in each of his final three plate appearances and finished 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

Sept. 20: Surprise 4, Salt River 1
Right-hander Jacob Condra-Bogan cruised through two scoreless innings and picked up the save for Surprise. The 25-year-old struck out one and retired all six batters he faced. Luis Garcia singled in the third as part of a 1-for-4 night at the plate. Jakson Reetz drove in a pair of runs via an RBI single in the seventh that helped put the game away for Surprise. He finished 2-for-4 with a double.

Sept. 19: Scottsdale 8, Surprise 6
No. 2 prospect Luis Garcia kept rolling in the Arizona Fall League on Thursday with a 2-for-5 performance, including a triple. This comes after a big day for Garcia in the opener on Wednesday, where he went 4-for-5 with a stolen base and a pair of runs scored. Major League Baseball’s No. 92 prospect came on strong late in the season and has carried over into one of the better starts in the AFL.

Sept. 18: Surprise 4, Glendale 2
No. 2 prospect Luis Garcia came flying out of the gates in the Arizona Fall League, going 4-for-5 for Surprise on Wednesday night. MLB's No. 92 prospect picked up three singles and a double, plus a stolen base. The 19-year-old came on late in the regular season and, over 129 games with Double-A Harrisburg in 2019, hit .257 with four home runs and a .617 OPS.

Cole Freeman opened the AFL season in the leadoff spot, but went 0-for-5 with a strikeout. Catcher Jakson Reetz went 2-for-4 with an RBI out of the cleanup spot while outfielder Nick Banks, hitting right behind Reetz, went 1-for-4 with a single.

On the mound, Sterling Sharp got the start and was very sharp, throwing three hitless innings with just one walk allowed and four strikeouts. Andrew Lee followed him out of the bullpen with two hitless, shutout innings of his own, including two strikeouts, before No. 29 prospect Nick Raquet threw two shutout innings, allowing one hit while striking out three.