09/27/2007 10:24 AM ET
Nationals name Justin Maxwell as Minor League Player of the Year and John Lannan as Minor League Pitcher of the Year
The Washington Nationals today named outfielder Justin Maxwell as its Minor League Player of the Year and lefthander John Lannan as its Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Nationals Vice President/General Manager Jim Bowden, Vice President/Player Development Bob Boone and Director/Player Development Bobby Williams made the announcement.
Maxwell, who grew up in Olney, MD and attended the University of Maryland, combined to hit .281 with 25 doubles, 27 home runs, 83 RBI and 35 stolen bases this season for Potomac of the Single-A Carolina League and Hagerstown of the Single-A South Atlantic League. He was the only player in minor league baseball in 2007 to record at least 25 doubles, 25 home runs and 25 steals. Maxwell led Nationals farmhands in homers, while ranking second in both RBI and steals.
The 23-year-old, who was Washington's second selection (fourth round) in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft behind Ryan Zimmerman, had his contract selected by the Nationals from Potomac on September 4. He made his big league debut as a pinch hitter the next night vs. Florida, and flew out to the warning track in right-centerfield. Then on September 11 at Florida, he clubbed a pinch-hit grand slam off Chris Seddon for his first big league hit. He is batting .250 (5-for-20) with two homers and five RBI in 12 games (four starts) overall with Washington.
Maxwell hit .301 with 14 homers and 40 RBI in 56 games with Hagerstown before his June 11 promotion to Potomac. The 6-foot-5, 225-pounder went on to hit .263 with 13 homers and 43 RBI in 58 games with the P-Nats. He twice earned Topps Player of the Month honors during the year, winning the award in May, when he hit .320 (31-for-97) with seven home runs, 18 RBI and five steals in 25 Sally League games, and in August, when he batted .343 (35-for-102) with 10 homers, 28 RBI and 10 steals in 27 Carolina League contests.
Maxwell entered the 2007 season ranked as the Best Athlete and as the Fastest Baserunner among Washington prospects according to Baseball America's annual "Best Tools" survey. He will play for the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League after the season.
Lannan, who celebrates his 23rd birthday today, went a combined 12-3 with a 2.31 ERA in 21 games (19 starts) this season with Columbus of the Triple-A International League, Harrisburg of the Double-A Eastern League and Potomac of the Single-A Carolina League. He led Washington farmhands in ERA and ranked second in wins.
Washington's 11th-round selection in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft had his contract selected by the Nationals from Columbus on July 26. The Siena (NY) College product made his major league debut that day, and went 2-2 with a 4.15 ERA in six starts at the big league level. Lannan earned his first big league win August 1 vs. Cincinnati. He tossed seven innings of one-run ball on two occasions, August 6 at San Francisco (no-decision) and August 11 at Arizona (loss). Lannan held Barry Bonds hitless in three at-bats during that August 6 start, including a strikeout to end the seventh inning in a 1-1 ballgame.
Lannan was named to the Carolina League All-Star team after going 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA (12 ER/50.2 IP) in eight starts with Potomac, but he did not participate in the game against the California League All-Stars because of his May 21 promotion to Harrisburg. He went 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA (13 ER/36.0 IP) in six games (five starts) with Harrisburg. Lannan then went 3-1 record with a 1.66 ERA (7 ER/38.0 IP) in seven games (six starts) with Columbus after his June 20 promotion. Opposing left-handed hitters combined to hit only .152 (17-for-112) against him at the minor league level.