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ONE STEP CLOSER: Andrew Stevenson

ONE STEP CLOSER:  Andrew Stevenson

Washington Nationals / Hagerstown Suns (Class A)

Stevenson2Mequon, WI – Rising like a rocket through his first season of minor league baseball, Andrew Stevenson was on the move during his first summer of minor league baseball.  The speedy outfielder from LSU was drafted by the Washington Nationals (58th overall pick in the 2nd Round of the 2015 MLB Draft) after a three year college career in which Stevenson showed significant improvement each year for the Tigers.  After a freshman campaign in 2013 when he hit .183, Stevenson used his summer with the Chinooks to find his groove at the plate as he won the team’s Steel Slugger Award when he hit .345 and then went on to hit .335 as a sophomore and .348 as a junior.

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Photo by Zach Spedden

After LSU’s trip to the 2015 College World series, Stevenson signed with the Nationals and reported to their rookie league team for two games and then moved on to Washington’s Class A affiliate in the New York-Penn League, the Auburn Doubledays.  Adjusting quickly to his projected role as a top of the order bat, Stevenson hit .361 and stole seven bases.  Auburn manager Gary Cathcart raved about the potential of the young outfielder saying "That's an impressive young man right there.” And Cathcart referred to him as “extremely respectful, just a wonderful young man who wants to learn.  He really understood quickly how different the pro game was from the college game.  You just give him one thing and he works so diligently on it. (He has) a chance to be a Gold Glove center fielder.” With the hot start at Auburn, Stevenson was quickly promoted to the full season A affiliate, the Hagerstown Suns.  Playing as the everyday centerfielder, Stevenson hit .285, knocked in 16, and used his speed to swipe sixteen bases.

After the busy summer, Stevenson commented about his experience:

1.  I’ll go wherever the Nationals want to send me.  I just want to play baseball!

2.  I would say my best minor league memory so far was my first pro hit in my first at-bat – a solid single up the middle.

3.  I still love the dizzy bat race wherever they do it and we see it a lot.  It is by far the most fun to watch!

4.  For me the most difficult part of the minors is playing every single day and the toll it takes on your body. I'm still getting use to that part of pro ball, but I think I will adapt to it just fine this year.  I’ll be working out at LSU and doing all I can to get better and have my body prepared.

As a second round pick, Stevenson is definitely one for Chinooks fans to follow.  Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post wrote after the Nationals selected him, “He is a left-handed hitter known for plus speed and plenty of grit — characteristics that, along with flowing blond hair, led to inevitable comparisons with Eric Byrnes, the former Athletics’ outfielder known for his fearless, hard-nosed fielding,”  which is exactly how he’ll be remembered at Lakeshore.  Follow his progress at:

http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=664057#/career/R/hitting/2015/ALL

The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 22-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 140 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (KC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com.