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Wilmer Francisco Difo (born April 2, 1992) is a Dominican professional baseball second baseman for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has also appeared at shortstop, as well as in more limited stints at third base and as an outfielder, at the major league level.

Wilmer Difo
Wilmer Difo 2017 (34386098822).jpg
Difo with the Washington Nationals in 2017
Washington Nationals – No. 1
Second baseman / Shortstop
Born: (1992-04-02) April 2, 1992 (age 27)
Santiago, Dominican Republic
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
MLB debut
May 19, 2015, for the Washington Nationals
MLB statistics
(through September 25, 2019)
Batting average.249
Home runs15
Runs batted in78
Teams

CareerEdit

Difo signed with the Washington Nationals as an international free agent on June 3, 2010. He made his professional debut that season for the Dominican Summer League Nationals. From 2010 to 2013, he played for the Gulf Coast Nationals, Auburn Doubledays, Hagerstown Suns and Potomac Nationals. Difo played the 2014 season with Hagerstown.[1] He was named the 2014 South Atlantic League Most Valuable Player (MVP) with a .315 batting average, a .360 on-base percentage and a .470 slugging average, with 14 home runs and 90 runs batted in.[2][3] He received the Bob Boone Award from the Nationals, which "recognizes professionalism and passion".[4][5] Difo started 2015 with the Potomac Nationals and was promoted to the Double-A Harrisburg Senators after 19 games.[6]

On May 19, 2015, Difo was called up to the major leagues for the first time and collected his first hit in his first at-bat the same day, a pinch-hit single up the middle off New York Yankees reliever — and future Nationals teammate — David Carpenter.[7] Difo hit his first career home run on September 29, 2016, off Arizona Diamondbacks starter and former Nationals pitching prospect Robbie Ray.[8] On October 14, 2016, he struck out for the game's last out as a pinch hitter[9] as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Washington Nationals 4-3 to win the National League Division Series.

Difo received his first career start in the outfield on June 24, 2017, playing center field against the Cincinnati Reds due to an injury to regular center fielder Michael A. Taylor.[10] After Trea Turner suffered a broken wrist in a game days later, Difo took over as the Nationals' regular starting shortstop, occasionally sharing duties with Stephen Drew and Adrián Sánchez.[11][12][13] On July 27, 2017, Difo hit one of four consecutive home runs by Nationals hitters off Milwaukee Brewers starter Michael Blazek, the first time the feat had been accomplished in Major League Baseball since the 2011 season.[14]

Splitting time between the Majors and Minors in 2019, Difo appeared in 43 games with the Nationals and had a .252 average with 2 home runs and 8 RBI. The Nationals finished the year with a 93-69 record, able to clinch a wild card spot. Difo did not seek any postseason action, but was still on the Nationals' 40-man roster at the time when the team went on to win the 2019 World Series over the Astros, their first championship in franchise history.[15]

PersonalEdit

During the 2017 season, Difo attracted some media attention for his choice of walk-up music, as he frequently had romantic ballads like "Unchained Melody" and "My Girl" added to his rotation. Although some of Difo's teammates told The Washington Post they assumed someone was playing a joke on the young infielder, Difo explained to the paper, "I love those songs."[16]

Difo chose to go by the nickname El Lindo, Spanish for "the beautiful one", for MLB Players' Weekend in 2017. The nickname was reportedly given to him by Nationals teammate Adam Lind.[17]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Byron Kerr: Difo making noise for Hagerstown after focused offseason training". MASNsports. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  2. ^ "Wilmer Difo wins South Atlantic League MVP". Washington Post. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  3. ^ "Suns' Difo, Giolito voted brightest stars South Atlantic League has to offer". Herald Mail Media. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  4. ^ "Lucas Giolito, Wilmer Difo visit Nationals Park to receive minor league awards". Washington Post. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  5. ^ "Top Nats prospects Giolito and Difo take in Nationals Park". Comcast SportsNet Washington. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  6. ^ Highly regarded Washington Nationals' prospect Wilmer Difo promoted to Harrisburg
  7. ^ Fendrich, Howard (May 19, 2015). "Zimmerman's HR off Miller in 10th leads Nats past Yanks 8-6". CBS Sports. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  8. ^ Reddington, Patrick (September 29, 2016). "Washington Nationals 5-3 over Arizona D-backs: Joe Ross, Pedro Severino, Wilmer Difo lead Nats". Federal Baseball. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ Collier, Jamal (June 24, 2017). "Baker, Nats satisfied with Difo's CF debut". MLB.com. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  11. ^ Paras, Matthew (July 5, 2017). "Trea Turner's three-man backup committee working so far". The Washington Times. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  12. ^ Torres, Aaron (August 10, 2017). "After a shaky July, the Nationals' Adrian Sanchez has found his groove at the plate". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  13. ^ Reddington, Patrick (August 9, 2017). "Washington Nationals' infielder Wilmer Difo taking and applying advice and impressing..." Federal Baseball. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  14. ^ Castillo, Jorge (July 27, 2017). "Back-to-back-to-back-to-back: Nats club four homers in a row and eight in four innings". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  15. ^ "Washington Nationals win 2019 World Series". MLB. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  16. ^ Castillo, Jorge (May 30, 2017). "The story behind Wilmer Difo's walk-up music". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  17. ^ Collier, Jamal (August 25, 2017). "Explaining Nats Players Weekend nicknames". MLB.com. Retrieved August 27, 2017.

External linksEdit