The Nationals minor league system was honored this season with most valuable player of the year awards handed out to Potomac’s Tyler Moore and GCL Nationals Randolph Oduber.
Nationals hitting coordinator Rick Schu says both players deserved their awards and greatly improved from the beginning of the season.
Schu says Oduber, who hails from the island of Aruba and attended Western Oklahoma State College, came in and “really battled all season.”
“He had a great season in the GCL,” says Schu. “He plays all positions in the outfield. That is one thing we are working on with him is what position he will play. He maybe a slot corner guy.”
Oduber’s numbers were tremendous for the GCL Nats, hitting .366 with four homers and 30 RBI, a sluggling percentage of .569. Oduber got called up and played eight games with Hagerstown to end the season.
Potomac first baseman Tyler Moore was all the buzz this summer in Woodbridge and the league noticed.
After an incredible July and August in which the Mississippi State product garnered four player of the week awards, Moore won the Carolina League most valuable player of the year honor.
Moore finished the regular season batting .269 (74 points higher than at one point in early July) with a franchise record 31 homers and 111 RBI.
Schu says Moore was “one of those guys that caught my eye from the beginning of spring training. He has power to all fields.
“(Moore) reminds me of (Marlins second baseman) Dan Uggla when we had him with the Diamondbacks. He has country strength in his hands.
“Tyler can hit a fast ball. He can hit it out from line to line. He is one of those guys that can hit his way to the big leagues. He has the tools to do it.”
Since his time with the Diamondbacks, Schu sees the talent level has improved across the board with the Nationals.
“Look at the organization today,” says Schu. “A pair of teams are in the playoffs in Harrisburg and Potomac and the organization has a pair of most valuable players in Moore and Oduber.”
“As an organization, our overall season statistics are better this year than last year. The Nats remind me of the young Diamondbacks while I was there.”
While with Arizona, general manager Mike Rizzo started getting better drafts and better athletes. Schu says that is how you build a championship team.
“Farm system drafts are getting better for the Nats. Look at the guys in our system that are playing with the Nats now in Ian Desmond, Roger Bernadina and Danny Espinosa.
“The culture has changed since day one of spring training. We emphasized to the guys to play the game right from that first day on. Bobby (Henley) got the beaver award going.
And as Randy Knorr was talking about this week, Schu says they require their players to play hard on every pitch. They started that at the complex in Florida where the team reconvenes next week to begin instructional league play.
“If you don’t run out ground balls you went to Field 4 and you ran sprints. So the guys would always yell out ‘field four!’ to get guys to hustle. And they did.”