Nationals prospect Chris Marrero is working hard to improve offensively and defensively by playing winter ball in Puerto Rico alongside second baseman Danny Espinosa.
Marrero says he has enjoyed the experience playing ball in the offseason again this year after getting an invite to Arizona in 2009.
In 10 games for Leones de Ponce, Marrero is batting .349 with 3 doubles and 8 RBI.
“I am been feeling good. My swing as been coming around. I have been getting a lot of hits and feeling good at the plate so I cannot complain,” Marrero said.
Espinosa said the pitchers were sometimes a little wild in Puerto Rico and that presented some challenges. But Marrero says he has been patient to wait for a pitch he can hit instead of being tempted by stuff off the plate.
“The pitchers are good. There are a lot of veteran guys. Some teams have a lot of young guys, but there is definitely a lot of veterans here too. It helps you to find that pitch you are looking for and stay within your zone and try not to swing at the stuff they are throwing you.”
Marrero knows how important defense is at first base and says he is making improvements.
“I definitely take pride in my defense,” he said. “I have been working on it a lot. They are really never going to say I have the best defense because I play first base; there is not much you can do. I definitely keep working out and I get my ground balls every day and it comes easy.”
Marrero says he is concentrating on maintaining consistency and power this winter at the plate and has found that in Puerto Rico.
“I am working on hitting the ball the other way. I am staying with my power to all fields instead of just pulling the ball. I am trying to be a complete hitter.”
Marrero has stayed busy each offseason by playing fall ball last season and winter ball this year, but he thinks the competition is better in Puerto Rico.
“It is a great experience and there are a lot of good ballplayers. I am happy to actually be here. The fall league was great last year but I think this is a little bit better here than fall league.”
Hear more from Espinosa and Marrero at nationals360.com.