Prospects Leon and Freitas catching attention in minor league camp

Nationals catching prospects Sandy Leon and David Freitas are getting their work in at the accelerated camp after completing very solid 2010 seasons, Leon with the Single-A Hagerstown Suns and Freitas with the Short-Season Single-A Vermont Lake Monsters.

Leon made notable progress with Hagerstown in 2010, playing in 98 games and accruing 325 at-bats. Leon hit .249 with 10 doubles, six triples a pair of homers with 36 RBIs.

Last week, his name came up when I spoke to Sammy Solis and he talked about what an "absolutely phenomenal" catcher he thought Leon was after he threw to him in his first game.

Freitas showed his hitting ability for the New York-Penn League's Lake Monsters last season, batting .307 with four homers and 40 RBIs in 62 games and 218 at-bats.

Single-A Potomac Nationals pitching coach Paul Menhart has seen both in camp and has been impressed with the strengths of each prospect.They are both about the same age, each turning 22 this week.

"Sandy Leon is an outstanding catcher," Menhart said. "He is a very large part of our future in catching area. He is as solid as they come."

It is no secret the Nationals have been building pitching talent from within the last five seasons and they also have put together a few outstanding catching candidates along the way. Leon and Freitas are great examples of catchers with different strengths looking to improve and impress before camp winds down the first week of April.

Freitas is a 6-foot-2, 225-lb. right-handed hitter out of Wilton, Calif. Leon is a 5-foot-11, 175-lb. switch-hitter from Caracas, Venezuela. With Derek Norris moving up from Potomac after a solid start to major league camp, there will be vacancies at both levels of Single-A baseball in the Nationals chain.

"Without a doubt, they all bring something a little bit different to the table," Menhart said. "I think Derek (Norris) and David are more offensive but both improving on the catching end. Sandy has the catching part down and is improving on his hitting."

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