Destin Hood's overall game lifting P-Nats during second-half run

Single-A Potomac Nationals left fielder Destin Hood has played well both offensively and defensively so far this season. His name is always mentioned when the conversation turns to the top prospects in the organization, and for good reason.

Hood combines top speed and excellent hands with good contact at the plate. The P-Nats have started the second half with a nice run as they look to defend their Mills Cup title in September, and Hood has been a major part of that surge.

Hood has made good contact the last 10 games with a .353 average, 12 hits, one triple, one homer and nine RBIs. Overall, Hood is batting .273 in 93 games, with 25 doubles, five triples, nine homers, 10 stolen bases and 65 RBIs.

Nationals director of player development Doug Harris is really excited about Hood and his continuing positive progress.

"Destin is very disciplined and consistent with his approach," Harris said. "He has a short, strong swing. We are also seeing his power beginning to blossom. He has improved his strike zone control and his defense is steady. Destin has outstanding makeup."

In a game this month against Lynchburg, Hood showed again why he is so important to the team's success. He had three hits, two of them of the infield variety, and it was his speed that made him safe. Hood made two spectacular over-the-shoulder catches in left field to save runs and extra-base hits for the Hillcats.

Potomac manager Matt LeCroy continues to be impressed with the 21-year old from Mobile, Ala., especially in a 1-0 victory over Lynchburg.

"Hood put a ball in play and put us on the board and that run ended up being the difference," LeCroy said. "His play in the outfield really saved us today. He made two plays that probably would have made that score a little bit lopsided. He is coming along as a player and he is gaining experience every game he plays."

Hood said he doesn't worry whether he gets a double, homer or even an infield single to get on base; he just wants the shot.

"I will take them," Hood said. "I am just trying to get better every day and put the bat on the ball. I just said to myself, 'Try to have fun.' It paid off. I am trying to work hard every day and put it to work in a game."

The two-time All-Star said he continues to improve at the plate thanks to long hours in the batting cage working with Potomac hitting coach Mark Harris.

"We try to work hard and try to stick with the same plan," Hood said. "We bang it out in the cage and try to make adjustments."

On the field, the P-Nats are looking to make one of their signature second-half runs. They are off to a 19-13 start, two games back of first place in their division.

"Everybody is believing in each other," Hood said. "We are pulling for each other. It is starting to pay off. Everybody is working hard coming to work every day and it is starting to pay off at night."

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