We have talked a lot about and previewed prospects like Bryce Harper, Eury Perez, Brian Goodwin, Destin Hood and others. Here is the latest updates on how a few of these outfield prospects are faring as the regular season quickly draws near with minor league rosters about set.
Nationals outfield coordinator Tony Tarasco said the work of Hood, Michael Taylor and Randolph Oduber has been standing out during spring training.
“Taylor, Oduber and Hood are tremendous athletes,” Tarasco said. “I tip my hat to the scouting department and to the rest of the player development department for finding guys with great makeup and then molding that makeup. These guys, every single day, they have a constant routine and they understand the importance of it.”
Oduber, who tore up his hamstring after a great start last year at Single-A Hagerstown, has had a great camp and you can expect to see him in High Single-A Potomac before very long.
Meanwhile, 2011 draft pick Goodwin has also made great strides since he arrived late last summer, according to short-season Single-A Auburn Doubledays manager Gary Cathcart.
“I can see why he was as highly touted as he was,” Cathcart said. “He has a chance to be pretty special. He has had a great camp. He has really improved a lot just in the three weeks we saw him in instructional league and then watching him now in his first spring training. He has been really exciting.”
Tarasco said all of these guys are good baseball players but are also pushing each other to get better.
“They are relentless,” Tarasco said. “They want to play in the big leagues. You can have talent, but if you don’t want it, you don’t have that hunger and desire inside of you, it doesn’t happen for a lot of ball players. Those three in particular are my best workers in the outfield. They set an example and they make my job easier because of the way they work in order to get better on a daily basis.”
It is a good sign for the Nationals’ minor league system as the organization builds from within with a higher level of talent and have fewer filler guys on its rosters. This heavier talent base is readily apparent in this crop of outfielders.
“You hit the nail right on the nose,” Tarasco said. “The thing is wonderful to be around. Again, I tip my hat to (general manager) Mike Rizzo and the scouting department for finding these guys and recognizing what their ceiling is and allowing us to put the time and effort into it.
“You are looking at a loaded outfield. To be honest with you, as an organization, that is what you want. You develop that camaraderie and you develop that teamwork, but you also have an inside competition which pushes these guys to the next level.”
This is the place you try to get to as an organization: Having every player, whether it is true or not, believing they are going to make it to the majors. You want players who are not just going through the motions and playing out games all summer. They are striving each at-bat and each play to get better and beat the guy next to them. That forges a clearer path to D.C. and provides the franchise with extra ammunition so they have three or four players that are major league-ready instead of just one or two.