Instructional league workouts have begun for close to four dozen prospects in the Nationals organization. Low Single-A Hagerstown manager Brian Daubach is one of the 20 or so coaches that are working to get the players ready for their first game September 22.
Daubach said instructional league workouts in Viera, Fla., are organized very similar to the way spring training is set up, with a lot of hands-on specialized teaching going on in each area.
"We are working on a lot of the fundamental stuff, whether it is newly drafted players or reinforcement to our veteran guys here," Daubach said on "Nats Insider" heard on 1580 AM on Sunday night. "Stuff like bunt plays, working on relays from the outfield and more. The good thing about instructional league is we have a lot of coaches here, we are able to individualize a lot of things."
Daubach said that is important because during instructional league, the club has time to slow down the process without having to worry about hurrying from game to game as you would during the regular season.
"We work on the specific needs of each player," Daubach said. "There is more time. It is not so stressed and is a relaxed atmosphere. We played quite a few games (this season) but a lot of the guys didn't get to play and they get to work on what they need to work on to become a big leaguer."
Daubach gave us an eyewitness account of how the instructional league is set up. Weather got in the way this weekend, but he said the team found a way to continue working, even with a slight delay.
"Like most spring training facilities, we have five different fields," Daubach said. "Generally, we are using them all. It rained quite a bit (Saturday), so we weren't able to get on the outfield today, so we did a lot of infield work. A lot of fundamental stuff, we had to hit in the cage and the outfielders had to do some of their work inside as well.
"There are two or three coaches on each field. There are hitting stations where they work from field to field. We will work on bunting and base running, etc. We will hit off a curveball machine, underhand flips, working on situations and then regular batting practice like you would see at Nationals Park. There is a lot of scheduling that is involved and the guys are busy. We keep them busy and they are getting a lot of work in."
Prospects Matt Skole and Aaron Barrett will get to participate up until Oct. 2 and then head off to the Arizona Fall League. Justin Miller is working at catcher and Kevin Keyes at first base. I will have an update on how they are doing in my next report.