Instructional workouts begin today in Viera, Fla., with dozens of the Nationals prospects on hand to work on several aspects of their games.
Players will work on refining their skills, glove work, plate organization and fielding techniques. Also, just like first baseman Tyler Moore getting his first chance to work in the outfield last season, some players will work out at different positions to add versatility to their games.
Second baseman Justin Miller will work behind the plate after spending his entire career playing the infield. The club wants to see how he reacts as a catcher. It is not a definite position change, but will add to his versatility.
The right-handed hitting Miller, a 6-foot, 180-pounder out of Middle Tennessee State, was an 18th-round selection in the 2010 draft. He hit .245 with 25 doubles, four triples, 10 homers and 67 RBIs with 13 stolen bases in 116 games.
The club also would like to give power-hitting outfielder Kevin Keyes some extensive work at first base during the instructional schedule. Keyes certainly has the frame at 6-foot-3, 225 lb. He was a seventh-round selection from the University of Texas. Keyes hit .223 for high Single-A Potomac, but smacked 21 homers with 78 RBIs in 114 games.
With Moore playing a crucial role with the Nationals this season, he is a shining example of how important instructional league can be to a player’s career and the success of the franchise at its highest levels.
Steve Lombardozzi can play several infield positions and in the outfield. Moore can play first base and in the outfield. If Miller, Keyes and others can take to their new positions, this will help their versatility as they climb the ladder to D.C. in seasons to come.