Minor league camp continues to roll along with decisions coming up very soon on final rosters of Nationals affiliates. The week of March 31-April 5 will be the timeframe that rosters will be finalized and announced.
Here is a quick look at how some of the prospects are faring as camp winds down with updates courtesy of new Single-A Hagerstown manager Patrick Anderson. Last season, Anderson guided the Rookie level Gulf Coast Nationals to an unprecedented 52-9 record and the GCL crown.
Anderson has been working recently with the catchers. Spencer Kieboom is looking to return to form after recovering from surgery that forced him to miss last season.
“Spencer is coming off that Tommy John and, knock on wood, he looks really good,” Anderson said. “I am so happy with his progress getting him back on track and a lot of that is getting them mentally prepared. His arm strength looks good. He is getting his feet under him as far as swinging the bat. He looks like he is on the way and really going strong with being healthy.”
Pedro Severino also got high marks from Anderson, who said, “Severino looks awesome. He looks like he is getting prepared. I am very happy with him. He is a special kid.”
Second baseman “(Tony) Renda looks really good,” Anderson saod. . He is one of those kids who comes out of the womb and can hit. That is just how he is. He looks really solid defensively. He hasn’t missed a beat. He looks great.”
Of third baseman Drew Ward, Anderson said, “Love this kid. He comes to camp every day with that million-dollar smile. He looks the part, acts the part. He has looked really, really comfortable at the plate the last three days.”
“Brandon Miller is really strong,” Anderson said. “You can visually see how strong he is and he has worked so hard. A lot of these kids have really bought into preparing for 140 or hopefully more games. There are a lot of names.”
A couple of newcomers, Drew Vettleson (Tampa Bay system) and John Wooten (Oakland A’s system) are making positive impressions so far.
“I am very impressed with what Drew Vettleson. He is really good. He looks pretty solid,” Anderson said.
Wooten his 20 homers with 69 RBIs last season in 133 games for Beloit in the Single-A Midwest League. He is an outfielder who Anderson said can also play on the dirt.
“Wooten can play first and third base,” Anderson said. “The bat moves decently through the zone. He has decent hands. He looks very interesting, he is a big-body kid.
Outfielder Isaac Ballou’s camp “has gone really, really well,” Anderson said. “He is starting to develop really, really good. He needs more time in the outfield. He does some really good things offensively. He has done everything we have preached. He has the tools, we like him a bunch.”
“Rafael Bautista can fly, he can move, plays a great centerfield.”