Nationals early camp prospect capsule: Infielders

Next, we look at some of the infield prospects on the Nationals early camp roster. The minor leaguers’ first game is March 12 at Houston.

Nationals coordinator of instruction Gary Cathcart, who also is the short-season Single-A Auburn Doubledays manager, had several of these players on his team last season and provides a preview.

For more on the outfielders, click here.

Part Two: Infielders

1B Jose Marmolejos
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 185 lbs.
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Age: 22
Born: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
2014 club: Auburn

Cathcart: “He was with me all year. Middle-of-the-order guy, left-handed hitting first baseman. He is fluent bilingual. Very natural-looking hitter, looks like it comes to him very (easily), beautiful swing, really growing into his body. I saw him (Saturday) for the first time and he looked much different than he did last summer. Just turned 22 years old.

“Really worked hard on his defense. Kind of a tweener outfield/first baseman. Now he has settled in at first. This is a big year for him. It will be his first full season. I’m sure he’ll probably play in (Single-A) Hagerstown.

“He’s an interesting guy who is kind of under the radar, but maybe has one of the better swings we have in our organization.”

2B/3B Austin Davidson
Height: 6-foot
Weight: 180 lbs.
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Age: 22
Born: Oxnard, Calif.
School: Pepperdine
2014 clubs: Auburn, Hagerstown

Cathcart: “Played last two weeks in Hagerstown. Corner infielder, we got him over at second, so he is going to play both. Made a real smooth transition to second base, played mostly third in college. Probably the most natural swing we had in the draft last year. Left-handed hitter, a lot like Marmolejos. Natural, flowing, easy swing from the left side. Looks physically a lot like (Danny) Espinosa. Maybe not quite as strong as Danny, but a really smooth-looking stroke. Probably made the most improvement in learning the professional game as anybody last summer. Nice for him to get a taste of Hagerstown. I’m sure that is where he’ll start this year. Interesting guy, kind of a sleeper guy right now with as good a swing as he has.”

SS David Masters
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 185 lbs.
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Age: 21
Birthplace: Lake St. Louis, Mo.
School: Central Arizona CC
2014 clubs: Auburn, Hagerstown

Cathcart: “He was in Hagerstown last year and had two really bad hamstring injuries. He missed a lot of time last year. It was a really disappointing year for him. He got going and blew it out again. He came back and did play well for Hagerstown in the playoffs.

“Big thing with David is developing his offensive game because he is a really smooth, slick defensive guy. He kind of reminds me of a lot of Kevin Elster at shortstop, really glides around. Defensively, he is way ahead of himself. Offensively, he is working hard on an offensive approach. But hopefully the big thing for him this year is to stay healthy and get out there 140 times.”

SS Osvaldo Abreu
Height: 6-foot
Weight: 170 lbs.
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Age: 20
Birthplace: La Romana, Dominican Republic
2014 club: Auburn

Cathcart: “He was my starting shortstop all summer. He was coming off that championship team in the Gulf Coast League in 2013. We had high hopes. He had a really good extended spring and he really struggled for most of the year last year. It was a real learning experience for him. It was his first time out of Florida.

“He is a very naturally gifted shortstop. Got wonderful tools. Still just 20 years old. He will probably go to Hagerstown as well this year. He really picked it up at the end of the year, which was good to see because he really struggled. But to his credit, he stayed after it and finished up really well. I know he feels good about that. He had a really good instructional league. Hopefully it was just something about learning how to play at night and away from Florida, just getting comfortable as a young kid and (hopefully) that carries over to this year.”

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