Nats’ early camp roster: Catchers

The Nationals have depth at the catcher spot on the early camp roster, headlined by Jakson Reetz, a 2014 third-round draft pick out of Hickman, Neb.

Reetz had seven hits in his last five games at low Single-A Hagerstown to wrap up 2016. He hit .281 in his final 10 games. Reetz caught 88 games for the Suns after notching 79 games combined in 2014 and 2015.

baseballs-in-bin-sidebar.jpg“Jakson looks good,” said Nationals director of player development Mark Scialabba. “Jakson is another of those players that had a great second half for us in Hagerstown. Caught more games than he’s ever had in his life last year and looking to build off of that. He’s an extremely hard worker, great makeup. Just continuing to work on a consistent pre-pitch plan and when he’s at the plate. He’s someone that has the tools to be a complete frontline catcher down the road. He’s showing well so far in camp.”

The Nationals acquired 23-year-old Taylor Gushue from the Pirates organization. He is attending his first Nats early camp. Jeyner Baez, no relation to right-hander Joan Baez, has displayed a talent behind the plate, as well.

“He’s a toolsy catcher with athleticism and arm strength,” Scialabba said of Jeyner Baez. “He is someone that is working on all phases of his development.”

Tres Barrera was from last year’s draft, a sixth-round selection. He is a 22-year-old out of San Antonio, Texas, who caught at short-season Single-A Auburn at the tail end of last season. The former Texas Longhorn caught 48 games and hit .244.

“Great makeup, strong, athletic of a body for a catcher,” Scialabba said. “Has some bat speed and strength in his swing. Really learning all phases of the catching program right now and just getting a lot of reps and working extremely hard with (catching coordinator) Michael Barrett and our pitchers right now, getting to know everybody.”

Veteran Brian Jeroloman, 31, spent time at Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse last season. The former University of Florida standout was limited to 34 games last season. He has fought back from injury to continue his career and adds solid depth.

Former James Madison catcher Jake Lowery rounds out the backstop roster in early camp. Lowery has a lefty bat and played in 17 games for Potomac and two games for Harrisburg in 2016.

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