We heard early in spring training what the new Nationals facility in West Palm Beach meant to the major league players. It also is a big deal to the guys fighting to move up in the minor league camp.
Low Single-A Hagerstown manager Patrick Anderson said the minor league camp players were thrilled to get into such a state-of-the-art facility and work so closely with the major league squad.
“We feel very fortunate,” Anderson said. “It’s unbelievable. It’s a great fresh feeling of starting all over in a new facility. For the Lerners to be able to put this thing together is just awesome. These kids are very respectful that we have this type of facility. It’s a lot of fun to be honest with you. The maintenance of the fields is off the chart. We got a swimming pool. You can come on down and bring your swimsuit for crying out loud.”
Here are a couple of final notes on some of the pitchers from the early camp roster that Anderson also managed last season for Hagerstown:
Alabama left-hander Taylor Guilbeau made 28 appearances (13 starts) last season for low Single-A Hagerstown. The 23-year-old was a 22nd-round selection in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft. He went 5-2 with a 3.61 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 107 2/3 innings. Anderson has seen Guilbeau working in the minor league camp this spring.
“He has really developed his breaking ball, his off-speed pitch, last year,” Anderson noted. “He finished up the season really well with that pitch. He picked up where he left off (here in camp), he looks really sharp. It looks like has a pretty good feel for it. His fastball command looks like it’s going well. His overall body strength looks really good. All of these guys have done a good job with their conditioning and strength in the offseason. We are really excited for these guys.”
22-year-old Matt Derosier is looking to go a full season in the Nats organization in 2017. The 2013 24th-round draft selection last pitched in a regular season Hagerstown game on June 27, 2016. He started 14 games and amassed 67 1/3 innings. Even with the shortened season, the 14 starts were a pro career-high total for the Lakeside, Calif., native.
“He looks really good,” Anderson said. “He’s commanding the zone well early on. He looks pretty fresh with his arm.”
Right-hander Joan Baez makes his presence felt with outstanding power on his No. 1 pitch. Baez made 27 starts last season for Hagerstown with 119 strikeouts in 125 2/3 frames.
“Baez has a plus fastball and he’s really working on his breaking ball,” Anderson said. “We are really excited about him.”