Focusing on the Nationals’ early camp roster and the potential for power hitting, I asked Nationals director of player development Mark Scialabba about the players that stand out in this category. Do they go from their high school and college numbers to decide who can hit for power or is it developed as they become better hitters?
“You look at our approach. Early on in the hitting program, we are going to make sure that our hitters are the best hitters they can be,” Scialabba said. “Understanding what things they can do, each and every hitter is a little bit different. There are ways we want them to approach each at-bat.
“When you look at power potential, you look at Sheldon Neuse, Juan Soto, Nick Banks, Daniel Johnson. Victor Robles can grow into power, as can Rhett Wiseman and Kelvin Gutierrez. Carter Kieboom is certainly someone that can develop power down the road.
“You look at these hitters and you want to see them grow into that ability to hit for power but really what we are looking to do is become a complete hitter. Hit the ball where it is pitched to all fields and then certainly the power will develop down the road.”
One infielder I asked Scialabba about is outfielder/infielder Ian Sagdal. The 24-year-old Sagdal played his collegiate baseball at Washington State, and got into 108 games last season for low Single-A Hagerstown. He has played shortstop, left field, first base, designated hitter and other spots in the field for the Nats. Sagdal was a 16th-round selection in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft and is 6-foot-3, 190 lbs., and bats from the left side. He throws right-handed.
“He has done well,” Scialabba said. “We had an early scrimmage with the big league club. We needed some guys to come over. Ian went over with Wiseman, Robles and Brian Jeroloman. Ian got in there and held his own with some nice at-bats. Great year overall and really finished up strong. He’s someone that play different positions. He’s got a very sound approach, leverage to the baseball very well. He is someone that has an offensive profile with defensive versatility.”