Cathcart ready for dual roles for Nationals in 2011

Potomac Nationals manager Gary Cathcart will have dual roles for the organization in 2011 and be able to coach dozens of prospects as a roving instructor and manager.

The first half of the season, Cathcart will be a roving instructor for the Nationals in the Gulf Coast League and Hagerstown.

“They like the idea of having another set of eyes alongside (Field Coordinator) Bobby Henley to coach these guys and evaluate our talent,” Cathcart said.

After the draft in June, Cathcart will manage Auburn in the New York/Penn league. This will allow Cathcart to oversee most of the collegiate talent the team drafts in June.

“They felt it was important for them to have me at Auburn so the program gets off on the right foot,” Cathcart said.

“It is a little different challenge for me, but a very important responsibility. They wanted someone who could teach the guys as soon as they start playing pro ball.”

Director of player development “Doug (Harris) said he wanted me to be able to help 100 guys instead of just one club. The goal is to try to get as many guys to the big leagues as quick as we can.”

“I am really looking forward to it. I felt being able to coach anywhere in the minors with the Nationals meant I was helping advance the organization.”

Cathcart is coming off a solid season as manager of the Potomac Nationals, guiding them to the Carolina League championship.

“Until you win it all you don’t realize what an accomplishment it is,” Cathcart said. “I hadn’t won a title since I was in Triple-A in 1987.”

He says the P-Nats were a unique team because of how they turned it around in the second half of the season when a lot of the players had been promoted.

“Everyone sold out for the team. We had an amazing group of kids. We actually had more talent in the first half and went 31-39. Then, a lot of those guys got called up. You would think there would be a drop off, but everyone put everything aside and the room came together. That whole second half when they got into first place, all they cared about was winning.”

“Playing at Pfitzner (stadium) was a distinct home field advantage. We became accustomed to playing there and other teams did not.”

Cathcart has worked with the two biggest name prospects the Nats have drafted in the last two years and was thoroughly impressed with what he saw while coaching Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.

“Strasburg was one of the most respectful players I had ever been around,” Cathcart said. “Of course, his stuff was off the charts and he handled all the media responsibilities and distractions with grace. All he wanted to do was learn.”

“Harper is a little more brash, but his father has done a real good job with him. The kid is amazing. He has so much talent that he can get by without a ton of experience. He looks like he has played pro ball for 10 years.”

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