Nationals prospects continue to work in the Arizona Fall League. Low Single-A Hagerstown manager Patrick Anderson is an extra coach with the Mesa Solar Sox and provided an update on each Nationals player playing for the team.
Second baseman Tony Renda: “He’s looking great. He’s hit so many balls right on the nose right at people, I feel so bad for him. We all laugh. How many balls can you hit so hard right at somebody and have nothing to show for it like ever? I’m waiting for balls to fall for him. He’s putting together some real good at-bats. The guys like him out here. He’s pretty steady Eddie. He’s had a couple tough errors. He fits in well. He’s a good player, he deserves to be out here. He deserves to be out here.”
Catchers Pedro Severino and Spencer Kieboom: “They’re doing great. It’s tough being a catcher and, obviously, when you don’t really know somebody of these pitchers and you catch one side or you might not be able to catch him till the game. So the first outing they were kind of just testing the waters and try to get an idea what the league’s like. And in their second time around, they did a really good job behind the plate. I thought they handled it like they were in the regular season. So they got their feet underneath them and Kieboom is really swinging the bat really well. His last game he went 2-for-3, I believe, and had a walk. Sevey threw out three guys yesterday, blocked tow balls in the dirt, threw out a guy out at third, threw a guy out at second, kept the game close and allowed us to be able to win. Threw a guy out at second base on a regular steal off a ball in the dirt. They are both doing a great job. Sevey just needs to get some at-bats and it’s a big development point for him. They’re both feeling really comfortable. It’s really good for all three of them so far, along with the pitchers.”
Left-hander Felipe Rivero: “Well, Rivero, his first outing outing, you look at the numbers, he gave up five runs, but he really pitched well. He had a couple balls that he left up. His fastball was 92-96, 97 mph, has some life on it. Breaking ball was pretty sharp. He left a few pitches up to some decent hitters, had some bad luck. He’s really throwing the ball really good with regards to his arm strength, his command is starting to get better.”
Anderson said pitching coach Paul Menhart and pitching coordinator Spin Williams had been working with Rivero prior to his Arizona arrival, looking to get him to “stay closed a little bit more.” That adjustment to his mechanics helps “tighten up his breaking ball and gets him on line,” Anderson said. “He’s able to do a little better job with that out here against some pretty good competition. We’re really happy with him.”
Left-hander Matt Grace: “His first outing, he left a couple of pitches up. But the second outing, he really came back and started establishing his breaking ball, that’s one of the emphasis of the fall league. He threw some sliders that were plus sliders, very effective. He’s doing a really good job. All those guys are just kind of getting their feet wet.”
Right-hander Neil Holland: “The first outing for Holland wasn’t that great, but the second outing he was down by the knees and getting some soft contact outs and he was really pounding the zone a lot better.”
Right-hander Derek Self: “I have been really happy with Self. First outing, his arm strength was really good. But his second outing, his stuff wasn’t as good, but he pitched and was able to locate pitches and really been working with his changeup.”
“I have been really happy with our guys, I really have,” Anderson said.