Former Nationals minor league first baseman Justin Bloxom has traded in his cleats and glove for an opportunity to find the top prospects in the country and sign them to the Nats.
Bloxom has been hired by the Nationals to be their amateur scout for the Kentucky and Tennessee regions.
The 26-year-old Bloxom played six seasons in the Nationals system, but realized the final couple of years that he would need to transition into a new line of work. As he searched for a new position, he knew that he loved the game of baseball.
Bloxom hit 55 homers and added 294 RBIs in seven total seasons with five teams, batting .261. He was a 2010 postseason All-Star while with Single-A Hagerstown.
The idea to become a baseball scout first came about in discussions with his family and then-Nationals assistant general manager and vice president of player development Doug Harris.
“There comes time where you got to think about being done playing,” Bloxom said. “I think that time kind of came to me where I was kind of done. So I started thinking about other things. I talked to my family and we got into a conversation about possibly scouting and what he said was kind of interesting to me.
“I went to talk to Doug Harris and we had always been real close. He seemed pretty excited about and he didn’t know I was interested in it. I figured I’d give it a shot. A couple of weeks later, I was in scouting school, and a week after that, the Nationals offered me a position.
“I had never even thought about being a scout. I thought about high school and college coaching. Doug Harris told me this is how he started out, and the same with (general manager) Mike Rizzo. They both started out in scouting. Those guys are doing pretty good for themselves. That might not be a bad avenue to take.”
Bloxom feels a little bit ahead of the curve now because he was surrounded by outstanding baseball men his entire career with the Nationals who taught him the game and showed him the bigger picture of what he could offer back besides just playing on field.
“To me, personally, I feel like I learned from the best people possible,” Bloxom said. “My managers coming up, all of my hitting coaches, all of the pitching coaches that I’ve been with in the Nationals organization. The amount of information that they have given me is priceless.”
An amateur scout is in charge of signing prospects. Bloxom goes out and watches the players play and then submits a report where the team places a number on each prospect to determine their level of play and how much they might be signed for.
Bloxom believes he can communicate well with potential future players because he just played pro ball last season and in the same organization. He knows what conditions are like and what they can expect right now.
“I want to be able to explain to them that I have been in their shoes, that I know what’s coming to them,” Bloxom said. “I want to help them as much as possible.”
Bloxom will be scouting the Kentucky and Tennessee areas for baseball talent, whether it is an SEC game at Vanderbilt or with the Wildcats, or looking for the best high school players from Nashville to Louisville. Bloxom has moved from his native Arizona to Kentucky to get going. He is thrilled now to start this new chapter.
“Baseball has been a great experience in my life,” Bloxom said. “I have been to Australia. I have been around the country and seen everything in baseball. I have met incredible people who I still consider my best friends today. Baseball has taught me so much about life, about people and about the game. It’s been an incredible journey.”