More news on the Nationals’ minor league Player of the Year, 22-year-old first baseman Jose Marmolejos-Diaz, and what he has been working on since the season concluded.
Two months ago. I spoke to low Single-A Hagerstown manager Patrick Anderson on what he saw from the top prospect.
The lefty-hitting Marmolejos-Diaz raked .363 in 124 games with 39 doubles, five triples and 11 homers. The Dominican product rolled up 87 RBIs and earned 35 walks.
Nationals minor league hitting coordinator Troy Gingrich says he has seen Marmolejos-Diaz make strides through added game experience and by building strength these last few seasons.
“Before that, all he could do was just kind of hit the ball, drive the ball to left center, but just basically he would hit the ball to left field,” Gingrich said. “It was really hard for people to come inside for him to be able to pull the ball.”
While at instructional league, the Nationals coaching staff had Marmolejos concentrate on working the ball to all fields with his swing path and approach.
“So what he ended up doing - and worked really hard on it - was being able to hit the ball to all parts of the field,” Gingrich said. “In his maturity, he developed some power and he (now) generates unbelievable backspin. So the stronger and bigger he gets, and (the more) mature as a hitter, there’s going to be more power in the bat. And there’ll be power to all fields: left-center, center and right.”
Gingrich said Marmolejos-Diaz showed glimpses of the power that he will continue to add to his 6-foot-1, 185 lb. frame.
“That’s going to be nice to watch him keep developing along with his athleticism, trying to get his feet a little bit quicker around the bag and that kind of stuff, his path,” Gingrich noted.
And then Gingrich told me again why they are so high on this kid:
“He’s probably got one of our better swings in the organization,” he said.
Marmolejos-Diaz will likely start this season at high Single-A Potomac. Marmolejos-Diaz can play first base, where he has played over 250 games, and in left field, where he has played 37 games.