Instructional league workouts and games for Nationals prospects have wrapped up. The camp closed for the fall on Friday.
So on the day the coaching staff was heading home and preparing for their next assignments, I checked in with Nationals pitching coordinator Paul Menhart and asked him about several of the organization’s pitching prospects and how they fared in instructionals.
RHP Mason Denaburg
Merritt Island, Fla.
Denaburg was the Nationals’ first-round selection in 2018 out of high school. He agreed to terms with the Nationals in early July.
“Mason got to experience professional baseball for the first time facing an opponent that was not the same color jersey as us,” Menhart said. “So it was good to see him (work). He had two outings. You could definitely see the stuff for sure, the athleticism for sure. He still has quite a bit to learn, just in general.”
Experience has taught the Nationals how to ease top-drafted pitching prospects, even those straight out of high school, into the professional environment.
“The main thing we wanted to do with him was to make sure he was healthy,” Menhart said. “Give him an opportunity to compete and teach him the game. There wasn’t any type of adjustments made mechanically: grips, this that and the other.
“We wanted to see who he was, who he is. That’s what we do across the board with any draft pick. We give them an opportunity to show us why they got drafted or signed, and then we attack accordingly, if need be.”
Denaburg, 6-foot-4, 195 lbs., was slowed a bit during his high school baseball season with biceps tendinitis. But Menhart said Denaburg is back healthy and ready to go for 2019.
“He’s good, he’s great,” Menhart said of Denaburg’s biceps. “I was very pleased because we started him all over in the summer through an off-season throwing program, just to give him that time to properly progress and strengthen his arm like we do with our guys during the offseason.
“So the timing was perfect for him to pitch in a couple of games down here. I expect him to take this time off now and get some normal rest - he doesn’t know (this time) as normal rest, but to us it’s normal rest - and come into spring training competing for a job.”
Next: right-hander Wil Crowe