Here are updates on how some of the Nationals draft class looked at instructional league workouts, which concluded last week in West Palm Beach, Fla.
The players the Nats drafted in 2020 - right-handers Cade Cavalli, Holden Powell and Cole Henry, left-hander Mitchell Parker, infielder Sammy Infante and catcher Brady Lindsly - participated in instructional league during the month of October.
Nats assistant general manager of player development Mark Scialabba provided a quick rundown of a few of these players.
“Our scouts did an outstanding job,” Scialabba said. “Assistant general manager and vice president of scouting operations Kris Kline and his group were thrilled with what they were able to accomplish in this five-round draft, but also beyond that too.
“We felt like we got a steal in Zach Brzykcy. We had real strong value there. Quade Tomlin, we think he is going to (excel). He is one that we are familiar with earlier in his life when he was a child and his dad (Randy Tomlin) was coaching for us. He has turned himself into a really fundamentally sound baseball player, has very good hands and a sweet stroke from the left side.”
The Nats were thrilled to begin the draft by getting what could be a pair of front-line starters in Cavalli and Henry, Scialabba said. And he also likes the selections of Infante and Parker.
“From the top end of the draft, thrilled with our first overall pick in Cade,” Scialabba said. “And then to get Cole Henry where we did, where we felt like that was a great job by our scouts as well, someone that is certainly a first-round-type talent. Sammy Infante, very green in a lot of areas but very skilled on the fundamentals, loves to hit, has very good hands, and has power potential down the road. We are very excited about that.
“Mitchell (Parker) came in and the knock on him at some points was his ability to throw strikes, but he did a nice job. He’s got stuff from the left side that plays up, heavy fastball. He can pitch up and down in the strike zone, and a breaking ball that’s got a chance to be a wipeout pitch down the road.”
Scialabba also had an update on the progress of the Nationals’ 2018 top selection, right-hander Mason Denaburg, who has spent the last season rehabbing from shoulder surgery. Denaburg last pitched in seven games in 2019.
“He worked extremely hard all summer long through his rehab throwing program,” Scialabba said. “Mason stayed in touch with our staff religiously throughout the weeks, through video, through Zoom, through communication. Any sort of way we could talk to him we did, and we stayed on top of his throwing. We actually had rehab pitching coordinator Mark Grater drive up and visit him and see him during this process on a regular basis. He did a nice job.
“Any time you have rehab throwing programs and you are going through this process there’s going to be some bumps in the road and things you have to take care of. He did a really nice job. He’s worked on his body, starting to mature both physically and mentally. He understands how hard this is and how diligent you have to be, and he has taken to that extremely well. It was good to see him pitch live this fall, get on the mound. He looks good.”
As we have said these past few weeks, Denaburg needs real games to get into a good rhythm. Now the question is whether there will be real minor league games in 2021.