Cavalli's pro career off to a rousing start in Wilmington

If you're in need of a little pick-me-up following Wednesday night's extra-inning loss to the Phillies, here's one that might do the trick: Cade Cavalli's professional career is off to a fantastic start. The Nationals' 2020 first-round pick authored another impressive outing Wednesday for high Single-A Wilmington, tossing five scoreless innings while striking out eight during an eventual 1-0 win over Jersey Shore. Cavalli surrendered ... read more

Rounding up the first week of the minor league season

The first week of the minor league season is complete, and for the first time in two years, we actually have some box scores and stats to pore through and get a sense of the state of the Nationals farm system. The Nats' four full-season affiliates are off to a rough start record-wise, but there have been some notable individual performances so far. Let's run ... read more

How call-ups and rehab assignments will work in 2021

Throughout their 60-game season last summer and the first month of this season, when the Nationals needed to add a player to their big league roster they simply sent word to their alternate training site in Fredericksburg and waited for the player to make the short drive up Interstate 95 to Nationals Park. It was, under the circumstances, the safest way to make transactions while ... read more

Minor league rosters set on eve of long-awaited opening day

It's been an astounding 20 months since official Minor League Baseball games were last played, an interminable length of time for prospects, staff members, and fans in communities large and small across America to wait since the end of the 2019 season. Suffice it to say, there are a lot of eager folks right now on the eve of a long-awaited 2021 opening day. "It's ... read more

Nats ready to transition from alternate site to minor leagues

When they needed to make a transaction prior to Friday's game to open up a spot on the active roster for Jon Lester, the Nationals elected to option right-hander Steven Fuentes. That wasn't terribly surprising; the 23-year-old prospect hadn't appeared in a game after getting called up 10 days earlier, and the organization wants to make sure he gets back into a typical, five-day routine ... read more

Pitching prospect Denaburg has Tommy John surgery

Mason Denaburg, the Nationals' 2018 first-round draft pick and eighth-ranked prospect, will miss the season after recently undergoing Tommy John surgery, a club official confirmed. It's another tough blow for the oft-injured Denaburg, who since he was selected 27th in the country out of Merritt Island (Fla.) High School three years ago has thrown only 20 1/3 professional innings due to arm troubles. The 21-year-old ... read more

Romero and Braymer stretching out as starters

The Nationals have been very clear about how they will utilize their top pitching prospects. Guys like Jackson Rutledge and Cade Cavalli project to be front-line starters, and general manager Mike Rizzo has confirmed that's the path the organization has set them on. But the futures of some mid-level prospects aren't as certain. Guys like Seth Romero and Ben Braymer have pitched both as starters ... read more

Report: Nationals eyeing Cuban Vaquero on international front

When the new international signing period begins, likely in January, the Nationals are expected to make a big splash to sign one of the top outfielders in the class. Baseball America reports the Nationals are expected to use most of their pool money on Cuban outfielder Cristian Vaquero, a 16-year-old left-handed hitter. "Vaquero is a dynamic center fielder with plus speed, a strong arm and ... read more

Spring training expectations set for Rutledge and Cavalli

Reporting to the first day of spring training as rookies must feel a lot like a freshman arriving on campus for the first day of high school. But instead of being surrounded by jocks, cliques and faculty, you're stepping into a clubhouse full of world champions, a World Series MVP, a Cy Young Award winner and All-Stars. OK, so in a sense, still jocks. But ... read more

Nationals set minor league coaching staffs

Now that Major League Baseball has announced minor league affiliations and schedules for the 2021 season, the Nationals took care of one remaining piece of unfinished business Friday afternoon, announcing their minor league coaching staffs for the upcoming campaign. Matt LeCroy will move up a level to manage Triple-A Rochester after spending the 2016-19 seasons as the skipper at Double-A Harrisburg. In his 13th season ... read more

Minor league schedules announced by Major League Baseball

Major League Baseball this morning announced the schedules for the 2021 Minor League Baseball season, the final step in a year's worth of tinkering that saw MLB assume operations for all of its clubs' farm teams. The Rochester Red Wings, the Nationals' new Triple-A affiliate, will begin play on Tuesday, April 6 at Buffalo, the first of six straight road games against the Bisons. Rochester ... read more

Cavalli cracks MLBPipeline.com's top 100 prospects list

Some - maybe not much, but some - was made a little over a week ago when the Nationals did not have a single prospect land in Baseball America's top 100 prospects list. They were the only major league team to not have at least one prospect ranked by the publication. But on Thursday night, another highly regarded source for baseball prospect news came out ... read more

Pineda gained valuable experience in Fredericksburg over summer

One of the well regarded backstops in the Nationals organization is Israel Pineda, ranked No. 12 on the Nats top 30 prospects list from MLBPipeline.com. Nationals catching coordinator Michael Barrett said the 20-year-old out of Maracray, Venezuela, gained valuable experience by getting a taste of working with big leaguers at the club's alternate site over the 2020 summer season. "Pineda had an opportunity to go ... read more

Thurman runs down Nats young outfield prospects

Here is our final installment on the young outfield corps for the Nationals, guys that are making some noise at the lower levels. Most of these prospects got to work out and play games during instructional league in West Palm Beach, Fla., back in October. One well regarded outfielder who did not get to participate but is certainly worth notice is 17-year-old Roismar Quintana from ... read more

Barrett: Catchers at instructs made "incredible" progress

Here is an update on the catchers at instructional league. Nationals catching coordinator Michael Barrett, who caught in the major leagues for 12 seasons, coached up and worked with the young backstops as they participated in the October camp. Here is a rundown of the catchers in camp and current ages: Geraldi Diaz, 20 Mason Doolittle, 22 Brady Lindsly, 22 Ivan Murzi, 19 Wilmer Perez, ... read more

Highly touted shortstop among Nats' 10 international signings

Today is the first day for international free agent signings across Major League Baseball. The Nationals made big news by signing the No. 5 prospect in 16-year-old shortstop Armando Cruz for $3.9 million. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the usual July 2 signing date was delayed until Jan. 15. In all, the Nats announced 10 signings. The list includes five pitchers, three outfielders and two ... read more

Nats keep eye on Venezuela for top-flight prospects

If you study the 2020 Nationals instructional league roster, you will notice a good amount of talent drawn from Venezuela. Of the 65 players on the roster, 16 are from Venezuela. Here is a list of those Nats prospects in attendance at the October camp in West Palm Beach, Fla., along with their top 30 prospect ranking, according to MLBPipeline.com: Pitchers RHP Tomas Alastre RHP ... read more

Nats' minor league pitching depth still a position of strength

The Nationals system is strong from a pitching standpoint, even with the recent trade of prospects Wil Crowe and Eddy Yean to the Pirates. The Nats' top 10 prospects were all pitchers prior to the move that acquired All-Star first baseman Josh Bell, so now it is top eight, according to MLBPipeline.com. Prospects Jackson Rutledge, Cade Cavalli and Cole Henry are the top three. All ... read more

How Nats prepare young outfielders for what they will see in games

Here is a list of the young outfielders (and their ages) that were in attendance at Nationals instructional league workouts in October: Andry Arias, 20Gage Canning, 23Justin Connell, 21 Jeremy De La Rosa, 18 Braian Fernandez, 21 Jorge Hurtado, 20 Daniel Marte, 18 Ricardo Mendez, 20 Roismar Quintana, 17 Jake Randa, 22 Cody Wilson, 24 Outfield/baserunning coordinator Gary Thurman worked with these players on the ... read more

De La Rosa stepped into leadership role at instructional league

The Nationals are building outfield talent at the lower levels of their organization. The club boasts a good amount of quality prospects that are a couple of years away from making an impact at the major league level. The highest-rated of these outfielders is Jeremy De La Rosa, who is No. 13 on the list of MLBPipeline.com Nats prospects. The 18-year-old played 26 games with ... read more

Report: Nats finalize minor league managerial appointments

The Nationals have set their minor league managers for 2021, according to published reports. At Triple-A Rochester, Matt LeCroy returns to the dugout, moving up from Double-A Harrisburg. Moving to the Senators to manage is Tripp Keister. At high Single-A Wilmington is Tommy Shields. Mario Lisson takes over as manager for low Single-A Fredericksburg. Since 2008, LeCroy, 45, has managed in the Nats system at ... read more

Notes on Mendoza, Cluff and Snyder from alternate site

Here is more perspective on the advancement of third baseman/first baseman Drew Mendoza, who finally got his shot to participate in workouts and games in Fredericksburg, Va., in the summer. The No. 11 Nationals prospect joined other top 20 Nationals prospects, according to director of player development Mark Scialabba. "We got him to the alternate site start of September. Along with shortstop Jackson Cluff (No. ... read more

Tim Cate "made big strides" over summer as he prepares for 2021

Here is a quick update on left-hander Tim Cate. The 2018 second-rounder is rated as the No. 8 overall Nationals prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com. Nats pitching coordinator Brad Holman said Cate is not afraid to go after hitters and he believes this will help him as his career moves along. Cate went 7-4 with 3.31 ERA in 13 starts in 2019, striking out 66 over ... read more

Reichard: Nats players will love the hospitality of Rochester

The Nationals announced their minor league affiliate invitations for 2021 on Wednesday, and the list did not include the Hagerstown Suns, signaling the end of a 13-year relationship. Kevin Reichard, the editor and publisher of Ballpark Digest, believes Suns owner Bruce Quinn might consider becoming an independent-league team going forward. "I don't know what Bruce is going to do, quite honestly," Reichard said. "He's got ... read more

Nats announce 2021 minor league affiliate invitations

The Nationals made it official today, inviting four organizations to become minor league affiliates in Major League Baseball's new player development structure. The affiliates are the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings, Double-A Harrisburg Senators, high Single-A Wilmington Blue Rocks and low Single-A Fredericksburg Nationals. The invites have not yet been formally accepted, but Wilmington already officially accepted the invitation on Twitter and the other three affiliates ... read more

Cavalli and Powell show eagerness to learn during summer workouts

Here are a couple of updates on a pair of top five draft picks for the Nationals in right-handers Cade Cavalli and Holden Powell. Cavalli was the Nats' top selection in this summer's First-Year Player Draft out of Oklahoma. He is listed on the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals roster heading into 2021. Nats pitching coordinator Brad Holman said Cavalli played two positions in college ... read more

Nats prospect Cole Henry way ahead of game as 2021 approaches

Here is an update on the Nationals' 2020 second-round draft selection, right-hander Cole Henry. The 6-foot-4, 211-lb., Henry was LSU's No. 1 starter in the most recent abbreviated season. He is rated as the Nats No. 4 overall prospect on MLBPipeline.com. Although the Tigers were only able to get four weekends of play in due to the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, Henry still managed to go ... read more

Report: Nats in Rochester on 10-year deal, but Richmond still in play

Two and a half years ago, the Nationals agreed to a two-year deal to have their Triple-A team play out of Fresno, Calif., after they lost their affiliation deal with Syracuse to the Mets. But now the Nationals have agreed to move to Rochester, N.Y., for what is reported to be a long-term affiliation. Kevin Reichard, founder and publisher of the Ballpark Digest, appearing on ... read more

Nats moving Triple-A affiliate to Rochester (updated)

The Nationals will play Triple-A baseball in Rochester, N.Y., in 2021, a club source has confirmed. The Nats' contract with the Fresno Grizzlies of the Pacific Coast League expired after last season. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Nats ended up playing only 140 games affiliated with Fresno. There is no confirmation how long the Nats' contract is with Rochester. The Nats had a two-year ... read more

Hitting updates on Antuna, Wilson and Pineda

Here are more capsules on a few of the Nationals' prospects and how they did this summer at the recently wrapped up instructional league, coming from Nats hitting coordinator Troy Gingrich. The Nats' No. 12 prospect is infielder Yasel Antuna, who begins play in the Dominican winter league starting tomorrow. He is listed as playing third base and shortstop. Gingrich said there was a good ... read more

Cornell watched Harper to help refine swing

One of the Nationals' nine free agent signings last summer was Zach Cornell out of Southeastern University. The left-handed hitting outfielder was Baseball America's Preseason NAIA Player of the Year entering the 2020 season. In 27 games at Southeastern prior to the coronavirus shutdown, he hit .519 (56-for-108) with 12 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs, 12 walks, 44 RBIs and 43 runs scored. Cornell, ... read more

Uncertainty abounds in minor league reorganization

There is so much uncertainty surrounding the 2021 season, even as the calendar creeps forward and pitchers and catchers are due to report for spring training in three months. And the uncertainty extends well beyond the major league season. If anything, there's even more uncertainty at this moment about the state of Minor League Baseball in 2021. As you probably know by now, Major League ... read more

Updates on catchers Pineda and Reetz

Here are updates on a couple of backstops the Nationals have high hopes for heading into 2021. Assistant general manager of player development Mark Scialabba said Israel Pineda has gotten a lot of notice for his power stroke, while 2014 third-round selection Jakson Reetz showed solid progress in 2019 and into the alternate training site this summer. Israel Pineda, 20 5-foot-11, 190 lbs.Bats: Right Throws: ... read more

Updates on young outfielders Quintana, Marte and De La Rosa

Here is a rundown of some of the outfielders that got in significant work during fall instructional league, which wrapped up last week in West Palm Beach, Fla. Nationals assistant general manager of player development Mark Scialabba detailed the play of three outfielders from the roster that worked out in October at the spring training facility. "There is really a group of three young Latin ... read more

Scialabba on progress of draft picks and free agents

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. Several 2020 undrafted free ... read more

Scialabba on instructional league, Cavalli's progress

The Nationals wrapped up their fall instructional league camp last week in West Palm Beach, Fla. Sixty-five players and more than 30 coaches, coordinators and training staff took part in the five-week workout. Assistant general manager of player development Mark Scialabba spoke about how the camp worked: "It was a great camp. Obviously, very thankful that we had support from ownership to allow us to ... read more

Updates on Rutledge and Denaburg's progress from Florida

Here are a couple of updates on a pair of former Nationals first-round selections in Jackson Rutledge and Mason Denaburg. Both attended instructional league for the last month. Rutledge, 21, was the Nats' top pick in 2019 and has appeared in 10 games. The right-hander loves to employ analytics to study his stuff, but Nats minor league pitching coordinator Brad Holman said he concentrated on ... read more

Teenagers Tomlin and Infante learning what it takes to succeed at pro level

Fall instructional league workouts are completed for 2020. Now these Nationals prospects head home or get ready to play winter ball. It was interesting to hear updates on how the first professional experience was for a pair of teenagers. Infielders Quade Tomlin and Sammy Infante got their first taste of pro ball for the last month at the Nats spring training facility in West Palm ... read more

Cluff makes plate adjustments to take advantage of quick-twitch strengths

A couple of weeks ago, we got an update on shortstop Jackson Cluff and how much he valued his time this summer at the alternate training site in Fredericksburg. Cluff, 23, appreciated the opportunity to stand in against big league pitchers and learned a great deal about what it takes to be a professional baseball player and how to maintain at this level from veteran ... read more

Mendoza focusing on shortening path to ball, increasing power

Nationals fall instructional league workouts wrap up over the weekend. Players now prepare for offseason conditioning and some will get extra at-bats in winter league competition. Rain has prevented the Nats from playing the intended full schedule, with over 20 inches of rain falling on South Florida during this month. I got the opportunity to check in with Nats hitting coordinator Troy Gingrich this week ... read more

Parker focused on fastball, curveball and splitter during Florida workouts

Nationals 2020 fifth-round draft selection Mitchell Parker got into to his first professional instructional league intrasquad game this week against the Marlins. The left-hander threw two scoreless innings for the Nats. Instructional league workouts continue until Oct. 28 in West Palm Beach, Fla., at the Nats spring training facility. "I had my first game against another jersey," Parker said. "It was fun. It was enjoyable. ... read more

Lee's summer work paying off in instructional league

"Bring it on!" That's how left-handed pitcher Evan Lee greeted me as we started to talk about his baseball summer during Nationals fall instructional league workouts and games in West Palm Beach, Fla., this month. You can tell by that reaction that Lee brings that same attitude to the mound when handed the ball for the Nats. Lee, 23, is currently pitching for the Nats ... read more

Cluff values Fredericksburg experience, now continues instruction in Florida

In late September, we got a chance to check in with shortstop Jackson Cluff, who spent the last month of the season at the Nationals alternate training site in Fredericksburg, Va. Cluff is rated as the No. 20 Nats prospect by MLBPipeline.com. He played his first season of pro ball at low single-A Hagerstown. Cluff said it was exciting to get a chance to work ... read more

2020 Nationals fall instructional league roster and schedule

MASNsports.com has obtained a copy of the Nationals' official fall instructional league 65-player roster for 2020. Players in attendance whom MLBPipeline.com lists as top Nats prospects include pitchers Jackson Rutledge, Cade Cavalli, Tim Cate, Mason Denaburg, Cole Henry, Andry Lara, Eddy Yean, Matt Cronin and Seth Romero, who is on a major league rehab assignment with a broken right hand. Top 20 rated Nats position ... read more

With no minor leagues, Cavalli made most of alternate camp

Cade Cavalli could justifiably look at the summer of 2020 and be bitter he missed out on his first season of professional baseball. With no minor leagues and no opponents to face, the Nationals' first-round pick could only spend the last two months working out every single day at the club's alternate training site in Fredericksburg, pitching simulated games to the same group of hitters ... read more

Updates on Espino, Eppler, Fuentes, Romero and Irvin

Nationals minor league pitching coordinator Brad Holman really likes the curveball of right-hander Paolo Espino. He remembers working with Espino while they both were with the Rangers in 2017. In the second part of our series on pitchers on the 60-man player pool in Fredericksburg, we highlight the veteran Espino and others. Last week, we focused on top pitching prospects Jackson Rutledge and Cade Cavalli. ... read more

Cronin refining curveball as he works toward big league goal

Lots of chatter from the Nationals recently about how well Matt Cronin is doing at the alternate training site. The left-hander has been dominant and has had the opportunity to showcase his stuff against experienced Nats hitters. "It was a little bit of an adjustment at first just facing more seasoned hitters," Cronin said. "Guys who knew the zone a little better and are used ... read more

Rutledge working on fastball command, improving changeup

Nationals top pitching prospect Jackson Rutledge has worked on commanding his fastball and curveball during his bullpen sessions and simulated games at the alternate training site in Fredericksburg. As Nats minor league pitching coordinator Brad Holman told me this week, it's all about moving the ball around the strike zone instead of narrowly avoiding it. "It's definitely been the emphasis during camp," Rutledge said during ... read more

Cavalli and Rutledge bringing the heat in Fredericksburg

Top Nationals pitching prospects Cade Cavalli and Jackson Rutledge continue to get their work in at the alternate training site in Fredericksburg, Va., under the direction of minor league pitching coordinator Brad Holman and the coaching staff. Rutledge is currently ranked No. 3 and Cavalli No. 4 in the latest MLBpipeline.com top 30 Nationals prospects list. "Well, obviously both those guys are extremely talented," Holman ... read more

Denaburg recovering from shoulder cleanup: "All reports have been positive"

Right-hander Mason Denaburg, the Nationals' top overall selection from the 2018 First-Year Player Draft, has been been progressing well from a shoulder cleanout we reported earlier this winter. Three of the Nats' top four first-round selections the past four drafts are in the current 60-man player pool, including Cade Cavalli, Jackson Rutledge and Seth Romero. Because he is undergoing rehab following the procedure on his ... read more