From time to time here at District on Deck, we like to take a trip down to the farm to check in on some Nationals’ prospects not named Bryce Harper. Chances are you will have heard little to nothing about most of the guys we profile. But before you know it, some may turn up in a Nationals uniform in 1-3 years.
First up: Harrisburg Senators’ second baseman Jeff Kobernus. A Washington second round draft pick (#50 overall) in 2009, he suffered injuries his first two seasons and fell off the prospect radar. He attended college at Cal-Berkley.
He burst on the scene again last season at High A ball for the Potomac Nationals. In 124 games (489 AB), Kobernus hit .282 (.700 OPS), with 22 doubles, 4 triples, and 7 homeruns. Steady in the field, he made just 11 errors.
So far this season, Kobernus is tearing up AA pitching. Through 11 games, he is hitting .375 (.804 OPS) with seven stolen bases and only one error.
His biggest strength is stealing bases. Blessed with great speed and a sixth sense for when to go, Kobernus swiped 53 bases and was caught only 8 times. Once he gets on base, he’s a threat to steal and score a run from second on a single.
It’s the getting on base part where the youngster struggles. Last season, his on-base percentage was a middling .313. Getting on base more (only 21 walks at Potomac) and striking out less (87 K’s) will be two of his goals at Harrisburg. However, he only has one walk in 48 at-bats so far this season. Such impatience will not work in the major leagues.
Chances of Making the Nationals: Zero in 2012, possible in the 2013-14 time frame if he can get on base more often and stay healthy.
However, he could also be a trade candidate as Danny Espinosa, Steve Lombardozzi, and Anthony Rendon all could well play the same position.
To follow Kobernus’ progress, visit the Harrisburg Senators’ website.
Here’s a link to an interview with Kobernus by Harrisburg radio voice Terry Byrom