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Nationals keep farm system stocked in offseason
VIERA, Fla. — There are high expectations for the Washington Nationals this year in the National League East, both externally and within the organization. Typically, these types of contending teams look to acquire big league talent to help put that championship puzzle together.
The offseason trade the Nationals made, sending lefty prospect Robbie Ray to the Tigers for Doug Fister made perfect sense. Bringing in veteran catcher Jose Lobaton by dealing pitching prospect Nathan Karns to the Rays also seemed to fit. What was off script, however, was getting two prospects in return from Tampa Bay as well, both of whom are on Washington’s new Top 20 Prospects list.
“Not only were we able to get a player in Lobaton we feel good about, at the same time we were able to replenish the system to a degree with Felipe Rivero and Drew Vettleson, who are very interesting guys,” Nats farm director Doug Harris said. “Robbie Ray, we really valued his talents, but maybe Rivero slides into that hole a little bit. You gain some years of youth vs. Karns in the deal. And we get an outfield prospect we’re excited about.” Read full article here.
Matt Williams has Washington Nationals on the run
IN VIERA, FLA. — In the third inning of a recent Grapefruit League game against the Atlanta Braves, the Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper came to bat with Denard Span at first base and one out. With Harper facing left-hander Ryan Butcher, Span took off and stole second. After Harper drew a walk, the Nationals pulled off a double steal that allowedTyler Moore to drive in a run with a sacrifice fly to center field.
It was a small sequence in a spring training game four weeks before Opening Day, but to new Nationals Manager Matt Williams, the moment represented a lot. Williams’s philosophies are beginning to seep into the Nationals’ playing style, and chief among them is aggression on the base paths. That goes beyond simply stealing bases. Williams wants the Nationals to be aggressive when they take an extra base on an off-line throw from the outfield, to force opponents to hurry defensively and to get into scoring position with a steal.
“We want to apply pressure,” Williams said. Read full article here.
Williams pleased with Espinosa’s approach
VIERA, Fla. — Although infielder Danny Espinosa is 0-for-10 to start the spring, manager Matt Williams is satisfied with his approach at the plate.
Williams is not concerned that Espinosa is putting too much pressure on himself. In fact, he and his coaching staff have talked to Espinosa about what he has done.
“The at-bats he has taken so far are really good,” Williams said. “He doesn’t have any hits in 10 at-bats, but it really doesn’t mean anything. He has pounded the ball pretty good left-handed. He has had a couple of balls taken from him in the infield. He hit a ball hard to center field. If those drop, now he is hitting .400. Read full article here.
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