Mark Scialabba, the Nationals' Assistant Director of Player Development made himself available to the Nationals bloggers who were invited to Nationals Park this weekend, and though he was unable to answer the first two questions about the make-up of the rosters the Washington Nationals will be sending to the Arizona Fall League or the Instructional league, out of respect to the players themselves, who had yet to be informed, he did provide reports on one of the Nationals' two '09 1st Round picks, Drew Storen, infield prospect and former Montreal Expos' draft pick Ian Desmond, and catching prospect Derek Norris, the Nationals' 4th Round pick in 2007, who is currently hitting .292 with 27 doubles, 23 HR's, 78 RBI's, a .411 OBP and a .938 OPS after 116 '09 games with the Nationals' Class-A affiliate, the Hagerstown Suns.
Here's what Mr. Scialabba had to say:
Mark Scialabba: "Drew Storen is a pretty unique case, we're really excited about Drew, obviously that's why we took him with our second pick in this year's draft. He has outstanding command of pitches, he doesn't walk anybody, he 's got three plus pitches, with ability to command each one. Very excited about his development, his make-up is off the charts, he's very mature, physically and mentally, we're excited about what he's done, and from a level-to-level position he's done great, I mean the first outing I was there in Hagerstown and he was woken up to professional baseball with a fastball at 96 on the outside corner and he realized, 'Hey, you know what, I gotta locate pitches here, this is not college baseball...'"
Does Ian Desmond Figure Into The Nationals' future?
(Continued After The JUMP)...
Mark Scialabba: "Ian (Desmond) is a very exciting player, you look at him and you think Big Leaguer. Very exciting, has plus range both ways, has an outstanding arm, and amongst managers throughout the leagues they've noticed that, Baseball America's rated him as one of the best arms in the past few years, Carolina League, Eastern League, and he's a guy that, his bat has taken some to develop, he's hit some rough patches...I think earlier in his career we promoted him too quickly, and he struggled, and for a young kid that was in big league camp, and people were throwing out names like Derek Jeter, you get a lot of pressure put on you, and you've heard this before, but I think that he's got a very good bat speed, he utilizes his lower half extremely well, his swing is in sequence, which is what we teach and praise our guys to do, Ralph Dickinson, our hitting coordinator, works with out hitters to try to make sure that they swing the proper way, the way that you need to be successful up here in the major leauges, and Ian's done a phenomal job this year...exciting, a lot of potential...as far as him coming up here, I don't think it would be fair to him to kind of give you guys an idea before letting him know...so I'm not going to go into that, but I think he's got a lot of potential and we're really excited about the future with Ian Desmond."
Derek Norris - Will he remain a catcher?
Mark Scialabba: "Our plan is to have Derek catch...Derek came to us in the draft a few years ago and he's got amazing bat potential, a very advanced approach at the plate, you don't see many hitters with his type of approach, very calm, and strong, short to the ball. He is a catcher, he started catching junior year in high school, so he has a ways to go. We feel very confident with our staff and his make-up, his ability to go out there and grind every day to get better. It's gonna take time, if you talk to any farm director, it's one of the hardest things to develop is a catcher...and you're going to have some failure along the way. Derek is not where he needs to be, because he's still in Low A, we know that, but his bat has has progressed much more quickly than his defense... "
(ed. note - "More tomorrow from Mark Scialabba...")
Storen, Desmond And Norris Links:
"Drew Storen, Stanford Cardinal closer, was selected by the Washington Nationals with their second 1st Round pick, 10th overall in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft."
"This year, Norris appears primed to make the jump from being a very good prospect to being an elite prospect..."
"Almost everything about Derek Norris's upbringing geared the catcher to crush baseballs. A shed on his parents' property in Goddard, Kan., was fashioned into a batting cage with two pitchers' mounds. Norris always played with kids two years older than him, just to keep pace with his brother. Norris loved catching...".