clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Nationals play a bunch of unknowns in spring training

New, 38 comments

It's spring. Baseball is back and so are all those players that we rarely hear about during the regular season. Some of them are worth learning to recognize. He's a glimpse at a few of their faces before they disappear back into the nether realms.

Matt "King" Skole at the plate.
Matt "King" Skole at the plate.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The beginning of spring training always shows off all kinds of production from various players who only have an outside chance at making the opening day roster, but baseball is baseball, so I for one have not complained yet.

Here are some glimpses of some of the men you won't see much of during the regular season this year but who may have some amount of future in D.C. There are 63 men in camp "competing" for 25 spots on the opening day roster.  The majority of them are just fighting to get noticed for possible future promotion since only a small, small number of jobs are even open this year. It's almost cruel, but everyone is doing their best to impress this spring.

Ben Revere's home run is probably the least expected event of the spring thus far but he is guaranteed a spot on the roster so this is not really about him. Normally he goes more than a year between home runs, so don't expect to see this power carry over to Nationals Park.

Here's a home run from Wilmer Difo, who hit only five home runs last year in roughly 475 plate appearances (mostly at AA). Difo hit two singles in 11 at bats in the majors last year, and he is 2 for 7 so far this spring. He's not nearly as one dimensional as Revere, which makes the early show of power much more welcome here.

Scott Sizemore has had a strong start to his spring too, buoyed by his two home runs. He is also not known for his power. He has only had 22 plate appearances in the majors since his career was derailed by injuries after his breakout 2011 season. He plays 2nd & 3rd poorly but his bat has shown promise at times. He is AAA depth, but shows more offensive promise that some of the veteran backups we've seen come through in years past.

Another minor leaguer we are unlikely to see in the majors this year is Matt Skole, though he did fight his way up to AAA last year with great success. Here he is collecting one of his four team-leading RBIs. This video also shows a glimpse of Chris Heisey, a flexible outfielder who doesn't have much talent with the bat.  That said, he has  walked three times in five plate appearances so far and his jump in walks with the Dodgers last year probably earned him a look from the Nats this spring.

Here's another video of Skole, this time featuring Trea Turner, who also hit a fluke HR this spring to inflate his spring training numbers, which are otherwise nothing to write home about. Lucky for Trea, Danny Espinosa is 0 for 4 with 3 Ks so far. Less lucky for Trea, it probably means nothing in terms of who starts opening day.

One last infielder whom we can show off today is Chris Bostick, the second base prospect who struggled somewhat to adapt to AA last year. He's farther from the majors than most, but was added to the 40 man roster last year. Here he is showing off his defense talent.

Remember Reed Johnson? He got 24 forgettable plate appearances with the Nats last year but has already racked up three hits this spring. He won't make the roster but he's in spring training to remind people that he does know how to play baseball a little.

In case anybody was wondering, both MAT and den Dekker are putting up good numbers thus far as well. MAT hit his first HR already, but the only video they gave us was of his RBI single yesterday. I realize this is mostly about guys you don't see much of, but considering that Taylor just got pushed to the bench I feel he needs the extra love.

Let's take a look at our catchers before we go. Jhonatan Solano didn't cut it last year with the Marlins and came back to the Nats. Solid start to his spring, but he's sure-fire depth for the minors. Spencer Kieboom is starting to get noticed but he has yet to make it past high A.

Pedro Severino is doing pretty well too and will be trying to prove he is capable of at least a backup role in the majors in  the near future. He is not known for his bat, but his bat got him some camera time this spring.

The backup role still belongs to Jose Lobaton, though, and he is getting his work in. Here he is showing off his arm (though he probably owes that one to poor base running, since he kind of took his time on getting the ball out there this time). Yes, he's not a prospect, but he did only hit .199 last year, which did not help solidify his position in the depth chart.

That's all for today, but there's plenty more spring to go around!