WASHINGTON – Quade Tomlin had just turned five years old in 2007 when his father, Randy, became the pitching coaching for Single-A Potomac in the Carolina League with the Washington Nationals.
One of the infield prospects that year was Ian Desmond, who had been demoted after playing at Double-A Harrisburg the previous season.
“He has stayed in contact with me,” Quade Tomlin told Federal Baseball of Desmond, who broke in with the Nationals in 2009 and played for the Rockies in 2019. “He’s a great guy.”
Now the younger Tomlin – who turns 19 in February - will try to follow a similar path in the farm system of the Nationals.
One of the top high school players in Virginia as a senior, Tomlin signed with the Nationals this summer as a non-drafted free agent after turning down a college scholarship to play at Division I Liberty in his hometown of Lynchburg, Va.
He said he prayed a lot about the decision to turn pro and added that the uncertainty of college athletics this academic year due to the pandemic played a role in his decision.
Tomlin played in high school at Lynchburg Christian Academy for his father, a Liberty graduate who pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1990-94.
The younger Tomlin was lifting weights this summer when he got a text from Ryan Thomas, the director of minor league operations for the Nats who invited him to Instructional League in Florida.
“I was nervous going into it but very excited to get my pro career started,” Tomlin said from his home in Virginia.
Tomlin was roommates in West Palm Beach with Jake Boone, who turned down his senior year at Princeton to sign with the Nationals – also as NDFA. He is the son of Bret Boone, a former Major League infielder.
“We grew really close. We share a connection with both of our dads,” Tomlin said
The younger Tomlin spent time in Florida working with Jeff Garber, the co-field director in player development and a former infielder at James Madison University and in the minor leagues with Kansas City.
“He is a baseball rat; he has been around it,” Garber told Federal Baseball from his home in Florida.
“It was great to see him in a different capacity. He has been around the game and he understands the game. He understands how tough it can be.”