WASHINGTON – A big part of the future for the Washington Nationals is out in Arizona right now – and that is where assistant general manager, player development Mark Scialabba has been the past few days.
The Nationals have several of their prospects on the roster of the Surprise Saguaros, and that manager of that team is Mario Lisson, who held the same job with Single-A Fredericksburg in the Nats’ system this past season.
Scialabba was on hand Thursday as right-handed pitcher Cole Henry saw action for Surprise.
Henry went on the 60-day Injured List in early August with Single-A Wilmington then was activated by Surprise on August 4.
“Yesterday, he struggled with his command a bit,” Scialabba told Federal Baseball on Friday.
“But he has been outstanding here, with his two-seam and four-seam fastballs. His curveball has taken a new shape since he came back from his injury. His changeup is his go-to pitch; it has good sink and fade to it. He is a fiery competitor and leaves it all out there.”
Another pitcher with Surprise is Jackson Rutledge, one of the top pitching prospects in the Washington system. He had a rough season in the minors in 2021 with a 7.68 ERA in 13 starts with three teams.
“He is doing well. He is learning how to pitch,” Scialabba said. “He didn’t have the regular season he wanted. He is starting to command his two-seam fastball. The change has good late sink and fade. We are happy with the fact he is learning how to pitch.”
Outfielder Donovan Casey has dealt with a minor hamstring injury this week and wasn’t in the lineup on Thursday, according to Scialabba.
“He plays with his hair on fire,” the farm director said. “He is very aggressive defensively and covers a lot of ground. He has a plus arm; he can change the game on defense by holding a runner or making a throw. Then at the plate, he has plus bat-speed, power to all fields. He takes his walks.”
Casey came to the Nationals in the trade with the Dodgers in late July and after that he played 12 games at Double-A Harrisburg and 38 at Triple-A Rochester.
He had 16 homers and 22 steals in 2021, counting his time with Double-A Tulsa in the Dodgers’ system.