WASHINGTON - A pro baseball career begins in earnest on Friday for Quade Tomlin, a promising infielder in the Washington Nationals’ system.
Yes, Tomlin did take part in Instructional League last fall after he signed with the Nationals as a non-drafted free agent out of his Lynchburg, Virginia high school.
But since there was no minor league season in 2020, Tomlin has yet to make his pro debut. He will point his pickup truck south on Friday as he begins the drive to West Palm Beach, as players from the low minors begin to trickle into camp a few days after the Major Leaguers depart.
“I leave, actually, Friday. I head down to West Palm. We report (April) the 6th. I am happy to do that,” Tomlin told Federal Baseball on Saturday.
Tomlin stayed busy this winter at his home in central Virginia.
“Since Instructs, I really haven’t stopped. I have been lifting every day, taking ground balls, I am blessed with a father who is able to throw me BP, hit me ground balls,” said Tomlin, the son of former Major League pitcher Randy Tomlin.
The younger Tomlin has been in touch with infielder instructor Jeff Garber, Mark Harris, a long-time instructor in player development; and Troy Gingrich, the hitting coordinator in player development last season.
“I have been able to talk to them and send them some videos,” Tomlin said. ”I have been able to get on the field some days.
“I am extremely blessed with many opportunities back home with many people who are willing to help me to get better every day.”
“He is a baseball rat; he has been around it,” Garber told Federal Baseball last year about Tomlin.
“He has been around the game and he understands the game. He understands how tough it can be.”
Tomlin’s goal is to make a full-season team in the minors.
“Obviously my goal would be to be on a full-season squad,” he said, noting Fredericksburg is the low Single-A affiliate now of the Nationals.
Tomlin was a middle infielder in high school and figures to be used there with the Nationals.
“Garber is really heavy on being able to play all three, really all four,” infield spots, Tomlin said of short, second and third, and even first base.
Maryland native Randy Tomlin pitched at Liberty University in Virginia and for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1990-94.
“He can still strike me out,” joked Quade Tomlin.
The elder Tomlin was a former minor league pitching coach in the Washington system, with a stop at Double-A Harrisburg - where Quade Tomlin spent many summer afternoons taking part in batting practice with the pro players.
Quade Tomlin played in high school for his father at Lynchburg Christian Academy, but turned down a chance to play in college at Liberty as he signed with the Nationals in 2020.
Three current LCA players are headed to Division I colleges, so Quade Tomlin has been able to practice with them this off-season as well.
In a few days, he will be back with other minor leaguers in Florida - something he has not been around since last fall.