WASHINGTON - The introduction to pro ball is going very well for infielder Brady House, the 2021 first-round draft pick and 11th selection overall earlier this season by the Nationals.
A shortstop from a high school in George, House got a hit in six of his first seven games in the Florida Complex League and was batting .360 with three homers and eight RBIs in his first 25 at-bats.
“He has broad shoulders, a big dude,” said Jake Lowery, the manager for the Florida team. “He has been fun to watch, honestly. He puts the bat on the ball.”
House is only 18 and went to Winder-Barrow High School in Georgia.
He went hitless for the first time on Tuesday, going 0-for-5, then he bounced back to go 1-for-4 on Wednesday against the Astros.
On defense, House is getting plenty of attention from Jeff Garber, a long-time infield instructor in the Washington system.
Garber has worked with nearly every infielder in the Nationals’ system for the past 10 years, from Ryan Zimmerman on his transition from third base to first, to Wilmer Difo, who was able to play all over the field.
“He is a blessing. He is a baseball encyclopedia,” Lowery said of Garber. Both are former players at James Madison University.
The Nationals stress that their infielders are able to play second, short, and third, and see a lot of time in drills at all three spots - even if one position is ideal for them.
Another rookie infielder who has been in Florida is Quade Tomlin, a non-drafted free agent who signed with the Nationals last year out of a Virginia high school.
Tomlin is the son of Randy Tomlin, a former pitcher with Pittsburgh who was a minor league coach in the Washington system for several years. Quade Tomlin played in high school for his father in Lynchburg, Virginia.
The younger Tomlin hit .094 in his first 53 at-bats in Florida.
“Quade has a good swing,” Lowery said. “Quade is learning his first year is a long season. You have to bring it every day. He is learning to play second and third. He is fine; the future is bright for him. He will come back next year and be bigger, faster and stronger. He has a good head on his shoulders.”
Darren Baker, a second baseman and son of Dusty Baker, played for Lowery in Florida before he was promoted to Single-A Fredericksburg last month.