Wednesday, February 21, 2007
The Futures Of Our Washington Nationals
Today was the very first day of Accelerated Spring Training for Our Baby Washington Nationals. Accelerated Spring Training is a three week jump by Washington over many other Major League Teams. A first opportunity for this ever changing franchise to improve themselves by teaching their youngsters needed skills and improve on their already god given talents. The ongoing work and efforts by the coaches, from both the Major and Minor League Staffs was impressive.
For Day One, I had full access, and was able to visit with virtually every single top Nationals Prospect. Much more on those many chats in the near future. I was able to get around to just about all of them. But, I loved the opportunity to take this photo--Esmailyn Gonzalez (on his very first day as a Professional) with June 2006 First Round Prospect, Chris Marrero. Marrero on Day 1 helped Esmailyn along. Gonzalez has very limited English skills currently, and many times was "Lost In Translation". Marrero, bilingual and fluent in both english and spanish, provided the crutch.
Esmailyn and Chris--The Nats Future come 2010.
Along with Colton Willems
And,Garrett Mock (on the right in this photo). Mock is HUGE!!
Except for Todd Jacobson from The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, all this young talent is ignored by the mainstream media. And, these guys were loving the attention. Prospect Mike Daniel, from The University of North Carolina saw everyone talking to me and ran over, just to get in on the action. The atmosphere and response could not have been better.
Scouting Director, Dana Brown gave me an indepth interview looking at everything Our Washington Nationals are doing to transform this franchise from the ground up. Assistant General Manager, VP of Player Development, Bob Boone took me aside to discuss the changes and excitement growing among those in his department over the new tools and resources now available under The Lerner Group. Neither held back. They went out of their way to answer everything on my mind.
Tomorrow, I will be heading back for some more. I still need a few more guys. Honestly, there is so much audio accumulated that it will take me some time to sort out (And I got to give The African Queen HUGE CREDIT for allowing me to track all this down on a "Vacation". You guys have no idea how lucky I am to be with her). So, next week, I will be able to post up some longer, in depth posts on our prospects and Player Development Department. I only wish I had Brian's knowledge from Nationals Farm Authority. Brian, you would have been very helpful to me under this circumstance. No doubt, you know far more than I about all of these guys. But, I tried my best and got some good stuff.
When I get it all together, I hope everyone will enjoy the remarks. Some guys were terrific (Marrero), other youngsters very difficult to get away from the Yes/No Answers (Colton Willems). Although Esmailyn Gonzalez is one TERRIFIC KID!!