VIERA, Fla.–Washington’s top two prospects are a pair of pitchers: righthander Jordan Zimmermann and lefty Ross Detwiler. And while lefty Jack McGeary is another promising young arm here in minor league camp, the rest of the system’s best youngsters are mostly hitters at the lower levels of the minor leagues. Nationals roving hitting instructor Ralph Dickenson checked in to talk about some of the young hitters in Washington’s farm system.
On 1B Chris Marrero: "Chris is going to hit with plus power, no doubt about that, and he should also hit for good average. He’s got a good knowledge of the strike zone and we see some big things out of him because he can use the whole field, especially with good power to right-center, but he he can hit the ball out of the ballpark from line to line. For a young guy he’s got a good idea of the strike zone and what he wants to try to get accomplished. It’s unfortunate last year when he got hurt (injuring his ankle sliding into home plate on June 18), and he was coming on stronger, but we expect things out of him this year for sure."
On RF Michael Burgess: "We’re hoping that Mike can continue to progress like he did last year. He came out of the (Rookie-level) Gulf Coast League and went to the (low class A) Sally League, where anything could have happened. He could have gone sideways or he could have done well, and he did well. He’s a gamer type guy who comes to work every day, works out in the gym early, first guy to the ballpark, last guy to leave. We expect him to continue to progress 1.) because of the way he goes about his business and 2.) he’s a driven guy with pop to all fields. He plays good defensively in right field, throws well and plays hard, so we’re hoping that he continues to progress just like he did last year."
On C Derek Norris: "He’s one of the best guys in the organization with pitch-recognition and strike-zone maintenance. He does not chase pitches out of the strike zone very much. He’s got good power and he’s a run producer. The thing that I see him shoring up on is when he gets to two strikes to battle more. When he has two strikes, he’s still very fine about what he swings at, and unforunately he ends up getting a lot of strikeouts looking. He’s going to drive the ball, he’s going to produce runs and he continued to get on base."
On OF J.P. Ramirez: "The thing that stands out to me about him is that he is a hitter. He grew up with a cage in his backyard; he probably takes two or three hundred swings a day. I know he’s got a routine that must take him an hour and a half to complete. He has learned how to hit basically on his own in his backyard. He comes out here and lays it out, and I don’t know that it’s textbook, but it’s going to be pretty good, and no matter whether it is or is not textbook, he has that knack of being able to put the bat on the ball and get hits. It remains to be seen how he’s going to do and where he goes based on the fact that he only has about 30 professional at-bats, so he’s got a ways to go to see how he’s going to do down the road, but he’s one of those guys where he’s just a hitter. Certain guys come along and they just hit, and he’s one of them."
On OF Destin Hood: "He’s got tremendous power potential. He didn’t show that last year when he came in here to play, but he only played in about 20 games. But he came in and contributed some big hits and drove in some big runs for us. Then he went to big league camp and started to show some power potential over there and let that swing out like he hadn’t let it out before. He’s a little inexperienced, but we expect him to show some power down the road and drive in some runs."
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