The Washington Post finally ran the Barry Svrluga article on the Nats player development within the minor leagues that everyone was waiting for (well, at least I was). Nate over at Nats Triple Play captures my feelings on the article spot-on … “not exactly hard hitting.” He also presents a pretty good review of what has been lost from the farm system over the past few years. Needless to say, the MLB ownership of the Nationals has negatively impacted the foundation of the Nationals’ player development.
The article does not really provide any idea of a blueprint for the future besides Senior Director of Player Personnel/Assistant General Manager, Bob Boone’s mission to “make it better.”
For the second time, we are told that the Nationals are focusing on a philosophy of “not going to the next level until you command this level.” This is nice in theory but given the lack of depth at the lower levels of the minor leagues, it will difficult to put into action. The Nationals signed 43 minor league free agents in the off-season, most are organizational types (i.e. lifetime minor leaguers). Every team needs these players, but the problem that I see is how many of these guys (typically mid to late-20s) are going to be willing to fill roster spots all the way down in Potomac or Savannah. The problem this then creates is the promotion of players from Vermont/GCL to Savannah to fill out a complete roster. These players are often times not ready for this level and spend too much development time sitting on the bench. We can hope that a larger preponderance of the 43 signed as minor league F/A are undrafted players from the 2005 pool of availables.
Minor league rosters should be determined some time within the next week. This is something I will be watching as the Nationals do not have a press release detailing who is playing where. It is a catch as catch can search of the various minor league sites.
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