Watson named Nats' director of player dev.

November 16th, 2021

WASHINGTON -- After spending the past five seasons as a special assistant to general manager Mike Rizzo, De Jon Watson was named the Nationals' director of player development on Tuesday. In this role, he will oversee the Nats’ Minor League system.

“I am thrilled to move De Jon into this role as the Director of Player Development,” Rizzo said in a statement. “He has been an integral part of our success the last five seasons and has a documented track record of success in player development. He has a thorough understanding of our Minor League system and has the knowledge and experience to know what it takes to help players reach the Major Leagues.”

Next season will be Watson’s 37th in pro baseball. Before becoming part of the Nationals organization, he was the D-backs’ senior vice president of baseball operations from 2015-16, responsible for guiding player development functions and professional, amateur and international scouting. Notable moves during that time include drafting and signing the 2015 No. 1 overall pick, Dansby Swanson, and reaching deals with Yoan López and outfielder Yasmany Tomás.

Prior to that, Watson led the Dodgers' player development system from 2007-14. His positions included vice president of player development and assistant GM for player development. While he oversaw player development, the Dodgers’ annual Winter Prospect Development program helped more than 50 players -- including Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp and Kenley Jansen -- get to the bigs.

Watson’s experience also includes serving as Cleveland’s director of professional scouting (2004-06), as well as Cincinnati's pro scout (2001-03) and director of scouting (1998-2000). He was an area scout with the Marlins during their ‘97 World Series season.

Watson was a 1985 third-round pick of the Royals. He played five seasons in their Minor League system.