LAKELAND, Fla. -- Although much of the talent is a long way off, several hitters on MLB Pipeline's list of Washington's Top 30 Prospects flashed extra-base power in the Nationals' 9-1 win over the Tigers on Wednesday.With a 5-0 lead after five innings, second baseman Grant Green and left fielder
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Although much of the talent is a long way off, several hitters on MLB Pipeline's list of Washington's Top 30 Prospects flashed extra-base power in the Nationals' 9-1 win over the Tigers on Wednesday.
With a 5-0 lead after five innings, second baseman Grant Green and left fielder Andrew Stevenson (No. 5 on MLB Pipeline's list) hit back-to-back doubles to ignite a four-run sixth, which was capped by back-to-back homers from catcher Raudy Read (No. 21) and third baseman Drew Ward (No. 14).
"Boy, those young guys are hitting," manager Dusty Baker said. "I was pleased with the way they all came to play. We got them all two at-bats, so that was a perfect day for us."
In addition, left fielder Brian Goodwin (No. 26) and DH Spencer Kieboom helped the Nationals score two runs in the second inning. Kieboom started a two-out rally with a sharp single, and Goodwin walked two batters later to load the bases before center fielder Michael Taylor singled in two runs. Kieboom also hit a sacrifice fly in the third.
"The young guys can hit fastballs," Baker said. "You need to see how they hit these second and third pitches, because they're not going to be a high prospect ... without hitting the fastball first. But it's how you make adjustments to the other things."
Even so, Ward's homer beyond the umbrellas lining the hill behind the left-field wall impressed Baker. But he said he was more impressed with how they had generated hard contact and moved runners over and in.
"These young boys are taught well," Baker said. "I can tell in the Minor Leagues they're taught good, fundamental baseball, which makes it easier for them to [reach the Nationals]. So I give our Minor League staff big-time credit."
Not joining the power parade in his Grapefruit League debut was the Nationals' top prospect, right fielder Victor Robles, who went 0-for-2 and stranded three baserunners.
Zak Kerr is a contributor to MLB.com.