Scouting Report – Jakson Reetz

Jakson Reetz      Catcher                Potomac Nationals

DOB:  1/3/96     Height:  6-1     Weight:  195lbs     Bats:  Right     Throws:  Right

Future Grades:     Hit (30)     Power (30)     Arm (50)     Defense (50)     Speed (35)

Reetz was drafted by Washington in the 3rd round, 93rd overall, in 2014 from a Nebraska high school and signed quickly for $800,000.  He is listed at 6-1 195lbs, with a well-built upper body, thick legs and little projection remaining.  Reetz is a quality athlete for the position, with good agility and foot speed, consistently running 4.43-4.47 seconds home to first.  Reetz is a gritty competitor who plays with passion and fire.

Defensively Reetz possesses quality arm strength, with a quick release and reasonable accuracy, giving him the profile as a future solid-average arm.  Reetz is a solid athlete and has the frame to catch 100+ games per year.  He has good agility and feet, helping him block errant pitches well.  He has decent hands and actively attempts to frame pitches., although he will on occasion stab at pitches.  He lacks elite defensive tools but his athleticism and sheer desire should make him a future average major league defender.

Reetz has a lengthy right-handed swing with mediocre bat speed.  He has a flat, linear swing, which generates line drives but hinders his ability to backspin the ball.  In addition, his mechanics put his right arm in a unique mid-swing position, further limiting his bat speed.  He has strong hands and powerful forearms, which help him generate pull side power in batting practice, but this fails to translate during game action.  At his best, he shows a mature approach at the plate and utilizes the middle of the diamond.  Unfortunately his swing flaws cause him to struggle against velocity, forcing me to project him as a future “30” hit and power hitter.

The almost 22-year-old prospect is intriguing due to his raw athleticism, quality throwing arm and the ability to stay behind the plate defensively.  Unfortunately, his swing and lack of bat speed limits his overall prospect profile.  Overall, the parts feel greater than the whole with Reetz.  Due to his draft pedigree and physical tools, Reetz will be given the opportunity to climb Washington’s organizational ladder, but I am skeptical of his ability to consistently hit upper minors pitching.  Reetz’s defensive skills give him a ceiling as a backup catcher, with his likely outcome being a Double-A or Triple-A contributing player.

Carter Kieboom – THE NatsGM Show #115

Back with a vengeance, THE NatsGM Show #115 proudly welcomes top Washington Nationals’ prospect, Carter Kieboom!

Our conversation begins with Carter reflecting on his draft day experience in 2016, along with the ups-and-downs in his first full season in professional baseball last year.  Then he discusses his recent experience at “instructs” down in Florida and the influence his brothers Spencer and Trevor have had on his baseball career.  Finally, Carter shares some insights into his approach to hitting, beginning from the dugout, to the on-deck circle and in the batters’ box.

Thank you to Carter for graciously joining the show and to his brother, Trevor, for arranging the conversation.  Please consider Subscribing to the show and giving us a 5-Star Rating & Review on Apple Podcasts – Thanks for downloading!

Dusty Baker Will Not Return In 2018

Friday afternoon the Washington Nationals announced Dusty Baker would not be offered a contract extension this offseason and will not return as manager in 2018.  Baker was hired to a 2-year deal under unique circumstances back in 2016 and helped lead Washington to 192 victories, along with two division championships, over two seasons.  This success, plus Dusty’s incredible popularity, makes this decision one of the most surprising in franchise history.

The reaction, as many would expect, has been overwhelmingly negative and many writers have piled on the franchise, making harsh and extremely critical comments about the move.  But, if we can take emotion out of this for a moment, we should ask – was this the correct decision?

The easy move would have been giving the 68-year-old Baker an extension, likely for another two seasons to take him to his 70th birthday and through the possible final seasons of Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon and others in Washington.  One must credit Dusty with restoring positive vibes in the clubhouse after the disastrous Matt Williams era and winning the National League East twice despite numerous injuries each season.  Even his harshest critics would likely concede he has “earned” another contract, which makes the decision puzzling on the surface and difficult for fans to digest.

On the other hand, even Dusty’s strongest supporters must concede he is not the strongest in-game tactical manager, and has a tendency to ride his starters and key relievers too hard during the regular season.  Combined with a mediocre record in the playoffs, some puzzling decisions in the NLDS and his advancing age, Dusty feels like an above-average, but not elite, manager.  From this perspective, one can understand the Nationals thinking an upgrade could potentially help them advance in the playoffs.

So if logically the Nationals are making a difficult but defensible decision, why the extreme backlash to the move?  Because the franchise is a nightmare dealing with the public. The franchise has likely increased in value $500-$700 million since being purchased, yet the team balks at spending extra money to keep the metro open late for fans during the playoffs.  They are one of the wealthiest ownership groups in sports, but whine about overruns to their minor league complex in Florida.  They ask Washington D.C. for a retractable roof on their publicly-funded stadium, during a down economy, to help avoid rainouts.  Each point has merit, yet their focus always seems misdirected at the minute rather than the big picture.

Now, much like the circumstances that found Davey Johnson hired after Jim Riggleman and Dusty after Matt Williams, the new Nationals manager will enter a difficult job with drama clouding the position.  Will General Manager Mike Rizzo and the Lerner’s again be able to hire someone superior for their managerial position amidst these concerns?  Perhaps, as the team has shown a propensity to get itself out of these public relations dilemmas in the past.  But, if the Nationals do not win the division or a playoff series again next season, the handling of Dusty Baker will be the latest PR blunder for the organization.

Baseball-wise, I believe the fans should take a “wait-and-see” attitude toward the new manager.  Overall, I sincerely hope this unforced error will be a teachable moment for ownership and help redirect their public relations focus towards winning a championship.

THE NatsGM Show #113 – Guest Spencer Kieboom

Returning like The Mac, we are pleased to welcome to THE NatsGM Show professional baseball player and Washington Nationals catcher, Spencer Kieboom!

During our interview, Spencer begins by reflecting on his draft day experience in 2012 and his major league debut for Washington last October.  Next he discusses his performance this past season, the highs-and-lows, and his plans for this offseason.  Finally Spencer gives his thoughts on what makes a good defensive catcher, game calling and framing, plus plays a quick version of “Rapid Fire“.

Thank you to Spencer for being such a wonderful guest and to his brother Trevor, for helping arrange our conversation.  Please consider Subscribing to the show and giving us a 5-Star Rating & Review on Apple Podcasts – Thanks for listening!