THE NatsGM Show #104 – Guest Driveline Baseball’s Kyle Boddy

THE NatsGM Show #104 is now ready to download and we are proud to welcome the Founder of Driveline Baseball, Kyle Boddy!

Our interview begins with Kyle discussing his early career, opening up Driveline Baseball and discovering the positive effects of underweight and overweight baseballs in increasing velocity.  Next we hear his thoughts on the epidemic of Tommy John surgeries in baseball and his advice to protect young arms while developing their skills.  Finally Kyle talks about the future of pitching velocity and if we have reached the upper limits of the human anatomy.

Thanks to Kyle for joining us.  Please consider Rating, Reviewing & Subscribing to the show on Apple Podcasts – thanks for listening!

THE NatsGM Show #103 – Guest Bennett Brauer

THE NatsGM Show Episode #103 is now available and we are proud to welcome author at BP Toronto & former minor league executive, Bennett Brauer!

This week’s episode focuses on the business side of minor league baseball, as Bennett describes the differences between a major and minor league general manager and the relationship between the team and the parent organization.  Then our conversation shifts and he describes the importance of promotional items to minor league teams, and what a typical day is for someone working in a general manager capacity.  Finally Bennett gives some advice to those who might want to work in baseball and we play a game of “Rapid Fire”.

Thank you to Bennett for joining me this holiday week and to you for downloading!

THE NatsGM Show #102 – Guest Dr. Dan Brooks

THE NatsGM Show #102 is now available and we are proud to welcome back to the show founder of BrooksBaseball.net & Co-Founder of SaberSeminar, Dr. Dan Brooks!

This week Dan returns to the show to update us on SaberSeminar 2017, the seventh installment of this wonderful 2-day charitable baseball conference in Boston.  Dan discusses the history of SaberSeminar, how it developed and how it has evolved from year one to year seven.  Finally Dan talks about the impressive list of speakers for this year’s event, Ben Cherington’s appearance two years ago and some of his favorite presentations and abstracts from past events.

Thank you to Dan for making some time to chat and to you, the listener, for downloading!

Evaluating Hagerstown Suns OF Daniel Johnson

Daniel Johnson   OF          Hagerstown Suns

Future Grades   Hit (40) /  Power (45) /  Run (65)  /  Defense (60) /  Arm (65)

Washington’s 5th round selection in the 2016 MLB Draft from New Mexico State, signed for a $325,000 bonus.  Born in July 1995, Johnson is a left-handed hitting, left-handed throwing outfielder.  Listed at 5-10 185lbs, Johnson is a well-built, thick athlete and looks more similarly to a Division-1 point guard than a typical baseball player.  His muscles seem to have muscles, so he looks fully mature physically with little projection remaining.  Johnson has excellent speed, routinely clocking 4.07-4.11 seconds home to first from the left side, making him an easy plus runner.  Consistently smiling on the field, Johnson seems quite affable and popular with his teammates, which along with his hustle leads me to believe he has quality makeup.

Defensively Johnson has spent time at all three outfield positions, but his impressive raw speed and cannon-like arm has him profile best in center field, where he projects as an above-average to plus defender.  He does need more experience in center field to improve his routes and instincts, as he has split time with Nationals’ prospect Blake Perkins this season.  However, aside from experience, there is little reason to believe he will not be a terrific defensive outfielder.

At the plate the left-hand hitting Johnson displays loose lithe wrists and impressive bat speed, whipping the barrel through the strike zone like a child with a stick.  He sets his hands near his heart and uses a small-to-medium leg kick to trigger his swing.  His has a small wrist wrap which lengthens his already longish swing, causing some swing-and-miss in his game.  I have seen him struggle with velocity up-and-away, in addition to recognizing and hitting spin on the inner-third of the plate.

Johnson shows natural raw power, especially to the pull side, both in batting practice and in game action.  Additionally, he punishes the baseball into the gaps, where he utilizes his speed to gather doubles and triples.  However, he does not steal many bases and looks unrefined in doing so, failing to capitalize on his speed to create havoc.  Johnson needs to refine his swing mechanics, which will help quiet his body down and allow him to make more contact.  I have some concerns with his hit tool, but I can envision a future .245-.260 hitter with 12-17 home runs if things truly come together for Johnson.

After a somewhat underwhelming stat line last summer, Johnson has emerged for Hagerstown this season and become the hottest prospect in Washington’s farm system.  Defensively, Johnson needs experience in center field, but his plus speed and powerful arm allow him to project as a future plus defender.  At the plate, there is legitimate raw power in his bat and the aptitude to spray line drives all over the field.  If he can tame the strikeouts and make more contact, he could profile as a slugging #6 or #7 hitter.

Johnson is still raw and needs plenty of game experience, but his impressive physical tools are beginning to blossom into a quality baseball prospect.  His speed, defensive versatility and skills, plus his left-handed raw power should give Johnson a floor as a #5 outfielder or Quad-A player.  However, if his skills continue to flourish, Johnson has the ceiling of a league-average two-way major league centerfielder.  Johnson is a top-10 prospect currently in the Nationals’ system and will be a coveted name in trade discussions this summer.