|While he faded some in the second half, 2014 was nevertheless a breakout
year for Perez. Displayed good range and a strong arm at short; the high
error total misleading because he got to balls that others might not have.
Unlike many switch hitters, the dropoff isn’t terribly severe when batting
righthanded — a little loss in power, but a better walk rate. Runs well
and showed a knack for hitting well in late-inning pressure situations.
Unless the Nats decide to leapfrog Difo, he should open 2015 in Harrisburg.
|A four-time watchlister, Difo also put together a career year in 2014,
winning the Sally League MVP and “forcing” the Nationals to add him to
the 40-man roster. Difo has average to above-average skills at every facet
of his game, highlighted by plus to plus-plus speed and power from both
sides. There’s some disagreement as to whether he profiles better as a SS,
where he’s played the most, or at 2B, where scouts believe he belongs.
Should open 2015 in Potomac, though there’s chatter — mostly from impatient
fans — that he’ll skip High-A and begin at AA.
|Thanks to the Pete Incaviligia Rule, Turner won’t join the Nationals until June
(unless MLB allows him to be loaned). The Padres 1st Rd. pick (13th overall)
features plus-plus speed but is not a slap-and-bunt hitter nor he does he
possess superior range. He does however, scouts say, have the arm and the
footwork to become a solid defender. Likewise, they believe his bat and
selectivity should enable him to become a top-of-the-order hitter who will
get on base and live up to the “Burner Turner” nickname.
|Like Difo, Lora has been used at both second base and shortstop. However,
he’s a year ahead of him on the development curve, having had a strong year
at the GCL during his age-18 season with a line of .293/.333/.337 with 13
steals over 52 games last summer. Best bet for 2015: A trip to Auburn while
the Doubledays MIs fight for playing time in Hagerstown.