An update from De Jon Watson
It’s been a couple weeks, so as promised, here’s what De Jon Watson has been up to the last couple of weeks:
"I started in Jacksonville and had a chance to see the club for the first time. I met up with Peter Bragan Jr., the owner, so that we could talk with him about the club — what some of his needs were and our needs for some our players, as far as making public appearances and that type of stuff. We also talked about the facility itself, trying to address the hitter’s background there. Those are some of the things we covered.
I had a chance to see Chin-lung Hu who is playing extremely well there and so is Xavier Paul. Some of the pitchers like Jonathan Meloan, who we saw in big league camp, pitched very well while I was there.
I left there and went to Vero Beach, where I got to see some of the guys in Extended Spring Training. For those that aren’t familiar with it, Extended is primarily for our younger players, including those from Latin America who are here for the first time and some of the guys we drafted last year who need a little more training before they break camp with a full-season club. Some of them played at Ogden or Vero Beach (for the Gulf Coast Dodgers) last year and we feel like they need a little more instruction.
The way Extended works is, we play five games a week and we have two "camp" days. We play against teams like the Mets, the Cardinals and the Marlins and we can keep track of who is progressing and who’s not progressing or any areas we need to address. We have one kid by the name of James Peterson who is actually leaving for the Great Lakes club because his bat was so advanced, so that was a positive. There was another kid, Tommy Giles, who also went to Great Lakes and Joey Norrito, who was with a full season club last year, didn’t break camp this year but was pitching so well we moved him up to Double-A and now he’s in the rotation there.
I had a couple of the roving coordinators there with us — our pitching coordinator, Marty Reed, hitting coordinator Bill Robinson and catching coordinator Travis Barbary and I spent some time with them.
From there I went down to the Dominican Republic to evaluate the overall roster down there and see which kids were going to get the majority of the playing time. We have two kids that are going to be making it over to the States that are going to play in the Gulf Coast League that were originally not scheduled to come. Geison Aguavisas, a left-handed starter who will be in our rotation in the GCL and Kelvin Dominguez, a situational left-hander who has a chance to be pretty good down the road with an above-average breaking ball.
The trip itself was five days in the DR and I got to spend time with staff and make sure we’re implementing the overall philosophy in the DR that we do in the States.
From the DR, I flew back to Miami and drove to Jacksonville again, spent a little more time there and then went back home to Arizona. Then last week, I came out here for the draft and my job there is really to just give an overview of what we have in place at our Ogden club and Gulf Coast League club and talk about the overall needs, if there are any, at a particular postion and then to keep track of the new players we’re getting and where they’re going to play once they sign.