How the Nationals are hindering their own player development | Baseball Bar-B-Cast

Yahoo Sports senior MLB analysts Jake Mintz and Jordan Shusterman discuss Washington’s messaging to players to not throw ball four and why it’s behind the times. Hear the full conversation on “Baseball Bar-B-Cast” podcast - and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

JORDAN SHUSTERMAN: The Washington Nationals have been in a deep rebuild since trading away Juan Soto on purpose. They are one of the few organizations who at least publicly have decided to stay as old school as it gets. Mike Rizzo was talking about the importance of throwing strikes, which is true. He's right. He's true.

But he said-- but what he ended up saying, which ended up just being an all-time zinger, was he said, I don't care how hard you throw ball 4. It's true. He's right. That's fine. That's a fair sentiment. However, to take it to the level of putting a sign that says your own quote behind the bullpen, looming over the catcher's shoulder, that every pitcher has to look at during their spring training bullpens to not throw ball 4 in bullpens, very strange.

Why is this funny? Why is this worthy of scorn? Why is this also worthy of, I think, worthy discussion about why this is part of the pitching development discourse and as it relates to a team like the Washington Nationals?

JAKE MINTZ: In coaching, negative cues are generally bad. If I tell you, don't throw a ball, you are then thinking about a ball. If I say, don't think about the Roman Empire, OK, now you're thinking about the Roman Empire. And so if you're on the mound, and you see a sign that says, don't throw ball 4, you're not exactly going to be pinpoint command. And it is indicative that the Nationals organization from a player development standpoint-- not from a player acquisition standpoint, from a player development standpoint-- is behind the times.

Conveying this sentiment to fans is funny. Conveying this sentiment to players is way less than ideal and, I think, detrimental. Look, the Nationals are not going to win the division this year. And it will not be because of these signs, OK? These signs are not going to help or hurt the rebuild. However, it is indicative of a larger issue at play within the Nationals apparatus, I believe.