Pitching dominates second intrasquad contest

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals hosted their second intrasquad game Monday at Space Coast Stadium to give the players an opportunity to see live pitching and batters ahead of the Grapefruit League opener Wednesday against the Rays. It also gave manager Dusty Baker a chance to get a better grasp of his team.

The game was dominated by pitching, which is to be expected, considering pitchers are usually ahead of hitters early in the season and that almost all of the starting position players -- Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, Daniel Murphy, Ben Revere, Anthony Rendon -- did not play in the game because the club prefers to bring them along slowly this spring.

Spring Training: Tickets | Ballpark | 40-man roster | NRIs

"You could tell the pitchers were ahead because there was a lot of called third strikes," Baker said. "Lot of paralysis."

Here are some of Baker's takeaways from Monday:

• Baker has all but named Danny Espinosa his starting shortstop after seeing him through the early stages of camp and also called Trea Turner a dynamic player, one Baker is going to be keeping an eye on.

• Although Baker has raved more than once about Lucas Giolito, the top pitching prospect in the game, according to MLBPipeline.com, he had yet to see Giolito's curveball before Monday. 

"That was some nasty stuff out there," Baker said.

Arroyo aiming to elbow way into rotation

And Baker called right-hander Trevor Gott (listed at 6-feet) the opposite of Giolito (6' 6") in stature, "but they both throw extremely hard."

• Every pitcher threw one inning during the intrasquad game, giving Baker a look at numerous potential bullpen arms, including Jonathan Papelbon, Felipe Rivero, Blake Treinen, Burke Badenhop, Gott, Oliver Perez and Aaron Laffey.

"Our future and their future looks very bright with so many arms out there," Baker said.

Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.