This season, even though all three were predictably sent to minor league camp, the trio showed why they’re promising parts of the Nationals’ future. It was probably fitting that those three were sent out together, because behind Bryce Harper, they were the best prospects in major league camp who have yet to play in the majors.

Marrero improved his defense and crushed the ball at the plate. “He’s on a nice pace to be a big league first baseman,” Manager Jim Riggleman said.

Kimball fired blistering fastballs and a devastating sinker. “He didn’t pitch his way off the ball club,” Riggleman said. “He’s got some things to work on. He’s got some work to do. Sometimes these decisions are made not just on the way you pitch or play. You may have some options left and some other people don’t. You may have pitched better than them in spring training, but it just doesn’t work that way.”

And Norris impressed with his bat, as always, and looked better behind the plate. Drew Storen pitched to Norris in 2009, when he briefly pitched for Class A Hagerstown. “He’s a guy that you can really tell has gotten a lot better,” Storen said. “Just from throwing to him in Hagerstown when I first started, you can tell he’s a lot more confident. He’s great to work with. He sits there, and he listens to what I want to do. He makes adjustments.”

None of the three had a realistic chance to make the Nationals this spring. But for the roughly four weeks they spent in major league camp, they played well enough to offer hope that someday, they’ll belong in the majors for good.

FROM THE POST

In his first column on the Nationals, Jason Reid writes that the Nationals should show commitment to Jim Riggleman.