The payoff from last summer’s selloff came yesterday as the Boys in Durham™ released their first Top 100 Prospects List of 2023 (is that preseason or post-postseason?).
Joining Cade Cavalli from last year, which saw three Nats make the Initial Top 100, are James Wood (11), Robert Hassell (57), and Elijah Green (58). Keibert Ruiz graduated from prospect status while Brady House dropped from the list.
It’s been eight years since the Nats had this many Top 100 guys in January. Might be worth noting (reminding) that only three of those guys—Michael Taylor, Erick Fedde, and Joe Ross—spent significant time in D.C.
Since Cade Cavalli has been covered ad infinitum as the “Obi Wan” prior to 2021, I’ll steal from the player capsules I just wrote (but haven’t published yet; that list o’ OFs is long).
The first thing you’ll notice about Wood is his size. As you might expect, he hits for plus-plus power and was fast and athletic enough to steal 20 bases in 25 attempts in ’22. Despite 75K in 76G, scouts like his pitch-recognition skills and attribute the whiffs to aggressiveness. Currently a CF, scouts believe he’ll be shifted to a corner to take advantage of his arm. Best bet is to join T.J. White and Jeremy De La Rosa, unless the Nats have decided to shift White to 1B as scouts have hinted.
One of the key players acquired in the Juan Soto trade, Hassell was drafted 8th overall in 2020 by the Padres and has risen from Low-A to AA in just two pro seasons. His 2022 ended after just two games in the AFL with a broken hamate bone, which may sap his already fringy power. However, his true value lies in above-average on-base, bat-to-ball, baserunning, and throwing skills. If healthy, he could return to City Isle to start the season
As you might expect from the son of an NFL tight end (Eric), Green has size, strength, and power. Likewise, those six extra-base hits came at the cost of 21K in 12G in the FCL. What you might not expect: He can run and throw, too. In addition to the swing-and-miss in his offensive game, there are some concerns about his ability to handle elevated velocity, both of which he’ll probably get tested at Low-A this season.
We now return you to your January malaise…