The Washington Nationals had a thrilling batting practice session on a Saturday afternoon with their top prospects James Wood, Elijah Green, and Brady House. The three players were hitting simultaneously, producing thunderous thwacks that echoed throughout the field.
James Wood, the Nationals’ 20-year-old outfielder, and top prospect displayed his skills by pulling liners into the right-center gap. Elijah Green, the 19-year-old outfielder who was the fifth pick in the 2021 draft, showcased his power by hitting a few balls over the fence. Meanwhile, Brady House, the 19-year-old infielder and 11th pick from two summers ago, swung at full strength after recovering from lower-back issues that sidelined him for most of 2022.
The front office was keeping a close eye on the young prospects, watching them intently from a strategic position on the field. Let’s take a look at more prospects during the first week of their MLB spring training:
Robert Hassel III
The first week of Nationals’ spring training has seen some interesting developments among the players. One such player is Robert Hassell, who underwent surgery and had some concerns about how it might affect his performance. However, Hassell reported feeling good about his progress and claimed that the surgery only delayed him by about a month. He added that he didn’t feel like he missed any critical developmental steps.
Another player making headlines is CJ Abrams, who joined the Nationals as part of the package deal for Juan Soto and Josh Bell. Abrams, 22, is entering his first full season in the majors and has only played in 204 professional games since being drafted out of high school in 2019. Despite his limited experience, Abrams took live batting practice against Cade Cavalli and made a good impression.
Drew Millas is another player who made news during spring training, but for a different reason. Millas is a catcher who uses a small black sponge in his mitt for extra protection. This proved to be a wise decision during a live batting practice session with left-handed reliever Jose Ferrer, who was throwing 97-mph fastballs.
Millas’s left index finger became red and swollen after the session, but his sponge mitigated the damage. He joked that his mother made the sponge a requirement after warning him that he might lose his finger without it.
Can These Young Players Lift Up the Nationals?
The Washington Nationals’ future is looking brighter, according to team General Manager Mike Rizzo. Despite three consecutive last-place finishes and limited spending in free agency, Rizzo remains optimistic about the team’s young talent, particularly outfielders James Wood, Elijah Green, and Brady House, as well as Robert Hassell III and Cristhian Vaquero. These young players are not only intriguing, but they are also physically imposing, with most of them towering over six feet.
During batting practice, Green impressed team officials with his massive power, earning him the nickname “The Monster.” Another official described the team’s outfield as having “a bunch of tight ends” due to the players’ size. Green stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs 225 pounds, while Wood is an impressive 6-foot-7. House, who recently made the transition from shortstop to third base, stands at 6-foot-4. Vaquero, playing in the United States for the first time, is the wiriest of the group at 6-foot-3 and 170 pounds.
With a strong farm system and promising young talent, Rizzo believes that the Nationals are well-positioned for future success. However, they better show it up first before oddsmakers believe they are still listed on BetMGM Maryland as +50000 to win the World Series 2023.
While it’s true that the team’s improvement was partly driven by trading some of its biggest stars, Rizzo remains confident that this new generation of players will help the team return to its winning ways.