Analyzing the Nationals’ prospect haul from the 2022 Trade Deadline

TalkNats photo and graphic

Every day has its inevitable ending, some that strands the occupants of the surrounding world in complete and total darkness. This day can be seen in the Washington Nationals and their era of contending in the MLB. While trading Max Scherzer and Trea Turner might have marked the beginning of this crepuscule, but trading away Juan Soto and Josh Bell indicated an end to it. Emotionally, August 2 will always be a monumental day for Nats fans as it will be an annual reminder of the team shedding massive amounts of talent in hopes of potentially becoming competitive in the future. Perhaps, time will be the only thing to heal this wound, one that is very fresh and painful. However, if there is ever an ointment to this wound, it is optimism. The Nationals went from the #24 ranked farm system in the league to one ranking in the top 10. They added to their growing pile of riches in the farm system by dealing two elite players. 

Robert Hassell III, OF:

Hassell the top prospect for the Padres and one of the key pieces traded to the Nats. He was one of the top high school bats in the 2020 draft and made his presence felt in his first year and a half of professional baseball. After being elevated to high A in 2021, he struggled mightily. However, like his pedigree might suggest, Hassell has been phenomenal this year. So far with Fort Worth, he is hitting .299 with 30 extra base hits so far. One of the most promising aspects of his game is in the batter’s box. He has elite bat control with the ability to be a solid top of the order bat. His main weakness is on defense, but his tools allow him to flash brilliance. If everything goes according to plan, Hassell will continue to refine his home run hitting ability while finding more consistency while making his way through the minors. 

James Wood, OF:

If Hassell was the top minor league piece coming to the Nationals’ organization, Wood was not just a player thrown into the mix. Wood is a massively talented hitter that captivates with a beautiful power stroke. He is able to mash balls to all fields. Wood, however, is far from a one trick pony; he is a great runner with plus speed. The range displayed in the outfield thus far has many who watched him play in the Padres’ system believe that a future beyond the DH spot is well within reach. In the weaker (albeit not anymore) system for the Nats, he might be able to go to Wilmington to see if his skillset translates to the next level. The Nationals believe that they struck gold with James Wood and that he has all the right tools to become the next Byron Buxton with his rare speed-power combination. 

Mackenzie Gore, LHP:

In this trade, the Nationals got multiple position players and pitchers. Dividing both groups in half shows that there are both MLB ready prospects and developmental prospects. Gore is the most MLB ready pitcher to join the Nationals’ roster. Gore has made a name for himself with his funky delivery and filthy offerings. So far, Gore has been pitching at the MLB level for the Padres with mixed results. His 4-4 record with a 4.50 ERA demonstrates his struggles but also his triumphs. He has a fastball that has been clocking in between 92-96 MPH. Although he has been a top prospect for years, his stock dipped considerably. He suffered through a 2021 season where he put up an ERA north of 5 in AAA. After an offseason of training and improvements, Gore came to Spring Training on a mission. Many scouts are still very high on Mackenzie Gore. They rave about his strikeout ability with the potential to be an ace for years to come. With the Patrick Corbin contract becoming more and more of a deadweight, having another lefty to potentially take his place in the future becomes massive. Gore should report to the MLB roster after coming off the IL with elbow issues.

CJ Abrams, IF:

CJ Abrams, much like Gore, will be given the opportunity to play at the MLB level before long, although he was initially optioned to AAA. Abrams is an elite athlete that has blinding speed, much like another middle infielder for the Nationals. Abrams is a gifted hitter with a knack for hitting baseballs hard and to both gaps with power. He has never hit more than 10 home runs in a season during his time in the minors but has sneaky amounts of pop in his swing. In the MLB this season, he has demonstrated some of the growing pains while at the highest level. Given the opportunity to play with lower expectations and on a consistent basis with the Nationals should help. One thing about Abrams is that his ability to field the position at shortstop likely means that he pushes Luis Garcia back to second base. 

Jarlin Susana, RHP:

Jarlin Susana might be the biggest wildcard in this entire package. He has been pitching at Rookie Ball, with very positive results. Susana is a natural starting pitcher and one that has wowed with his command and poise at the young age of 18. He throws a lightning bolt of a fastball that has been clocked in above 100 at 102 MPH. His breaking balls are both very advanced. The Nationals signed the top hitter in the 2021-22 international signing class and have traded for the top pitcher in that same class. That being said, Susana is much like a ball of clay: he is very good right off the bat but needs some more molding.


While the Nationals might have gotten much worse in the present moment, there is optimism that the move made will greatly improve the team in the long run. As it has been seen in the past year, though, acquiring top prospects is well and good. However, the next step for the Nationals’ organization is developing them into the next crop of young superstars. The Nationals doomed themselves with poor moves and shortsighted trades that sacrificed their future. The moves made over the past 365 days were made out of necessity, but even those felt inevitable. The changing of the guard is very much underway. The next generation of Washington Nationals might have just arrived as the last generation exited.

This entry was posted in Analysis, MikeRizzo, Prospects. Bookmark the permalink.