We’re officially underway at all four levels in the minor leagues, and that prompts the start of Minors Mondays (okay, technically it’s Tuesday) here on TalkNats. (editor’s note: This was written while Monday’s game was in play, prompting us to post it this morning). Now to the Minors’ report:
No. 3 Nats prospect Elijah Green has opened up his 2023 campaign scorching hot with Single-A Fredericksburg, slating a .500 average through 12 at-bats. Green went 2-for-4 in each of the three games played this weekend, as the 19-year-old right-handed bat is off to a quick start, even notching a walk-off single in Sunday’s FredNats win.
Green had a strong 12 games in the Florida Complex League last season, after being the fifth overall pick in last year’s amateur draft, hitting .302 with two homers in 52 plate appearances. However, there were major concerns about his strikeout rate. He struck out in 40.8 percent of plate appearances in the FCL last season in a very small sample size, and four of his 13 plate appearances this weekend were strikeouts (30.8 percent) which would be very improvement if he can stay at that level or better it.
The 19-year-old outfielder in Green is part of the large pool of prospects down in Single-A Fredericksburg.
One of them mentioned in the list above is Brady House, who blasted a two-run, go-ahead homer in Friday’s Opening Day win for the FredNats. After a back injury ended House’s 2022 season almost before it really got going, his Friday night heroics on the field really was a welcomed sign along with Green’s walk-off winner. Steve Mears of TalkNats observed that House looked stiff in his Saturday at-bats and was not swinging the bat with the same gusto as he did on Friday. However, he was not in the lineup in Sunday’s contest which may have just been a routine day off rather than a potential injury, but it is something to keep an eye on. Keep your eyes on Fredericksburg’s Tuesday lineup to see if House is in it or not.
Along with House’s homer Friday, Washington’s No. 9 prospect Jake Bennett was nearly flawless on the mound. The left-hander didn’t allow a base runner until 4 1/3 innings into his outing and finished his night with five scoreless innings pitched, allowing just one hit and no walks while punching out eight. Bennett came to the Nats in the 2022 draft, and this was actually his pro debut — and he certainly impressed. The same cannot be said for No. 6 prospect Jarlin Susana whose 2023 debut game was not one to repeat.
FredNats record: 2-1
FredNats week record: 2-1
POTW: Elijah Green (3)
Next series: @ Fayetteville
High-A Wilmington also saw a phenomenal start Friday on the mound, with the Blue Rocks getting a scoreless outing from 15th-ranked prospect Andry Lara.
He went an identical five innings allowing a hit on no runs nor a walk, while he struck out three. The 6-foot-4 20-year-old right-hander struggled in 23 starts for the FredNats last season, going 3-8 while authoring a 5.51 ERA on a 4.44 xFIP, posting a 9.33 K/9.
The 26-year-old infielder Jake Alu — on a rehab assignment for the Blue Rocks after suffering an undisclosed injury during spring training — went 2-for-8 (.250) which included a double across the two games he played over the weekend, as he sat the second game of the doubleheader Saturday. Alu had a monster year between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Rochester last season though wasn’t able to salvage a call-up to Washington.
No. 1 Nats prospect James Wood had a relatively quiet weekend for Wilmington, going just 1-for-9 (.111) with a pair of walks, while the 19th-ranked prospect Trey Lipscomb went 4-for-11 with two doubles and four RBI.
Blue Rocks record: 1-2
Blue Rocks week record: 1-2
POTW: Andry Lara (15)
Next series: vs. Hickory
Double-A Harrisburg also saw a solid outing on the mound Friday night from No. 11 prospect Jackson Rutledge, as the righty pitched 4 2/3 innings allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits, four walks, seven punchouts, and a homer.
No. 30 prospect Drew Millas had a strong weekend at the plate, going 4-for-4 Friday night and went 2-for-4 Saturday to start his 2023 campaign hitting .750 in eight plate appearances. The 25-year-old switch-hitting catcher hit just .211 with a 61 wRC+ in 45 games after getting called up to Harrisburg last season.
Other than that, a fairly mellow weekend for the Senators.
Senators week record: 1-2
POTW: Drew Millas (30)
Next series: vs. Richmond
Triple-A Rochester hasn’t gotten off to the start they did last year, as they are 1-7 to start the young season, as they started the weekend before the rest of affiliates began their season. Not many positives for the Red Wings, though there are at least a couple.
Joan Adon had a solid start in Saturday’s loss, going five innings allowing just two runs — coming off a two-run homer — on five hits and a walk while he struck out five in his second start of the season. The 24-year-old righty in Adon pitched to a 7.10 ERA in 14 starts with the Nats last season which prompted a start of the season in Rochester.
The 34-year-old first baseman, Matt Adams, is also off to a powerful start, as four of his six hits (.250 average) have been homers. Following a year in independent ball, the left-handed bat hasn’t seen major-league action since a 22-game clip with the Rockies in 2021. Adams returns to the Nats organization, a team where he spent the greater parts of his career with (2018-2019), winning the World Series in ’19.
Red Wings record: 1-7
Red Wings week record: 1-5
POTW: Matt Adams
Next series: vs. Buffalo
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