The All-Star Futures Game features the Nats Top-2 prospects in Wood and House

This is a star-studded weekend for the Washington Nationals in showcasing their Top-2 prospects — and two of the best players in all of minor league baseball at Saturday’s All-Star Futures Game in Seattle, Washington. As it stands today, James Wood will be the №5 ranked prospect and Brady House will be №72 on MLB Pipeline.

With Seattle hosting this year’s All-Star festivities, the Futures Game will be the must-see TV on Saturday at 7pm EST on Peacock TV. The 7-inning game at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park will feature 50 of the game’s top Minor Leaguers, and by that math you can see that not all teams will have two players representing them. This is the 24th edition of baseball’s greatest prospect showcase. House, a shortstop converted to third baseman this year went from Single-A to a promotion to High-A Wilmington already this season, and Wood, an outfielder was promoted from Wilmington to Double-A Harrisburg in an early season promotion.

Last year’s Futures Game was prior to the blockbuster trade that brought Wood and four other top players to the Nats, and the farm system was almost barren before then. It was House and Cade Cavalli as the biggest names in the system at this time last year, and Cavalli and Darren Baker were both chosen for the Futures Game. Baker, was not even ranked in the Top-10 of Nats prospects at the time a year ago or even now, and that is sometimes how these rosters are constructed where players are chosen for reasons unknown to the fans. That is not to take anything away from Cavalli or Baker, however having two of the best in baseball with Wood and House in a Nats’ system that is now full of five Top-100 prospects has raised the level of excitement in Nats Town.

Prospects have been split into American League and National League sides. The game first switched from a USA vs. World format in 2019 when the game tried to showcase the immense talent from around the world. The new format could always be changed up again.

One of the things to watch for in this game is that this is the first national broadcast of a game with the ABS (Automatic Balls and Strikes) Challenge System that is now in use at all 30 Triple-A stadiums, and at the Single-A Florida State League in 2023. Each of these teams in the Futures Game will receive two challenges, and once a challenge is used, it is lost regardless of the outcome. Challenges are initiated by players (not managers) by tapping their helmet for a batter or catcher, or for the pitcher he would tap his hat.

Of course most people will be watching to see their top prospects and favorite players. Here are the 10 highest ranked prospects scheduled to play in his game:

No.1 Jackson Holliday, SS, ETA: 2024 (High-A Aberdeen, Orioles)
No. 3 Jackson Chourio, OF, ETA: 2024 (Double-A, Biloxi, Brewers)
No. 4 Marcelo Mayer, SS, ETA: 2024 (Double-A, Portland, Red Sox)
No. 5 James Wood, OF, ETA: 2024 (Double-A, Harrisburg, Nationals)
No. 6 Jordan Lawlar, SS, ETA: 2024 (Double-A Amarillo, D-backs)
No. 9 Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, ETA: 2024 (Double-A, Tennessee, Cubs)
No. 11 Jackson Merrill, SS, ETA: 2024 (High-A, Fort Wayne, Padres)
No. 13 Kyle Harrison, LHP, ETA: 2023 (Triple-A, Sacramento, Giants)
No. 16 Junior Caminero, 3B/2B, ETA: 2025 (Double-A, Montgomery, Rays
No. 18 Noelvi Marte, SS/3B, ETA: 2024 (Triple-A, Louisville, Reds)

You will note that №2 is missing from the list, and that is because Elly De La Cruz is in the Majors now and same with №8 Bobby Miller with the Dodgers. Others can be missing the game for a variety of reasons, and just like Baker making the squad last year, not all players are Top-100 prospects. In fact of the 50 players on the roster, only 28 are from the Top-100.

The host city, Seattle Mariners, will have “their own” as managers and coaches of both squads. Former Mariners’ players, Harold Reynolds and Raul Ibañez, will manage the AL and NL Futures team squads respectively. Among those serving as coaches at the Futures Game are former Major League All-Stars and Mariners legends Adrian Beltre, Jay Buhner, Mike Cameron, Alvin Davis, Felix Hernandez, Jamie Moyer, Dan Wilson and Randy Winn.

Of course this Futures Game is kind of the appetizer for Nats’ fans before Sunday evening’s MLB Draft which should land the Nats either RHP Paul Skenes or OF Dylan Crews. This should be a weekend that we discuss for years to come.

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