Individual player recaps for your 2023 Nationals -Infielders down on the farm!

Infielders – Down on the Farm

3B Brady House, 20

How Acquired: 2021 Amateur Draft, 1st round (11th overall)

Prospect Rank: MLB #40/WAS #3

2023 Level: A/A+/AA

The Numbers: 


What We Learned: That the young heal quickly, and that House could make it through a full minor league season (with some judiciously chosen off days). Moving over to third base full-time this year, House got right back onto top-100 prospect lists by laying waste to both levels of A-ball before becoming one of the youngest players in the Eastern League (he turned 20 a few weeks before his promotion) and continuing to rake, albeit without a home run for the first six weeks there. We also learned that he’s potentially an elite defender at the hot corner. Given his easy opposite field power, visions of Ryan Zimmerman with 30 or even 35+ bombs are mighty enticing.

40-Man Odds: 0% – he’s not Rule 5-eligible for two more years

2024 Outlook: There’s a non-zero chance he makes the Opening Day roster, and a very good chance that he’s the regular third baseman before the season is very old. He could stand to walk a little more, but he hits the ball *hard*, and his defense is MLB-ready too.

Can/Will He Be On a 2025 Contender?: It’s hard to imagine a scenario where that isn’t the case, and where he’s not hitting in or near the middle of the order.

3B/1B Yohandy Morales, 21

How Acquired: 2023 Amateur Draft, 2nd round (40th overall)

Prospect Rank: WAS #7 (Pipeline)

2023 Level: A, A+, AA

The Numbers: 


What We Learned: That the Nats made out like bandits in having Morales fall all the way out of the first round into their laps with the fortieth pick. Compare these three slash lines: Player A, .408/.475/.713; Player B, .426/.567/.713; and Player C, .373/.498/.784. If you haven’t guessed already, those are the college slash lines for Morales, Dylan Crews, and Wyatt Langford, respectively, and the Nats have two of those guys.

40-Man Odds: 0%

2024 Outlook: Morales should open the year in AA after making a cameo there for the last week of the 2023 season, and I imagine that he will split his time between first and third base to start. Depending on how competitive the Nats are and how his fellow top prospects perform, he could make it to DC before the end of the season. If that happens, my best guess is that he would be the September call-up when rosters expand.

Can/Will He Be On a 2025 Contender?: He certainly can, but it’s unclear right now whether he will. Morales can clearly hit, and at this point it looks like a race between him and House to see who can get to the majors first and who will stick at third. Right now the money is on Morales moving to first base, where his athleticism and big frame (6’4”, 225) would make for an inviting target for infielders.

UTIL Trey Lipscomb, 23

How Acquired: 2022 Amateur Draft, 3rd round (84th overall)

Prospect Rank: WAS #14 (Pipeline)

2023 Level: A+, AA

The Numbers: 


What We Learned: That Lipscomb might be ticketed for the kind of Asdrubal Cabrera-esque super-utility role that the Nats usually fill with older free agents and trade acquisitions like, well, Asdrubal Cabrera. Although Lipscomb was exclusively a third baseman in his draft year at Tennessee, in part because fellow Nats farmhand Cortland Lawson was a defensively superior shortstop, he wound up playing all over the infield at Harrisburg after the July promotion of House to that level, and was rewarded as the organization’s Defensive Player of the Year. His bat can run hot and cold depending on his quality of contact, and it’s concerning that he only walked a dozen times in eighty games at the AA level, but 2023 nevertheless represented a big step forward for him and for the Nats, who haven’t developed an average regular/top-notch backup since Michael A. Taylor, drafted in 2009.

40-Man Odds: 0%

2024 Outlook: He will get a long look in spring training to push Luís García, but will likely start the season in Rochester, where hopefully the ABS system will temper his free-swinging ways. Should an infielder falter or get injured, Lipscomb might be the first call to replace that player.

Can/Will He Be On a 2025 Contender?: Unless he makes another fairly sizable leap and takes García’s job away, he would probably only be a part-time player on a contender in two years.

2B/OF Darren Baker, 24

How Acquired: 2021 Amateur Draft, 10th round (293rd overall)

Prospect Rank: WAS #24 (Pipeline)

2023 Level: AAA

The Numbers: 


What We Learned: That Baker is what he is, a slap hitter with decent OBP skills and limited defensive versatility. The raw offensive numbers look good, but as you can see from the wRC+, they really aren’t that impressive once you adjust for the high-octane environment of the International League.

40-Man Odds: 0%

2024 Outlook: He will be back in Rochester, and depending on his performance and performance/injuries on the major league roster, he has a non-zero chance of getting called up as the 26th man (or 27th for a doubleheader). There just isn’t much room for a two-position guy with no pop when one of those positions is left field.

Can/Will He Be On a 2025 Contender?: Not unless he’s getting maybe 50 PA or less for the season.

1B T.J. White, 19

How Acquired: 2021 Amateur Draft, 5th round (143rd overall)

Prospect Rank: WAS #27 (Pipeline)

2023 Level: A+

The Numbers: 


What We Learned: That sending a teenager to Wilmington for a full season was pretty aggressive and probably a mistake. White hit very well at low-A Fredericksburg in 2022, but the move to high-A saw his BABIP crater by 82 points and his strikeout rate rise by almost double digits. He maintained a good eye for the strike zone, especially being one of the youngest regulars in the Sally League, but that appears to be the only positive from this season. He is still worth monitoring as a switch-hitter with pretty even platoon splits and good raw power.

40-Man Odds: 0%

2024 Outlook: Only the organization truly knows how much Wilmington’s worst-in-baseball offensive environment affected White’s development, and with all the turnover it will be interesting to see what they do with him. He could repeat the level, sure, or possibly go back to the FredNats for a reset (he only turned 20 in July and would still be slightly on the younger side for that league).

Can/Will He Be On a 2025 Contender?: Not unless a lot of different things go right for him and wrong for the likes of Morales. If White can have a bounce-back season in 2024 he would make for a potentially interesting trade chip.

SS Armando Cruz, 19

How Acquired: Signed as an international free agent, 1/15/2021

Prospect Rank: WAS #26 (Pipeline)

2023 Level: A

The Numbers: 


What We Learned: That even for a teenager, he can barely hit a lick, and his lack of progress combined with his then-record $3.9 million signing bonus might have been a factor in costing Johnny DiPuglia his job. Cruz is an elite defensive shortstop, but you can’t use a DH on your shortstop, and he also doesn’t appear to have great base-running instincts that could be a carrying skill. You can squint and see a future utility infielder after a drink or three, but he simply has to start hitting the ball harder (he has yet to crack a .090 ISO as a professional).

40-Man Odds: 0%

2024 Outlook: He will surely be repeating Fredericksburg – I can’t imagine that whoever the new farm director turns out to be will want to see if he can hit under .100 at high-A.

Can/Will He Be On a 2025 Contender?: No, he’s too far away for that.

SS Kevin Made, 20

How Acquired: Traded by the Cubs for Jeimer Candelario, 8/1/2023

Prospect Rank: WAS #15 (Pipeline)

2023 Level: A+

The Numbers: 


What We Learned: That the Nats really need a new and better high-A affiliate. Made was roughly a league-average hitter over 70 games in the Midwest League for South Bend before being traded, but as a Blue Rock he hit a ghastly .137/.232/.192. He’s effectively a year ahead of Cruz, 

40-Man Odds: 2% – he’s Rule-5 eligible for the first time, and while I can’t see anyone drafting him, we are talking about the same organization that has previously protected Yasel Antuna and Jeremy de la Rosa at the same level.

2024 Outlook: Probably repeating A+, although perhaps that’s enough motivation to have a big spring and get sent to AA Harrisburg instead, where the only guy “blocking” him is Jackson Cluff, who will be 27 in a couple of months.

Can/Will He Be On a 2025 Contender?: Not unless he improves by leaps and bounds and gets a tiny sample of MLB time because a middle infielder is hurt.

1B Roismar Quintana, 20

How Acquired: Signed as an international free agent, 7/2/2019

Prospect Rank: WAS #20 (Pipeline)

2023 Level: A

The Numbers: 


What We Learned: That a guy billed for his power (55 grade from Pipeline and 50/60 from Fangraphs) didn’t hit for a ton of it, with an ISO that didn’t crack .100 this season in a fairly friendly offensive environment. Like White, Quintana was moved to first base to escape the outfield logjam but didn’t take full advantage of the opportunity.

40-Man Odds: 0%

2024 Outlook: He will likely repeat Fredericksburg until he can show enough power that a move to Wilmington won’t torpedo his value.

Can/Will He Be On a 2025 Contender?: Not unless that power shows up in a big way over the next 18 months and he blasts through the rest of the system after injuries and the pandemic have slowed his growth thus far.

SS/3B Jorgelys Mota, 18

How Acquired: Signed as an international free agent, 1/15/2022

Prospect Rank: Unranked

2023 Level: FCL, A

The Numbers: 


What We Learned: That despite his age, lack of experience (he only played in 23 DSL games in 2022), and unranked status in the organization, Mota might be worth monitoring. He hit very well in the Complex League this summer, albeit with a high strikeout rate and in a small sample, well enough to earn a late promotion to full-season ball.

40-Man Odds: 0%

2024 Outlook: He should begin the year in low-A, and if he has a decent spring could be the regular third baseman assuming Sammy Infante gets moved up a level after two years in Fredericksburg.

Can/Will He Be On a 2025 Contender?: It’s way too early for all that.

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