The Washington Nationals hit a home run by creating a top prospects exhibition game versus an MLB lineup. That game begins minutes after noon today with the first pitch and temperatures in the low 50’s, a sharp contrast from the 70-to-80 degree weather in south Florida.

LHP MacKenzie Gore might be starting this game against RHP Jackson Rutledge although the Nats’ haven’t finalized all of the details. Trey Lipscomb will play with the top prospects even though he is technically still on the big league roster and with a shot of making the Nats’ Opening Day roster.

While MLB did top prospect games called SPRING BREAKOUT two weeks ago, those games were only for top prospects. This exhibition game today is like the Varsity versus the JV games, except the JV in this case, has much more star power. The top prospects’ roster does have four players with real MLB game experience like Drew Millas, Israel Pineda, Joe La Sorsa and Amos Willingham who have a combined 58 games in the MLB. The prospects roster also includes three players from the Maryland side of the DMV with Brendan Collins, Lipscomb, and James Wood. Look at the Future’s roster of 25-players:

Pitchers: Brendan CollinsDJ Herz (L), Joe La Sorsa (L), Orlando RibaltaJackson RutledgeTyler SchoffJarlin SusanaAmos Willingham

Catchers: Drew MillasIsrael Pineda, Maxwell Romero Jr.

Infielders: Darren BakerArmando CruzBrady HouseTrey LipscombKevin MadeYohandy MoralesT.J. White

Outfielders: Dylan CrewsElijah GreenRobert Hassell III, Daylen LileAndrew PinckneyCristhian VaqueroJames Wood

The Top Prospects Coaching staff: Manager Delino DeShields (Double-A Harrisburg), Bench Coach Oscar Salazar (Double-A Harrisburg), Pitching Coach Rigo Beltran (Double-A Harrisburg), Hitting Coach Jeff Livesey (Double-A Harrisburg), First Base Coach Jake Lowery (Single-A Fredericksburg Manager), Third Base Coach Mario Lisson (High-A Wilmington Manager), Bullpen Coach Justin Lord (Single-A Fredericksburg Pitching Coach)

You can check-out MLB Pipeline for their rankings of the top prospects. Of course Dylan Crews, Wood, Brady House, and the injured Cade Cavalli all rank on various prospect lists in the Top-100 in all of baseball, and Crews and Wood are on some Top-10 lists.

On Monday afternoon, the prospects got tours of Nationals Park and then got to take live BP on the field. It was encouraging to hear that Daylen Lile was a full participant after his tumble over the outfield wall in early March and his subsequent hospitalization. Fortunately, he only had a back contusion. Also, Robert Hassell III was a full participant and took BP according to a source. He was held out of the final two weeks of big league camp with a groin strain. Expect Hassell to start and Lile to sub in.

With their families watching, the prospects, we were told, had an amazing time and treated like big leaguers. After they flew on the Nats charter jet yesterday, and put up in a nice hotel in the Navy Yard, they are feeling like stars.

“I know what the excitement is like in DC. It has to be awesome. The [top prospects] all performed too. It’s special to be in that clubhouse to begin with, and to get that experience, but then to perform and carry yourself that way, you couldn’t ask for more.”

— VP of Player Development, Eddie Longosz said to Sam Dykstra of MLB.com

First pitch for this exhibition game is set for 12:05 p.m. with live TV coverage on MASN, radio audio on 106.7 FM The Fan and in Spanish on DC 87.7 FM and La Pantera 100.7 FM/1220 AM.

Following the game, members of the Nationals roster, coaching staff and several top prospects head to the District Wharf for the Nationals Homecoming Gala to benefit the Nationals’ Philanthropies. Fan activities begin at 5:00 p.m. during a red carpet entrance, and fans are encouraged to come out for the chance to meet their favorite players, win prizes and play tailgate games. Nationals ticket sales representatives will be on hand with signed merchandise and special discounts. The Gala dinner is sold-out this year.

Tomorrow, most of the top prospects who are slated to play below the Triple-A level will head back to Florida to play in minor league games in Spring Training. Any players set to make Rochester’s Triple-A team will head up to New York to meet their team as they have a game on March 29 in Syracuse. The Nats’ Opening Day roster will head to Cincinnati on Wednesday aboard their charter jet for Opening Day on Thursday. While the Nats have one more cut to make, the team will inform the players shortly as to the final roster. If Lipscomb and Derek Law make the roster, they will both need to be added to the 40-man roster. Final rosters must be filed with the league office by noon EDT on Thursday.

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