James Wood’s arrival to the Nats’ roster is 60% of the haul

When James Wood joins the Washington Nationals roster on Monday, he will be the third permanent piece of the quintet to make the big league team from the Juan Soto/Josh Bell trade. To be technical, we could include Luke Voit who was the veteran throw-in, and was quickly gone after just 53 games, as the sixth player that came over to the Nats.

The photo above, in one frame, shows Wood batting, MacKenzie Gore pitching, and CJ Abrams at shortstop as 60 percent of the five player haul of youngsters who are up in the Major Leagues on Monday. Note, that is Robert Hassell III who is taking a lead off of second base in that photo, and he is the fourth piece of that blockbuster trade with Single-A flamethrower, Jarlin Susana (not pictured), as the fifth piece. That is quite the quintet.

The expectation tonight is that Gore will be pitching, Abrams at shortstop, Wood in left field, and a large crowd at Nationals Park.

What Wood represents symbolically is the first piece of the Top-100 prospects to make it onto the 2024 roster. What he represents as a player is hope for the future, and an immediate infusion of legitimate 5-tool talent.

It would be almost unfair to expect Wood to be an immediate impact player on the team — but of course the hope is that Wood is a sizeable upgrade in the lineup. Everything is about incremental improvement — but the fans will hope for more.

Unless Wood wins, or comes in second in the Rookie of the Year voting, he will remain in Nationals’ control through at least the 2030 season. When you consider windows to compete, there you go. The young man who was born in Rockville, Maryland, and grew up on the baseball fields in Montgomery County, he is a true local. He went to Nationals Park as a kid, and now he can call it home.

“A lot of times if I’ve never seen a [pitcher], just to get an idea of how stuff is moving, what’s he throwing …
I’m always asking [teammates], especially left-handed hitters.”

— Wood said in April how he gets pointers on pitchers that he doesn’t know

In Wood’s Triple-A season, he finished with a .353 batting average and a 1.058 OPS. Those are big numbers that nobody knows how they will translate to a big league lineup. If Wood’s Spring Training stats were any indication, he will be more than fine. Wood led all qualified players in Spring Training in OPS at 1.214. Note: All qualified players. Wood edged out an MVP who you might have heard of — Mookie Betts.

Some would say that Wood earned a spot on the Opening Day roster. In my mind, he did, but I don’t call the shots. Maybe the extra seasoning for Wood will help since he faced a few former MLB pitchers in his time this season in Triple-A. Next up should be Dylan Crews who is up at Triple-A. Cade Cavalli, on a different level, should be readying himself from his recovery from UCL elbow surgery.

More help should be on the way soon.

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