10 Nationals Prospects To Watch Beyond The Top 30
The Nationals Top 30 prospects rankings are up now for Baseball America subscribers, with full scouting reports, BA grades and tools grade projections for all 30 players.
Through the process of narrowing the list down to a Top 30, there are other intriguing names who didn't make the cut but are worth monitoring, with the potential to jump into the Top 30 in the future. Some of those are players who might be in the upper levels and could see big league time this year, though likely in a limited role, while others are lower-level players still in the complex leagues with more upside but plenty of risk.
Beyond the Top 30, these are 10 prospects to watch in Washington's farm system.
Jeter Downs, SS/2B/3B. A key piece in the Mookie Betts trade with the Dodgers, Downs has been largely overmatched offensively in two Triple-A seasons, though there might be enough to salvage a future as a big league reserve.
Brenner Cox, OF. The Nationals signed Cox away from a strong commitment to Texas, mainly because of his athletic makeup and experience. The 2022 fourth-rounder has a chance to stick in center field but needs time to develop.
Jake Alu, 3B. Alu is a strong defensive third baseman and has a chance to solve the Nationals’ issues there. He had a breakout season in Double-A and Triple-A, batting .299 with 81 RBIs.
Jared McKenzie, OF. McKenzie looked like one of the best pure hitters in college after two seasons with Baylor. But he struggled in the Cape Cod League and as a junior, so questions abound about the 2022 fifth-rounder.
Jacob Young, OF. Young was one of just two minor league players to score at least 100 runs and steal at least 50 bases in 2022. Some scouts called him one of the best baserunners they have ever seen.
Aldo Ramirez, RHP. Getting healthy is Ramirez’s number one priority, because he has never thrown a full season or compiled more than 62 innings in a single year. He has the talent to be a back-of-the-rotation starter, but there’s plenty of unknown surrounding him given his injury and lack of exposure to the upper minors.
Will Frizzell, 1B. With virtually no defensive value, Frizzell’s path to the majors is entirely reliant on his bat, and so far he’s not faced even High-A competition. While his numbers were impressive in 2022, he needs to be challenged in 2023.
Sammy Infante, 3B. Infante has strong fundamentals and a levelheadedness that has given Washington some level of confidence that the 2020 second-rounder can turn it around offensively. He hit .210 with power at Low-A in 2022.
Onix Vega, C. Vega can hit. He has the ability to get on base and control the game. Behind the plate, he has great framing and surprising agility for his size. He could be an option as a backup catcher.
Orlando Ribalta, RHP. After putting up solid numbers in High-A, Ribalta headed for the Arizona Fall League. In 10.1 innings, he did not allow a run and issued only one walk.