Jakson Reetz: Checking in on the Nationals’ No. 10 prospect

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Feb 24, 2014; Viera, FL, USA; Washington Nationals manager

Matt Williams

(9) hits while Mike Rizzo watches from the cart in spring training action at space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

One of the main reasons why the Nationals were able to rise from the very bottom of the National League to winning two division titles in the last three years is the team’s outstanding player development system.

From drafting the cream-of-the-crop in young talent to developing them into All-Star-caliber major leaguers, general manager Mike Rizzo and his staff are always working hard to ensure that the Nationals’ success continues well into the future. And while the majority of the team’s top prospects – namely Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon – are already making an impact at the big league level, there are still plenty of young players to get excited about in the Nationals’ farm system.

More from Nationals Prospects

One of the benefits of the offseason is that it gives us the opportunity to reflect on the last season and to look forward to next year and beyond – a future that will undoubtedly be shaped not only by the team’s current big league stars, but also by the youngsters that are working their way up the minor league ladder.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be counting down the Nationals’ Top-10 prospects (as ranked by MLB.com) and breaking down what they have accomplished so far in their young professional careers. We will also predict if and when they will be ready to contribute at the big league level and where we expect to see them in 2015.

Some of these names are well-known throughout the baseball world, while others are players that you may never have heard of before. Regardless of how prominent these players are in the ever-evolving world of the game’s rising stars, all of them will have an impact on the future of the Nationals and it’s important to monitor their progress as they continue on their path to the big leagues.

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Today we will be starting our countdown with Jakson Reetz, the Nationals’ No. 10 prospect. Reetz is one of those prospects whose name you may not have heard a whole lot of, given that the Nationals drafted him in the third round of the 2014 First Year Player Draft less than six months ago. In his short career as a professional, however, Reetz has made a name for himself within the organization and has jumped into the team’s Top-10 prospects list.

Reetz, 18, is a 6-foot-1, 195 lb catcher from Hickman, Nebraska. The Nationals selected Reetz out of Norris High School in Firth, Nebraska with the 93rd overall pick in the draft. Soon after, the Nationals signed the young catcher for $800,000. Many, including MLB.com’s Jim Callis, were surprised that the Nationals were able to nab Reetz in the third round, as he was widely considered to be the best high school catcher available in the draft.

Reetz had also made a name for himself prior to the draft in the 2013 summer showcase circuit, being named MVP of the Perfect Game All-American Classic while batting .435 with five extra-base hits to help the U.S. national team win the 18-and-under World Cup in Taiwan. Reetz, who had committed to the University of Nebraska prior to signing with the Nationals, was also named the 2013-14 Gatorade Nebraska Baseball Player of the Year after hitting .487 with eight home runs, 37 RBI and 37 runs scored in 2014.

Upon joining the Nationals in 2014, Reetz played in 43 games for the team’s Gulf Coast League affiliate, batting .274 with 15 RBIs, eight extra-base hits, and 20 runs scored over 117 plate appearances.

While Reetz is still years away from reaching the major leagues, he has the potential to become a solid big league catcher. According to MLB.com’s 2014 Prospect Watch, Reetz has a quick bat that is capable of hitting line drives to all fields and is a better base runner than most catchers. Reetz, who was a three-sport athlete in high school, is also very athletic behind the plate and has a strong arm.

We probably won’t see Reetz behind the plate at Nationals Park for at least a few more years. But he is still an important player to keep an eye on as he is not only one of the team’s best prospects, but also the highest-ranking catcher in the team’s minor league system (followed by Pedro Severino, who is ranked at No. 11 and does not qualify for out Top-10 countdown).

Jakson Reetz may be a name that not many have heard of at this point, but it’s certainly a name that Nationals fans will be hearing a lot more of in the coming years. Check back here tomorrow morning as we continue our countdown with the Nationals’ No. 9 prospect, Austin Voth.

"If you’d like to see just how quick Reetz’s bat is, checkout this video of him crushing some baseballs during batting bractice (courtesy of Baseball America):"

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