On Thursday, the Washington Nationals made their latest round of roster cuts as they continue to trim down the roster to the final 25 players that will be in Washington DC for the opener on April 6. Among yesterday’s cuts, one of the players that was sent back down is a player that showed great strides this spring and could be one of the solid young players in the organization for years to come.
The player that I am talking about is Wilmer Difo. Yesterday, the Nationals optioned Difo to high-A Potomac, where he will begin his 2015 season:
Yes, Difo is still a ways away from being on the big league club, but he made some good plays in the field this spring and showed some offensive skills. The 22-year old had 22 at-bats this spring and hit .318 with four runs batted in. Out of the seven hits he recorded, he had two extra-base hits (a double and triple).
One of the highlights for Difo this spring came on March 11 in Viera against David Price and the Detroit Tigers. In that game, he went 2-for-3 with a triple and a RBI. That is something that he could take into his minor league season and build on the success that made him an organizational All-Star this past season.
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In 2014, with the low-A Hagerstown Suns, Difo hit .315 with 14 home runs, 90 RBI’s and 49 stolen bases in 136 games. He led the team in homers and RBI’s and was second on the team in stolen bases behind Rafael Bautista (69).
Difo was a great player for Hagerstown during the second half of last season when he hit .322 with seven home runs and 36 RBI’s in 67 games. Plus, he hit .282 with runners in scoring position. However, this is a shortstop that not only provides speed and a good bat, but defensive flexibility as well.
Last season, he played 70 games at shortstop and 66 games at second base. Depending on what happens with Ian Desmond next winter, both positions with the big league club could be within Difo’s grasp in the near future. Plus, high-A Potomac will be one of the main affiliates to watch later in the season if Trea Turner heads there in June to give them a great double play combo up the middle.
Recently, MLB Pipeline ranked Difo eighth on the team’s top 30 prospects as he moved up 11 spots from where he was ranked at the end of last years. While this is a player that is at least two years away from the big leagues, this is a player that could be the future of the Nats at either of the two middle infield positions.