Washington Nationals: District On Deck’s 2017 Top 10 Prospects List
By Ricky Keeler
10. Rafael Bautista
Bautista was named to the 40-man roster earlier this offseason after a good season at double-A Harrisburg. In 136 games, the 23-year-old had a slash line of .282/.344/.341 with four home runs and 39 RBI’s. Like Victor Robles, who we will get to later, Bautista is known for his speed.
This past season, he stole 56 bases in 66 attempts, which ended up being a Senators record. During the second half of the year, Bautista hit .307 with three home runs and 18 RBI’s. Plus, he had a good stolen base percentage as he successfully stole 17 bases in 20 attempts.
Besides the speed, Bautista’s 153 hits were by far the most on the Senators roster this past season (Wilmer Difo was second with 106) and he led the entire Eastern League in that category in addition to the stolen bases.
Heading into next season, Bautista could be one of those players that gets a call up if an injury occurs now that he is on the 40-man roster. If that does end up happening, Bautista can definitely change a game with the way he steals bases. Plus, his 45 walks were the second most on the Senators roster (shortstop Stephen Perez led with 47).
With Bautista playing mainly center field last season, where does he fit in the mix with Robles, Adam Eaton, and Andrew Stevenson going forward? Whether he gets traded or gets to the big leagues with the Washington Nationals, Bautista is a name you are going to want to keep in the back of your mind once the 2017 season begins.