Washington Nationals: Top 50 Prospects Entering 2022

DENVER, CO - JULY 11: Cade Cavalli #20 of National League Futures Team pitches against the American League Futures Team at Coors Field on July 11, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 11: Cade Cavalli #20 of National League Futures Team pitches against the American League Futures Team at Coors Field on July 11, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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Washington Nationals
MESA, ARIZONA – MARCH 02: Lucius Fox #38 of the Kansas City Royals in action against the Chicago Cubs during a preseason game at Sloan Park on March 02, 2021 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

30) Yoander Rivero

Rivero was a 2018 July 2 signing for the Nationals at the age of 17. That year Baseball America 2018-19 MLB International Reviews: Washington Nationals (baseballamerica.com) said:

“He has a smaller, skinny build (5-foot-9, 155 pounds) and doesn’t jump out immediately for his size or tools, but he’s a savvy, instinctive player who is a fundamentally sound defender. He’s a line-drive hitter without much power.”

That scouting report is looking to be true as he still does not have one tool that really stands out, but in 2021 he finally came to the states and put together a pretty solid 32 games in Florida. He just seems to understand the game and has shown a knack for getting on base as he has a .409 OBP with a 128wRC+. This is certainly a name to watch in 2022 as he will likely land in Fredricksburg very soon.

29) Mason Denaburg, RHP, 22

There was a time a few years ago when I expected this guy to be a top 10 prospect for us easily and potentially a top 100 prospect if all the pieces fell into place. The stuff is there with a mid 90s fastball and a solid curveball. Unfortunately, the health has not been there for him and after receiving Tommy John Surgery this past season he will need to actually begin to build his career if he hopes to make it to the big leagues.

28) Jake Alu, 2B, 24

Alu was a standout player in 2021 where he put together a great offensive showing in Wilmington. Once he got called up to Harrisburg he slowed down a little bit, but this offensive production is something that goes back to his time at Boston College. Alu could certainly find himself on a big-league bench in 2023 or 2024 if things go well.

27) Jordy Barley, OF, 22

If Jordy Barley was just a little bit younger he would probably be a little higher on this list. Unfortunately, he is 22 years old and has not been above A-level ball. He was acquired in the Daniel Hudson deal this past year. Speed will be his carrying tool, but he needs to improve elsewhere to make any real impact on the Nationals organization.

26) Drew Millas, C, 24

Millas is a very exciting player to me as he offers something many catchers do not offer. He puts together a great at-bat and can also field his position at catcher. This is not a very common combo at any level. Millas will likely move quickly in this system and either serve as solid catcher depth or be a part of potential trade in the future. He is a very valuable addition to the Nationals System.

25) Lucius Fox, SS, 24

Claimed off of waivers by the Nationals, Lucius Fox relies on his steady defense and elite speed. He has 142 stolen bases in 479 minor league games. Defensively, he’s a natural shortstop who has decent hands and a strong arm. His speed allows him to also stick in center, but he needs to work on his bat. He won’t hit for much power, but can drive the ball all over the field. His speed and glove will make him a solid bench player.

24) Sammy Infante, SS, 20

The Nationals compilation pick in 2020 for losing Anthony Rendon, Sammy Infante stumbled in his first taste at the FCL. In 37 games, he hit .215, with three homers, 15 RBIs, and an OPS of .692. Infante can do many things well, but not at a plus level. His swing has improved and he projects to develop average power. Defensively, he’s currently entrenched at short, but may benefit from moving to the hot corner.

23) Donovan Casey, OF, 25

One of the best pure athletes in the Nationals farm, Donovan Casey was the fourth prospect acquired in the Scherzer/Turner trade. He has impressive speed and a strong arm that allows him to play all over the outfield. Casey is also a threat on the base paths, posting 52 career stolen bases in the minors.

He needs to cut down on the strikeouts, (54 whiffs in 38 games at AAA), but he’s recently started to develop more power (36 homers over the past two seasons). Don’t be surprised if Casey gets called up sometime this season.

22) Ricardo Méndez, OF, 22

Signed for $600,000 out of Venezuela in 2016, Ricardo Méndez had a solid 2021 season. In 85 games at A and A+, he slashed .288/.344/.440, with five homers, 52 RBIs, and an OPS of .784. He had a 19 game hitting steak in July which led to him being promoted to A+ in August. There, Méndez posted a .792 OPS in 25 games.

21) Jackson Cluff, SS, 25

Another elite defender, Jackson Cluff is a natural shortstop who can also play second and third,  thanks to his above-average speed and strong arm. The question mark is his bat, posting a .556 OPS in 35 games at AA. Part of his struggles was due to him being unable to stay healthy.

He was invited to represent the Nationals at the Arizona Fall League where he took his game to the next level. In 22 games, Cluff slashed .342/.432/.456, with an OPS of .887. He will need to prove that his performance wasn’t a fluke and that he’s finally turned a corner.

As of now, he projects to be a utility player thanks to his glove. If he can develop more power then he has a shot to become an everyday player.