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
WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 04: Keibert Ruiz #20 of the Washington Nationals runs the bases against the New York Mets during game one of a doubleheader at Nationals Park on September 04, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

10) Joan Adon, RHP, 23

Already MLB ready, Joan Adon made his Nationals debut last season, posting a 3.38 ERA, with nine strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Be it only one start, but Adon’s early addition left the fans wanting more.

A three-pitch pitcher, Adon utilizes a mid 90s fastball that has a 60 grade per MLB Pipeline. Last season, he worked hard on his changeup which is now his best secondary offering. Experienced as both a starter and reliever, expect Adon to transition to whichever will get him into the lineup faster.

9) Gerardo Carillo, RHP, 23

Acquired in the Scherzer/Turner blockbuster trade, Gerardo Carillo has explosive stuff. His fastball which was given a 65 grade by MLB Pipeline averages 94-97 mph, but tops out at 100. Carillo’s slider is his second-best pitch which helps complement his fastball. Behind that is his changeup and curve which are both decent offerings. Currently a starter, some believe Carillo will better benefit from transitioning to the bullpen.

8) Jeremy De La Rosa, OF, 20

Signed by the Nationals for $300,000 in 2018, Jeremy De La Rosa has some of the most intriguing tools out of anyone in Washington’s farm.

The lefty struggled at Single-A last season, hitting .203, with five homers 22 RBIs, and an OPS of .595. Keep in mind that was his first full season in the minors, and he’s only 19. He has some exciting raw power and can hit the ball to all fields with ease.

7) Jackson Rutledge, RHP, 22

The Nationals first-round pick in 2019, Jackson Rutledge has the size and arsenal to be a future ace, but injuries have kept him from putting everything together. When he was healthy last season, he was unable to get going, posting a 7.68 ERA in 73 2/3 innings across three different levels. But as recently as 2019, he posted a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings at Single-A.

Known for his heater that explodes out of his hand, it sits in the mid-90s and tops out over 100. Washington’s development staff has been impressed by his slider, which is his second-best offering. Behind that is his curve and changeup which he worked on at the Alternate Site.

Rutledge needs to focus on his command and staying healthy, but his size and stuff have people drooling.

6) Andry Lara, RHP, 19

Signed by the Nationals as an international free agent for $1.25 million in 2019, Andry Lara finally made his professional debut this past season. In 48 1/3 innings at the Rookie League and Low-A, Lara went 3-3, with a 4.66 ERA, and 52 strikeouts. Opponents hit a measly .225 against him, but also took him deep seven times.

His fastball ranges in the mid-90s and is complemented by his plus breaking ball and solid changeup. Command was an issue at a time, seen by his 21 walks, but he has all the tools to be a future part of the Nationals rotation.

5) Cole Henry, RHP, 22

A second-round pick in 2020, injuries have slowed Cole Henry from fully taking off. Some believe Henry has some of the best stuff amongst all of the Nationals’ prospects. He lacks the overwhelming power of Cavalli, but makes up for it with his command.

Henry throws a two-seamer and a four-seamer that have fluid movement. His changeup fades well and his slider is developing into a plus-out pitch.

He will need to prove he can stay healthy, having dealt with injuries in college and this past year. , Henry will need to build up his strength to handle the rigors of a full season,  but his recent Arizona Fall League performance shows what he’s capable of when healthy.

4) Cristhian Vaquero, OF, 17

Washington spent the majority of their international spending money to land Cristhian Vaquero, the number two international free agent in the 2021 class per MLB Pipeline.

Since becoming a switch hitter, Vaquero has seen vast improvements at the plate and is just starting to tap into his raw power. His best attribute is his speed, which helps him cover ground in the outfield. He can play all three spots and has a strong arm.

This might seem high for a player who has yet to play a single game states side, especially considering it will be a while before he arrives. He will start in the Dominican Summer League.

3) Brady House, SS, 18

Brady House is known for his power, hitting four homers in 59 at-bats for the Nats Rookie League affiliate. He can hit to all fields, but will need to improve upon his ground ball rate (52% at the FCL). Sometimes he tends to get aggressive and lengthens his swing, leading to 13 strikeouts. House is at his best when he keeps his swing short

Defensively, many believe he is too big to play short and might end up moving to third in the future. He has an above-average arm that will play all over the infield. House is a few years away from reaching the Majors but expect him to start the upcoming season at Low-A.

2) Cade Cavalli, RHP, 23

Washington believed they got a steal in Cade Cavalli, who they drafted 20th overall in 2020 and so far he’s proven them right. He flew through A+ and AA this year, before ending the season at AAA.

With a fastball that tops out at 101 mph and an impressive curveball, Cavalli has the arsenal to become a front-line starter. Some see his changeup as his best secondary offering and he also throws a slider that is a consistent out pitch.

He needs to work on his command and attacking the zone because he occasionally relies too much on overpowering hitters. This led to him walking 13 batters in 24 2/3 innings at AAA.

1) Keibert Ruiz, C, 23

Washington’s prize acquisition from the Max Scherzer/Trea Turner trade, Keibert Ruiz is the team’s future at catcher. He made his Nationals debut at the end of the 2021 season, drawing six walks and only striking out four times.

Defensively he has a solid arm and can frame the ball well, but needs to work on his blocking and receiving.

Ruiz navigates the strike zone well, striking out only 34 times in 322 at-bats at AAA. He also drew 32 walks. A switch hitter, Ruiz can make solid contact from both sides of the plate and projects to be a 20+ homer a season guy.