Washington Nationals: A Flurry Of Prospect Promotions

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 08: Luis Garcia #2 of the Washington Nationals reacts after hitting a ground rule double scoring a run in the eighth inning of an MLB game against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on September 8, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 08: Luis Garcia #2 of the Washington Nationals reacts after hitting a ground rule double scoring a run in the eighth inning of an MLB game against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on September 8, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /
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Recently, the Nationals’ farm system has seen its fair share of movement, with 10 players and prospects being promoted, ranging from A+ to the majors.

Mike Rizzo and company have been pleased with the production from their minor league teams, with plenty of under-the-radar players standing out. In return, a plethora of players and prospects have recently been promoted, with Cole Henry and Luis García highlighting the group. Here’s a rundown of every player that was recently promoted and how they have been doing this year.

Luis García: Promoted to the majors

With Alcides Escobar landing on the 10-day IL, Washington decided it was time to call up Luis García on Wednesday. The former top prospect started the season at AAA in order to work on his defense.

We wrote earlier about his call up earlier in the week, stating:

"In 42 games , he’s slashing .314/.368/.531, with eight homers, 32 RBIs, and an OPS of .899. Defensively, he’s committed eight errors in 289 innings at short and two errors in 64 innings at second.It was unclear when García was going to be called up, but with Alcides Escobar being placed on the 10-day IL yesterday, the Nats had a hole at short. In his season debut, he went 1-4, with a single in the fourth — only one of the Nationals’ six hits. His other three at-bats all ended in strikeouts, one via looking."

On Saturday against the Reds, García recorded a career-high 4 RBIs in a 10-8 win. Through five games, he’s 7-19, with 5 RBIs, and an OPS of .824.

Evan Lee: Promoted to the majors

In need of a spot starter, the Nats promoted Evan Lee for Wednesday’s game against the Mets despite the 24-year-old having yet to reach AAA. In 30 innings at AA this year, he’s 0-3, with a 3.60 ERA, and 37 strikeouts, while holding opponents to a measly .229 average.

Lee wasn’t fazed and started off the game with three shutout innings, before giving up two runs in the fourth. He’s in line to make at least one more appearance be it in the rotation or bullpen.

Cole Henry: Promoted to AAA

Despite the Nationals limiting his workload due to dealing with injuries in the past, Cole Henry has been arguably Washington’s most dominant pitching prospect this year. In 23 2/3 innings (seven starts), the Nats’ third-ranked prospect has a 0.76 ERA, with 28 strikeouts, and an insane 0.59 WHIP. Opponents have barely been able to touch him, batting .067 against him. He made his AAA debut earlier today, posting five shutout innings, with three strikeouts.

Matt Cronin: Promoted to AAA

Viewed by some as the Nationals’ future closer, Matt Cronin has been virtually untouchable this year, having yet to allow a run. In 16 1/3 innings at AA, he’s 1-0, with a 0.00 ERA, and 22 strikeouts. He’s allowed only five hits while walking seven and holding opponents to a .096 average. Since being promoted to AAA, he’s allowed three runs in three innings (all three runs coming in his last appearance), with four strikeouts.

Matt Brill: Promoted to AAA

Drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 12th round of the 2017 MLB draft, Matt Brill was selected by Washington in this year’s Rule 5 Draft. Since arriving, he’s been excellent out of the bullpen, going 2-1, with a 1.93 ERA, and 18 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings at AA. In his AAA debut, he allowed 2 runs (one earned) and walked one.

Zach Brzykcy: Promoted to AA

Signed by the Nationals as an NDFA in 2020, reliever Zach Brzykcy struggled last year in his first year of pro ball, going 6-4, with a 5.20 ERA, and 86 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings. This year he’s seemed to turn a corner, going 6-1, with a pristine 1.66 ERA, and 39 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings at A+. Opponents are hitting a measly .166 against him. In his AA debut, he threw a scoreless inning, allowing only one hit, while striking out three.

Jake Irvin: Promoted to AA

A fourth-round pick by Washington in 2018, Jake Irvin entered this season not having pitched since 2019 due to injuries including undergoing Tommy John surgery. Finally healthy, Irvin has hit the ground running, posting a 1.50 ERA, with 29 strikeouts in nine starts at A+. He has impressive control, having yet to allow a homer, while only issuing eight free passes. In his AA debut, he allowed four earned runs across 4 1/3 innings, while striking out three.

Ike Schlabach: Promoted to AA

Drafted and later released by the Pirates, the Nats signed him in 2021 — finishing the year with a 3.00 ERA, and 33 strikeouts in 30 innings across the Rookie League, A+, and AA. This year he’s picked up where he left off, going 0-1, with a 1.08 ERA, 17 strikeouts, and three holds. Only two of the seven runs he has given up have been earned. He’s only made one appearance at AA this year since being promoted, throwing a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. Something to keep an eye on is he hasn’t pitched since May 31.

Jose Ferrer: Promoted to A+

Signed by the Nats as an international free agent in 2017, Jose Ferrer spent the first few years in the DSL and GCL, before starting this year at single-A. In 12 appearances, he is 1-0, with a 1.42 ERA and 24 strikeouts, while holding opponents to a .171 average. Used in high leverage he’s 2-2 in save opportunities while recording three holds. He’s made three appearances at AA since being promoted, going 0-1 in save opportunities while recording one hold and striking out three.

Rodney Theophile: Promoted to A+

Signed by the Nats as an international free agent in 2018, Rodney Theophile has been one of Washington’s most underrated prospects. In nine starts this year the righty starter is 5-1, with a 1.29 ERA and 62 strikeouts while only walking 11. He’s yet to make his A+ debut.

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