Definitely NOT an Overreaction: James Wood is already the Greatest Player of All Time

While Spring Training is obviously just getting underway, James Wood has already given Nationals fans a lot to get excited about through two games. Should he make the Opening Day roster?
James Wood celebrates in the dugout after his second homer of Spring Training.
James Wood celebrates in the dugout after his second homer of Spring Training. / Rich Storry/GettyImages

I want to preface this article by saying that I am fully aware that we are simply just two games into 2024 Spring Training, and a lot of things can happen between now and Opening Day on March 28th. However, what James Wood has done through his first handful of at-bats has been nothing short of incredible, and it is nice for Nationals fans to have something to look forward to this Spring. It is a special Spring Training as it is providing fans with first glimpses of Wood, Dylan Crews, as well as many other of the team's top prospects who figure to factor into the future within the next couple of seasons.

If you are unfamiliar with James Wood, I will provide some quick background. James Wood is a 6'7 outfielder from Rockville, Maryland and was a second round pick of the San Diego Padres in 2021. He was one of the main pieces of the return in the Juan Soto deal back in 2022, and was thought of as the one asset that Padres General Manager AJ Preller did not want to part with, but it was his ultimate inclusion that pushed the deal over the finish line. Currently, he ranks as the #2 prospect in the Nationals system, behind Dylan Crews, and the #14 prospect in all of baseball. Wood profiles as a true 5-tool outfielder who has even stolen 48 bags while being caught just 8 times in his minor league career thus far, and is one of the most exciting prospects in the entire sport.

Since coming over to the Nationals, Wood has spent time at 3 levels, progressing from Low-A Fredericksburg all the way up to AA Harrisburg, where he shared an outfield with Dylan Crews and Robert Hassell III. This gave Nats fans a glimpse into the potential outfield of the future. and one that seemingly knocking on the door of the big leagues. Most notably during his minor league career, Wood did something that not a lot of Nats prospects have been able to do: succeed in High-A Wilmington, which is consistently known as one of the hardest places to hit in the minor leagues.

As to what he's done so far in Spring Training, albeit a very small sample size, Wood has started 2/5 with two mammoth home runs (see below) and a walk, without striking out yet. With the Nationals looking to take a step forward from their 71-win campaign in 2023, and the team looking for a left-handed power presence (outside of Joey Gallo), the path to Wood making the Opening Day roster is not as far-fetched as it seems, especially if he can keep up this pace. With the new MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement rules incentivizing earlier prospect promotion to the big leagues in exchange for the potential to earn high draft pick compensation, Wood could theoretically find himself with the Nats sooner than later. If he finishes near the top of the Rookie of the Year voting, the Nationals could be awarded an early round draft pick, which is something they sorely need as they look to bolster their farm and improve their big league team.

While it remains to be seen if Wood can make the roster, especially with an uphill battle having to beat out a combination of Stone Garrett, Joey Gallo, Victor Robles, Alex Call, Jake Alu, etc., it would be a brilliant opportunity to bring up a hometown kid who is expected to be one of the building blocks for the future in order to bring fans to the ballpark, and help to usher in the next generation of Washington Nationals Baseball.

Let me know what you think, should James Wood make the Opening Day roster should he keep this up? Let me know on X @blehmann24.

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