The Nationals kick-started their rebuild/re-tool/re-whatever you'd like to call it back in 2020 when they decided to trade Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, amongst other players, at the Trade Deadline in return for top prospects, namely Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray. At the time this new direction began, the Nationals had three consensus players in the top 100 MLB prospects. Now, almost four years later and after trading away a generational talent in Juan Soto, as well as netting a 2nd overall pick after a 107 loss season, the Nationals still only have three consensus prospects in the top 100 MLB prospects, albeit very good prospects: Dylan Crews, James Wood and Brady House.
Both Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America released their updated prospect rankings for 2024 in recent days. Here is how each of the Nationals' prospects measured up with the rest of the future of baseball.
Dylan Crews: BP Rank: 5th, BA Rank: 6th
The Nationals' top draft pick from last season, Dylan Crews has gotten off to a good start in his professional career. Crews lit it up in his time at Single-A Fredericksburg before earning an August Promotion to Double-AA Harrisburg. We will see how much of a jump Crews makes in 2024, but it is not a stretch to think we may see him in DC at some point this season.
Crews comes in ranked slightly higher than current Double-A teammate James Wood likely due to his time spent in college playing in the SEC at LSU, making him a more refined prospect at this moment. If Crews can sustain his current track of production, the Nationals will have their Centerfielder for a long time.
James Wood - BP Rank: 7th, BA Rank: 11th
Acquired in the trade for Juan Soto, James Wood has had many eyes on him around the organization and fanbase for a while now. Still just 21 years old, the future is bright for the DMV Native who cracks the top 10 for Baseball Prospectus and falls just outside of it for Baseball America.
Wood still needs to cut down his strikeout numbers, but that will likely come with time as he is still young and developing. While he has dropped in both rankings (3rd to 7th in BP, 7th to 11th in BA), Wood still possesses tremendous upside and is undoubtedly the Left-Handed Power Bat the Nationals are desperately needing. He is not quite ahead of Crews yet in terms of who gets called up first, but if he cuts down his strikeouts and maintains his power, he might force the Nationals' hand with a late season call-up.
Brady House - BP Rank: 69th, BA Rank: 55th
A bit forgotten and possibly underrated, Brady House is one of the few true homegrown Nationals' prospects that has progressed (or at least has not regressed) during his time within the organization. House dealt with a back injury his first year in professional baseball that we see cause numerous prospects around baseball fall out of favor amongst prospect rankings, but House has managed to maintain his top 100 status the majority of his time with the Nationals.
Now healthy, House is putting up promising numbers in the Minors as he hit .324 with a .833 OPS in 36 games at Double-A Harrisburg last year. Should he continue his track, he will be in line for a promotion shortly. While young like James Wood, House's ability to play the infield, namely Third Base, makes him one to watch for a late season call-up.
Honorable Mention: Cade Cavalli - (BP: 85th, BA: Unranked)
Like Brady House, Cade Cavalli was able to maintain some of his highly regarded prospect status despite suffering a UCL Injury last spring that required Tommy John Surgery. The Nationals and their fans cannot wait to see their fiery fireballer return to the mound, but the Nationals assuredly will take their time with Cavalli and ease him back into action.
According to reports, Cavalli's recovery is going well and he is aiming for a June return to baseball. He is immediately a candidate to fill a rotation spot for the Nationals, although he will likely start with AAA Rochester first prior to making his return to the Nationals.
While it is nice to see the Nationals have some top prospects, it is also worth mentioning that Cavalli (mostly due to injury), Robert Hassell III and Elijah Green have each significantly fallen in consensus rankings despite being top 60 prospects at one point. Hassell and Green have really struggled recently and the Nationals hope to get them back on track soon.
As always during a rebuild, player development is key and the Nationals have struggled in that area. It does seem like there has been minor improvements, but they will need to continue to focus in that area if they hope to compete any time soon.