Nats Fans Get a Glimpse of the Future of the Team in Futures Game

Nats Park hosted a game pitting the up-and-comers of the Nationals system against the current major league squad. Here's how it went:

Washington Nationals v Minnesota Twins
Washington Nationals v Minnesota Twins / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

The Nationals organization was onto something with this great idea - to put their top prospects of one of the better farm systems in baseball against their current MLB team just to draw up excitement from the fans. This exhibition showcase offered a glance at what the future of the major league squad will look like, and put them directly against what it looks like now. There were highlights on both sides, but the Nationals squad dominated their future teammates 13-1. This game wasn't all dour circumstances for the Futures squad, as several of the "Baby Nats" --as Bob Carpenter affectionately refers to them-- showed clear signs of promise and potential.

The Current Squad

Despite being the very clear winners of this exhibition, there's less to discuss about the major league boys, as we as fans will get to see them all season starting very soon. We all know our current Nationals from watching them throughout Spring Training, but the standout performances are still worth noting.

Luis Garcia boosted his Spring Training numbers by going 3-for-4 with an RBI. His potential as a contact-first slap hitter was on clear display against the young Nationals. Joey Meneses was also a clear standout, being just a home run shy of a Spring Training cycle at the end of the day, tacking on 2 RBIs for good measure.

The only display of power from the major league squad came from heavy-hitter Eddie Rosario as he clubbed a home run 404 feet in the 4th inning off of Jackson Rutledge (more on him later).

CJ Abrams-- to no one's surprise-- also stood out for the current Nats, going 3-for-4 in the leadoff spot. He used the speed and intelligent baserunning that garnered him attention across the league in 2023 to stretch one of these hits to a double, and consistently move to the next base on almost every throw made while he was on the base paths. Not to be left out was Rule 5 pickup Nasim Nuñez, who showed off his smooth and strong defensive prowess at shortstop, with some flashy plays for outs at first.

The final player of note for the current Nats was MacKenzie Gore. He dealt over 4 innings, striking out 7 and allowing no runs, thanks mostly to his lively fastball and a changeup that he's been workshopping this spring.

The Young Guns

The "Baby Nats" definitely didn't fare too well in the run-scoring department, but several players still put up solid numbers against the Nationals of today. Blazing-hot hitter James Wood (MLB no. 14 prospect) kickstarted the offense in the first inning in a lefty-lefty duel vs. MacKenzie Gore, which ended with a seared double to right-field. Wood's partners and notable outfield prospects Robert Hassell III and Dylan Crews (MLB no. 7 prospect) went back-to-back with singles-- Crews' being a rocket at 106 MPH-- leading to a 1-for-2 stat line for lefty duo Wood and Hassell and a 1-for-3 day for Dylan Crews.

The only prospect with more than one hit, as well as the only RBI for the Futures team was Nationals' no. 30 prospect, first baseman TJ White. White went 2-for-4, with his first hit being a towering home run that had a 110 MPH EV off the bat and traveled 422 feet.

Jackson Rutledge pitched 3.2 innings for the youngsters to varying degrees of success. He started off strong and made a bid for the 5th starting spot in the first inning, with a devastating slider that the Nats hitters could not keep up with. After a clean first however, Rutledge struggled with his command, giving up 14 hits on the day and getting into numerous 3-2 battles. His stuff could clearly play in the majors, but he'll have to work on his control and location, as well as staying calm in high-pressure situations. He was left in despite the poor results so he could increase his workload/pitch count.

The other Nats' pitching prospects involved fared much better, as lefty DJ Herz (Nationals no.12 prospect) pitched 2 innings with 2 Ks and only one hit surrendered thanks to some good fastball and changeup placement with up to 18 and 39 IVB respectively. Flamethrower Jarlin Susana (Nationals no. 10 prospect) also had a successful outing and showed his potential as an extremely strong bullpen arm, pitching one inning with two strikeouts and no hits.

The Nationals Organization

Although this wasn't a particularly strong showcase of the farm system's ability to score runs, this game was a great move by the Washington Nationals organization. Allowing fans a look at the future of their team, as well as giving those same future Curly W representatives a chance to play at Nats Park. Fans can clearly look forward to seeing these players in D.C. very soon, and this was an entertaining look at what they can expect from the young players in the minor leagues. The Nationals should really do this every year.