Baseball America's latest Top 100 prospects list released last week, and 4 of Washington's prospects were on it. Who was missing? 19 year old shortstop Brady House, who many believe is just on the outside looking into the top 100. Just two years removed from being the 11th overall pick, House looks to have a bounce back 2023 season to reclaim his status as a top tier prospect.
Why the drop in prospect rankings? House dealt with a back injury in the 2022 season that sidelined him for the majority of the season. At the end of August, the Nationals announced that House would be shut down for the season with the intention of having him ready for spring training. Anticipate a healthy Brady House heading into the 2023 season. The drop in ranking is not due to House's ability, but due to his availability.
The shortstop is from Winder, Georgia and attended Winder-Barrow High School. According to maxpreps.com, House compiled a .524 batting average in his three year varsity baseball career. Brady committed to the University of Tennessee following his junior season. His dominance in high school and potential led to the Nationals selecting him 11th overall in the 2021 MLB Draft. Washington signed House to a $5 million deal, above the slot value of the 11th overall pick at $4.5 million.
House is a big body at shortstop, standing at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds. He does not have outstanding speed, which may force him to move to third base later in his career, but the Nationals will give House every opportunity to stick at shortstop. The strongest part of House's game is the bat. He has home run power to all fields. He struggled some with higher velocities in his first professional season, but some scouts are marking that as a growing pain. Lots of scouts compare House to Corey Seager, due to his size and ability to hit for power to all fields. House also has been clocked at 96 mph throwing across the diamond, so arm strength is not a problem for the 19 year old. He can make all the routine plays at shortstop, but his arm is the highlight of his defensive game.
House's swing and miss frequency is what will have to be improved as he matures. The strikeout statistics are a bit concerning in Brady's first two professional seasons, but he is still just 19 years old and has time to cut down on the swing and miss frequency. The ability to hit for power is House's strong point. Watch this bomb hit by House for the Fredericksburg Nationals.
In his rookie age 18 season, House was assigned to the Florida Complex League. The shortstop produced exactly like a first round pick does, hitting .322 with four home runs, 12 runs batted in and three doubles. In just 59 at-bats House struck out 13 times, a rate that is simply too high in rookie ball.
During his age 19 season, those same weaknesses translated to Single-A Fredericksburg. House slugged just three home runs, 31 runs batted in and eight doubles in 45 games played. Brady struck out 59 times in 176 at-bats. House had more strikeouts than hits in 2022, according tobaseballamerica.com.
Was the 2022 season a bit of a step back for Brady House? You could classify it as that. But the thing is, he is still just 19 years old and has so much time to develop. Does he need to produce in 2023? Also yes. It is important for Brady to play an entire season, to be healthy for the rigors and demands of professional baseball. So yes, House does need to produce from a statistical standpoint in 2023, but bottom line he needs to play the entire season.
I anticipate House to at least get a cup of coffee in the big leagues in 2024. If he is not ready by then, then have him come into 2025 spring training to compete for the major league team. It all depends on the development of House, if he continues to run into back issues and other injuries, the Nationals could have a problem on their hands.
If all goes well, House will be a part of the infield of the future in D.C. for years to come. A combination of House, CJ Abrams and Luis Garcia is super exciting to think about. A move to third base for House would make sense given that Abrams and Garcia man shortstop and second base currently. That is a great problem for managers to have, too many shortstops. I am almost positive it will not be Davey Martinez making those decisions in 2025, but that's a topic for another day.
Brady House is a prospect to be excited about and one to keep track of. The 2023 season is a really important one for the 19 year old shortstop. Not only producing from a statistical point of view, limiting strikeouts and hitting for power, but being available for the entire season.