Nationals: A look at each prospect in Juan Soto return

The Juan Soto sweepstakes are over as the San Diego Padres have emerged victorious for the superstar outfielder.

Now, the Nationals have received a huge amount of new prospects, a total of five of them for Juan Soto and Josh Bell. These new Nationals Prospects will look to form the core of the next Nationals contender.

The Nationals are receiving two MLB-ready prospects in MacKenzie Gore and CJ Abrams. They both ranked No.1 and No.2 on MLB Pipeline’s Padres’ prospect rankings before the season. They have appeared for years in the MLB’s Top-100 prospect rankings.

Who is MacKenzie Gore?

MacKenzie Gore has all the makings of being a future Cy Young caliber pitcher. He’s injured right now, but the elbow injury isn’t deemed to be anything major. He should be back by September, not that the Nationals will rush him. They can certainly wait for him to come back next year to ensure he’s healthy.

Gore struggled last year but has come back to form. He was the leading NL Rookie of the Year contender before his injury. Over 70 innings, he struck out 72 and walked 37. He had a 4.12 FIP and 4.50 ERA, but that was mostly inflated by a few rough starts like in Coors.

He has been a part of the top-100 prospects since before the 2018 season. In his minor-league career, Gore struck out 311 batters in 238.1 innings. He has an elite fastball/slider combo with plenty of developing control.

The Nationals’ new SS is CJ Abrams, but is he good?

The short answer is that yes CJ Abrams is very good. He lost his prospect status this year after appearing in 46 games with the Padres and having 125 at-bats. Abrams had been ranked in the top-100 prospects since before the 2020 season. He’s a supremely fast and gifted defender with a strong bat, and makes plenty of contact and understands how to work the batting zone.

Perhaps the only worry is that he has very little power and will be reliant on his speed to get triples and doubles. Of course, he has plenty of speed so this won’t be an issue. Abrams could grow into more power like Trea Turner did as he gets older. Abrams is only 21 and comes with six years of control.

So far this year, Abrams has played like a rookie with 5 doubles, 2 home runs, and 11 RBI against only 4 walks and 27 strikeouts. He has hit .232 and has a  .605 OPS. This could be partially blamed on him not playing every day. With the Nationals, he is their present and future shortstop. He’ll get plenty of run and chances to improve. He has a future star outlook.

Just how good is Nationals’ new prospect Robert Hassell III?

One of the centerpieces of this trade is the Padres’ No.1 prospect, Robert Hassell III. According to MLB Pipeline, Hassell is a 20-year-old outfielder with tons of tools after being drafted in the first round of 2020. Hassell has grades on his tools all above 55 on the 20-80 scale. This means he’s got the potential to be an above-average regular in the MLB.

He’s got great range and the ability to stick in centerfield for the long term. Hassell’s speed has been impressive. The best part of his skills is his bat. He’s hitting far above his age, and swings the bat like a vet. Hassell understands how to drive the ball to all fields while controlling the zone. He has plenty of raw power that will be unleashed as he grows.

This season, he’s been playing in High-A and has been demolishing it. Over 75 games, he has hit .299/.379/.467 with 19 doubles, 10 home runs, 38 walks, and only 66 strikeouts. As I said, he has a future star written on him. It might take another year of development but he’ll be in DC very soon.

Who’s the new 6-7 outfielder named James Wood for the Nationals?

James Wood is 19 and the size of Aaron Judge already. Did the Nationals just get an Aaron Judge clone? Perhaps. Wood was drafted in the second round of the 2021 draft. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the No. 3 prospect in the Padres’ formerly vaunted system.

He has plenty of power in that giant frame of his. He’ll tap into it more as he grows. Though he’s learning how to control the strike zone, Wood will make plenty of loud contact. His eye at the plate is superb and he is extremely patient. This displays an advanced approach at the plate. Perhaps the biggest aspect of his that is unexpected is his elite speed.

Across two levels this year, Rookie and Low-A, Wood has 16 stolen bases. Across 55 games, he has 19 doubles, 10 home runs, 45 RBI, 40 walks, and only 49 strikeouts, which is nearly a 1-1 walk to strikeout ratio. He’s hitting .321/.439/1.000.  Since he’s only 19, it will take a few years for him to reach the MLB level. However, the sky is the limit for Wood. This was the secret stud of the package for the Nationals.

Last but not least, who is Jarlin Susana?

According to MLB Pipeline, Jarlin Susana is an RHP who is in the rookie league. He ranks as the Padres’ No.14 prospect. He’s an 18-year-old that was just signed this year on the international market by the San Diego Padres. Now, Susana goes to the Washington Nationals as a distant prospect, but one with tons of upside.

He throws upper-90s with a strong slider that could develop into a plus pitch. Susana also has a curveball that I personally love. It’s a perfect off-speed pitch that hovers in the low-mid 80s. Imagine seeing a 98 mph fastball and then an 82 mph curveball back to back. That’s rough as a hitter.

Due to his age, he’s only at the Padres’ rookie level. He’s made quite an impression over his 8 games pitched. He has struck out 44 batters to only 11 walks across his 29.1 innings. He has a great 2.45 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. Susana has potential front-line starting ability if he can develop well. At the least, he should be an excellent closer with two plus pitches.

The Nationals have added some big-time prospects and future studs to their system. This is how you do a fast rebuild. Each of these players has a future star written all over them. The new Nationals prospects do have a ton of pressure on them to develop fast and well. Perhaps that might be a bit too much pressure for some of these new Nationals prospects.

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